Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art is subjective. Music and movies aren’t about competition; they’re about artistic expression. Well, for those of you who know better than to believe those lies, welcome to another installment of Vs. This time, we definitively determine which Wayne’s World movie parties harder.
A lot can be said about Wayne’s World since Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar first schwinged their way into theaters 25 years ago on Valentine’s Day. We could break down how it blended rock and roll, sketch comedy, and pop-culture unlike any film before it. We could harp on about how it set a dizzying bar for SNL movies, became arguably the most quotable comedy of a generation, and remains a time capsule of early ’90s slackerdom. Or, if we wanted to get more personal, we could talk about how it was our ultimate weekend rental as young teens, a non-Hughesian rite de passage, and one of the first films of ours that we caught our parents giggling at after they thought we had fallen asleep.
Or, here’s something you can scribble on the back of your note cards: The sequel didn’t blow goats!!!
That sounds like a minor feat to focus on until you think about the massive flock of ’90s sequels that did indeed fellate goats. Some might chalk up the second installment’s appeal to the surprise, runaway success of the original. Less than two years after Wayne and Garth stormed Hollywood by way of Aurora, the same beloved characters found themselves again on the big screen. But what a different flick. While the beats, bad guys, and babes were similar, our favorite cable-access co-hosts were sprung from Wayne’s basement (“sans parents”) and emerged into a world that spun pop culture, Hollywood in particular, on its head fast enough to make you hurl. Find another film of that era — or any era, for that matter — that could send up both the biggest blockbuster hit of that same summer (Jurassic Park) and pay a lengthy and faithful homage to arguably the greatest coming-of-age film in history (The Graduate), never once second guessing itself or breaking from the mental hijinks of its irreverent stars.
Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2 remain side-clutchingly excellent more than two decades later. Which is the better flick? Well, that may come down to whether you prefer crullers or sugar pucks, partying at The Gasworks or Komrades, or hanging backstage with Frankensteins or dudes who look like ladies. Never ones to shirk our duties (or pass up a chance to ride in the Mirthmobile), we decided to break down 13 categories to determine once and for all which Wayne’s World movie parties hardest. Ix-nay on the condescension-ay there, Chet, but if you do have comments, share them below. We’ll be sure to read them … oh, and monkeys might fly out of our butts.
Game on! In five, four, three, <two>, <one>…
Extreme Close-Up: I’m going to be frank. (“Okay, can I still be Garth?”) The DNA of these two movies aren’t quite Home Alone and Home Alone 2 levels of identical, but the beats are pretty damn similar. In each, Wayne wants something more in his life (to do his show for a living, to put on a festival in Aurora), self-sabotages his own quest and relationship with a little help from a slick-haired villain, and finally rallies just in time to handpick a happier ending than he probably deserves. The original really focused on what the stars of SNL’s most popular cable-access skit might be like outside Wayne’s parents’ basement while the sequel had to find new territory and concoct some kind of adventure that guys like Wayne and Garth could conceivably find themselves on. Both setups work as vehicles for these characters, but there’s a charm to the original that the second can’t quite touch, even though it’s arguably the most brilliant parody film of its time. There’s something so identifiable about Wayne and co. cruising to jams, pulling pranks in the Mirthmobile, and sitting down to the same donuts and coffee each night. If only for 90 minutes, the humdrum suburban ruts most of us found ourselves in each weekend seemed just a little more excellent and a bit less heinous. –Matt Melis
And the Sugar Puck Goes To: Wayne’s World (1-0)
With You As Always Is Garth
Extreme Close-Up: Garth has always been the soft-spoken neurotic, ably supporting Wayne in whatever conquest suits him — the Jim to his Marlin Perkins, if you will. He’s comfortable with this role, though, and he thrives on being on the periphery, where he can tend to his own devices while also keeping his co-host in check. Although he doesn’t have much of a storyline in the original, outside of trying to use the bathroom and get past dweeb-hating monsters, he’s certainly the brains of the whole operation. Whether he’s creating robotic hands to strangle Benjamin or recalibrating satellites to reach Mr. Big’s limo, Garth seemingly always has the answers, even solving Wayne’s romantic crisis with Cassandra. But, there’s no disputing the fact that he gets a much more expanded role in the sequel. In addition to finally getting pubes, he becomes romantically involved with Kim Basinger’s scheming Honey Horneé, resulting in some of the most excellent Zucker-esque gags, and even wins the heart of his Unix-loving doppelgänger, Betty Jo (Olivia Jane d’Abo). Watching the two chew red rope licorice together at Waynestock — the good kind, not the bad stuff that’s been circulating around the crowd — is the happy ending everyone wanted for the jittery, flanneled gimp. –Michael Roffman
And the Sugar Puck Goes To: Wayne’s World 2 (1-1)
Most Bogus Villain
Extreme Close-Up: Clearly, Christopher Walken’s Bobby hunts as the alpha in this pack of babe-stealing mongrels. Despite Benjamin’s (Rob Lowe) cherry convertible, fully functional babe lair, and fluent takeout Cantonese, all evidence points to him being a relatively low-level parasitic television producer slumming for his next Shakey’s hostess. Bobby, on the other hand, carries hit-producer credentials, shreds like Van Halen, and probably ghost wrote those picking-up-chicks books that Benjamin keeps stashed. But does being the more formidable adversary make him the better villain? Bobby counts Wayne as just another in a long line of inconsequential boyfriends who need brushed aside and only later sets his oglers on Cassandra’s (the inimitable Tia Carrere) charms; Wayne could be “Dwayne” or an old man fashioning a kayak from a log for all Bobby cares. However, Benjamin has made it a personal mission — it’s scribbled in his agenda, for Heather Locklear’s sake — to exploit Wayne’s World and soon decides that if he can steal Wayne’s show, he can pilfer his babe as well. Ben and Jerry’s may make a nasty flavor in Bobby’s honor one day, but it’s hard to imagine anything grosser than the aftertaste of Benjamin’s Pralines and Dick. Here, spew in this. –Matt Melis
And the Sugar Puck Goes To: Wayne’s World (2-1)