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Bill & Ted Face the Music is a movie for the year we lost

Bill Ted Face the Music feels a bit like a prank. Franchise filmmaking is king now, and because of this, any revival feels cynical by default. Bill Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its sequel, Bill Ted’s Bogus Journey, are perhaps among the least cynical films ever made: sincere romps through time and the afterlife starring sweet morons who love rock n’ roll. They lack any sort of edge or hint of darkness (even when they go to Hell) and delight in their lack of sophistication. There’s not a lot there, but that’s what makes them charming. This makes the idea of a third film, released over 30 years after the first, feel like a stretch. Yet it might be my favorite movie released this year.

I saw Bill Ted Face the Music at a drive-in theater. It was something my partner and I had always wanted to do (drive-ins, not Bill Ted) but lacked the opportunity. In a pandemic, however, drive-ins are among the only safe ways to go see movies outside of your home, so we borrowed a car and drove to see the only new movie playing at the drive-in that night. Neither of us had particularly strong feelings about the film — we were more excited about the act of seeing a movie than we were the movie itself — but it felt like the right one to see on a warm summer night with the windows down and truly bad concession stand food balanced on our laps.

Bill Ted Face the Music, like its predecessors, is a simple movie. Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter), have been told since they were teenagers that their rock band, the Wyld Stallyns, will write the

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