Wayne’s World, 1992.
Directed by Penelope Spheeris.
Starring Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Ed O’Neill.
Wayne’s World arrives on Blu-ray again in a new Steelbook to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary. It’s the same disc that Paramount has issued before, but if you’re a fan and haven’t grabbed this movie on disc before, this is a great opportunity. A code for a digital copy is included too.
I’ve been a Saturday Night Live watcher since I was a kid. I can remember the infamous episode where they gave out phone numbers to vote whether or not they should boil a lobster named Larry – I watched it while my parents were out and am pretty sure I voted to condemn him (sorry, Larry). Hey, I was 12 years old at the time.
I’ll confess that my inner 12-year-old also enjoyed Mike Myers’ various characters during his time on the show, especially long-haired metal-head Wayne Campbell and his buddy Garth Algar, played by Dana Carvey. I went through my own heavy metal phase in high school, so I suppose that’s why those sketches resonated with me.
Which made me the perfect filmgoer for Wayne’s World, which turned Myers’ and Carvey’s characters into a full-length movie. The premise is simple: The duo’s beloved cable access TV show has gotten the attention of producer Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe), who wants to turn them into big-time TV stars. Benjamin is also looking to line his pockets as much as he can, at Wayne and Garth’s expense, while putting the moves on Wayne’s heavy metal singer girlfriend Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere).
For director Penelope Spheeris, it must have been a bit of a surreal experience working on a movie about fake metal-heads a few years after she helmed Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, which chronicled the activities of several well-known and not-so-well-known metal-heads in the Los Angeles area. It was the follow-up to her well-received first Decline of Western Civilization documentary, which took a look at LA’s punk scene in the late 70s and early 80s.
I believe this is the first movie I’ve reviewed for Flickering Myth that has a two-point disparity in the Film and Movie ratings. That’s because, while the movie is a lot of fun and has plenty of laughs, it’s essentially a series of Wayne’s World sketches writ large, with a plot that exists simply as a vehicle for jokes. So if you’re going to look at this movie through a more scholarly lens, you’ll be disappointed; if you just want to have fun for 95 minutes, though, this one is for you.
This is the same Blu-ray that Paramount has released before. This time, though, they’ve celebrated the film’s 30th anniversary by packaging it in a nice orange Steelbook and threw in a code for a digital copy. Since the bonus features are the same, this one isn’t worth a double-dip unless you’re a Steelbook collector.
It’s a bummer they didn’t do something more to commemorate Wayne’s World’s big three-oh, like including a nice retrospective documentary. It would be interesting to hear from the cast and crew looking back on a cultural moment that happened when the Internet was in its infancy and no one had heard of social media. In that context, the movie almost feels quaint.
Thanks for indulging me in that bit of silliness. With that out of the way, let’s dive into the two bonus features, starting with a commentary track featuring Spheeris. If you’ve never heard her chat about filmmaking before (I highly recommend that interview she did for Marc Maron’s podcast a few years ago), you’re in for a treat with this track. She dives into the ins and outs of making a movie that had to be shot during the short SNL summer break. And given her background in music documentaries and the fact that rock plays a big part in this film, she gives plenty of time to that subject too.
The other bonus feature is the 23-minute Extreme Close-Up, which features Myers, Carvey, Lowe, Carrere, Spheeris, producer Lorne Michaels, and others looking back on the making of the movie, from the early days of the Wayne’s World sketches to its journey to the big screen. Watching it made me wonder why none of the SNL sketches were also included as a bonus feature. Opportunity missed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★