With the school year coming to an end, my mind races toward a few typical end-of-school-year events.
Sure, there’s prom, senior skip day, the anticipation of summer vacation and . . . oh yeah . . . graduation. There’s also that big project you need to get done before the end of the year! That one where you need to go back in time in a phone booth, gather a bunch of historical figures to get up in front of your school in a rock star style assembly. Right? Ok, so you may not have to do that. But these guys did:
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure came out in 1989 and was a success, starring doe-eyed Alex Winter as William “Bill” S. Preston (Esquire) and Keanu Reeves as Theodore “Ted” Logan.
Bill and Ted are two stereotypical metal-head teenage slackers living in the most excellent city of San Dimas, California. As the film opens they are videotaping each other, badly playing guitar, rehearsing for their band “Wyld Stallyns.”
We learn that the pair are in serious danger of getting kicked out of school UNLESS (there’s always an ‘unless’ when it comes to great 80s teen buddy movies, right?) they can truly pull out all the stops and come through with a great oral history report.
We also learn that if Ted fails he will be sent away to military school (naturally) and Wyld Stallyns will never go on to become the biggest rock band in the world.
Cut to waaay in the future, where we meet Rufus (played by the great George Carlin) who is given instructions by very new wave looking leaders that he needs to go back in time to rescue “the great ones” (Bill and Ted) and make sure that they get an A+ on this exam. Rufus travels to the Circle K (naturally) to meet up with Bill and Ted.
Rufus gives Bill and Ted instructions on how to operate the magic phone booth and they are off on their most excellent adventure, gathering a handful of great characters throughout history like Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc (played by Go-Go Jane Wiedlin!) and everyone’s favorite philosopher, Socrates, who they refer to as So-crates.
Bill and Ted travel through time together picking up the various famous people, meet a couple of hot princesses, almost get killed, end up back in 1989 at where else, THE MALL where they cause a ton of trouble, and naturally make it back to the school auditorium at the last second to introduce each of the people they’ve collected rock star style and to give a famous speech (Abraham Lincoln) or rockin’ performance (Beethoven.)
There are so many great things about this movie; it’s an excellent 80s buddy movie, it’s got a little bit of sci-fi going on, you learn something about history while you watch it, and there are a million legendary catch phrases like:
STRANGE THINGS ARE AFOOT AT THE CIRCLE K
and . . .
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER!
The movie still holds up today; we were flipping around the other night and landed on it. My kids loved it, and are currently begging to see the sequel, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. We are now walking around the house saying “excellent” to each other, which is pretty great.
They learned a little something Sigmund Freud and Genghis Khan too — which is also pretty great.