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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Herek’

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure / Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (1989) is one of those beloved comedies you take for granted. I hadn’t seen it in 20+ years, so I was kinda afraid it might not hold up. It’s kind of hard to put your finger on why it works so well, and it would be hard to explain why it’s funny if somebody asked. I’m not sure if you had to be there or not.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a pretty straight forward comical premise: what if a couple of dumb guys got a hold of a time machine and recruited actual historical figures to help with their history test? But for the most part that’s not really what’s funny about it. It’s the particular personalities of the dumb guys, and the reasons they have access to time travel.

Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter, DEATH WISH 3) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves, THE NIGHT BEFORE) are a Californian version of what we used to call “rockers” and some regions called “heshers” – guys whose lives center around heavy metal and/or hard rock. In the wild you’d expect them to have longer hair and leather jackets, smoke lots of pot and drink lots of beer, but Bill and Ted mostly just idolize Van Halen, talk about “babes,” and laugh at the number 69. They have a band called Wyld Stallyns, which features only the two of them on guitar, an instrument neither of them knows how to play. Still, their worst fear os for the band to be broken up if Ted fails his history test, in which case his dad (Hal Landon Jr., ERASERHEAD), who is a police captain and wears an NRA jacket while off duty, will ship him off to Oats Military Academy in Alaska. (read the rest of this shit…)

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

June 7, 1991

Of the other Summer of ’91 movies so far, DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD is most similar to SWITCH. It’s not nearly as high concept or fantastical, but it’s another comedy about a woman (in this case not a man trapped in a woman’s body, but an actual teenage girl) pretending to be an adult in order to work a fancy office job. I think I saw it back in the day but I had no memory of it, and the title and cover with the babysitter’s dead feet sticking out of the lawn had me thinking it was a dark comedy. I was even thinking “Oh shit, Christina Applegate now stars in Dead To Me, which also involves lying about a death and hiding a dead body.” But that’s not really much of a factor here.

(P.S. – She’s absolutely great on that show.)

The titular mom (Concetta Tomei, Max Headroom) goes on vacation to Australia with her boyfriend, and right when she’s leaving reveals to her five kids that she hired the titular elderly babysitter (Eda Reiss Merin, THE BLACK CAULDRON) to stay with them. I guess it’s a long trip, but this is two 17 year old high school graduates, a 14 year old, a 13 year old and an 11 year old – do they really need a full time paid supervisor? In ’91 no, of course not, you just give the kids a key and pizza money. So I guess this movie was ahead of its time. (read the rest of this shit…)

Critters

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

tn_crittersRecently I watched WARLOCK for the first time, and that was surprisingly good shit, so I figured maybe I should watch some other VHS era franchise-launcher with a two syllable title that I’d never bothered with for some reason. You know, like CRITTERS or something like that.

This one seems like a moosh-up of GREMLINS (mischievous, laughing small monsters portrayed by puppets infest a place and eat people, sometimes in comical ways), E.T. in: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (Dee Wallace Stone as mother of adolescent, bike-riding, alien-discovering protagonist) and I COME IN PEACE (weirdo long-haired humanoid space bounty hunters with powerful guns clandestinely hunt dangerous alien presence on Earth).

The title-istical Critters (called Crites by the non-Earthlings) are kind of like Tribbles with teeth, or evil Popples. They’re furry round guys with stubby limbs who can roll up into balls and tumble like tumbleweeds, but they have long, needle-like teeth and also a row of poisonous projectile quills they use to put the kid’s older sister into a catatonic state and drag her back to their ship. I’m not clear on what they plan to do with her there, but let me just say that I don’t trust those little perverts. And I was gonna say “as far as I can throw ’em” but actually I feel like I could throw them pretty far. They are one of the most throwable villains of all major horror movies, in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)