Bill & Ted Face the Music feels a bit like a prank. Franchise filmmaking is king now, and because of this, any revival feels cynical by default. Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure and its sequel, Bill & Teds Bogus Journey, are perhaps some of the least cynical films ever made: sincere romping through time and the afterlife with cute idiots who rock & # 39; n & # 39; love roll. They lack any sort of edge or hint of darkness (even if they go to Hell) and they delight in their lack of sophistication. There isn't much, but that makes her charming. The idea of a third film released over 30 years after the first feels like a stretch. Still, it could be my favorite movie released this year.
I saw Bill & Ted Face the Music in a drive-in theater. It was something my partner and I always wanted to do (drive-ins, not Bill & Ted), but the opportunity was lacking. However, during a pandemic, drive-ins are one of the only safe ways to watch movies outside of your home. So we borrowed a car and drove to see the only new film that is playing at the drive-in that evening. Neither of us had particularly strong feelings about the movie – we were more excited about the act of watching a movie than we were ourselves – but it felt like the right one on a warm summer night with the windows down and really bad seeing that Dining on the concession booth is balanced on our laps.
Like its predecessors, Bill & Ted Face the Music is a simple film. Ted "Theodore" Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) has been told since she was a teenager that her rock band, the Wyld Stallyns, will write the song that will unite the world. However, now they are middle-aged men who somehow failed to make it through. Because of this, the world is falling apart. Time and space collapse and Kelly (Kristen Schaal), an envoy from the future, comes to tell the stallyns that they have until 7:17 pm. write the song or it all comes to an end.
To solve the problem with the minimum of fuss, Bill and Ted decide to try what has worked in the past: jumping with a time machine into a future where they already wrote the song and bringing it back to the present. This goes wrong, and the duo spend the rest of the movie smoothing out progressively worse mistakes they'll make in the future if they continue to neglect the present.
We never think about the present as clearly as we would like. I suspect this is truer now than ever. What, I wonder, will show up in retrospect about this year and how we got it? I saw Bill & Ted Face the Music in a remote New Jersey drive-in because drive-ins are one of the few distractions available to me when the world is falling apart. That breakdown is never far from me, least of all during the 91-minute film about two middle-aged men staring at the end of the world and trying not to do anything about it.
During Face the Music, Bill and Ted travel further and further into their futures to find that they will never change. Their lives keep getting worse because they never stop running away from their problems and trying to trick their way out of work to fix anything. Your future selves can't improve until Bill and Ted stop looking for them, which means they stopped making their way into the song that saves the universe and actually started making it .
Be excellent with each other and play music that is damn loud
Last year I planned to get married this month. Like many other things in 2020, this will no longer happen and will be postponed for a year. I don't know if that's enough time. I doubt there will be enough time. However, getting angry about it feels reckless. So not me. Instead, I look at all of the other things that I need to be angry about right now, and I feel that instead.
I don't know where to raise all the anger. I can send it into the future, which looks worse the further I get to it. I can send it back in time and despair over every incremental step that brought us here. Both seem like terrible choices for the person living here now.
At the end of Bill & Ted Face the Music, I cried because the present is the only thing I haven't figured out yet, six months after the accident. I don't know if the decisions I make today are the right ones or the wrong ones and I am running out of fictions to spin around to justify living and working and paying bills as if the world isn't literal is on fire. I cried because the wedding we thought was going to happen is likely never going to happen because nobody gets the morning they were hoping for. And I cried because at the end of the film everyone gets up and faces the music. Not because they found something out, but because they love each other. That's all they really know – be excellent with each other and play damn loud music. It's almost anything I can do too.