February 14, 1992

Wayne's World

The 21 Years Later Amazon Prime Review

This movie was big when it came out, but I had forgotten what an epic impact on pop culture Wayne's World had in the early 1990s. The Saturday Night Live sketch was your basic "two metal dudes" formula, much like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Dave & Chainsaw in Summer School, and Jesse & Chester in Dude, Where's My Car? but Wayne's World invented a whole universe of slang and catchphrases which blew up like crazy.
Seeing Ed O'Neill on  Modern Family for the last few years,
it's novel to see him from 21 years ago.
The movie throws everything at the wall to see what will stick. The plot is actually pretty solid, although the movie has no ending (or three endings, depending on how you count.) Is it ironic that the Wayne's World movie feels like an el-cheapo Paramount Pictures "cash in on a hot trend" backlot quickie, but the plot illustrates the dangers of artists signing contracts with a big companies, leading to soulless corporate weasels exploiting you and destroying all that made your work special in the first place?

I was also surprised and happy to discover how much music is in the movie, and how music plays an integral part of the movie- Wayne's lovestruck gazes at Cassandra are set to "Dreamweaver"; Garth's daydream seduction of his Dream Lady (Donna Dixon) is set to "Foxy Lady"; the headbanging "Bohemian Rhapsody" lip sync was even funnier than I remember. We can thank director Penelope Spheeris and her impeccable rock pedigree, for keeping this movie rockin'.
NOTE: How big a phenomenon was Wayne's World? Sixteen years after "Bohemian Rhapsody" peaked at #6 on the US charts in 1976, the single re-entered the charts in 1992 and peaked at #2.

Party Time (In Name Only) Except for a glass of champagne at Rob Lowe's bachelor bad, Wayne and Garth never drink in the movie- their TV crew pals do, barely, and their buddy Phil - the one who might "hurl" in the back of the Mirthmobile - is apparently drunk, but for all their talk of partying, no one ever talks about drinking or getting drunk, or getting stoned.
Rob Lowe and Tia Carerre may be the two finest specimens of humanity. Period.

Theater Notes

I don't actually have a stub for Wayne's World, but I know for sure I saw it in the theater, because there's a joke which was only shown for US theater audiences: When Wayne tries out the vintage Fender Stratocaster at the music shop, he begins with the first three notes of "Stairway to Heaven" before the clerk stops him, pointing to their "NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN" sign. I distinctly remember this joke. In the home video version, they had to replace those three notes with some generic guitar music due to a legal dispute over the actual song.