Sunday, February 7, 2010

Going Deep on "Bill and Ted"

The Super Bowl is over. The Saints won, which is what I hoped for. I got the Manning Face I waited all season to see. I know a couple people who were rooting for the colts, but they all had money on the game and in my whole life I've never met an honest-to-God Colts fan. Good and reasonable people were rooting for the Saints. Let's be real: their city got destroyed. Leveled almost to the ground, just a couple years ago, because of George W. Bush. He summoned the great storm Katrina by channeling a mighty spell from atop the White House. Like Saruman in The Two Towers when he was on the roof of Orthanc just hurling a never-ending river of storm clouds towards the Misty Mountains. George Bush destroyed the city to prove to the world how little he cared about black people (not at all, as it turns out), and if you were rooting for the Colts you were rooting for Katrina to happen all over again. Yes you were.

Sean Payton called a great game start to finish and you have to admire his ballsy moves throughout. Going for it on fourth down in the first half, even though they didn't make it, put them in a great position to score a field goal as time expired. The onside kick paid off big-time, because that's the real time to try it--not when you have to and they're expecting it. The Saints felt like they needed an extra possession in the second half, and when they got it they capitalized. That drive at the start of the third quarter was enormous and (I believe) the onside kick was the difference in the game. What if Manning had gotten the ball and embarked on a scoring drive at the start of the second half? The game has a totally different complexion. Ultimately, I liked the Saints' approach and it's surprising how often fortune favors the bold.

Something funny happened in the bathroom at work Friday. I walked in having to pee. The urinals were empty and the room was silent. I sidled on up, deployed the landing gear and started my business. I normally pee against the back of the urinal so it doesn't splash or make any noise to speak of, and that's what I did here. However, the second I got my stream going, I heard a loud, sustained splash sound. I freaked out momentarily before noticing the sound came from a stall. Somebody else had been in here the whole time, lying in wait and starting his stream right as I started mine! It was perfect timing, and for a split second I honestly thought my penis had taught itself ventriloquism. I'm not going to say that would be awesome, because honestly I can't think of too many applications for a ventriloquist penis. You could make people believe that somebody else was peeing while you were peeing, but it would be difficult to maintain that ruse for long. Because...well, you'd be peeing. Even if you sold it and never got caught, what would the upside be? You confused a couple folks and pissed all over yourself.

Speaking of upside, here is a decision that I never understood from a very important movie. It's actually a pretty important decision to the aesthetic of the movie, too: in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, why was the time machine a phone booth? My first thought was camouflage. The time machine was designed to be hidden in 20th-century San Dimas. But that doesn't make sense for a couple reasons. First, every time they park the time machine they do so in a place where it doesn't make sense. In the middle of a Circle-K parking lot, on Ted's lawn...this will arouse suspicion. Second, the booth itself looked ridiculous! It had this whole mass of metal antennae on the top of it, and it appeared through a magical sparkling hole in the ground. So even in the absolute best possible time and place for hiding this particular machine, it wouldn't work.

And things would be even worse in other time periods! If something like that phone booth just appeared in a shower of electrical sparks and these guys stepped out of it, some kind of violence or panic would occur. 98% of human beings throughout recorded history would, if they saw this thing materialize, try as hard as they could to just kill whatever came out of it. In fact, Napoleon Bonaparte attempts just that. But then he gets thrown into the air by a cannon and sucked through the time hole in the worst-blocked scene in modern cinematic history. Go back and watch it; you never have any goddamn clue where any of the characters are supposed to be standing relative to each other. But Napoleon makes up for it by demolishing the Ziggy Piggy. I don't really mean to nitpick a movie like Bill and Ted, but that phone booth is a really iconic image and a big-time decision in the movie. And it makes no sense aside from providing a clown-car sight gag when all the various historical figures were aboard.

And finally, let's acknowledge what so many others seem to be afraid to: Ted's little brother Deacon is an asshole. I understand he's just an adolescent kid, but you know what? That's no excuse. Bill and Ted are both adolescent kids and they're the heroes of the movie! They can handle the rigors and complications of time travel "with the greatest of ease." These guys, who are supposed to be particularly dim-witted (though creative enough to found a hair metal band on which a utopian society is one day founded), put together a spectacular future-saving history project through time travel in one night and Deacon can't handle babysitting Napoleon for a couple hours? Outrageous, and I can't believe there wasn't some righteous brother-on-brother retribution for the crap that kid pulled. Ted gave him money, for Christ's sake! When I give bums money to "watch my car," they're still sitting there when I come back!

But no, Deacon's just thinking with his dick. Unlike Bill and Ted (who are, by all appearances and accounts, total losers until the divine intervention of Rufus), Deacon is waist-deep in '80s tail. So he ditches the Emperor of France, the next Caesar made flesh, to hang out with some permed-up side-tail-havin' skanks. And I can understand that on one level, but on another he's got a major historical figure to babysit. Ted told him this was a "very famous French dude," and he just dropped the ball. This was his opportunity to man up and show some responsibility, and he couldn't do it. Very disappointing. While Bill and Ted's phenomenal history report saved their grades and the future of Wyld Stallyns, I have no doubt that Deacon ended up at Colonel Oates' Military Academy. In Alaska. Because there can't be futuristic time-traveling-deus-ex-machina-providing George Carlins for everyone. Deacon isn't going to save the world. But at least he could have made an effort.

Thanks always for reading.

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