Friday Night Think Tank: Bill and Ted

Doc BrownI hope you are having a most excellent Friday night, Modern Philosophers!

I stopped for Chinese food on the way home, so I will be spending some quality time with General Tso.  Then it’s out to the Think Tank for this week’s Philosophical Exercise.

Speaking of hanging with General Tso, I thought it was time to have a Think Tank Time Travel adventure.  Doc Brown is definitely down with the idea, as are my old pals from San Dimas, Bill and Ted.

Please tell me you’ve seen Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Modern Philosophers.  We watched that flick way too often at NYU, but I justify it because I was a Film Major, and I was studying an American classic.

If you don’t know the premise, Bill and Ted are high school kids who use Time Travel to complete an oral report for their History final.  They go back in time, grab some famous historical dudes, and bring them back to San Dimas High School to ace their exam.

Interesting fact about Austin’s life: When I first moved to California, I lived in San Dimas, home of Bill and Ted.  The house where I stayed was just down the block from the only Circle K in town, and if you’ve seen the flick, you’d understand the most excellent significance of that fact.

I’m going to eat dinner, and then head out to the Think Tank.  Who’s going to join me?

This week’s topic: Steal a page from Bill and Ted’s playbook, and go back in time to visit three historical figures.  Who would you visit, at what point in their lives would you arrive, and what would you want to learn from them?

Bill TedSeriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, you must watch it.  Trust me.  I’ve got a degree in Film and I’m a Modern Philosopher.

The first person I’d visit in my Time Travels would be Julius Caesar when he was at the height of his power.

I’d want to see a fellow toga wearer kicking ass and taking names, while also making quite the fashion statement.  I’d take notes on how to look like a powerhouse in an outfit that modern folks just don’t seem to understand.

Then I’d grill Caesar on how he selected the members of his inner circle.  Knowing that Brutus would go on to literally stab him in the back, I’d want to learn from Caesar’s mistake so that I could do a better job of deciding who I should trust.

Next stop would be to hang with President Abraham Lincoln during the darkest days of the Civil War.  From Honest Abe, I’d want to learn how to keep my head held high and to never give up, even when the world around me is being torn apart at the seams.

I’d hope that some of his wisdom, patience, and confidence would wear off on me.  If there was time, I’d get his opinion on rocking a stovepipe hat with a toga.

I know Doc Brown would be very mad at me for this, but I’d also try to warn him away from the Ford Theater on a certain fateful night.

My final destination would be to call upon Orson Welles while he was filming Citizen Kane.  The film is arguably the greatest of all time, and Welles was only in his mid-twenties when he made it.  Did I mention it was his first movie?

I’d want to learn anything I could from Welles about the film making process, from screenwriting to directing to producing.  I’d have to find the source of his incredible self-confidence and figure out a way to bottle it and bring it back to the present.

After that most excellent adventure, I’d return to The House on the Hill and try to use what I’d learned to be a better Modern Philosopher.

Who are you going to visit on your journey?


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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42 Responses to Friday Night Think Tank: Bill and Ted

  1. This was great! Doc Brown, Bill & Ted… what more could you ask for on a Friday night? I loved your time travelling historical figure choices but, more importantly, the reasons.

  2. Christie says:

    Firstly, I want to say I am green with envy over your dinner tonight. General Tso’s chicken is my all time favorite thing ever. Ever! Sadly, we cannot order Chinese anymore due to my youngest son’s food allergies. Sigh…

    Who would I visit? Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. I feel a little bad not including any amazing women, but these three are legends! All forward thinking inventors who changed the world. I’d like to go back to that moment when they first knew they were onto something really BIG and be there to witness it. As for what I’d like to learn from them, everything! Can you imagine all that they would have to teach? Wow!

  3. floridaborne says:

    Who would you visit? Emmy Noether

    At what point in their lives would you arrive? When she was working with Albert Einstein

    What would you want to learn? How much did Einstein rely on her for higher math–the importance of her role.

    (I read an article about her decades ago in Ms. Magazine. She is a fascinating individual who might have had more recognition in the 21st century.)

  4. cvnadagroup2017 says:
  5. First I’d want to meet Jesus of Nazareth. But when? Probably near the beginning of his ministry. Nope, AFTER resurrection. So much relative to the church today and what he anticipated.

    Next I think I’d like to meet Benjamin Franklin – just to talk for a while about “current events”

    Lastly, my modern figure would be JFK – maybe a party at the Kennedy estate.

  6. A most excellent film! For me I’d definitely visit Einstein and my Great Grandmother. She was amazing!

  7. JED says:

    I agree with you on Honest Abe. After that I think I would visit a few baseball legends. Imagine watching the Babe hit a homerun at Yankee stadium!

    Then of course I would want to visit and watch Ted Williams on that last day of the season in 1941 when he played the doubleheader and ended the year with a .406 batting average.

  8. I don’t have an answer about 3 people to visit, but must tell you I love Bill and Ted…and every time I hear the song, “Every Rose Has a Thorn..” I think of Death speaking it in that high voice. Classic.

  9. SD Gates says:

    I love Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure!!!! I have seen it a million times. I think I would visit Queen Victoria, Einstein, and Frederic Chopin. I think I will go watch that movie!!!!!

  10. Lidy says:

    You had me at Bill and Ted. I loved the first movie, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and the sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Adventure. I always watched it whenever it came on TV (which reminds I have to add them to my movie library). And as for who I’d like to go back in time to meet, I had to think real hard about this. First, I’d like to meet the captain of the Titanic, Edward John Smith, and warn him about the iceberg. But then the 1997 film Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet would never have been made. Then I’d like to meet Amelia Earheart and interview her about the source of her bravery/courage to fly solo across the Atlantic. Last, I’d want to meet the last pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra.

  11. List of X says:

    I’d take Jules Verne – so he could see how the world had changed in the ways he’d foreseen and in the ways he hadn’t.
    Pierre Fermat – to find out if he really had the proof for his theorem, or if he was mistaken, or if he was just messing with future readers.
    And Adolf Hitler circa 1932 – so that he’d get locked up somewhere in the present and never made it back into his time.

  12. ofopinions says:

    It’s been too long since I watched Bill and Ted! Weren’t there two Bill and Ted movies though? I’d like to meet Lord Byron, purely because he was supposed to be very good looking and the first celebrity in the modern sense. I’d like to meet John Lennon in his househusband years, though I don’t know how that conversation will go. I’d also like to meet Nora Ephron to pick on her brains.

  13. I have to think about this one… I’ll get back to you 🙂

    In fact, I might write a whole post on it!

    p.s. I’m working on my first lesson, struggling, but working on it! I feel like I’ve lost my imagination, and what a terrible thing to lose!!!

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