I think the number one rule for cinema is that it has to be fun, otherwise, why would anyone watch it? I personally see cinema as more of a “fun” art form than something like literature. I love literature and I think plenty of literature has had more deeper and prolific meanings than a lot of movies but is it always as fun as something like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Fuck no. We could sit around and discuss how great Federico Felini is (but I don’t actually like Felini movies that much so…) or how amazing that new Paul Thomas Anderson movie (which I would discuss) but you know what I’d probably rather do? Discuss how ‘excellent’ (sorry) Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is or John Hughes movies or Back to the Future or Monty Python and the Holy Grail or…you get the point. I like fun cinema more than ‘art’ movies, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Do I prefer ones that bring deeper meanings like most John Hughes movies? Of course, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love something as beautifully dumb like Bill and Ted.
The movie starts off pretty simple, we have Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves), two dumb teenagers who just wanna play guitar in their garage and make rad metal music like Eddie Van Halen but they have no idea how to actually play guitar. And on top of that, if they fail their history oral exam, they aren’t going to pass high school and even on top of that, Ted will be sent to military school and Bill and Ted will be separated and never be able to make radical music together. But then Rufus (George Carlin…I still can’t believe George Carlin is in this movie), a man from the future, comes in a phone booth time machine to help Bill and Ted pass their history exam by allowing them to use the time machine. This leads to Bill and Ted going through wacky adventures to get Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Socrates (or “So Crates”), Billy The Kid, etc.
The movie essentially goes through stupid adventures through history with Bill and Ted acting as stupid as possible and the movie plays off all of that very well. It’s really a quintessential dumb comedy in my eyes and a quintessential 80s flick (my personal favorite era of movies). Is there crazy, in depth things to talk about in this movie? Hell no, but who cares? It’s fun as hell. Cinema needs to be fun. Sometimes, cinema can just be pure escapism and that’s okay. And I don’t mean escapism like Transformers where your brain will be turned into mashed potatoes, I mean fun shit that isn’t so dumbed down to the point of my IQ being lowered a couple of points. (I don’t care. You can enjoy Transformers. I’m not telling you what to like.) Cinema like this still exists of course, I mean look at Guardians of the Galaxy, but I can’t help but think that it might be slightly lacking. I think a good way to end this review/analysis/whatever this really was is a fitting quote from The Ramones’ song 7-11: “What ever happened to the radio/And where did all the fun songs go?” Sometimes I wonder if Hollywood even knows what the hell they want anymore…that’s probably why they are getting desperate with rebooting every 80s movie possible.
Author of this post (and every post thus far and maybe forever more):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring comedic writer/filmmaker/performer/pieceofshit who writes this garbage on these blogs to make you laugh or learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I using both 1st and 3rd person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) You can follow him on Twitter @WhyShitSoCrazy (if you want to I guess).