by Brad Kessler
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are not an unlikely duo. They are in their early twenties and live part time in LA. Both star this month in the teen fantasy/comedy Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and both have become fairly familiar lately - Reeves for his roles in River's Edge, The Prince of Pennsylvania, and Dangerous Liaisons; Winter for his parts in Death Wish III, Haunted Summer, and The Lost Boys.
In their latest incarnations Reeves and Winter are Bill and Ted, heavy-metal buddies who play air guitar and dream of Eddie Van Halen. They have the collective vocabulary of a myna bird and think Caesar was "the dude" who invented salad.
They are about to fail their history final when a cosmic George Carlin comes to give them a little cultural literacy in the form of a telephone booth that travels through the "cables of history." Armed with their transtemporal phone booth, they travel, like Sherman and Mr. Peabody, to various centuries, plucking up little oddities of history along the way - Napoleon, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Joan of Arc - to bring back for show and tell.
While the real Reeves is effusive, perennially young, grinning, and full of Valleybabble, Winter is more serious. A graduate of NYU Film School, he started acting at the age of 14 with Yul Brynner and Constance Towers in The King and I. Reeves started a little later, at 16, on Canadian television. Winter, who is also a filmmaker, has just finished a "rock-and-roll horror comedy" about the Butthole Surfers; his next role is as a spoiled 17-year-old. Reeves, for his part, will appear as a wayward teenager in a PBS comedy, Life Under Water.
Boys will, alas, play boys.