The definition of a masterpiece can be hard to pin down. In many ways, a masterpiece is the best that something can be: the pinnacle of its creation. This is how I see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Don’t get me wrong, a 1980’s comedy about two idiots (Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter) who travel through space and time in a phone box to collect important people from history for a school project, is definitely far fetched. It’s also original, funny and genuinely (debatably) good.
Any film where Genghis Kahn is lured into a phone box with a Twinkie is art. In some cases, to (let’s be honest) a lot of people, it’s not good art. It’s strange and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Although this is true, it is also true that this movie has generated some of the most memorable moments in comedy.
Keanu Reeves as Ted and Alex Winters as Bill are totally convincing as the best of friends. They have some kind of weird, teenage energy that makes you genuinely believe that they are high school kids from SoCal. Well, believe in the sense that they are basically the stereotypical idiotic high school student.
In all honesty, this might be one of the weirdest films you’ll ever watch. Not only because of the actual plot, which is definitely…different – but also because it is like an amalgamation of Back to the Future and Wayne’s World. Who knew that would be the ideal pairing for a stupid 80s comedy?
A lot of what is good about this film is its charm – it doesn’t really have much else going for it. It’s funny and silly, but that’s about it. The writing is mediocre, and the acting passes the point of over the top, making it seem like Reeves and Winters are somehow making fun of their characters whilst playing them. However, much like many other comedies in the 80s, their overall success was based on their ability to entertain audiences, and this film does that very well.
Despite its flaws, even though there is a lot of them, this movie sets out to do what it wanted to do: have fun. This is a movie where you can sit back for 90 minutes and think about nothing except enjoying yourself. In the age of serious arthouse flicks, a film like this is a breath of fresh air, and is actually entertaining.
The supporting cast is ‘most triumphant’. George Carlin as Rufus, the time-travelling man from the future who comes to put Bill and Ted on the right track, is just the right mix of oracle and cool – something that is, arguably, hard to balance. Every single historical figure in this film is brilliant. The mall scene is so well executed, and all of these actors really let their creative flag fly when bringing these historical dudes into the present day.
This film has, rightfully, earned cult status today. Many people appreciate the bonehead humour and the witty dialogue this movie has to offer, because it has stood the test of time. Yes, maybe some people laugh out of nostalgia, and maybe some laugh because they can’t believe how bad it actually is. But, it still makes people laugh.
A lot of people will see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure as anything but excellent. Stupid? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.