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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
1991, Comedy, 1h 38m
What to know
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey has the same stars -- and cheerfully wacky sense of humor -- as its predecessor, but they prove a far less effective combination the second time around. Read critic reviews
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Bill & ted's bogus journey videos, bill & ted's bogus journey photos.
Amiable slackers Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are once again roped into a fantastical adventure when De Nomolos (Joss Ackland), a villain from the future, sends evil robot duplicates of the two lads to terminate and replace them. The robot doubles actually succeed in killing Bill and Ted, but the two are determined to escape the afterlife, challenging the Grim Reaper (William Sadler) to a series of games in order to return to the land of the living.
Original Language: English
Director: Peter Hewitt
Producer: Scott Kroopf
Writer: Chris Matheson , Ed Solomon
Release Date (Streaming): Sep 27, 2016
Box Office (Gross USA): $38.0M
Runtime: 1h 38m
Production Co: Interscope Communications, Nelson Entertainment
Sound Mix: Surround, Stereo
View the collection: Bill & Ted
Cast & Crew
Bill, Granny Preston
Sir James Martin
Hal Landon Jr.
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There were parts of "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" I probably didn't understand, but that's all right, because there were even more parts that Bill and Ted didn't understand. This is a movie that thrives on the dense-witted idiocy of its characters, two teenage dudes who go on amazing journeys through time and space with only the dimmest perception that they are not still playing video games. I missed the enormously popular movie that introduced these characters, "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," and felt myself blessed at the time. But now I'm not so sure. Their "Bogus Journey" is a riot of visual invention and weird humor that works on its chosen sub-moronic level, and on several others as well, including some fairly sophisticated ones. It's the kind of movie where you start out snickering in spite of yourself, and end up actually admiring the originality that went into creating this hallucinatory slapstick. The movie begins far in the future, where students at Bill & Ted's University have the opportunity to chat personally with Thomas Edison and Beethoven, and to study such artistic classics as the " Star Trek " TV series. An evil overlord of time, named De Nomolos and played by that gravel-voiced, white-haired villain Joss Ackland , vows to rewrite history by destroying Bill and Ted (played as before by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves ). He has invented robots that look and act exactly like the two heroes, and are just as dumb, and he sends them rocketing back through time in a telephone booth. Bill and Ted are meanwhile trying to win a rock band contest with their own group, the Wyld Stallyons, which includes a couple of girl musicians they picked up in the 15th century. Startled by the appearance of their robot-doubles, they commence their own journeys through time and space in a desperate attempt to destroy them, save themselves, preserve the book of history, stay cool, and meet cute chicks. The funniest thing that happens to them is their showdown with the Grim Reaper ( William Sadler ), who looks just as he does in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." In that film (as most of the audience for this one will probably not know), Death played chess with a medieval knight, with the knight's soul at stake. This time the dudes challenge the Reaper to a pocket video game, and beat him, even after he tries to weasel out with an offer of best of three. Death, having lost, has to accompany Bill and Ted on their journey and do what they tell him, and this leads to some of the funniest moments I have seen in any movie in a long time, including one where the Reaper does a little comparison shopping for scythes at the hardware store. One of the stops on the bogus journey is Heaven, created with great imagination and a lot of light and echoing sound effects and a most peculiar conversation with the Deity. Bill ands Ted handle this summit meeting, as they handle everything else in the film, like two dudes for whom "Pee Wee's Playhouse" would be too slow and intellectual. All of the actors (including George Carlin , who turns up in an important supporting role) have a lot of fun with this material, and it turns into more delicate fun, based on more subtle timing, than you might imagine. Many of Sadler's laughs as the Grim Reaper come from simple physical cringing, as he conveys his embarrassment and lost dignity.
