Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

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This month, the brilliant time travel slacker comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure turns 25. While all the other responsible guys out there might be trying to choose a Nicholas Sparks movie to watch with their beloved, I will always lean towards this endearing classic. (As I learned then from my 1989 girlfriend, this was not an ideal choice for a Valentine’s Day movie.) Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure managed to help define the ’80s in film, even though it came out in the last year of the decade. Even more miraculous, the film had nothing to do with John Hughes, who seemed to almost single-handedly build the ’80s cinema playlist. It also helped make Keanu Reeves a household name before The Matrix galvanized him as an action star 10 years later. With rumors of a possible Bill & Ted 3 continuously swirling around the interwebs, it’s a great time to look back at the time travel exploits of these two metalheads. Even with all the elements that seem to date it in the past (like pudding cups from a tin can, tape recorders, CDs from the future and phone booths), it’s still a watchable film with some seriously excellent moments in it, as we highlight below. Party on, dudes!

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Earlier this week, Variety chief film critic Justin Chang wrote about time travel romance films in response to the new Richard Curtis movie, About Time. It’s a fair reading of the genre, focusing narrowly on Somewhere In Time, The Lake House and The Time Traveler’s Wife (which like About Time stars Rachel McAdams). These are all cinematic equivalents of the time travel romance novel (two are actually adaptations), of which there are hundreds of examples, and they’re all pretty sappy, whether they have sad or happy endings. Of course, they’re concentrated on not only love stories, but ones putting the ideas of destiny and its obstacles to the extreme of temporal distance. So either concluding in a final parting (death) or union (finally getting together forever), there’s going to be a great sentimental power breaking through the tension at the end, a power that probably leaves its audience in need of a tissue. But those four movies, including the latest, hardly represent the full extent of time travel romance in the movies. It’s just that most of the others are concentrated on the time travel narratives over the romantic. Still, they feel the need for those love interests, and the love story elements are always very interesting given the plots. See some notable examples below.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Nitro Circus: The Movie Nitro Circus is a group of friends who routinely perform dangerous stunts for their own entertainment, and the roster includes folks with names like ‘Street Bike’ Tommy, ‘Special’ Greg Powell and Arron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham. They’re like the Jackass crew, but instead of stapling frogs to their nut sacks or seeing who can fart the biggest fireball these guys (and one gal) do actual stunts involving motorcycles, cars, modified Big Wheels and more. It’s a massive difference, because instead of wanting them to get hurt you’re wanting to see them succeed. They also truly appreciate each other before, durring and after the stunts as opposed to trying to humiliate each other on camera. This is a fun and suspenseful watch, but as a reminder Pick of the Week status doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a recommended buy, just that it’s a release worthy of attention. Also available on Blu-ray. [Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, interview]

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So far all of the news we’ve gotten about the development of a third Bill & Ted film has come from the franchise’s Bill S. Preston, Esquire, Alex Winter, so it’s about time that the other half of the equation, its Ted Theodore Logan, Keanu Reeves, got into the beans spilling game. The last we heard about the potential project, Galaxy Quest director Dean Parisot had been attached to helm, but the film, which was written on spec, still hadn’t found funding. Well, that’s still where we’re at as far as development goes, but recently Reeves talked to GQ (via Movies.com) about the project, and he managed to give us a better idea of what the script Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson wrote is all about. We already knew that the film would involve an aging Bill and Ted who are still trying to get their Wyld Stallyns thing together, but Reeves explains exactly where the duo is at as far as their music career is concerned: “One of the plot points is that these two people have been crushed by the responsibility of having to write the greatest song ever written and to change the world. And they haven’t done it. So everybody is kind of like: ‘Where is the song?’ The guys have just drifted off into esoterica and lost their rock. And we go on this expedition, go into the future to find out if we wrote the song, and one future ‘us’ refuses to tell us, […]

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The last time we checked in on the progress of Bill & Ted 3, the screen’s Bill S. Preston, Esq., Alex Winter, informed us that both he and the actor who portrayed “Ted” Theodore Logan, Keanu Reeves, were very much on board to make another sequel, a script for the film had been completed, and everybody was very happy with how it read. Unfortunately, the movie still wasn’t officially green lit by anyone, and wasn’t guaranteed to ever actually happen. Happily, there’s some new movement regarding the project that suggests we may be one step closer to the glorious fantasy of Bill & Ted 3 getting financed becoming a reality. Vulture is reporting that Bill & Ted creators Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson (who wrote this third Bill & Ted movie on spec) have attached director Dean Parisot to their script, joining both principal actors in a tidy little package that’s likely to look fairly attractive to studios. Parisot mostly busies himself with TV work, but he did also direct the well-liked satire Galaxy Quest back in 1999, so he’s no stranger to big screen comedy.

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Over Under - Large

Woody Allen is a legendary filmmaker, to be certain. But he’s also a filmmaker who is perceived to have had a golden age, a period where the movies he made were head and shoulders above the things that he makes now. That’s not such a great place for an artist to be, but Woody managed to shut up a lot of his critics with Midnight in Paris. It’s not only one of Allen’s most financially successful films, it’s also one of his most critically acclaimed, and it’s been held up as proof that we might be in the midst of a Woody comeback. Is it really worthy of all the hype though? Lots of people love this movie—like me—but it’s also a film that has glaring flaws. What is it about Midnight in Paris that makes our Internet culture, that is so quick to tear everything down with snark, give it such an easy pass? Back in 1989 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was also a huge success. It made so much money that it spawned not only a sequel, but also an animated series, video games, and who knows how many other kinds of merchandise that time forgot. Yet, despite this success, it’s not a film that many people take seriously. There’s a love for it still, but one that seems more ironic than anything else. Why is that so, when there’s so much respect for the other big genre hits of the 80s? Why doesn’t this film get […]

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Ever since Keanu Reeves intimated that he was into the idea of doing a third Bill & Ted movie, it’s been pretty hard to focus on anything other than how awesome it would be to see him and Alex Winter get back together to play the adult versions of their dim-bulb, metalhead characters. So, we should all thank Coming Soon for compiling a couple of reassuring quotes that point to the fact that Bill & Ted 3 might be entering production sooner rather than later. First, Reeves mentioned the prospective project once again while doing an interview with The Independent. When asked about the long-rumored third film he replied, “Yeah, we have a script. We’re trying to put it together. It’s a good script too.” That’s encouraging, but not too different from things we’ve heard about this one before. The second uncovered quote points to the fact that a third excellent adventure is one step closer to becoming a reality, however. When asked about the movie on Twitter, Alex Winter responded to a fan and former Bill & Ted extra by saying, “Script done? Check. -We love it? Check. -Green light? Working on it!”

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