Lost Picture Show: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

daniel cohen parties on, dude …

NOTE: This article contains spoilers.

Release Date: 1991

First Saw It: First week it was out on VHS. I watched it on my couch, in my den.

What Drew Me To See It: My oldest brother was a huge fan of the first one, and made my whole family watch it. I loved it, so obviously I wanted to see the sequel. My mom didn’t let me see it in the theater though, I was only 7 … unbelievable.

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, William Sadler, George Carlin, Joss Ackland

Before They Were Stars Appearances: 1991 seemed to be the break-out year for Keanu Reeves. He was in Point Break the same year.

Thank God They Changed The Name: The movie was almost titled Bill & Ted Go To Hell. Well that title has a certain charm, I really love that mirror effect of ‘Bogus Journey’ and ‘Excellent Adventure,’ the title of the original. Maybe the third one will be called Bill & Ted’s Okay Quest.

Director: Pete Hewitt (The Borrowers, Garfield)

The Best Performance: As much as I love the chemistry between Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as Bill and Ted, respectively, William Sadler as the Grim Reaper is simply a gem. He’s a dead serious Grim Reaper in his first scene, but just gets progressively more goofy and ridiculous. Sadler delivers every line with perfection, and has unbelievable comic timing. I could go on for another five paragraphs about all his hilarious moments, but the little Reaper rap he does at the end is pure genius. Why isn’t this on iTunes?

The Supporting Scene-Stealer: There are a lot of candidates, but I’m going to go with someone who you don’t even see, and has one line of dialogue: God. Yeah, God has a cameo in this movie, and it’s a really good one. Basically, he’s behind a really, really bright light, and on this big ass throne. All he says is ‘Station,’ and gives Bill and Ted an intense map that’s probably more accurate then 50 GPS systems put together. He doesn’t do much, but God certainly makes his presence known in this movie. Plus, Bill and Ted shout ‘WYLD STALLYNS’ in the presence of the Almighty, and that’s pretty damn funny.

The Moment To Remember: Bill and Ted playing Battleship with the Grim Reaper is one of the greatest moments in the history of cinema … well, maybe not, but it is one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. But truthfully, this one scene made me want to write comedy. If this moment is categorized under ‘Comedy,’ then that’s a genre I want to be a part of.

The Memorable Quote:

Ted: I can’t believe Missy divorced your dad, and married mine.
Bill: Shut up, Ted.

The Groan Moment: I never really liked the part at the end where Bill and Ted travel in time, return to the Battle of the Bands, and they have beards and kids. Something about that just didn’t sit right. Even if this was intended to be the last Bill and Ted movie, I would have preferred to remember them as the men they were: lovable idiots. If a third movie is actually going to get made, I’m curious as to how they work around that whole thing. It’s also strange that in the newspaper clips they show during the credits, Bill and Ted are still the young guys…I don’t get it?

Why I Can’t Stop Watching It: This really is a brilliant movie. It’s oozing with hysterical dialogue, and it really is jammed pack with original moments. And it’s got a great cast of characters that go beyond just Bill and Ted. There are the evil Bill and Ted robots, the Grim Reaper, Station, Rufus, De Nomolos, it goes on and on. And to me, I love that Heaven and Hell look pretty much like you’d expect, but they add their own twist to it. And these sets are legitimately impressive. And it’s 1991, so you know they are pretty much organic. I could just sit here and rattle off a hundred things I love about this movie, but I think the best way to describe it is that it’s an ‘Epic Comedy.’ Original comedies like this are long dead, and that’s probably why it resonates with me now more than ever. If you were someone who didn’t love this movie at first and haven’t seen it in years, I implore you, give it another chance.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.