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  Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Go Up In HistoryBuy this film here.
Year: 1989
Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Terry Camilleri, Dan Shor, Tony Steedman, Rod Loomis, Al Leong, Jane Wiedlin, Robert V. Barron, Clifford David, Hal Landon Jr, Bernie Casey, Amy Stock-Poynton, J. Patrick McNamara, Diane Franklin, Kimberley Kates
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: This is Rufus (George Carlin) and he has quite a story to tell. He is from the distant future, where the influence of Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and his best buddy Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) are felt throughout the culture, but something jeopardises this: back in 1988, when the would-be rock stars were still in high school in their home of San Dimas, they had to pass a history test. Their teacher, Mr Ryan (Bernie Casey), told them that as they had received poor grades throughout the year in his class, he would be forced to flunk them unless they get an A+ on their end of term report. And if that happens, Ted goes to military school, their band never happens...

... and we do not get our most excellent future. One of the friendliest films ever made, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is often claimed to have spawned a even bigger hit in the Wayne's World movies, but this original, based on writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon's stand-up act, remained the best. Funny to think it was almost never released due to problems with the studio that made it and nobody at the one which adopted it having any faith in the project, but a writer's strike at the time meant new material was needed for those multiplexes, and this film was a runaway success.

Not that the reaction was all good, as many looked down on it as the epitome of the dumbing down of our society, but if Bill and Ted taught their fans anything, it was that it's better to be a decent person and unknowledgeable than knowledgeable and a "dick". Perhaps this is the message that in the film has endured throughout the future, and why the world is depicted as a utopia because of its citizens following the "Be excellent to each other" dogma of its heroes. Ah, but first we have to enjoy the adventure, which sees Rufus stepping in to ensure that Bill and Ted do the right thing.

This involves him appearing when their lives are at their lowest ebb, with the threat of being split up hanging over their heads, and he does so in a time-travelling telephone box (sound familiar, Doctor Who followers?). After teaching them how to use it and the boys' selves from a day hence appearing to persuade them this is a great idea, the duo set about collecting figures from the past to back up their history report, and the main joke is implemented. That is, that every famous person they meet is charmed enough to go along with them, as Bill and Ted have no pretensions, and this likeability works wonders for them.

It helps that they genuinely want to succeed in spite of their lack of brains, but the cheering thing about this is that their enthusiasm makes up for their narrow worldview, which if they had their way would revolve exclusively around their heavy metal and girls. So we are treated to the likes of Napoleon being brought to San Dimas where he is left in the charge of Ted's little brother, who abandons him for cheating at bowling which sees the tyrant go it alone to discover the joys of waterparks. If this sounds incredibly stupid, that's because it is, and that is the beauty of it, humour so irredeemably daft that is achieves a level of perfect hilarity. If you don't find Beethoven going nuts on a selection of electronic keyboards or an over-analytical Sigmund Freud ruining the chances of Billy the Kid and Socrates with a couple of babes at the mall funny, then needless to say this is not your kind of film. If it does make you laugh, then you'll know this is a delight. Music by David Newman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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