Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ★★★

Two high school numbskulls (Keanu Reeves and Alex Winters) with a most excellent chemistry travel back in time, via a telephone booth with gnarly electric waves(!), to rope together famous historical figures -- the real Abraham Lincoln, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Socrates, Sigmund Freud, Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, two English princesses and a very obnoxious Napoleon Bonaparte who cheats at bowling and eats ice cream like a pig -- just so they can pass their high school exam. (I love how the movie just hurries up with their abductions to supercede the repetitiveness.) My favorite word from Bill and Ted's lingo has always been "bodacious," i.e., means "most excellent, admirable or attractive. The greatest comic inspiration is the mall sequence which begins with a certain famous psychiatrist introducing himself to young girls as "Siggy" before being called a geek, before Beethoven rocks out the music store and all pandemonium breaks out. Thank you, too, to George Carlin whose casting I appreciated much later on when I learned about his stand-up act on average stupid people.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is totally tubular fun (ahem, tubular a word I think I learned from this movie); I do wish the historical figures were a little more than caricatures -- they could have been a little smarter. As for the sequels, I give "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey a C- (a mess, rancid atmosphere) and "Bill & Ted Face the Music a C+ (somewhat watchable but somehow underwritten or under-realized).

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