Friday, August 28

Bill and Ted Face the Music Review

Bill and Ted Face the Music

Dir: Dean Parisot

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Kristen Schaal, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, and William Sadler


“Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes.”


If these parting words from two teenage best friends don’t ring truthful in our present state of world events, I don’t know what will. The memorable pairing of the time jumping Bill and Ted, call them “Wyld Stallyns”, have solidified the duo in the pop culture hall of fame with the cult classic films “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and the sequel “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”. In 1989, somewhat unknown actors Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves would play Bill and Ted and air guitar their way on a journey across time, meeting some famous historical figures along the way.


It’s been 30 years! What more could two goofy 80s kids have to say that will strike relevance in 2020? Surprisingly, much more than you might expect from a silly genre film. “Bill and Ted Face the Music” dabbles in time travel confusion, sidetracking trips to literally hell, and some sloppy narrative dynamics, but it doesn’t seem to matter much because this film is made with such passion, with so much commitment from the actors, and with enough themes of friendship, finding unity, loving music, and being excellent to one another. It’s impossible not to smile, laugh, and just enjoy the escape for 90 minutes. 


Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) gave the high school history presentation of a lifetime and played the concert to define all concerts. Now, after a few failed albums and the breakup of their once epic band, Bill and Ted are still searching for the song that will bring the universe together while also living the family life with their wives (Jayma Mays and Erinn Hayes) and daughters Thea (Samara Weaving) and Billy (Brigette Lundy-Paine). 


But things aren’t good within the universe and the song that Bill and Ted promised Rufus (George Carlin, who has a nice visual tribute) they would make still hasn’t come to fruition. Now the universe is falling apart and it is up to Bill and Ted to journey into the future, while their daughters’ journey into the past, to find the song and musicians to save the future. 


It’s been a long time since Bill and Ted have influenced the movie screens. The days of rock n’ roll air guitar solos and flannel shirts tied around waists are memories, almost forgotten for some younger people. While it may seem difficult to bring pop culture characters back from the past, “Bill and Ted Face the Music” pulls off the return in a sweet, silly fashion. Sure, the narrative is overly convoluted, rambling in parts, and has some dialog lines that don’t quite work as well as they might have looked on paper. Still, the heart of this film is so pure and passionate, it’s impossible not to smile at the ridiculousness happening on screen. 


Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are completely committed to roles; they embrace their old characters with ease from the first second of screen time. The surprise comes from new cast members Samara Weaving, playing Ted’s daughter Thea, and Brigette Lundy-Paine, playing Bill’s daughter Billy. The two ladies together have great chemistry and embody the mannerisms and speech patterns of their fathers. Also, William Sadler returning as Death brings all the nostalgia back with a funny portrayal of a jaded ex-bandmember just when it feels like the film is stumbling.


“Bill and Ted Face the Music” leads to a place that seems somewhat impossible to ever meet expectations, yet somehow it lands with heart, humor, and a few heroics. Its satisfying message of friendship, finding purpose, and that even something as simple as a song could unite the universe. In this cinematic vessel from the past, with two familiar friends to some 80s and 90s kids, it’s a journey worth the wait. 


Monte’s Rating

3.25 out of 5.00

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