Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Posted by on Dec 30, 2011 in Comics & Superheroes | 0 comments

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Disclaimer: Some sexuality and alcohol, not to mention glorified stupidity.

This movie is radical, totally bodacious, and most triumphant. Bill and Ted began as a stand-up comedy act, created and written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, that positioned two surfer youngsters on stage to talk about current events with very little knowledge of the subject. After it became a movie and swept the nation, it led to an underrated sequel, animated TV series, and rumored third installation. It’s also the flick that introduced the world to Keanu Reeves, who plays a close-to-home role as a sub-par musician with a dim intellect.

The film follows Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Reeves), two high school seniors in San Dimas, California who aspire to break into the music biz with their band Wyld Stallyns. As The Washington Post’s Hal Hinson wrote, “Together these teens probably couldn’t muster the brainpower to operate soap. … If ignorance is bliss, these are the most blissed-out kids ever.”

As we soon find out from their BillTed3history teacher, Bill and Ted will likely fail the class as they think Caesar is a “salad dressing dude” and Joan of Arc is “Noah’s wife.” They have just one hope – to ace their final oral examination about how select historical figures would view the present day. If they fail, Ted’s overbearing father will send him to a military school in Alaska, thus ending Wyld Stallyns.

As they study for their final exam, they stop by the local convenience store and a phone booth drops from the sky. “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K,” Ted notes. From inside the booth comes Rufus (funnyman George Carlin), a man from the year 2688 who is sent to help the duo ace their final. As Rufus explains, this tubular twosome’s music saves the world in the future and without the band, the future would never be the same. So in a weird kind of way, Bill and Ted are superheroes.

BillTed2The phone booth has the ability to take the guys to any point in history and retrieve various figures such as “So-Crates,” “Beeth-Oven,” Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Billy the Kid, Genghis Khan, Sigmund Freud, and Napoleon. That way, they can literally bring them back to speak to their class – if they can make it in time and in one piece.

Though a bit dated and mindless, Bill and Ted brilliantly acts as a time capsule for 80s teen catchphrases, dress, and interests. The Bogus Journey sequel, though surprisingly good and arguably better, is less kid-friendly. It shows an evil dude vowing to rewrite history by destroying Bill and Ted with evil robots. The film then tosses them into Hell, where they befriend the Grim Reaper (William Sadler), spoof The Seventh Seal, and experience some heinously nightmarish flashbacks. Then they travel to Heaven, where they spoof A Matter of Life and Death, before they return to the living to save the day – in true, axe-grinding superhero style (feel free to air guitar).

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