Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ★★★

Glad to see that this one stands up. Like many 80s cum 90s cult kid classics, I had heard about this for a long time but missed the boat, and assumed that was that and best to let it lie. For much the same reason, I've never been eager to finally check out the likes of The Goonies and The Princess Bride. But this one just works, and has a shelf life beyond its era, with venerated preteen kitsch of the postwar and late 20th century such as air guitar and band hopes, water slides, malls, ice cream, bowling alleys, time traveling phone booths, hard-ass single dads and hot milfs, and curated superlative slang and all manner of Cali shenanigans which made it a discernible PG consumerist trendsetter for a good while there. Throw in a good nature, limited actors and an astutely chosen roll call of historical figure hijinks and you have yourself a genuine cult item. If Bill & Ted had spent more time at school, I'm sure there would have been a food fight in there as well, but these cats are all about the bromance and only have 36 hours and a brief, cliched history of time on Earth in which to do their thing.

One could easily come at Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure with a cynical mindset, as we functionally get a feature-length, classroom-friendly Cali historical theme park advertisement. But this film does have its heart in the right place and has enough light-hearted comic verve to pull it through as a minor success, the sort of film which accumulated an audience largely through VHS. I could imagine a ten year old me finding this highly appealing and watching this religiously (after all, I was born in 1988 and had a Van Halen phase), and it stands up a lot better than other lovable oddities from 3 Ninjas to Heavyweights to Max Keeble's Big Move. Rather, it's more akin to Wayne's World in generational cult appeal, lexicon invasion and surprising technical competency. A most excellent adventure for young and old.

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