With the recent streaming release of “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the third in the series, I decided to re-watch the first. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” begins with Ted Theodore Logan portrayed by mega-star Keanu Reeves (John Wick) and Bill S. Preston Esquire played by the multi talented Alex Winter (The Lost Boys) jamming on their guitars in Ted’s garage. They are dreaming about their band “Wyld Stallyns” ascending to great fame and fortune in the world of rock and roll music. The fact is, the teens can’t even play their instruments. Making matters worse, Ted’s father (Hal Landon Jr.), the police captain of the California town of San Dimas, has told Ted, that if he fails his classes, he is going to be sent to military school. Bill’s father (J. Patrick McNamara) is more concerned with paying attention to his new wife Missy (Amy Stoch) as opposed to his son’s academics.
Ted, however, is not only hearing about his academics at home, but both he and Bill are finding out some hard truths at school. The duo’s history teacher, Mr. Ryan (Bernie Casey) has informed them, that if they don’t receive an A on their final history project they are going to fail. Rufus portrayed by five time Grammy winner George Carlin (Jammin’ in New York) presents the teens with a way out of their predicament. He also provides them insight into their future. The teen’s musical group will be responsible for writing a ballad that will inspire generations to come. If, however, they fail their history exam and Ted gets sent to military school, the future will turn out differently. Bill and Ted are given a phone booth that will help them travel through time. The teens accept the challenge. (As an aside: The original idea was to have Bill and Ted time travel by way of a 1969 Chevy Van).
Bill and Ted will traverse different historical periods, as well as continents, in their quest to receive an A on their history project and keep the future from changing. The important historical figures they bring back to the present to help with their project, include, but are not limited to: Socrates (Tony Steedman); Genghis Khan (Al Leong); Joan of Arc (Jane Wiedlin); and Abraham Lincoln (Robert V. Barron). Will the teens be able to pull off the seemingly impossible? I am sure most, if not all of you, who are reading this, know the answer to that question. (As an aside: Jane Wiedlin is a founding member of the new wave and pop group the “Go Go’s.” The band’s debut album “Beauty and the Beat” made it to number one on the Billboard 200 chart in 1981, where it stayed for six weeks. The album sold over two million copies, becoming one of the most successful debut albums in music history).
“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” premiered on February 11, 1989. The film was directed by Stephen Herek (Rock Star). The screenplay for the movie was co-written by Chris Matheson (Mom and Dad Save the World) and Ed Solomon (Men in Black). The film is parts adventure, comedy, and Sci-Fi. The music of Oscar nominee David Newman (Anastasia) helps to heighten the adventure that takes place in certain scenes. Furthermore, the cinematography of Emmy winner Tim Suhrstedt (Chicago Hope), helps to capture the comedic chaos that is transpiring on screen. The film was followed by two sequels: “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (1991) and the previously mentioned, “Bill & Ted Face the Music.”
I was glad I went back and watched this film. I saw it many times when I was younger, but when I stopped to think about it, it has been a while since I last watched it. I must confess, that with all of the awful things that are taking place in the world today, behavior I never could have, nor wanted to imagine becoming part of the norm, I needed a break from the news. I am one of those people who likes to keep up with current events and I try to listen to, and or watch at least an hour of news each day, but sometimes, I, as I am sure most of you, who are reading this, need to take a break and sit back and laugh if time and circumstance permit. I recommend this film to everyone who watched it and loved it when they were younger, who have not seen it in a while. I also recommend it for those of you who might never have seen it, but who want to get lost in something truly harmless for 90 minutes.