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Can't Stop the Movies

The Boy Who Stole The Sun: Devlog #12

And finally... some gameplay emerges! Check it out in this late posting of Saturday's video update 🙂


Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

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They've gone through history, but nothing's changed.  Bill and Ted are still struggling to bring their band the success they've been told it will have.  Their lapse into self-doubt parallels a malevolent schemer from the future who sends robot duplicates of Bill and Ted into the past to kill their band before they can be successful.  Pete Hewitt directs Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, with the screenplay written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, and stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves.

As I write today, April 11th of 2018, there are only two Bill & Ted films in existence.  The 1st, Excellent Adventure, I've watched at minimum 42 times.  The 2nd, Bogus Journey, I've only seen twice - once a shade over fifteen years ago and the second just under a week ago.  I will, no doubt, be watching Excellent Adventure many more times.  The two trips I've had with Bogus Journey will suffice, as the first viewing underwhelmed and the second underwhelmed but with the added benefit of knowing why.

Bogus Journey suffers from the same issue the Harold and Kumar sequels do, a fundamental misunderstanding that the humor comes not from the outlandish situations but the earnest friendship between the leads.  Excellent Adventure works so well because every action or story beat is or sets up a joke that has something to do with Bill and Ted's sincere wish to better themselves.  Their goals in Bogus Journey are to get back to life so that they can win the battle of the bands.  It's their next logical step, not a big character building moment.


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

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Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan are two articulate friends who love music and have the combined academic skill of a sunbathing sloth.  When a mysterious stranger approaches the two with a way to complete their history report, Bill and Ted go on an excellent adventure throughout time.  Stephen Herek directs Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, with the screenplay written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, and stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (just Excellent Adventure moving forward) is the tightest comedy ever captured on film.  In this post-Apatow era of long-winded improv, Excellent Adventure's a remember how many laughs can be mined from a great script.  Every joke is a setup to another joke, like how Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) blow out their audio equipment in the opening scene to show how bad they are at playing and when they get the "good stuff" at the end they still sound horrible.  Then there's the running oral fixation of Sigmund Freud (Rod Loomis) whose gigantic corndog in the San Dimas mall never fails to get a laugh out of me.

The most important piece is Excellent Adventure's sincerity.  Despite the high concept plot, it's really just about two high school kids who want to be better than they are so that they can live out their dreams together.  That made this last go around, which I think is the 40+ time I've watched Excellent Adventure, hit my heart a bit harder than previous year's viewings.  I'm not successful yet, but Bill's maxim, "Be excellent to each other," is still an aspiration to live up to.


The Boy Who Stole The Sun: Devlog #11

This update features a new critter, bugs related to that critter, and a romp through some of the new maps in progress. Have a look!


The Last Express Gold Edition (1997)

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Special note: while I urge you to experience The Last Express for yourself if possible, both parts of my longplay of The Last Express (failures and all) are temporarily available for viewing.  Here's part 1 and part 2.

With two narrow hallways, a sampling of side-rooms, a smoking section, dining center, and two intermittently accessible areas of the train - The Last Express Gold Edition (just The Last Express moving forward) provides more of an "open world" videogame than products that openly advertise that feature.  Jumping in can feel daunting.  I know I had some issues getting into it the first time because no matter where I went there was a conversation to overhear, discussions to jump in on, and a murder mystery my player character Robert Cath (David Svensson) unwittingly becomes a suspect in.  Then there's the steady hypnotic sounds of the train itself, bumping on bits of rail and providing the kind of low groaning grind that's catnip for an afternoon nap.

No first-person adventure game of the '90s, not even Myst, gives me the freedom to explore this fascinating microcosm of the world circa 1914.  In Myst there's a discrete objective, even if the means of achieving the goal allow the player to achieve them in whatever order they see fit.  There's no such goalpost system in The Last Express, I could tarry around the narrow corridors peeking in on eunuchs and passengers making idle small talk without even discovering the mutilated corpse of Tyler Whitney.  Granted, if I choose to ignore the compartment and go about my merry way, then I'll lose and be thrown off the Orient Express.