The Pez Outlaw is a 2022 documentary about Pez collecting and the great lengths that Steve Glew, a former machinist and farmer, will go to to smuggle Pez dispensers into the United States.
The Pez dispenser collecting community, like so many other collecting communities, are an obsessive bunch who are constantly on the lookout for rare pieces to add to their collection. The Pez company has an interesting set-up with a clear divide between the United States market and the global market. One man sits at the helm of the US division and decides what dispensers make it to the US market. This is all pre-internet. You couldn’t just go to EBAY or an international distributor and order these items. So the hardcore collectors knew about the existence of international Pez dispensers that were out of reach. There are even rumors of this mythical European factory that will hook you up for the right price.
Enter Steve Glew, an exuberant man with a big personality and a ton of energy. He feels wasted in his day job as a machinist and like his creative energies are drying up and withering away. He has a bit of an obsessive side and he likes to collect things. Cereal boxes are a big thing for him and so are Pez dispensers. He and his adult son pool their resources, fly to Europe, and try to track down this mythical factory. And they succeed!
For years, Steve Glew travels back and forth between Europe and America, smuggling Pez dispensers. Along the way he makes some corporate enemies, makes a lot of money, and even tries to go legit. He makes for a great underdog character that you want to root for. Along the way you’ll get glimpses into the Pez collecting community, conflicting accounts, goofy reenactment scenes (which help it rise above a simple talking heads documentary), and have a lot of fun.
The Pez Outlaw is streaming on Netflix and is worth checking out.