Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 6

directing 5

effects 6

editing 5

writing 5

SW SCORE: 32

3 out of 5 🐙

++

I am old, so I got to see Bill & Ted’s Excellent Aventure in 1989 when I was 15-years-old. I loved it. I re-watched it recently, and it holds up. Sure, there are some problematic elements but it’s a silly movie with no bad intent and it is simply a fun, dumb blast. The jokes might be goofy, but they are still funny if you’re not expecting anything else. The ending is far from logical, but that doesn’t matter at all. 

The sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, didn’t do nearly as well as expected, but it was also funny and silly. And what was especially rare was the fact that the sequel tried to do something different. Instead of a time travel adventure, it was an adventure through the afterlife. Sure, the tone and humor were the same, but they tried something new. 

Bill & Ted Face the Music comes 29 years after ‘Bogus Journey, which was only 2 years after the initial installment. It probably has a lot to do with nostalgia and people my age running studios and the unbound love and adulation for Keanu Reeves, who totally deserves it. I didn’t have high hopes for it but I heard the reviews were generally good so I was optimistic when I fired this up. 

It took me about 20 minutes to get used to the dopey way Bill (Reeves) and Ted (Alex Winters) talk. It just made a lot more sense when they were teenagers. But eventually I adjusted. But the jokes just didn’t really hit for me. I laughed a few times, but there were never any huge laughs, or at least not many. The plot didn’t really matter, but it was enough. Basically, they have to save the universe again, but this time they are middle-aged Dads who never became the saviors they were supposed to be. The makeup and effects were uneven, and that took me out of a lot of scenes. Winters and Reeves are much older and better actors than they were back in 1989, but I really didn’t feel a lot of emotion or passion in their performances. I’m not looking for “English Patient” style here. But the whole thing just felt kind of half-assed and milquetoast. 

And the following criticism also applied to the earlier installments, but it applies here, too. A problem with movies about fake bands that are supposed to make amazing songs is that the songs are never usually amazing? Do you see Stillwater songs rising to the top of the real charts, or are they forever only going to chart in the Almost Famous universe exclusively? That always bugged me. If I see a fighting movie, I can see real fight choreography and even though it isn’t real, the fight looks real and I can buy it. But you can’t fake a hit song. 

All in all, I wouldn’t say this latest installment was just meh-xcellent. I’m sorry, dudes. I know that’s most non-triumphant. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)