With Bill & Ted Face the Music finally upon us, it’s such a great feeling to revisit two of the most lovable characters around. There’s something special about the characters Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter brought to life (thanks to some excellent writing from Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson), something that allowed viewers to immediately latch onto the absent-minded, but well-intended metalhead duo. While many jump to the assumption that, like Cheech & Chong, Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan are your run-of-the-mill, cliché-laden stoners, that’s never been the case. What drives Bill and Ted throughout the entire series isn’t smoking and scoring pot, no, it’s a sincere, genuine love for rock and roll. There is such an affinity for the music which drives them, that true to from, it takes a while to realize that your love for the music that moves you should serve as a catalyst to succeed, instead of being the thing that holds you back. We thought we’d take a look at the driving force between all three films and the one thing that fuels two of our favorite characters around: the love for all things metal.
In 1989’s Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, we meet the duo knee-deep in their dreams of not only being in a successful band, but more importantly to them, wanting to be good enough to score Eddie Van Halen as a member of their Wyld Stallyns band. How we meet Bill & Ted shows how out of touch they are with the realities of being a professional musician and how to get there. Like most young musicians, the passion overshadows the work, the duo work at creating a music video without knowing how to play a single song, no drummer or bass player, and without much talent as well. This might seem silly to some, and it is, but there’s a sense of youthful naïveté in the guys that feels so relatable to anyone who has had dreams of being something special, but not knowing how to achieve those dreams.
We’re all passionate about something and what Bill & Ted represent is that love and dedication to a dream, sometimes to a fault. During the course of the film, they’re tasked with discovering the importance of being educated in not only history, but life as well. Those experiences inform how they look at everyday life, not to mention how they should approach their dreams of being musicians. Like the second and third films in the series, in Excellent Adventure, it takes almost losing their partnership (and lives) to take them up and show that passion can only take you so far, and that the work and dedication that comes with achieving a dream is just as important. Through it all, though, Bill & Ted’s love for metal is the driving force in everything they do.
Featuring an impressive as hell soundtrack, Excellent Adventure’s music plays a big part in how that’s all highlighted. From Extreme’s “Play With Me” to Robbie Robb’s “In Time,” the music in the first film not only accents their respective scenes, but brings the duo’s passion to life, allowing the film’s audience to experience why Bill & Ted love what they love. The soundtrack is important to not only Excellent Adventure, but to the sequels that followed.
When we catch up with Bill & Ted in 1991’s Bogus Journey, the duo are confused as to why their talents haven’t reached the level they’re held up to in the future. There’s a disappointment in the duo and like many musicians, the time it takes to hone your craft can be frustrating, and that shows even in the songs which comprise the film’s soundtrack. There’s a level of chaos to Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and featuring “Tommy the Cat” by Primus and “The Perfect Crime” by Faith No More illustrates that. The music to Excellent Adventure was great, but for the most part, it features what you would expect from 1989 metal.
With Bogus Journey, the lineup is so eclectic that it shows how all over the place our duo feels in the film. Primus and Faith No More are two progressive bands, each one never really being held down to a specific aesthetic. Amping things up, the addition of Steve Vai’s work to the film and soundtrack adds such a massive level of mind-blowing guitar work. If there’s one thing that can be said about Bogus Journey, it’s that the film and the music that brings it to life are BIG, right down to the epic “God Gave Rock 'N' Roll to You II” by Kiss. It’s bigger, it’s better and it brings that chaotic dedication the duo feels throughout the film to life in the same way that “In Time” did in the first film.
Now 29 years later, we catch back up with our favorite duo and like so many, they’ve spent their entire lives chasing a dream that just didn’t amount to anything. So many people spend their lives hoping and wishing for something, without realizing what it takes to accomplish those dreams. The music in Bill & Ted Face the Music shows just that: a return to what made those dreams mean so much to them. The soundtrack itself shows a return to many things, right from the first single, Weezer’s “Beginning of the End.” The song starts with “Knocking on my door, they tell it’s time to go on…” And the song then goes into coming to terms with the idea that maybe the end of the dream is soon coming.
There’s a crossroad in Face the Music, where our duo is faced with whether or not the dream ended up being everything they wanted. It’s a heartfelt film, and “Beginning of the End” is the best way of showing that. It’s also a return to form for Weezer, being the first song in DECADES that truly sounds like what made that band so great in their first two albums. It feels as if we’re revisiting a familiar band, one with bow cuts and big glasses, just as Bill & Ted, through their new adventure, rediscover what made them fall in love with rock and roll, metal, and being friends together.
Through three films, we’ve been given a duo that has fought history and the future, robots, and even death itself, just to chase a dream that so many people gave up on. The dream of pursuing music, the dream of pursuing their dreams. Through the films and performances, we’ve been given characters we love and are emotional revisiting, and thanks to the music that breathes throughout those films, we’ve been able to experience the journeys and dream with Bill & Ted. I think that’s most triumphant.
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