Episode 635: Who Is Wyld Stallyns?

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” released for streaming this week.

Support Overthinking It by becoming a member for $5/month!

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather conclude their journey through space and history, to the past and the future, to heaven and hell, and finally arrive back at San Dimas to overthink Bill & Ted Face the Music. What they say about the music can also be said about history: It had some good parts.

Download (MP3)

Subscribe: iTunes Other Apps

2 Comments on “Episode 635: Who Is Wyld Stallyns?”

  1. John C Member #

    I haven’t watched the movie ($20 is a good–no, an Excellent! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6uPTUFo_TE obligatory–price for first-run video on demand, but living alone makes that silly to pay), and I’m a week late to listening to the podcast, but…

    It sounds like one of the big problems with the movie is that it’s presenting itself as potentially relaunching the franchise, but really just wants the apocalyptic showdown and happy ending. Like, putting the onus on the kids is brilliant, because it’s worth asking if one song really DID change the world or whether the historical “Bill & Ted” really were the kids or adults, or even if the future historians know what they’re talking about. But (a) you don’t end the story with the success state and (b) you can’t make the franchise approachable to a new generation of fans by making the “universal music” sound like music that was popular in the ’80s and ’90s.

    Interestingly, there were dreams of expanding the franchise, once before. From 1990 to 1992 (straddling Bogus Journey) there were anywhere from one to three attempts to get a TV show running, depending on how you count them. There was a cartoon with the original cast, a second season of the cartoon with a new cast, then a live action show with that new cast.

    In a lot of ways, that quasi-defeatism sounds like it echoes through the universe-saving song, in that there are only so many historical musicians whose work has been passed down to us. We definitely don’t know the greatest musicians in history, because their work has become anonymized, nobody records their music, or their cultures were destroyed through colonization. So, the obvious solution is to pick names that adults will recognize. An interesting cheat (though maybe not viable for the film’s $25M budget after accounting for how much Reeves alone probably gets paid) could’ve been to invite the top people of modern genres that adults dismiss–K-Pop, so-called Mumble/SoundCloud rap, and so forth–and have someone like Wendy Carlos to mix their work into something cohesive. I have absolutely no idea what that would sound like, but I’d probably rent the movie to find out! I’d certainly be more interested in how that turned out than fake Hendrix, cartoon Armstrong, and some anonymous extras.


  2. THC #

    Great podcast guys! One point I wanted to raise for discussion:

    Mark’s contention that the “great piece of art that will unite all people” is fundamentally impossible because great art is, by definition, path-breaking and new, seems off. I would put into question the underlying frameworks that define truly great art in that manner, and posit that those frameworks themselves derive from specific cultural contexts that are not universally applicable to all art and all people.

    Rather, maybe the “one piece of art that will unite all humanity” is impossible specifically because art itself is produced in cultural contexts that are distinct.


Add a Comment