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The Pez Outlaw Review

By its title alone, The Pez Outlaw implies a form of rigged criminal ring dealing in murders, backstabbings and Pez dispensers. Sickly sweets sold at discount rates and the funnelling of drugs onto streets through cargo shipments do not, as expected, go hand in hand. Or do they? There is a factor of joy and risk to any detail of work enjoyed thoroughly by a participant. The Pez Outlaw has stakes of a high variety, higher, some would argue, than the usual stresses and anxieties of the nine-to-five living standard. Poverty, potential freedom and liberation of the family life, it all depends on work. For Steve Glew, the mundane meets the miraculous in a stunning documentary which sees a collector gun for the gold standard.  

His sudden appearance on the scene, for Pez collectors, was a fascination. Bryan Storkel and Amy Brandlien Storkel bring about intensity and chilling moments to The Pez Outlaw. Maddeningly enough it all circles around those collector-mad hopefuls, in search of their own, perceived Holy Grail. Convincing viewers of this is simple enough. Everyone loves a sweet or two. Those who do not care for candy will certainly care for the equivalent of whatever they collect. Their white whale. The Pez Outlaw does well to showcase the littered cultural history of these plastic wastes and the boom around them should be no surprise. For many, they are collector’s items on par with the same branded merchandise Barbie, Transformers and Pokémon offer. Rightly so, and seeing that passion is half the battle for The Pez Outlaw.  

If passion for collecting is half the battle, then the other half is demonstrating it. How far would someone go for an object with a perceived value of zero? It may have a financial matter, but to many, a Pez dispenser, book or card is a numb object. Glew’s chapter in life is fascinating. His boredom led to a deep fascination, as any person does. Submerging the self in a story that extracts the individual from dull living is the crucial fabric of living, and part of those experiences shape, consciously or subconsciously, how the rest of the world is perceived. This is a generation where habit was formed by commercialism and sweet treat cereals. No wonder the pop of adrenalin and the association of feeling to Pez dispensers pushes them to their limit. It would for anyone searching for what they perceive as the crowning moment of their passion or fascination.  

The Pez Outlaw showcases this deep love for seemingly out-of-fashion objects tremendously well. By the time The Pez Outlaw gets to the moment, Pez collectors reveal the tens of thousands they spend on singular dispenser cartridges, the allure replaces the shock. It is what drives people to take financial gambles on something which connects them that much closer with their finest moments, be it their childhood or their fondest memories. Nothing can knock that and The Pez Outlaw does particularly well not only to showcase that desire to own something which brings its owner back to their glory days, but also makes sure to note these are hobbyists just like you. The only difference is they are after a Pez dispenser with a pig for a cap head, rather than a limited run of Suede singles.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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