The Pez Outlaw Review – an engaging, humorous and light-hearted feature

By Louie Fecou
Published: January 28, 2023


A surprisingly emotional incredible true Robin Hood-style story.

We review the documentary film The Pez Outlaw, which contains minor spoilers.

Just when you think you have seen every kind of documentary, along comes another one that is just so off the beaten track that you can’t believe what you are watching. If you are a collector of anything, then you will find this presentation engaging and dazzling. If you have ever tried to come up with a way to make a few bucks selling collectibles, then here is a lesson. The story of Steve Glew, who made millions of dollars from candy, is fascinating and unique, and the documentary itself is an emotional and fun-filled thrill ride that has to be seen to be believed.

The Pez Outlaw Review and Plot Summary

So you may be almost tapped out on true crime drama, and often the harrowing stories that fall into the category can be difficult to watch, but this is a different, almost uplifting production, that tells a fascinating story in a more light-hearted way. Complete with re-enactments and full participation from the man at the center of the storm, Steve Glew, this is a deep dive into the life of a factory worker who realized that those little plastic sweet dispensers were worth a lot more than anyone could imagine. You see there are collectors for everything out there, and that includes Pez dispensers.

They come in all different themes, superheroes, cartoon characters, video game avatars, in fact, you name it, they have a Pez for it, and people like to collect them. So when Steve realizes that people will pay for hard-to-find versions of the plastic sweet dispensers, he suddenly discovers that Europe has a separate facility from the US in manufacturing the product, and decides that he could pop over to Europe, fill his duffel bag with unique Pez dispensers, then bring them back and sell them.

Essentially Steve becomes a Pez smuggler, bringing “rare” items to the US market, and selling them to American collectors for a pretty penny. However, when the head of Pez, The Pezadent, I kid you not, gets wind of the plan, it results in a campaign to bring Steve and his operation down.

As difficult as it is to believe, yes, the story is all true. Steve Glew made the discovery in the 1990s when working in a factory in Michigan. A fan of the novels of Tom Clancy, Steve would soon find himself in a series of undercover covert missions, that were worthy of a Clancy book themselves. Facing down officials and border patrols in Eastern Europe who were often armed with machine guns was often part of Steve’s operation, and as the armed patrols dumped thousands of Pez dispensers out on the street, with bemused faces, it would require a bribe before he would be allowed to continue on his way. With Steve on board with the making of the documentary, the filmmakers were given the facts of the operation straight from the Pez dispenser’s mouth.

Steve Glew was born in 1950 and grew up in a poor family in Dewitt Michigan. Steve would have trouble in his younger years with alcohol and drugs, but would eventually meet and marry the love of his life Kathy, in the early 1970s. The loving couple would have two children, and the documentary is also a testimony to their relationship together.

Steve would make extra money selling collectible toys that would be given away by cereal companies. Finding the coupons required to obtain the toys, in recycling plants filled with discarded cereal boxes. It was while doing this at a local convention that Steve would see vendors selling Pez dispensers to collectors for a lot of money.

It just took a little research, and talking to collectors, for Steve to find out that rare Pez dispensers were highly sought after, and the US producer of Pez only issued certain products. Steve realized that the Pez producers in Europe had different variants of the toy, and they were very highly sought after.

When he discovered there was a Pez factory in Slovenia with many different versions, he knew that a trip over there could be financially lucrative for him in the US. Steve and his son would make their first trip over to the factory, and bizarrely he would make contacts with the European producers and be allowed to buy their products. Steve would travel to Europe monthly with ten thousand dollars, and return with five bags of Pez dispensers. After striking a deal with an executive in Europe, he was able to bring factory rejects and prototypes to the US, and collectors would go mad for them.

Over the course of 11 years, Steve would make over 4.5 million dollars from selling the Pez dispensers.

Is The Pez Outlaw good?

If you are looking for a more light-hearted documentary than the usual fare on streaming platforms, then this is an engaging, humorous, and surprisingly emotional account. Filmed with a sense of wonder and joy, and filled with plenty of actual Pez collectors, and full testament from Steve himself, this is a well-produced, fun, and quirky film that you should definitely watch. Although the premise seems so strange, this is a rare breed, a documentary that is suitable for all the family to watch, with almost magical re-enactments and at its heart loveable characters that you cannot help but root for.

What did you think of documentary film The Pez Outlaw? Comment below.

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