A new documentary is rapidly rising up the Netflix most-watched list and it’s all about a Michigan man’s quest to smuggle valuable Pez candy dispensers into the country — yes, really.
Called The Pez Outlaw, this quirky true crime doc was originally released in October last year, but it’s resurfaced this month on Netflix and currently ranks in the No.6 spot on the streamer’s list of most-watched movies. That puts its ahead of former No.1 holders Dog Gone, The Pale Blue Eye and The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker.
If you’re a true crime nut — or have a serious sweet tooth — you’ll definitely want to check out The Pez Outlaw. Here’s everything you need to know about this outlandish Netflix documentary.
What is The Pez Outlaw about?
The Pez Outlaw is a real-life fish-out-of-water story that follows the misadventures of Steve Glew. Originally from small-town Michigan, Steve boards a plane headed for Eastern Europe with a singular mission: locate a secret factory that holds the key to the most desirable, and valuable, Pez candy dispensers in the world.
The mission sounds simple enough, and if he’s successful Steve will be able to quit his job of 25 years and pull his family out of debt. Soon the Pez smuggler is making more cash than he ever dreamed of by selling rare candy dispensers to collectors, but his actions draw the attention of the so-called “Pezident” who sets out on a mission to destroy the Pez Outlaw.
Combing oddball comedy and true crime elements with a slick presentation style, The Pez Outlaw is a funny and engaging documentary that proves there’s money to be made in just about anything.
The Pez Outlaw reviews: What do critics say?
The above synopsis might have had you snorting, but The Pez Outlaw’s critical reception is certainly no joke. The feature-length documentary currently holds a rare 100% score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) (from a respectable 25 reviews). Its audience score is also an impressive 83% indicating that viewers have also been swept up in the Pez-themed hijinks.
Calum Marsh of the New York Times (opens in new tab) compares the doc to the very candy it's centered around, saying “Like Pez, the film is charming and colorful — and perhaps too sweet.” While Detroit News (opens in new tab)’ Adam Graham labeled it: “A highly quirky and thoroughly enjoyable documentary about big dreams, serving a niche and the perils of taking on The Man.”
Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) was similarly enthusiastic calling the doc “an unforgettable David vs. Goliath story” and Marshall Shaffer of Decider (opens in new tab) said the movie has “a real sense of pacing and storytelling that will inevitably be better than the Hollywood-ized fiction film they make out of the subject’s life.”
One of the most positive appraisals came from Bobby LePire writing for Film Threat (opens in new tab) who said, “this is the kind of film you’d show to someone who doesn’t like documentaries to change their mind. It is that good and powerful.”
Should you stream The Pez Outlaw?
If you’ve enjoyed zippy Netflix docs such as Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? then you absolutely need to get The Pez Outlaw in your watchlist as soon as possible. It’s got everything you could want including larger-than-life characters, a fast-paced presentational style and a story that is so outlandish it must be true.
Even Netflix subscribers suffering from true crime burnout should give this one a shot. It’s far less grisly than much of the genre, and its subject matter is oddball enough that it manages to feel distinctly different from its contemporaries. The Pez Outlaw definitely qualifies as another must-watch documentary on Netflix.