Of Bill and Ted, I can say that I have not seen Alex Winter much before (he was in " Rosalie Goes Shopping "), but I have seen Keanu Reeves in vastly different roles (the FBI man in the current "Point Break," for example), and am a little astonished by the range of these performances. Like Sean Penn , who immortalized the word "awesome" in a Bill & Ted-like performance in " Fast Times at Ridgemont High ," he brings more artistry to this cretinous role than might at first meet the eye. Who is the movie intended for? Your basic "Bill & Ted" audience, for starters -- upward-bound young moviegoers looking for something one notch more challenging than " Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ." But also for lovers of fantasy, whimsy, and fanciful special effects. This movie is light as a feather and thin as ice in spring, but what it does, it does very nicely.
Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.
The Persian Version
Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
George Carlin as Rufus
Keanu Reeves as Ted
Alex Winter as Bill
William Sadler as Grim Reaper
Joss Ackland as De Nomolos
- Peter Hewitt
- Scott Kroopf
- Oliver Wood
- Chris Matheson
- David Finfer
- David Newman
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13 Excellent Facts About Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
By roger cormier | jul 19, 2016.
Writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon invented the characters William "Bill" S. Preston, Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan way back in 1983 , while performing improv with their UCLA classmates. Two years after Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure hit theaters in 1989, Matheson and Solomon decided to put their creations in front of brand new hurdles and challenges in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey , a sequel that some regard as the superior movie of the two. In the latter, our heroes are murdered by their evil robot selves from the future and must go through hell and heaven to get their vengeance. Here are some facts about the film, which was released 25 years ago today.
1. ORION PICTURES INITIALLY INSISTED ON BILL AND TED KIDNAPPING CHARACTERS FROM FAMOUS BOOKS.
While Matheson and Solomon wanted to write about Bill and Ted dying and going to hell, the studio wanted the leads to enter famous works of literature to pass an English test. "The literature idea sounds different from time travel," Solomon said , "but it ends up being the same thing: Bill and Ted go into historical settings and meet famous characters, except now the characters are fictional." The two tried to write that version before telling Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter their initial idea, which the actors preferred. Reeves and Winter told the studio that Matheson and Solomon's movie was the one they wanted to make.
2. IT WAS PETER HEWITT'S FEATURE DIRECTORIAL DEBUT.
Despite never having directed a feature film, British director Peter Hewitt beat out 50 other directors for the chance to replace Excellent Adventure director Stephen Herek (who directed 1991's Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead instead). "To this day I don’t know why," Hewitt admitted in a 1992 interview . "I think I never imagined they’d consider me so I decided to say exactly what I thought about their script ideas: what I didn’t like and would want to change as much as what I wanted left in to build on. Perhaps they admired my honesty and the fact I wasn’t scared to speak my mind."
Though he had never directed a feature film, Hewitt had plenty of veteran help. Special effects supervisor Richard Yuricich ( Close Encounters of the Third Kind , Blade Runner ) teamed up with Kevin Yagher, who designed the Chucky doll in Child’s Play (1988) and who was also responsible for designing and applying make-up in three of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, to help Hewitt execute Matheson and Solomon's vision.
3. PRODUCTION WAS DELAYED TO ACCOMMODATE KEANU REEVES' BUSY SCHEDULE.
Orion wanted the film to be released in the summer of 1991, but the 10-week shoot had to be delayed until January 7, 1991. Reeves couldn't make it until then because he was working on My Own Private Idaho (1991). They stuck to the 10-week schedule by editing the movie as they went along, shooting five days a week and editing on Saturdays.
4. THE ORIGINAL TITLE WAS BILL & TED GO TO HELL , WHICH POSED A MARKETING PROBLEM.
Producer Scott Kroopf explained to The New York Times why they ultimately decided against using a title with the word 'hell' in it: "The problem was—and it was a real one—we couldn't advertise on TV until after 9 o'clock."
5. THE WRITERS FOUND THEIR WAY INTO THE FILM.
Solomon (with glasses) and Matheson (white shirt) appear as New Agers at Missy's seance. The Nomolos in the character name of the evil Chuck De Nomolos is Solomon spelled backwards.
