Episode 62 – Early Silent Short Films

Bill & Ted discuss early silent short films from the dawn of film making: Thomas Edison’s “The Kiss,” (1896); Louis Lumière’s proto cinéma vérité film “The Arrival of the Train,” (1896); Georges Méliès’ iconic Jules-Verne’s-esque sci-fi film “A Trip to the Moon,” (1902); Edwin S. Porter’s Western “The Great Train Robbery,” (1903); D.W. Griffith’s Rom-Com Tragedy “The Making of a Man,” (1911); Charlie Chaplin’s Action Comedy “The Tramp,” (1915); Man Ray’s Experimental film “The Return to Reason,” (1923); and Luis Buñuel’s  Surrealist film with painter Salvador Dali, “Un Chien Andalou,” (1929).  

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Robert J. Flaherty’s “Nanook of the North” (1922), Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” (1923), Luis Buñuel’s “L’Age D’Or” (1930)

Episode 59 – The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Bill & Ted discuss the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s 2003 adaptation of the JRR Tolkien’s 1955 Lord of the Rings Book “The Return of the King.” This is the inspirational epic conclusion where everything comes to a head and all obstacles both internal and external are overcome one way or another: the fate of the Ring, of Middle Earth and all the characters both good and evil conclude in a poignant and satisfying way. Here Bill and Ted delve into both the deeply emotional impact of the film and the underlying theological and hopeful nature of the story in this third film in the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.  

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: The Wizard of Oz (1939), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)/Part 2 (2011)

 

2000's, Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, War

Episode 57 – The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Part II

Bill & Ted continue their discussion of the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s 2001 adaptation of the JRR Tolkien’s 1954 The Fellowship of the Ring, as they dig into the themes and theological underpinnings of the film asking, “What is the nature of the Ring that Frodo Baggins carries and its impact on the characters in contact with it?” The epic continues.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: The Maltese Falcon (1941), Paths of Glory (1957), There Will Be Blood (2007)

2000's, Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Episode 56 – The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Part I

Bill & Ted discuss the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s 2001 adaptation of the JRR Tolkien’s 1954 Lord of the Rings Book “The Fellowship of the Ring” a sprawling fantasy epic staring Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, the Hobbit, setting out on an adventure beyond his expectations. “The Fellowship of the Ring” is the first in a trilogy of films that revolve around the quest to destroy the Ring of Power forged by the Dark Lord Sauron before it can be used to its ultimate purpose. In part one of a two part look at the film here Bill and Ted talk primarily about aspects of the production of the film from the casting, to in-camera trickery and impressions of the special effect, to the enchanting score composed by Howard Shore.  

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

 

2000's, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Episode 54 – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) & Get Out (2017)

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.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: The Defiant Ones (1958), In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Stepford Wives (1975)

Episode 53 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Bill and Ted discuss Milos Forman’s 1975 adaptation of 60’s drug culture author Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a violent offender, is sent to receive a psychiatric evaluation, and while institutionalized, befriends a group of residents as he struggles against the domineering Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who holds his future in her hands. It’s a film of stark contrasts swinging between compassion and contempt, despair and hope, power and vulnerability. Filled with compelling and nuanced supporting performances the film won five Oscars in 1976 including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Writing for an Adapted Screenplay.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Easy Rider (1969), Taking Off (1971), The Last Detail (1973)

Episode 48 – Fight Club (1999)

Bill and Ted discuss David Fincher’s 1999 film “Fight Club” featuring Edward Norton as an insomniac accountant resentfully living a consumer- driven apathetic life devoid of happiness whose chance meeting with the devil-may-care, philosophizing traveling soap salesman Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) turns his whole world upside down. Adapted from Chuck Palahniuk’s raw nerve of a novel, this movie deftly creates an equally raw and uncompromising existential portrait of a lost and bitter soul struggling against a heartless world desperately seeking to feel something, even if it’s a fist in his face.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Harvey (1950), Se7en (1995), The Game (1997)

1990's, Drama

Episode 46 – DUNE (1984)

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.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Metropolis (1927), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Flash Gordon (1980)

Episode 44 – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962), A Christmas Story (1983), The Star (2017)

Episode 43 – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Bill and Ted discuss Wes Anderson’s 2004 film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” Set against a quirky backdrop populated with colourful characters, the film features Bill Murray as a Jacque Cousteau-esque oceanographer contemplating fatherhood and failure following the death of his long time partner and friend Esteban (Seymour Cassel), who was eaten by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark. Ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, Anderson’s film deals with the nature of perception and its effects on personal insecurities and relationships.

If you enjoyed this film, you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Rushmore (1998), Big Fish (2003)