Bill and Ted discuss Stanley Kramer’s social problem film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967) and Jordan Peele’s social thriller/horror film “Get Out” (2017). Released fifty years apart, Kramer’s film is about encouraging changing attitudes regarding racism in America where Peele’s film is about investigating how slow that progress actually has been. One film is filled with anxiety and optimistic hope, the other with anxiety and pessimistic doubt. Putting these films together is an exercise in comparisons and contrasts, a barometer of where N. American Culture has been and where it is now. Films aren’t only conversations with their audiences, sometimes they have conversations with each other. Join Bill and Ted for this experimental double feature episode.
Bill and Ted discuss Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 darkly satirical “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” a film that invites viewers to question their general safety and sanity, and maybe even their precious bodily fluids. It’s a movie about geopolitics, atomic bombs, loyalty, patriotism, fluoridation, and fear … not your usual topics for a comedy but if you can’t laugh you might have to cry. Dr Strangelove is as fresh today as it was at the height of Cold War nuclear proliferation.
Bill and Ted discuss Bill Melendez’s 1965 film “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the beloved TV holiday special written by Charles M. Schulz and starring the Peanuts gang featuring the sweetly melancholic jazz score by Vince Guaraldi. Charlie Brown simply wants to know what Christmas is all about. In his search, he encounters pop psychology, sociology, and rampant consumerism at every turn. Melendez’s short film effortlessly cuts through the cultural clutter of the 1960’s bringing Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip to animated life while providing Charlie Brown, and all of us, with the answer he seeks.
Bill and Ted discuss Lee Thompson’s 1962 suspense thriller “Cape Fear,” featuring Robert Mitchum as Max Cady a hardened convict seeking revenge on prosecutor Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck, who helped send him away to prison for 8 eight years. Tension in this black and white film noir inspired pulp-fiction thriller mounts as Cady threatens Bowden’s wife and teenage daughter as the prosecutor is faced with the prospect of having to take the law into his own hands.
Bill and Ted discuss Anthony Mann’s 1961 epic “El Cid,” featuring Charlton Heston as the 11th Century Christian Spanish nobleman Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar. Branded a traitor for releasing captured Muslim Emirs after a clash between Muslims and Christians, Rodrigo fights to clear his name and becomes one of Spain’s enduring heroes – the legendary El Cid. Equally important to the film is the troubled rollercoaster romance between El Cid and Jimena (Sophia Loren). If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; Here are Ted’s Picks: Ben-Hur (1959), Spartacus (1960), Braveheart (1995)
Bill and Ted discuss Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise’s 1961 film version of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical “West Side Story.” A film about the mean streets of the West Side of NYC: One part Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette one part teenage social commentary wrapped up in the post WWII American immigrant experience and disaffected youth angst. Gangs and forbidden love, singing and dancing! Here are Ted’s Picks for related musical films you might also enjoy The Sound of Music (1965), Grease (1978), Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Bill and Ted discuss Guy Hamilton’s film “Goldfinger,” the third Sean Connery James Bond film featuring the British spy with a licence to kill as he works to foil a plot to break into Fort Knox. Here are Ted’s Picks for other great Connery 007 films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Thunderball (1965)
Bill and Ted discuss Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” known for its cinematography, prolonged tension, and unforgettable score. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; here are Ted’s Picks: The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), Fistful of Dollars (1964), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)