6. THEY KNEW THEY WERE PARODYING INGMAR BERGMAN AND THE SEVENTH SEAL .
"The biggest set piece in the movie is that in order to get back to life, Bill and Ted have to play Death in games," Kroopf explained . "And the games they play are Battleship , Clue , Twister . So your life is on the line; you're playing with Death, but you're playing games that Bill and Ted know how to play. This is a clear parody of Bergman."
7. WILLIAM SADLER HELPED WITH SOME OF THE LINES.
"I think I had more fun doing Bill and Ted than I’ve ever had making anything I’ve ever shot," William Sadler, who played the Grim Reaper, said in 2015 . "It was, once I came up with the Czechoslovakian accent and had the funny make-up done, and the idea that he’s almost effeminate. He starts off as a scary dude and almost immediately it all unravels and he becomes this kind of insecure doofus who all he really wants is for them to like him. At the end it was so sweet. I also got to be creative, I wrote the Reaper Rap. I kept having ideas, like when he goes by—I said to Peter Hewitt the director, 'Wouldn’t it be great if he walks past somebody who’s smoking and says ‘See you real soon’ as he goes by, and the person who’s smoking goes ah and puts it out?’ Peter liked the idea and said bring the camera over here, that’s Peter Hewitt as the smoker. We didn’t have an actor to play it, the idea happened on the set, while we were shooting other stuff."
8. THERE WERE STAR TREK CONNECTIONS.
Bill & Ted University was at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California. It was later used for Starfleet Academy in Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001). Bill & Ted give Death a melvin at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park near Agua Dulce Springs. It was shot there because shooting the scene in Utah was too expensive. When Hewitt first came across the jagged rock at Vasquez he turned to his first assistant director and said , "Isn’t this the alien planet in every Star Trek episode?" Hewitt rented a VHS of the "Arena" episode from the original series, froze the shot, and worked out the exact place for the crew to place the camera.
9. THERE WAS A CIRCULAR MOTIF THROUGHOUT THE MOVIE.
Production designer David L. Snyder and Hewitt worked it out so that 25 sets were built on three soundstages and other outside locations, each with circular shapes . "I chose a through-line of curves and circles in a desperate need to tie it all up stylistically," Hewitt explained . "Each place is instantly recognizable, but not stereotypically otherworldly. Otherwise Bill and Ted would have had to have said at some stage, ‘Where are we?,’ as they aren’t the smartest guys in the world."
10. AN ALTERNATE ENDING INVOLVING A CAR CHASE BETWEEN BILL AND TED AND THEIR BIGGEST FEARS WAS CUT.
Alex Winter said it was "insanely funny." It was storyboarded . To get rid of their reanimated "Personal Hells," Bill gives his Granny a kiss on the cheek, Ted calls his brother and apologizes for stealing his Easter candy, and both of them are nice to Colonel Oats.
In the original ending, Bill and Ted brought themselves back from the future every minute for 10 years to make full armies of themselves. Preview audiences didn't like it , and a new ending was shot over 10 days.
11. THE DIRECTOR'S CUT WAS MUCH DARKER.
Hewitt claimed the first cut of Bogus Journey was much darker . "That’s a definite British trait," he added. "The humor was black comedy almost. The Evil Us’s were really evil! I went for it and had them running riot doing despicable things. But test screen audiences couldn’t take it ... My original cut would have played well in Britain."
12. JOSS ACKLAND REGRETS BEING IN IT.
Joss Ackland played Chuck De Nomolos. He said that many of the roles in his 50-plus-year acting career were taken just for the money or to settle bets . "I do an awful lot of crap, but if it's not immoral, I don't mind," he explained. "I'm a workaholic." As for Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey ? "I can't tell you how embarrassing that was," he told BBC News .
13. ALEX WINTER SAID A THIRD MOVIE IS COMING SOON.
In April 2016, Winter said that a third film was imminent—and that both he and Reeves would be reprising their roles: “We have a script, we have a director, we have a studio—we’re just trying to nail down a start date.”
- Cast & crew
- User reviews
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
- A tyrant from the future creates evil android doubles of Bill and Ted and sends them back to eliminate the originals.
