- This late 1980s film includes footage from a mid 1950s epic.
- This surprise hit was the breakout movie for a Hollywood A-lister. While he has played a wide variety of roles over the years since, he never quite managed to shake his original image of lovable idiot.
- One of standup comedy's all-time greats performs a guru/narrator role.
Drum roll, please...
Title: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
Director: Stephen Herek
Original Release: 1989
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) are teenage slackers with dreams of rock stardom. They don't know yet that their music will one day provide a basis for a more enlightened human society. But Rufus knows. Rufus, a sort of anti-Terminator played by George Carlin, is sent from the future to save the boys from themselves. If they fail their history project, Ted will be sent away to military school, their garage band will never happen and the future will not be excellent. Rufus supplies Bill and Ted with a phone booth TARDIS...er...time machine. The boys set to work abducting the likes of Napoleon, Socrates and Beethoven and bring them back to modern day San Dimas, California. My favorite scene is when all goes wrong at the shopping mall, especially Genghis Khan totally ravaging Oshman's Sporting Goods.
Bill and Ted is just the sort of high concept film that usually starts strong, gradually loses energy, then dies pathetically at the end. Not so here. Somehow, this one works. The dialogue is sharp and witty. The acting makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in subtlety. The story, while admittedly absurd, holds together for all 90 minutes. A movie that probably never should have seen the light of day pulled in $40 million, spawning a sequel, two TV series and even, briefly, a breakfast cereal.
Getting back to the clues, Reeves is the actor and Carlin the comedian. The first clue, I admit, is a bit more obscure. When Bill and Ted stumble upon Napoleon, we see battle footage from 1956's War and Peace, directed by King Vidor.
Next meeting is Friday, July 10th. I'll post July's blog list tomorrow. For July, pick another society member's choice from our ever increasing library to review. Today, please visit my fellow cinephiles, listed below: