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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
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Overall Rating 69%
Overall Rating
Ranked #929
...out of 8,792 movies
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Bill S. Preston, ESQ. and Ted Logan are in deep trouble. They have to complete an oral report for History, and if they don't get an A+, they will flunk History. And if they flunk History, Ted will be sent to military school in Alaska. Fortunately for them, they receive help in the form of a time machine that they borrowed from a time traveler named Rufus. They bring back many historical figures, including Billy the Kid, Napoleon, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, and others. Sadly, problems arise and all of the historical figures are jailed. Bill and Ted must rescue them in order to complete their report. --IMDb
Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves
Alex Winter
Alex Winter
George Carlin
George Carlin
Terry Camilleri
Terry Camilleri
Dan Shor
Dan Shor
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 13, 2007
Ted: Dude, are you sure we should be doing this?
Bill: Ted, you and I have witnessed many things, but nothing as bodacious as what just happened. Besides, we told ourselves to listen to this guy...
Ted: What if we were lying?
Bill: Why would we lie to ourselves?

In the year 1989, there was a film. This was a film that changed the course of motion pictures for years and years to come; a film that defied categorization; a film that set the standard for cinema. Yes, my friends, I am of course referring to "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", the most radical film of 1989, and one of the most inventive and entertaining films of the 1980's. On the surface, it all seems ridiculous and disposable. But, this is a smart film. The writing is dead-on, the performances are dead-on, and the direction is spot-on.

Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are failing their history class and are in danger of not graduating -- a totally bogus idea to both of them. However, one night, a man from the future named Rufus (George Carlin) shows up in a telephone booth that acts as a time machine. The boys use the time machine to transport back to various periods of time to kidnap historical figures and use them for their project. They kidnap everyone from Napoleon Bonaparte to Billy the Kid, from Abraham Lincoln to Socrates. Their motto -- "Be excellent to each other." Turns out, in the future, Bill & Ted are thought of as latter day prophets and Rufus was sent back to make sure things stayed on track and everything worked out all right for the future. Most excellent.

What a clever film. There is just enough dumb slapstick to work, as when the boys are looking for Napoleon and where he might possibly be, and find him at Waterloo -- the local water amusement park. Or how about when Genghis Khan is having a ball in the sporting goods store at the mall? This script did a great job of making the most out of this brain dead character and these important figures with whom they surround themselves. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are perfect as Bill & Ted and George Carlin, as Rufus, is a real treat. There's just so much more to this film than you would ever imagine. So much more depth and so much more under the surface.

Director Stephen Herek has made some good films ("Critters", "The Mighty Ducks", "The Three Musketeers", "Mr. Holland's Opus", "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead") and he's made some bad ones ("Holy Man", "101 Dalmations", "Rock Star", "Life or Something Like It", "Man of the House"). "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" is his best, all around. It's funny from start to finish, it has something for everyone, and it really shows what a little creativity can do for a film that would seem ridiculous and lame to most people. This is a film that really helps me remember a time when film really meant more to most people than it ever does now. I know that sounds pretty powerful for a film like this, but 1989 was a good year for film. That is an example of that. They don't make them like this anymore. We need more Rufus in our diets. WYLD STALLYNS RULE! 10/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 05/16/2010, 11:48 PM
George Carlin is the man. 10/10
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