Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
As Bodacious as Ever
It seems to me the only thing you've learned is that Caesar is a "salad dressing dude." - Mr. Ryan
Excellent, most triumphant, heinous, dude and of course bodacious are just a few of the phrases which became insanely popular off of the back of 80s teen comedy "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" even before Mike Myer's gave us his dude enhanced characters in "Wayne's World". I remember those times very well and loving "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" with its fun tale of two amiable slackers and their time travelling escapades through history and even though it is now quite dated with special effects which are almost simplistic it's still as bodacious as ever.
With just 24 hours to prepare for their history report Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter - The Lost Boys) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves - Youngblood) seemed destined to fail, which would also mean the end of their band Wyld Stallions. But they get help from the most unlikely of sources, Rufus (George Carlin - Outrageous Fortune) who is sent back from the future in a time travelling telephone box to help them. After taking a trip back to see Napoleon (Terry Camilleri), Bill & Ted come up with a cunning plan and start collecting famous figures from history to help them with their history report.
One of the strangest things about "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" is that it is both daft but also clever, well at least imaginative. Everything about it is played for laughs from the introduction to Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan as they debate the future of their band Wyld Stallions through to the way they travel through time in a telephone box picking up historical figures to help them in their history report. It's daft stuff and proud to be as every single scene is littered with Bill & Ted's own way of speaking, mispronouncing names and ending sentences with dude so that they are stupidly funny. Even the way we get introduced to the various historical figures is just as daft as we go through the likes of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Socrates, Billy the Kid and many more.
But whilst it's unashamedly daft it's also quite imaginative as we watch these historical figures brought to what was modern day San Dimas and run riot around a shopping mall with Billy the Kid, Socrates and Sigmund Freud trying to pick up girls, Genghis Khan going on a massacre in a sporting goods store, Joan of Arc taking over a fitness class whilst Beethoven rocks it out with multiple keyboards in a music store all of which combines for one of the movies most memorable and frenetic scenes. That may not sound that clever but the way their characters combine makes it work and you start to wonder why no one had done something similar before.
There is even a touch of cleverness to it all with all the time continuum stuff as Bill & Ted think about things they need to do in the future to help them out in the now. Although don't worry as although the ideas are clever and thought out they come across in a funny manner to match up with all the daft goings on.
Whilst it is all daft "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" is also seriously memorable as demonstrated by the fact so many of the words they used became popular and are still occasionally used in the same way now. It's the same with various scenes, the one featuring Beethoven rocking out to "Play With Me" by Extreme is so funny that it just stays with you long after the movie ends as does the big finale, as does Genghis Khan's love of Twinkies and Bill's minor Oedipal complex.
It also helps that the combination of Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan works brilliantly. The characters may be 2 dimensional and total slackers but they have a strange charm about them, an innocence which makes them fun. Alongside Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are some good supporting performers who add to the fun in particular Terry Camilleri as Napoleon, Jane Wiedlin as Joan of Arc, Dan Shor as Billy the Kid and of course George Carlin as Rufus.
What this all boils down to is that "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" is a daft teen comedy from the 80s but one which is gave us a whole cavalcade of words to in fact are daily vocabulary and also many memorable scenes which are just as funny now as they were on it's original release. It's not by any means a clever movie but it is an imaginative one which will make you laugh through the various time travelling escapades.
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