I had this very nice to-do list of posts to write, with a review of the new(ish) Bill & Ted Face The Music right on the very tippy-top; this proved to be my undoing, as I found it near-impossible to write a legitimate (per the mainstream concept of such) review of this film.
And I’ll tell you why:
But let me first state for the record that I indeed enjoyed Bill & Ted Face The Music very much. I spent close to $20 to see it first-run streaming, and it was worth (more or less) every penny. Alex Winter & Keanu Reeves are sweeter-than-sweet human beings god bless ’em, nice George Carlin tribute!, etc. Luv that movie!
Bill & Ted Face The Music really wasn’t a “movie” the way, say…The Lighthouse was a movie.
OKAY, before you label me a HUGE SNOB…let me explain! Gimmie a second!
I walked into watching The Lighthouse—purposely avoiding spoilers—because I was seeking some sort of unique narrative experience. It was like a journey into unknown territory.
In contrast, I pretty much knew exactly what to expect out of Bill & Ted Face The Music. In fact…that is largely why I (and probably so many others) was willing to pay $20 to see it on my crappy worefully-outdated-model flat-screen.
I watched Bill & Ted Face The Music for ritual reasons.
Let me repeat: this “Bill & Ted” movie, the last of the trilogy (before the inevitable reboot and/or sequel starring their kids), was a type of ritual that me & those of my generation engaged in, in part, to bring some sort of “closure” & context to our lives.
Not surprisingly, Bill & Ted themselves (and most likely also Alex & Keanu) consciously go on their own ritual within the narrative of the film in order to bring some sort of “closure” & context to their lives. A key scene early in the movie takes place in a “joint-counseling session” between the two and their wives bringing up issues of possible immaturity and failure-to-launch on behalf of these righteous dudes. The rest of the movie—if we consider the “song to save the timelines” plot-point to be more of an incidental colorful metaphor—follows Bill & Ted as they periodically visit progressively-older versions of themselves. These versions, unsurprisingly, work their way from cynical to more-cynical, to REALLY-CYNICAL…before achieving some sense of Enlightenment in their old age.
Which is *pretty much* on-the-nose of how it seems to be going for yours truly, disconcertingly not that much younger than Winter & Reeves as they made this film.
Bill & Ted Face The Music is, therefore, sort of a communal “ritual” for the Collective…the same way that the ever-more-complex Marvel Universe movies turned out to be a communal ritual, the same way that “Twin Peaks 30 Years Later” turned out to be a communal ritual, the same way the latest “Halloween” movies turned out to be a communal ritual, the same way that any big-budget reboot/sequel more-or-less self-consciously seeks to be.
We are seeking a) Closure or at least b) Context.
Anyway…that’s my take on it. And I enjoyed it for what it was.
But it’s my theory that if you place a person (young-or-otherwise) with no previous experience or context for the “Bill & Ted” franchise in front of Bill & Ted Face The Music, they’ll find very little to immediately “connect” with. Because the previous experience/context is crucial for the full enjoyment of the movie; whereas it isn’t for some flick like The Lighthouse or whatever (though certainly familiarity with Willem Dafoe & Robert Pattinson’s cinematic oeuvre/archetypes does lend Max Eggers’ movie an added bit of tasty frottage).
Am I being an asshole for saying this? Or am I merely recounting my own personal experience, hesitantly presenting it to the public as a “possible” Universal Concept?
At any rate: there, I can finally cross this off my list, now! Back to reviews of old Turkish superhero movies! Yay!