Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ★★★★

"Be excellent to each other."
"Party on, dudes!"

It's a signature of changing times how those words can go from "That's goofy, I love it!" to something truly humbling and inspirational. There is a genuine positivity and something (a word that seems to be inescapable with Keanu Reeves) wholesome about Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as a movie and the characters of Bill and Ted themselves. In any other teen comedy, these guys would be the background comedy characters that pop up for occasional bits. (They remind me of a family-friendly precursor to Jay and Silent Bob.) Here, despite the super fun hijinks we get with some famous historical figures, our most excellent dudes remain the main protagonists. In any other science-fiction movie, our heroes would be saving the world from some kind of time travel disaster. Here, they're just trying to pass their history classes, and maybe become a great band along the way. In any other movie remotely similar to this, there would be that one scene where the characters have to get in a very unnatural argument, they part ways for several minutes, then make up. Beyond a hilarious recurring joke of Ted wanting to pork Bill's step-mom ("Shut up, Ted!") these guys are all smiles, quips, and air guitar riffs. They have the kind of friendship that is so unique and true, something that shines in even as silly of a movie as this. Reeves and Winter are phenomenal together and separately, the very small role of Rufus is unforgettable thanks to the still wholly singular charm of George Carlin, and even the parts that more focus on an all-star collection of icons like Abraham Lincoln, Billy the Kid, Socrates, and Sigmund Freud are a hoot to watch. It's not a perfect 80's film, yet it also feels like the little movie that could. Like Bill and Ted themselves do by the end of the film, this film defies expectations and simply offers some of the most bodacious, radical, and tubular entertainment of its era. They're history.


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