- The world of our distant future is a veritable utopia, thanks to the lyrics of two simple-minded 20th-century rock-and-rollers, Bill S. Preston, Esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan. However, a would-be conqueror threatens to throw history off-track by sending "most non-non-heinous" evil robot Bill and Teds back to kill their good counterparts. Finding themselves dead, the boys must outwit the Grim Reaper and traverse Heaven and Hell to return to the land of the living, rescue their "babes," and have a "most triumphant" concert at the all-important Battle of the Bands. — David Thiel <[email protected]>
- For many years now, at Bill and Ted University of the future, the people of the world have been excellent to each other. But fed-up with Bill and Ted's peaceful world and even more fed up with heavy metal, Chuck De Nomolos decides to do something about it. De Nomolos creates cyborg versions of Bill and Ted, who travel back to 1990 with orders to kill the human versions of Bill and Ted, win the Battle of the Bands, and pave the way for De Nomolos to take over the future. In 1990, Bill and Ted are sent to hell by the cyborgs. Cyborg Bill and Cyborg Ted make time with the real Bill and Ted's girlfriends, Joanna and Elizabeth, and prepare to take the human Bill and Ted's places in the Battle of the Bands. With their friend Rufus' help, the human Bill and Ted are forced to find a way out of hell, deal with the Grim Reaper, and talk to God Himself in their mission to get to the Battle of the Bands. — Todd Baldridge
- In this sequel to 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure', the music of Bill and Ted's band, Wyld Stallyns, has created a utopian future society. Chuck De Nomolos, who detests this society, steals one of the time-traveling phone booths and sends two robots modeled after Bill and Ted back to the late 20th century to prevent Bill and Ted from winning the San Dimas Battle of the Bands. Rufus attempts to stop De Nomolos but seemingly becomes lost in the circuits of time. In the present day, five years after Bill and Ted first traveled through time with Rufus' help to pass their history project and graduate from high school, the Wyld Stallyns are preparing for the contest. Though Bill and Ted's current fiancées, and former 15th-century princesses, Elizabeth and Joanna have become skilled musicians in working alongside them, Bill and Ted are still inept singers and songwriters. Despite this, the organizer Ms. Wardroe assures them a slot in the contest as the final act. Bill's young stepmother Missy divorces his father in favor of Ted's, who threatens Ted with military school should they fail the Battle of the Bands. Evil Bill and Evil Ted arrive and the robots eventually replace Bill and Ted, killing them by throwing the two over the side of a cliff at Vasquez Rocks. The robots behave rudely to the princesses and work to ruin the duo's fame. Bill and Ted's souls are met by Death who challenges them in a game for their souls. Bill and Ted escape after giving Death a "melvin". They attempt to alert their families but their ethereal forms prove difficult, and at one point, are cast down into Hell at a séance held by Missy. In Hell, they are tormented by Satan, made to face their own fears, manifesting as Col Oates, the Easter Bunny, and Granny S. Preston, and realize their only escape is to take Death's offer. Taken to Death's chambers, the spirit gives them the option of what game to play. Bill and Ted, to Death's dismay, select modern games like Battleship, Clue, and Twister, easily beating Death. Death admits defeat and unwillingly becomes their servant. Bill and Ted recognize they need to locate the smartest person in the universe to help build robots to counter De Nomolos' evil robots. Death escorts the two to Heaven, and with God's help, are directed to an alien named Station who has the ability to split into two identical twins, and readily offers to help Bill and Ted. Death brings them back to Earth in the mortal world, where it is the night of the Battle of the Bands. Bill and Ted take Station to a hardware store, and then race in their van back to the concert while Station constructs good robots. Just as the evil robots take the stage, Bill and Ted arrive, and Station's robots easily defeat the evil ones. Just then, De Nomolos appears in the time booth, ready to defeat Bill and Ted himself, and overrides the broadcasting equipment to send the video footage of this to everyone on the planet. The two recognize they can later go back in time to arrange events for De Nomolos to be trapped in the present, aided by Death and Station; though De Nomolos is apparently able to do the same, Bill and Ted gain the upper hand with the explanation that it is only the winners who get to go back, and De Nomolos is arrested by Ted's father. Ms. Wardroe reveals herself to be a disguised Rufus, having assured Bill and Ted's spot in the concert, and urges them to play. As Bill and Ted reunite with their fiancées, they realize they are still terrible musicians, and the four use the time booth to travel through time to practice. Although they return immediately after less then a minute, Bill and Ted claim that "an intense 16 months of guitar training, plus a two week honeymoon" have passed for them. They have married the princesses and each is raising a young infant "Little Ted" and "Little Bill". They begin to perform a stunning rock ballad, joined by Death, Station, and the good robots. The worldwide broadcast set by De Nomolos continues, and Wyld Stallyns' music is played across the globe, creating harmony. Over the end credits, it's shown through newspaper articles that the band, along with Death, go through many perks of fame before eventually taking their act to the planet Mars.
