Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, giving my life meaning by blogging about movies.  This time, we blog about Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.  This is originally in my notes at January 15, 2017.

Time to start working my way through all my Christmas Blu-Rays.  I picked up quite a few for myself while I was out Christmas shopping, but December turned out to be so busy that I'm only just now sitting down to watch them.  At a Black Friday sale, managed to pick up the new Bill & Ted boxed set for $25, so let's start going with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

This was quite the sleeper hit when it premiered in the spring of 1989, and instantly made a superstar out of Keanu Reeves.  Instantly typecast him, too, as a confused look and bewildered "Whoa!" quickly became his thing.  But the way he does it in Excellent Adventure is with such a goofy charm that you can't help but love the dimwit. 

The one example that stands out for me.  You may remember the running joke that Missy, a former classmate of Bill and Ted's, married Bill's father shortly after graduation, leading to all kinds of awkwardness for Bill, while Ted just kind of marvels over the whole thing.  Every time Ted brings it up, Bill quickly shuts it down with a "Shut up, Ted."  Things come to a head when Bill's father does the good ol' "Here's $20, go see a movie," so he and Missy can have some quality time.  As the head out the door, Ted's going on and on about, Bill throws in the occasional "Shut up, Ted," until he can't stand it anymore, and let's out a huge, "SHUT UP, TED!'  And Ted just stands there with a goofy look on his face like a puppy.  In fact, according to the bonus materials, that was one of the director's key directions to Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in regards to their characters:  "You're Labrador puppies!" 

And speaking of Missy...there's the little things I was oblivious to when I was younger.  She makes grilled cheese sandwiches for Bill and Ted, and they're burned to a crisp.  Shortly after that, Bill and Ted are talking about their history presentation, Missy recognizes the teacher and says seductively, "Tell him I said hello."  So it's obvious quite early on where Missy's true talents lie.  And that was well over the head of 11-year old me when I first saw it. 

I can't remember the last time I saw it, but I remember I did see it in the theatre back in the day.  I loved it.  And it is a pretty family-friendly movie, as Bill and Ted are such lovable doofuses that, like 11-year old me, most of the risque stuff is over their heads.

For example, it wasn't until near the end of junior high that I finally got, "What's your favourite number?"  "69!" 

I'm sure you remember the plot.  Bill and Ted have their band Wyld Stallyns, but they really don't know how to play and all they really do is hammer on their guitars, making noise.  They also have a big oral presentation coming up in their history class.  If they don't pass, they're going to be broken up, as Ted's father will ship Ted off to military school.  And then, they're approached by a mysterious time traveler named Rufus.  Turns out the music of Wyld Stallyns will go to unify humanity and create a utopia.  However, if they fail history and break up, that'll never happen.  So Rufus gives them a time-traveling phone booth, and now Bill and Ted are researching their history project by traveling through history. 

They meet Billy the Kid.  They meet Socrates.  They meet Beethoven.  Genghis Khan.  And then turn them loose in a mall because 1980s.  Man, their rampage in the mall is just hilarious.  Who would of thought Joan of Arc would have been into aerobics? 

They also travel through the middle ages, where they meet and fall in love with two princesses.  Watching it again, though, the relationship with the princesses kind of disturbed me.  I mean, we've all heard of the trope where the female lead is pretty much just there as a trophy for the leading man to win.  No where is that more apparent than in Bill and Ted.  At the end of the movie, Rufus brings the princesses back to the future to be with Bill and Ted.  And, watch the movie.  It's with such great reluctance that they step forward and take their places beside Bill and Ted. 

Think about things from their perspective.  Here they are, happy princesses in medieval times, they had an encounter once with some goofy travelers, but that's about it.  Then this magic man appears in a box, takes them away to a distant land, shows them the goofy travelers and says, "You belong to them now."  They're from medieval times have no concept of science or time travel!  Of course they would reluctantly take up their positions next to Bill and Ted, because they're probably thinking that magic box guy will smite them if they don't. 

All I'm saying is I kinda want to see the film where the princesses acclimatize to life in the 20th century and genuinely fall in love with Bill and Ted. 

All in all, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is still a very funny movie after all these years.

No comments: