Tag Archives: Alex Winter

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989, Stephen Herek)

About halfway through Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the film becomes truly excellent. Dimwitted metal heads Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves have successfully brought historical figures to the present and loosed them on the modern world–the mall. That sequence of the film, along with Terry Camilleri’s Napoleon at a water park, is when the film fully delivers on its titular promise.

Until that point, it gets by on some amusing dialogue, George Carlin’s glorified cameo and Reeves’s performance. He brings a warmness and likability to his stupidity; in contrast, Winter is almost standoffish in his own performance. He seems to take it very seriously, whereas no one else working on the film takes anything seriously. It would probably hurt if it weren’t for that witty script and Reeves being around to save scenes.

The first half of the film, with the time travel setup and Reeves and Winter capturing the historical figures, is okay but buffoonish. It’s not until the modern day–with its absurd handling of time travel logic–where the film’s a consistent success. It would help if Hal Landon Jr. and Bernie Casey were a little better too; Casey seems disinterested in his role, while Landon’s just bad as Reeves’s jerk dad.

As for the supporting cast–Camilleri is the standout. He’s phenomenal. Robert V. Barron does well as Abraham Lincoln, as does Jane Wiedlin as Joan of Arc. Dan Shor gets lots of screen time, but almost nothing to do.

It takes a while, but Adventure definitely works out.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Stephen Herek; written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon; director of photography, Tim Suhrstedt; edited by Larry Bock and Patrick Rand; music by David Newman; production designer, Roy Forge Smith; produced by Scott Kroopf, Michael S. Murphey and Joel Soisson; released by Orion Pictures.

Starring Keanu Reeves (Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan), Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston), Robert V. Barron (Abraham Lincoln), Terry Camilleri (Napoleon), Clifford David (Beethoven), Al Leong (Genghis Khan), Rod Loomis (Freud), Dan Shor (Billy the Kid), Tony Steedman (Socrates), Jane Wiedlin (Joan of Arc), Bernie Casey (Mr. Ryan), Hal Landon Jr. (Captain Logan), Amy Stock-Poynton (Missy) and George Carlin (Rufus).


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The Lost Boys (1987, Joel Schumacher)

Not being a girl, I never really got The Lost Boys. I didn’t even see it until I was in my late teens, hunting down Jeffrey Boam’s screenwriting credits. Seeing it now, it’s not just clear how much the film wastes wasted Michael Chapman’s cinematography or how Schumacher makes Corey Haim the only gay leading character in a major Hollywood film I can think of, but also how impossible it would have been to identify with the film as a boy. It’s not like The Monster Squad or The Goonies; Schumacher’s gearing this film specifically for the teenager girl audience. Its infinite depths of gay subtext, while amusing during the more tedious stretches, are really meaningless.

I also can’t remember many other popular vampire films where the rules of vampirism aren’t fetishized. There’s lip service paid to them here, but The Lost Boys plays it pretty loose with the rules (like when Jami Gertz enters Haim’s house uninvited or antlers killing a vampire).

Haim’s not good. He’s not even personable enough to be obnoxious. Corey Feldman’s bad too. Jamison Newlander’s fine, so much so, it’s surprising he didn’t go on to more.

Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann and Barnard Hughes are all great. Patric’s got some lame scenes too, so when he does good work, it’s impressive–he’s got a lot to overcome.

The vampires are mostly lame, Alex Winter being the lamest. Their makeup is from the Cat People remake….

Still, it’s not as bad as I remembered.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Joel Schumacher; screenplay by Janice Fischer, James Jeremias and Jeffrey Boam, based on a story by Fischer and Jeremias; director of photography, Michael Chapman; edited by Robert Brown; music by Thomas Newman; production designer, Bo Welch; produced by Harvey Bernhard; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Jason Patric (Michael), Corey Haim (Sam), Dianne Wiest (Lucy), Barnard Hughes (Grandpa), Edward Herrmann (Max), Kiefer Sutherland (David), Jami Gertz (Star), Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog), Brooke McCarter (Paul), Billy Wirth (Dwayne), Alex Winter (Marko) and Chance Michael Corbitt (Laddie).


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