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Amiable slackers Bill and Ted are once again roped into a fantastical adventure when De Nomolos, a villain from the future, sends evil robot duplicates of the two lads to terminate and replace them. The robot doubles actually succeed in killing Bill and Ted, but the two are determined to escape the afterlife, challenging the Grim Reaper to a series of games in order to return to the land of the living.
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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
- 60 Metascore
- 1 hr 40 mins
- Comedy, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction
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Bill & ted's bogus journey, common sense media reviewers.
Slackers meet Satan in not-quite-so-excellent adventure.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some stereotypes upheld, but at the heart of Bill
Bill and Ted may fit the "slacker" stereotype, but
Some gnarly robot behavior, including pulling skin
Lewd reference to being excited when a character s
Occasional language including "s--thead," "hell,"
Pepsi and Lite Beer cans and signage. Mountain Dew
Bill drinks from a can of Miller Lite before propo
Parents need to know that Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey is the 1991 sequel to the better-known Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure . In this installment, evil robot versions of Bill and Ted are sent from the distant future to kill the real Bill and Ted before they have the chance to shape a positive…
Some stereotypes upheld, but at the heart of Bill and Ted is the message to "be excellent to each other."
Positive Role Models
Bill and Ted may fit the "slacker" stereotype, but they've got their hearts in the right place, and they're decent guys. Death is a patient, scythe-wielding character who actually becomes kind of a lovable sidekick. The evil androids, who are trying to kill Bill and Ted, are malevolent and sexist. Women are largely seen as little more than "babes"/ trophies.
Violence & Scariness
Some gnarly robot behavior, including pulling skin apart to expose robot parts hidden underneath. Punching. A perilous fall that kills two main characters (who later come back as ghosts). Bill and Ted's princess girlfriends hang from the rafters of the arena where the Battle of the Bands takes place, on the verge of falling to their deaths. Androids try to force sex on teenage girls, demanding that they "put out," but are unsuccessful. Death is a key character in the story.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lewd reference to being excited when a character sees a photo of a female. As ghosts, Bill and Ted look down the dress of a woman and gawk at her breasts. Passionate kissing after marriage proposals.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Occasional language including "s--thead," "hell," "damn," "p--sweeds," "d--k," and variations of "d--k." Ted calls the Devil a "f-g." Evil robot Bill and Ted call the real Bill and Ted "f-gs." Middle finger gesture.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Pepsi and Lite Beer cans and signage. Mountain Dew cans, and the brand sponsors the Battle of the Bands, along with Reebok. Doritos bags clearly shown in the mess of Bill and Ted's apartment. Just like the original, strange things are afoot in scenes set in a Circle K parking lot.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bill drinks from a can of Miller Lite before proposing to his girlfriend. Cigarette smoking in one scene. Cigar smoking in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey is the 1991 sequel to the better-known Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure . In this installment, evil robot versions of Bill and Ted are sent from the distant future to kill the real Bill and Ted before they have the chance to shape a positive destiny for humankind and the planet. While much of the dumb slacker humor holds up, some of it has not, including two instances of a homophobic slur being used, and evil robot Ted using slang to express his sexual arousal while looking at a picture of one of the English princesses who are their girlfriends. Expect some profanity, including "s--thead," and "d--k." Some sexualized female stereotypes. Drinking and cigarette smoking in one scene, and cigar smoking in another. There's also a fair amount of product placement, particularly from Pepsi and Miller Lite, and in this sequel, the Circle K is also a place where "strange things are afoot." Much of the movie takes place in Hell, where the guys (played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves ) meet Satan and face their fears. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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- Parents say (5)
- Kids say (9)
Based on 5 parent reviews
Raunchier than the first one
Still funny, what's the story.
In BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY, Bill ( Alex Winter ) and Ted ( Keanu Reeves ) are two teenagers who like to hang out and shred on guitar. That is, until an evil dude from the future threatens to kill their Utopian dream by sending back in time two evil androids who look like Bill and Ted but are so ... not them. When the evil Bill and Ted push the real Bill and Ted to their deaths, the two ghosts have to travel through Hell in order to regain their mortality and win the rock music contest that their destinies rely on.
Is It Any Good?
As the sequel to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure , this movie doesn't hold up to the first movie's fresh quality. Though there are some laugh-out-loud moments, Bill and Ted seem to be stumbling through the gates of Hell to get to the grand finale. Moreover, we don't get enough of George Carlin in this movie, whose character Rufus created a nice foil to the slacker pace in the first movie.
Perhaps, too, the airhead stereotype has been reprised so often that the 21st-century viewers can't appreciate how illuminating Reeve's' characterization of Ted was in the late '80s and early '90s. We now see echoes of this slacker character all the time, but his portrayal was one of the first to define a generation. Keeping that in mind, parents who grew up in the '80s might enjoy introducing their tweens to a little lighthearted fun care of the boys from San Dimas.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the "slacker" stereotype. What does that mean to you? Do you consider Bill and Ted to be slackers?
The "dudes" shred on guitar, and the "babes" are treated like prizes. Are those stereotypes ? If so, what message does that send to viewers?
Death -- AKA The Grim Reaper -- ends up being a pretty decent dude in this movie. How does playing down death and dying work as comedy? Where can it go wrong?
In two scenes, the guys use a homophobic slur. In many movies from the '80s and into the '90s, there are scenes in which gross stereotypes based on race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are used for the sake of humor, as well as humor rooted in fat-shaming and ageism. Besides being lazy attempts at humor, how do these jokes perpetuate hurtful stereotypes? Why do you think these kinds of jokes were accepted in our culture for so long?
- In theaters : December 4, 1991
- On DVD or streaming : December 4, 2001
- Cast : Alex Winter , George Carlin , Keanu Reeves
- Director : Peter Hewitt
- Inclusion Information : Asian actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors
- Studio : MGM/UA
- Genre : Comedy
- Topics : Adventures , Friendship
- Run time : 93 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG
- Last updated : August 21, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
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The best Bill & Ted movie is the one that took them on a Bogus Journey to hell and back
Watch This o ffers movie recommendations inspired by new releases, premieres, current events, or occasionally just our own inscrutable whims. This week: With Coming 2 America now available to rent from home, we’re offering our own belated sequel to a past Watch This theme and singing the praises of more good comedy sequels.
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
When Bill & Ted Face The Music was released last year to general critic and fan enthusiasm, it represented at least two anomalies at once: a decades-later comedy sequel that lots of people actually liked and a satisfying conclusion to the even-rarer comedy trilogy. But defying conventional wisdom has been part of the whole deal with this series since Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure became an unexpected hit in 1989. Given that the film squeaked in at the end of the ’80s, it makes sense that it would be followed by the kind of quickie, low-rent sequel that helped define that decade (and comedy sequels in general). But if the turnover was indeed fast (a cash-in second installment arrived just two years after the original), the creative returns were undiminished: Somehow, the best Bill & Ted movie is the second one.
