Film Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

Also known as: Bill & Ted 3 (informal title)
Release Date: August 27th, 2020 (Malaysia)
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Written by: Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon
Music by: Mark Isham
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Holland Taylor, Kid Cudi, William Sadler, Jillian Bell, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Amy Stoch, George Carlin (posthumous cameo), Kelly Carlin, Dave Grohl (cameo), “Weird Al” Yankovic (cameo), Guillermo Rodriguez (cameo)

Dugan Entertainment, Dial 9, Hammerstone Studios, 91 Minutes

Review:

“Seriously, Uncle Ted. When did you get so excellent on Theremin? Your playing rivaled, and I’m not kidding, Clara Rockmore!” – Thea

Man, I really wanted to like this movie. I even went as far as to try and convince myself it was good and was going to pan out okay in the end. It didn’t. In fact, it pretty much killed that part of me that wants another one of these vanity, nostalgia projects to succeed.

Well, I guess Cobra Kai is just a once in a lifetime miracle. But maybe that’s because it wasn’t about vanity and it was just about bringing to life a good, fresh idea without trying to replicate what came before it.

As far as Bill & Ted stories go, this is just more of the same but it feels like a really weak attempt at taking the framework that came before it and just trying to paint-by-numbers while changing a few details.

In the case of this movie, we’re rounding up musical legends from history, while also seeing Bill & Ted travel back to hell as well as alternate futures where they confront different versions of their older selves. So there’s two adventures but it essentially takes the two adventures from the two previous movies and mashes them together in a way.

The journey to round up musicians is undertaken by Bill & Ted’s daughters, who are named after them and act too much like them that they just come across as gender swapped caricatures. Now I can’t trash their performances, as both girls were charismatic and likable but it just felt like the writers would rather lean on familiarity than trying to create characters that were more unique and didn’t just worship and emulate their dads on every level.

In regards to the first two movies, they always felt like a perfect story with a great, definitive ending. This film undoes that by retconning the ending and pretty much ignoring it and the newspaper headlines that appeared in the credits. Granted, the writers claim that they didn’t write those headlines and they were made as jokes by the people who did the credits. Still, fans, for decades, have kind of taken them as canon and why shouldn’t they?

In this film, we learn that Bill & Ted are old losers and that they’re incapable of fulfilling their destiny. What we also learn, is that it actually isn’t their destiny and, as is the trend with many modern sequels and reboots, the men are dumb idiots and its the female characters that have to come in and save the day. It’s not that I have a problem with female heroes, I just have a problem with downgrading already established heroes and brushing them aside because Hollywood feels guilty about shitting on women for years. Even though we’ve had women heroes and badasses for decades. But I digress.

This film was underwhelming and a disappointment. I wouldn’t call it intentionally “woke” but I do think it’s a product of its time and that it was influenced by the shitty, mundane art of the modern era. These characters and the fans deserved better.

At the same time, I don’t hate this film. It exists, it’s okay, not great and I don’t have to watch it again. Honestly, as a long-time fan of the film series, I’m just always going to see the first two movies as the complete story. It always was before this and that shouldn’t change just because ’80s nostalgia is in and the entertainment industry has to milk its teats until they bleed.

And of course, Rotten Tomatoes likes this.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: its two predecessors, as well as the animated series and really awful live-action show.

Film Review: Fist Fight (2017)

Also known as: Combat de profs (France, Canadian French title)
Release Date: February 13th, 2017 (Regency Village Theater premiere)
Directed by: Richie Keen
Written by: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser, Max Greenfield
Music by: Dominic Lewis
Cast: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert, Kym Whitley

New Line Cinema, Village Roadshow Pictures, 21 Laps Entertainment, Wrigley Pictures, Warner Bros., 91 Minutes

Review:

“Snitches get stitches.” – Strickland

I have always loved Ice Cube. Well, at least since I was a 7th grader and in 1992, spent some of my Christmas money on my first CD, Ice Cube’s The Predator album. I also bought that first album by Ice Cube’s group Da Lench Mob at the same time.

Charlie Day is another guy I have always liked since first seeing him on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, well over ten years ago now.

Seeing these two guys come together in a film that is going to show them actually duke it out in a fist fight is kind of exciting. Plus, the film has Tracy Morgan, Kumail Nanjiani and Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks.

I didn’t see this in the theater though, as I usually don’t watch comedies on the big screen unless it looks like something pretty exceptional. I did check this out though, as soon as it dropped on Cinemax.

You have to suspend disbelief in this picture, which is fine, as it is a goofy comedy. The reason being though, is that Ice Cube’s character is so irrational that it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Like why does that nut job even have a job around kids? In this day and age, teachers have their hands severely tied by the system and by helicopter parents who have to pin ribbons on their loser kids and always encourage them to continue sucking at life while coddling their feelings and probably still breastfeeding most of them. I’m pretty sure a lot of teens today do legitimately breastfeed still.

Anyway, that was a weird tangent.

The film is amusing. I like the relationship and rivalry between Day and Cube and I’m not going to lie, seeing them come together again for a follow up would be cool.

The big fight at the end of the film was bigger than I expected but it played out well with some good twists and turns. I kind of just expected Day to walk out and get knocked out with one punch. The fight was the highlight of the film and it was worth the wait.

Another highlight was Day and his daughter performing at a talent show. This was one of the funniest moments in modern comedy.

This was a movie that ended up being a bit better than I had anticipated. Day pretty much kills it in anything and I’ll always enjoy Ice Cube, as long as he isn’t in some kids’ movie.

Rating: 7/10