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Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Who the hell is Alex Winter? You probably don't remember him, but you'll certainly remember Keanu Reeves in the film that made Reeves a star — albeit one with a perceived limited I.Q. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1988) is a most awesome teen romp through history as experienced by two lightweights on the verge of flunking out of high school. Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) are best friends and founders of the rock band "Wyld Stallyns." They worship Van Halen and fantasize about making it big in the rock world, despite the fact that they can't play any musical instruments. The well-meaning, happy-go-lucky duo avoids all learning-related activities — finding school most heinous — and appear happy to skate through life in a clueless state of oblivion. But when Ted's dad threatens to send his wayward son to military school if he doesn't pass his history class, the boys realize they have 24 hours to get their history report together or face separation and the end of their rock-n-roll dreams. Dude! Fortunately for Bill and Ted, forces from the future (represented by an emissary in the form of George Carlin) arrive to offer assistance. It seems Bill and Ted are destined to make music that changes the world and brings peace and harmony to the universe, making these two halfwits into heroes that are revered by future generations. Carlin provides the boys with a time-traveling phone booth that allows them to bring past historical figures (including Abe Lincoln, Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid, and Socrates) to the boys' school in present-day San Dimas, Calif., to perform live at Bill and Ted's history presentation. No way? Way! Fun from beginning to end, Excellent Adventure's silly surface is underscored with smart dialogue and a generous dose of irony, justifying the cult status the movie has achieved since its release. MGM's DVD, presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), is only an average transfer with some visible scratches and dirt on the source print, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio isn't completely clear, which is mildly annoying with such a great rock soundtrack. But in spite of these minor drawbacks, the film's message comes through loud and clear: "Be excellent to each other!"
—Kerry Fall



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