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey almost sounds like a parody of a sequel, starting with the title swapping in one synonym and one antonym. The film certainly lacks the loopy purity of its predecessor, where two metalhead slackers must travel through time to gain historical knowledge, pass their history exam, and preserve a future where their bumbling two-man rock band, Wyld Stallyns, saves humankind. On one level, Bogus Journey offers more of the same, as a future terrorist sends robot doubles of Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) back in time to destroy them and finish off Wyld Stallyns once and for all. (Amusingly, despite all the fuss, Bill and Ted remain the weak links in their own band; the medieval princesses they courted in the first film have grown into stronger musicians.) But in execution, Bogus Journey doesn’t rehash the original so much as one-up it.
The first major innovation in the screenplay by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson is that the evil robots succeed: Relatively early on, Bill and Ted are thrown off a cliff and killed. This sends them to meet Death (William Sadler), eventually leading to a celebrated parody of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal where instead of playing chess with Death, the boys challenge him to a series of contemporary board and party games. That’s just one sequence, though, in a plot that involves the duo visiting both heaven and hell; possessing the body of Ted’s father from the great beyond; and befriending a modular alien named Station, among other metaphysical misadventures. (The original, less cheerful title: Bill & Ted Go To Hell .)
This all has a certain stoner-comedy logic, but of course the Bill & Ted movies don’t actually involve mind-altering substances. Despite a few outdated bits of dialogue, they have an innocence that blurs the line between “teenage” and “boy”—like a sweet-natured flip side to the hilarious adult-tween aggression of Step Brothers . That’s true of all three Bill & Ted films; Bogus Journey stands out specifically because of its comedy, which is weirder, funnier, and more inventive than its siblings on either side. Deserved attention has been paid to Sadler’s Death, in possession of enough dour ego to keep challenging Bill and Ted to more games as his losses mount—a comedic gift that keeps on giving. But he’s not all the movie has to offer. Reeves and Winter are once again very funny, both as themselves and their malevolent robotic counterparts, and the movie deals with their sort-of demise with lightly mordant wit. Special shout-out to Winter for playing his character’s overly affectionate grandmother in Bill’s personal vision of hell; the movie is surprisingly committed to visualizing its jokes, rather than just relying on its stars’ slangy dialogue.
At times, the conceptual whimsy of Bogus Journey feels compatible with the work of innovative music-video directors like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze, whose careers were starting up around this period. Certain details like Station the two-part Martian, a character perhaps more odd than truly funny, now feel like an inflection point between the dopiness of so many ’80s youthsploitation comedies and the scrappier alternative weirdness emerging in the ’90s. All three Bill & Ted movies ride that Spinal Tap -coined line between the clever and the stupid. Bogus Journey does it with the most triumphant confidence in its high-low trash-culture fusion.
Availability: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is currently streaming on HBO Max . It’s also available to rent or purchase through Amazon , Google , Apple , YouTube , Fandango Now , Redbox , AMC On Demand , DirecTV , and VUDU .
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
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Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
Bill and ted's bogus journey.
For many years now, at Bill and Ted University of the future, the people of the world have been excellent to each other. But fed-up with Bill and Ted's peaceful world and even more fed up with heavy metal, Chuck De Nomolos decides to do something about it. De Nomolos creates cyborg versions of Bill and Ted, who travel back to 1990 with orders to kill the human versions of Bill and Ted, win the Battle of the Bands, and pave the way for De Nomolos to take over the future. In 1990, Bill and Ted are sent to hell by the cyborgs. Cyborg Bill and cyborg Ted make time with the real Bill and Ted's girlfriends Joanna and Elizabeth and prepare to take the human Bill and Ted's place in the Battle of the Bands. With the help of their friend Rufus, the human Bill and Ted are forced to find a way out of hell, deal with the Grim Reaper, and talk to God himself, in their mission to get to the Battle of the Bands and stop the two cyborgs.
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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey [Soundtrack]
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