austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Only thing wrong is a couple mosquitos (ouch)

Bill and Ted Face The Music. We saw it at an actual theater, the US 23 drive-in in Flint, a nice spot with three screens. We have the bandwidth to watch streaming movies now, we just ... don't. I'm glad we did go to see it, though, even if the rain got heavier throughout so the film was dimmer and blurrier than it should have been. The lightning storm in the sky harmonized well with the climax, though.

We were glad to see it, though. Really pleasant, pretty satisfying. I know how much of the film amounted to remixes of stuff from the first two movies, beloved nostalgic icons that I am sure, even though I haven't seen two minutes of either in over 25 years now, have not aged badly despite being full of humor for the drug-free stoner humor of the late 80s/early 90s. After posting these thoughts I will take a long sip of hot cocoa and finally watch my double-feature DVD set of the originals.

I quite liked basically everything I saw in Face The Music. There are a lot of characters, but I enjoyed seeing them all, and if I wanted more time with them --- that's a good thing, right? A good movie is never long enough, Roger Ebert might say. (I think he actually said this about great movies, but never mind.) Bill, Ted, and Rufus's daughters are particularly interesting.

The movie is short and, really, feels like about ten minutes or so was missing. This particularly in the thread about Bill and Ted's wives. They're given a couple pieces about going off on their own side adventure to find a universe where they're happy before finding, oh, it's this one. That's a good story on its own; why don't we see more of it? Possibly because there's already so much time given on Bill and Ted, on Future Bill and Future Ted, on Billie and Thea, on Kelly, and on Dennis, all busy with their own plot threads. I'm reminded how the last season of the Adam West Batman became almost impossible to write because once you gave every character who had to appear some time there was like three minutes left for plot.

Also the thread of Future Bill and Future Ted's lives, which are not looking good, seems unresolved. Bill and Ted try going to 2022, 2025, and 2030 for help with The Song, and fail each time. I had thought the Bill and Ted series used the model where there's one timeline and it can't be changed, although the premise that history is collapsing kind of defies that. So, like, does the ultimate success of Bill and Ted, in 2020, cause those future failures to not happen? Or what? ... Thing is, Future Bill and Ted lie repeatedly to past Bill and Ted about other matters. So maybe they're lying about their life failures? Providing motivation or just playing out how they remember it went? But then it's really hard to square that with where they seem to be in 2030. Also, when they venture to 2067, they can't find their time-travelling telephone booth and I don't remember that this is explained. But, then, perhaps it was explained in some scene I didn't think important at the time. The movie establishes Rufus's watch, with an inscription that sometimes a story doesn't make sense until after the end, and that is a good reminder, especially for time travel stories that embrace the Somewhere In Time paradox.

So the inciting incident is that Bill and Ted have yet to write The Song That Will Unite The World. It's a heck of a thing to know you have to do in life, and it's easy to imagine that absolutely everything will fall short. And, speaking as someone who's got two creative-writing blogs reaching ten years old (three, if you count this as a photo blog, and it's 16 years old) without any signs that they're ever going to take off, uh, yeah, that's a theme with some resonance.

But the movie makes clear a thing that I like: Bill and Ted haven't found The Song yet. But they're working hard to be able to do it. They're shown having learned competence on a Paul McCartney-breadth of instruments, and having worked on music long past the point that everybody else has given up on them. Billie and Thea, who go off on a side quest to assemble The Best Backup Band, are shown has being serious students of music, acquiring a breadth and depth of knowledge.

And that's great. A common failure mode of stories about The Chosen One is that, well, since they are Chosen, they don't have to work hard at it. They just have to show up. I mean, based on what's happening in the other thread of Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker spent maybe three days with Yoda before becoming a Jedi. Here, we're shown that you have to have the skills for the moment that you're needed. Also, that the thing you think you're readying for is not necessarily the thing you will do. It's a really good theme. Also, that we're given an idea how much work they've put in to being ready makes it make sense when The Song is improvised. It's not that they can just throw something together; it's that they've reached the point that they know what they can put together.

And another really good thematic point: what seems like a light retcon, changing The Song from a thing that Wyld Stallyns writes to being a jam session with a large number of contributors. The moment of real, substantive change is something that specific leaders can inspire, can instigate. But it can't be substantial except as a mass movement, as a thing that everyone's invited to share in. It really feels that obvious, once it's expressed. It's worth expressing, though.


Now some more of Darien Lake as seen in June of 2019. Remember June? Remember 2019? Yeah.

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Silver Bullet, another of the park's 1981-dated original rides and according to Wikipedia the only Heintz Fahtze-manufactured Enterprise in operation. In the background, that Ferris wheel? We'll come back to that.


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Directional sign that doesn't know what to do either.


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The Grand Carousel! Which is not an antique, not by Carousel standards. It's also, though, not a Chance fiberglass carousel.


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It's got some nice rounding boards of stuff you might see in Western New York, though, which is attractive.


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And someone was doing sidewalk art outside the carousel.


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Maker's plate for the carousel, which revealed to us ... there was an International Amusement Devices in Sandusky? The spot is about one block north and east of the Merry-Go-Round Museum (the address is currently a musical instruments store) but this all implies there's a deeper link to carousels in Sandusky than we had ever realized.


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And here's your ride safety sign indicating the grande-ness of the ride. Note the inspection tag hanging off to the side there.


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And here, a view of Ride Of Steel, once known as Superman - Ride Of Steel before Six Flags sold the park. They bought the park back but haven't renamed it back. It's 208 feet tall, the tallest roller coaster in New York State (says Wikipedia).


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Jo's Eatery, near the Ride of Steel entrance, lets you know the Batman The Animated Series Art Deco style they're going for in the area.


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Ride of Steel entrance. Everybody went here at the start of the day; by the time we got there, you can see, the queue was under fifteen minutes.


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The gift shop at the exit. Inside the blue patches are where the park used to have Superman and Batman logos, from the first time Darien Lake was owned by Six Flags. They were painted over but not removed when the park was sold off. They haven't been repainted into visibility as of 2019.


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Ride of Steel's lift hill, on the right, and fun bouncy return leg on the left. The ride goes out over the water and rides along the shore of that lake, which gives it a lot of visual appeal. Also the bunny hills at the end mean the back half of the roller coaster is not boring.


Trivia: The Byzantine year's start of 1 September was used by the supreme tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire until it was abolished by Napoleon in 1806. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: The Plastic-Man Archives, Volume 6, Jack Cole. Editor Dale Crain.

PS: FindTheFactors hosts the 140th Playful Math Education Blog Carnival, just a little heads-up post for you all. Also, I agree to something that's a lot of work and maybe it'll be all right? We'll see.

Tags: denver dash, movies, niagara full
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