The Story Behind Netflix’s “The Pez Outlaw”

Jim Blaine and "The Pez Outlaw", Steve Glew
“The Pez Outlaw” Steve Glew (L) with Jim Blaine (R), the film’s liaison and friend of Glew.

The Netflix documentary “The Pez Outlaw” follows the story of Steve Glew, a small-town Michagander, who made 4.3 million dollars smuggling knock-off Pez dispensers from Europe and selling them in the United States.

Produced by directors Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel, “The Pez Outlaw.” debuted on the streaming service on January 19. Since then, the film earned spot number five in Netflix’s top ten list.

Jim Blaine, who owns one of the largest Pez collections in the world and one of Glew’s close friends, worked closely on the film and acted as a liaison to help the Storkel’s accurately share Glew’s story.

Blaine states the film is not about the Pez story, but rather a love story about Glew and his wife.

“It’s not just a story about the Pez dispensers. Pez is the catalyst. It could have been anything. But this is a love story between Steve and his wife. Brian and Amy got it right,” Blaine said.

Without providing major spoilers, The Pez Outlaw follows Glew, who plays himself, during the 1990s, and his eventual showdown with former president of America’s Pez division “The Pezident” Scott McWhinnie, who fights tooth and nail to monopolize the Pez market.

Part of Jim Blaine's Pez Collection
A few hundred of Jim Blaine’s Pez collection.

Before his Pez success, Glew, a DeWitt, Michigan native, worked as a machine operator.

According to the film, Glew was able to achieve success due to a legal loophole with smuggled Pez’s being permitted into the United States. According to the Detroit Free Press, this loophole was possible because Pez’s trademark not being registered to customs.

Blaine, who’s maintained a friendship with Glew since 2017, said for his role in the film, Glew tasked him with vetting the best director to film the movie.

Additionally, Blaine provided the Pez dispensers seen throughout the film and brought together members of the Pez community, who make cameos throughout the film.

“I was the supplier for all the Pez in the movie. I had a relationship with the hotel we shot in, and I had a relationship with the director,” Blaine said. “I helped with the movie in the aspects of setting that up. Then just being on set, Brian asking for insight on parts of the story and being able to help him. I was just doing my part to see this movie become successful.”

Blaine, a Pez collector since 1999, owns over 300,000 dispensers, which he estimates to be worth over $100,000.

Regarding “The Pez Outlaw,” Blaine states the Netflix romance documentary serves as a celebration of the Pez community and one of their communities greatest stories.

“My biggest worry about the movie was that I wanted the director to show the Pez community in a good light. This movie paints the Pez community in the light they deserve: They’re a good community of people, and these are some of my closest friends. It’s a beautiful thing to see,” Blaine said.

Glew, outside of the film, is described as a reclusive man who prefers to stay away from the spotlight.

“Steve’s a storyteller. But if you break him down, Steve has a big heart and is a lovable guy,” Blaine said. “He’s crazy, wacky, and weird. But to the core of it, he’s somebody I cherish with our friendship. He’s a good guy.”

While the film has been successful through its current run, Blaine maintained that Glew, one of the Pez community’s most iconic figureheads, remains the same introvert.

“He’s a recluse farmer from Michigan. He’s not a spotlight guy. Yes, the story’s about him and he obviously wants the story to be shared. But he’s just a guy who loves his wife,” he said.

“The Pez Outlaw” is now streaming only on Netflix.

Antonio Cooper
Antonio Cooper
Antonio Cooper is a freelance journalist from Detroit, Michigan. His coverage of music festivals and interviews with local celebrities appeared in The E-Current Magazine, The Detroit Metro Times, XXL Magazine, RichMagDigital, The Ann Arbor Observer, and Pop Magazine.

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