Bill and Ted discuss John Milius’ 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian” drawn from the sword-and-sorcery pulp fiction writings of Robert E. Howard featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan, a gladiator bent on finding the warlord wizard Thalsu Doom (James Earl Jones) who killed his family. With a phenomenal score by composer Basil Poledouris, Milius brings to the big screen a pre-historical world of high adventure. This is a seminal film that paved the way for an ever-expanding genre.
Bill and Ted discuss David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Hugo and Nebula award winning novel “DUNE” first published in 1965. A complex, epic, science-fiction, surreal, eye-popping, auditory, extravaganza puzzle of a film that comes across like a dream, and, like a dream when awake, all the pieces of the puzzle don’t exactly fit. Dense and complex, dealing with themes of politics, religion, ecology, intergalactic colonialism, and commodity warfare, “DUNE” tells the story of Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan), an orphaned prince who becomes a messianic leader while discovering his greater purpose and upending the whole order of the known universe. This episode is as long as the sand on Arrakis is deep.
Bill and Ted discuss Tim Burton’s 1988 film “Beetlejuice,” featuring Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the ghosts of newly deceased Adam and Barabra Maitlandas they try to spook the NYC high society Deetzes’ and their Goth daughter Lydia played by Winona Ryder who purchased their house in a sleepy New England town. Failing to frighten the Deetzes on their own, they reluctantly turn to the rogue “bio-exorcist” ghost Beetlejuice played to the hilt by Michael Keaton. Burton merges German expressionist style with upbeat Calypso music in this oddly colourful and straggly up-beat ghost story. Of the film Burton says, “It has elements of horror but it’s not really scary, and it’s funny but not really a comedy.” If you enjoyed this film you may also like these: Ted’s Picks: Defending Your Life (1991), The Frighteners (1996), Corpse Bride (2005)
Bill and Ted discuss Tim Burton’s 1989 film “Batman,” featuring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Dark and brooding Burton twists the campy qualities of the 1960’s Adam West version of Batman in into a dark freak show doubling down on Wayne’s introspection and the Joker’s psychosis. Brimming with memorable lines and iconic moments the film is not without its narrative and structural problems; certainly a film that paved the way forward toward the ensuing proliferation of blockbuster superhero films. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these: Ted’s Picks: Batman Returns (1992), The Dark Knight (2008), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Bill and Ted discuss Nicholas Meyer’s 1982 Sci-Fi film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” The crew of the Star Ship Enterprise encounter a nemesis from their collective past, Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban), bent on revenge and desperate to use an experimental terraforming technology called Genesis. Themes of friendship, self-sacrifice and aging permeate this film that both subverts and exceeds expectations while remaining true to its source material and characters. The Wrath of Khan may just be one of the best sequels of all time and certainly is the best of the classic Trek films. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; Here are Ted’s Picks: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Serenity (2005)
Bill and Ted discuss Peter Weir’s “Witness,” a thoroughly satisfying 80’s classic. Harrison Ford as police detective John Book protects an Amish boy (Lucas Haas) and his mother (Kelly McGillis) after the child witnesses a murder in the big city. It’s a crime thriller, romances, and a compelling fish out of water story set in Philadelphia and the quiet Amish country of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; Here are Ted’s Picks: North by Northwest (1959), The Mosquito Coast (1986), Cop Land (1997)
Bill and Ted discuss John G. Avildsen’s “The Karate Kid Part II,” another ‘fish-out-of-water’ story where Jersey boy Daniel Larusso goes from California sun to Mr. Miyagi’s Okinawa home town fishing village. The stakes are higher as Daniel hones his martial arts focus and Mr. Miyagi confronts the reasons he originally left for California. Here are Ted’s Picks for great sequels: The Godfather: Part II (1974), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Bill and Ted discuss John G. Avildsen’s “The Karate Kid,” a surprisingly touching ‘fish-out-of-water/zero-to-hero’ teen story with a nice balance of martial arts and California sun. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; here are Ted’s Picks: The Power of One (1992), Lean on Me (1989), Rocky (1976)
Bill and Ted discuss Lawrence Kasdan’s “Silverado,” an underrated western with stunning vistas, fun characters, and a gorgeous soundtrack filled with high adventure and touching moments. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these: Young Guns (1988), Tombstone (1993), 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Bill and Ted discuss Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Big Chill,” known for its powerhouse cast and great soundtrack. If you enjoyed this film for its investigation into grief you may also like these: Manchester by the Sea (2016), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Ordinary People (1980). If you liked the hang-out story line you may also like these: The Breakfast Club (1985), American Graffiti (1973), Dazed and Confused (1993)