Two hapless, young rockers must travel through
time to save the future and pass their history report.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Directed by Stephen Herek
Written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon
Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin,
Terry Camilleri, Dan Shor, Tony Steedman, Rod Loomis,
Robert V. Barron, Jane Wiedlin, Al Leong, Clifford David,
Hal Landon Jr., Bernie Casey, Amy Stoch
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a comfort movie. It's dumb, but it's fun, and it's endlessly quotable ("Strange things are afoot at the Circle K."). It's the film that made Keanu Reeves a rising star in Hollywood, and while I've yet to see Bogus Journey and Face the Music, I am a big fan of the 80's original classic. I'm also a massive history buff, so seeing some of history's most notable figures interact with each other and with the world of 1989 California is pretty damn enticing. There are few movies as "80's" as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Our heroes are Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Reeves), two hapless wannabe rockers who are dumber than a bag of rocks. They're failing History, and if they don't pass their final presentation, they're gonna flunk for good. That's when future man Rufus (Carlin) shows up with a time-traveling phone booth. Turns out Bill & Ted are the most important dudes who ever lived, and their music and influence will make the world the most bodacious place to live. Using the phone booth, Bill & Ted scour the timeline to capture historical figures for their presentation. The historical figures are easily the most entertaining part of the movie, from Beethoven's skill at an electric keyboard to Joan of Arc taking over an aerobics class to Napoleon's obsession with waterslides. It's all gold.
Bill & Ted is a cult favorite for a reason. It's an oddball, it's incredibly dated, and it's absolutely hilarious. I've seen the film twice now, and it just keeps getting better with each viewing. In the words of Betelgeuse, it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it. If you haven't seen it, it's good escapism. It reminds you of simpler times and it has a great message: Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!
Like many film fans, and I’m sure my fellow Filmgazm team, I’m a fan of Keanu Reeves. He’s been a consistent person in film and is known for his genuine kindness towards people. But, there is one of his more famous films which has continuously escaped me. That would be Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, along with its first sequel. But, considering there is a new film out, one that has been in development for quite some time, I figured now would be as good a time as any to finally give these a watch. So, please join me on this most bodacious journey as we travel through time to pass our history class. And remember: don’t forget to rewind your watch.
To begin with, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter alone are why I see the love for this film. They share an amazing amount of chemistry and are really good together. They seem to be naturals at bouncing jokes off each other and come across as actual really good friends. This is backed by some genuinely good, comedic set pieces and recurring jokes. The two highlights for me being any of the scenes with Napoleon Bonaparte in the present day and all the historical characters our duo pick up in their journey running amok in the mall. The film also features a killer soundtrack of many iconic 80's rock bands that definitely had me headbanging along.
As a latecomer to this particular comedy classic, I wasn’t disappointed. Reeves and Winter are great together. The film is pretty funny, with many great recurring jokes. And the soundtrack is awesome. I can definitely see why this has been held in such high esteem and is considered one of Reeves’s more well-known films. This was definitely a most excellent adventure, dudes.