1989: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Well, it appears the shuffle has brought me to the correct date. Unfortunately, it skipped over the movie I requested, sending me instead to this waterloo-ed down comedy. Ladies and bots, this is Bill and Ted's...*shudders*...Excellent Adventure.
A comedy with little to no jokes is a thing to behold, because it completely undermines what it sets out to do: make us laugh. The story behind this movie should have provided the writers with plenty of jokes to make. Two stoner-like teenage boys risk failing their history report until a man from the future steps in with a time machine. Sounds like comedic gold, doesn't it? That's what I thought as well.
Do you remember the feeling you get when a friend makes a lame joke and you try and force the laughter out? Constipated chuckles, I call them. Well, that's this movie in a nutshell. There are many instances I want to laugh, but can't. Bill and Ted are good-natured frat boys with immature humor. The kind of people who amuse you and yet inspire violence deep inside. Secretly, you want to knock these idiots' heads together....especially when they say--
Ugh, so yeah, I sort of think these two are lovable neanderthals, but I also want to beat them to death with their own air guitars. This movie has the chance to do so and doesn't! When in the past, Bill and Ted do not encounter any obstacles, except for a brief almost beheading. This neglects one of the fundamental aspects of humor: someone in pain. The other characters do not experience pain either, even the ones you'd expect to, like Ted's authoritarian father. You know what else the other characters don't experience? Confusion!!! Bill and Ted bring historical figures from the past and they are completely complacent with this. You begin to wonder if this was the point...
...but even if it was, it falls flat just like everything else. I said to myself "Oh, so they're not terrified by their new surroundings? Well, I suppose the writers can go the opposite route." You know what would have been fucking hilarious? What if the historical figures had actually adapted to 1980s California quite nicely and wanted to stay there? What if Socrates had befriended actual stoners...or Billy the Kid was offered a job as a policeman? These situations could result in hilarity given the characters' history, and would also be serious problems for our main characters. How I wished for the historical figures to be more like this and not just throwaway cutsie cutouts...But the fast pacing and wrong direction of this movie would not allow it.
Come to think of it, the historical figures don't really get many lines on their own. They usually just respond to our main characters or stare at things in awe. Case in point:
The closest we got at the historical figures being funny was Napoleon being a douchebag at a bowling alley after losing and becoming infatuated with a water park. And even these scenes barely got a snort out of me, because of how they were delivered. Did the writers think we would be satisfied with Bill and Ted, who say things like...
...and not much else? Why do we devote so much time to our leads when they are so wooden and deathly unfunny? Well...I'm probably looking too deeply at this (and trying to give it merit), but think about it for a moment. Guardian Rufus and the futuristic society he comes from totally worship Bill and Ted. Apparently the boys create a band that encourages everyone to "be excellent to each other," and this causes world peace or whatever. The people of the future put Bill and Ted on pedestals they really don't deserve...but isn't that just what we did? After all, this movie is considered a cult classic for some unfathomable reason.
Also, consider how everything just falls into place for Bill and Ted. Nothing is a challenge for them. They either solve it immediately or someone else does it for them. This fantasy world must be exactly that for any fan: a fantasy. I mean who wouldn't want to live an easy life and influence a whole society, loved and worshiped by all? And these boys are just average joe teens from the 80s looking to make it big. It's easy to see why so many adore this film. We could all be Bill and Ted. That's why I can't bring myself to hate this flick completely. If a simple-minded 80s romp doesn't bore you and you don't require a lot of wit in your diet, I recommend checking this cheese sandwich out. For me, it was lackluster after a lot of hype. To all the diehard fans, I'm sorry.
Next stop: 1995