When people get nostalgic for their young and stupid days,
I cannot help but wonder just how stupid was that phase.
Were they taking risks they’d now oppose
And banging heads to radios
And hosting public access shows
That talked about God-only-knows?
If so, I see the reason for the fondness for their prime,
Though most, I think, now wonder where their brain was at the time.
I think I skipped, for good or ill,
My foolish phase of chill and thrill,
But maybe years from now, I will
Admit that I am in it still.
MPAA rating: PG-13
For years now, I’ve known of Wayne’s World and its main characters’ similarity to the other dim-witted best friends in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but I’d only seen the time travel tale of Bill and Ted and just got to see the hijinks of Wayne and Garth for the first time recently. I’m not sure which came first, since even though Wayne’s World the movie came out after Bill and Ted, the characters of Wayne and Garth originated as a Saturday Night Live skit the same year Bill and Ted was released. Regardless of who first proclaimed the immortal interjection “Excellent!”, the appeal of both is about the same. I went into Wayne’s World expecting entertaining stupidity, and that’s what it delivered in spades.
Since Wayne’s World was a series of SNL skits, it’s not surprising that the movie is like a series of hilarious moments strung together with the loosest of plots. Early on, we’re introduced to the public access show that metal-loving best friends Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) host from Wayne’s basement, but they both make time for their preferred habits of hanging out at the local donut shop and rocking out in the car or the nearest party with a decent metal band. When a smarmy TV producer (Rob Lowe) offers them a chance at a wider network audience, they jump at the financial incentive, but will it change who Wayne and Garth are? Not!
As moronic as they are, Wayne and Garth are still relatable in their nerdy sincerity, particularly for me since I actually have a friend who reminded me a lot of a combination of the two dudes (in their idiosyncrasies, not their stupidity). Honestly, though, the actual plot that places stress on Wayne and Garth’s friendship is secondary to individual scenes that just stick out with random geeky joy, exemplified in the early car scene that illustrates how “Bohemian Rhapsody” gave a generation brain damage. There are too many hilarious scenes to list; for instance, there’s the fourth-wall breaking, or the repeated love-song halos that Wayne and Garth see around their crushes, or the ridiculous subtitles when Wayne speaks Chinese with his girlfriend Cassandra (beautiful Tia Carrere), or some truly random moments of intelligence coming from unexpected places. (Alice Cooper’s cameo has to be one of the best I’ve seen.) In addition, the soundtrack is rich with classic rock, much of it actually sung with screaming gusto by Tia Carrere, not least of which is her awesome performance of The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.”
By the end, even the movie itself knowingly ignores plot conventions for the sake of the humor, letting the audience choose what kind of ending we’d prefer. Like Bill and Ted, it’s strange to say, but this kind of highly quotable dumb humor is somehow brilliant in its idiocy, which I’ve come to appreciate more with time. I still prefer Bill and Ted for its wilder plot, but Wayne’s World is its own kind of “excellent.”
Best lines: (ex-girlfriend Stacy) “Well, don’t you want to open your present?” (Wayne) “If it’s a severed head, I’m going to be very upset.”
(Wayne) “I once thought I had mono for an entire year. It turned out I was just really bored.”
(Wayne) “Good call. It’s like [Benjamin] wants us to be liked by everyone. I mean, Led Zeppelin didn’t write tunes everybody liked. They left that to the Bee Gees.”
© 2017 S.G. Liput
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