This week marks 20 years since the debut of Wayne's World, and the first big-screen appearances by characters Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, a duo from Aurora, Illinois, with a public-access show and penchant for babes and rock and roll.
This was also actor Mike Myers's first feature film, playing Campbell. He would go on, of course, to play Austin Powers and voice Shrek for the next decade and a half, and that unfortunate business that was The Love Guru.
WW is without question the second-best film to be made of a Saturday Night Live sketch, the first being the star-packed The Blues Brothers. The story of Campbell and Algar's misadventures with corporate America was also extremely influential on teen culture at the time, with the massive amount of catchphrases, cameos and hipness pummeling audiences in 1992.
A sequel, Wayne's World 2, followed in December 1993, just in time for the holidays, packed with a whole new gang of guest stars and musical guests. It would be the characters' last pop-culture moment until an MTV awards show a little more than a decade later.
I am sure I wasn't the only one who drove teachers crazy by borrowing the duo's lingo and using it in school. They were really a tamer, sweeter version of MTV's Beavis and Butt-head, which debuted in early 1993. As a fan of the sketches, the movies and everything that came with the WW enterprise, it's hard to exactly quantify the impact it had on young-and-impressionables like myself.
Each WW flick came with an excellent soundtrack. Each managed to marry both classic-rock and current '90s gems that would form young musical brains. Queen, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Sweet, Sweet, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, plus newer groups like Temple Of The Dog, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dinosaur Jr. all made WW and WW2 essential musical purchases.
I am eternally thankful to Myers and director Penelope Spheeris for including Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" in both films too. It ended up haunting me for the entirety of the '90s.
Few films in the '90s informed the vocabulary of the era. How many of us uttered these lines at least once a day?
"Are you mental?"
"Wow! What a totally amazing, excellent discovery!"
"She will be mine. Oh, yes -- she will be mine."
"If you're gonna spew, spew into this."
"She makes me feel kinda funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class."
"Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?"
"We're not worthy!"
Adding "babe" to anything...
Using "sphincter" as an insult device....
Was it the scenes with the sexy Carrere playing guitar with the criminally underrated Crucial Taunt, or was it when she was on the music video set with a snake wrapped around her body, that made men across America fall for her? For me, it was the bedroom scene. "Camera one. Camera two," that did it. It also made for a sweetly and attainable romantic moment.
Which is your favorite? Both films had too many to count and love.
WW1 gave us Chris Farley as the overzealous security guard. He returned in WW2 as a WayneStock staffer.
Charlton Heston as the better actor ("Gordon Street...") in WW2. Kevin Pollak as the partial ocular albino with the short-temper. Harry Shearer as "Handsome Dan." Of course, there was Drew Barrymore as the Swedish secretary. Schwing indeed.Alice Cooper Is Funny?
Cooper's post-show mini-lecture on Milwaukee, with his subtle asides and grasp of history, turned Cooper from the scary guy from my mother's record collection and into a lovable rocker-turned-historian. I still can't say Milwaukee correctly to this day.
Public Access As A Viable Career Choice
Anyone could have a cool public-access show and maybe, just maybe, become a big star and get sponsored by a chain of arcades. Come bust a move where the games are played, it's chill, it's fresh, it was Noah's Arcade, remember?
The Weird Naked Indian
It was really Oliver Stone's film The Doors that gave us the nude Indian, but we saw WW2 first.
Classic Rock Was Made Cool Again, For The First Time
Before the WW movies, we were immersed in five years of grunge and the quest for "real." With the WW movies came a fascination with things that had become almost painful and boring by 1991. Wayne and Garth's wide-eyed love of things that we would call classic rock made digging into your parent's records cool, and also someone forced latter-day Aerosmith on us. Well, I liked it.
Schyea! WW2 was made all the more babe-tastic with Basinger as a femme fatale seducing the virginal Garth.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
You had Myers and Carvey at their most lovable, Rob Lowe and Christopher Walken at their slimiest, and Ed O'Neill as Glen, the manager at the group's hangout Stan Mikita's Donuts, whose bloody and deadpan monologues were the stuff of terrifying hilarity. This for us was also Myers at his most creative and plugged into pop culture. The digs at advertising and nerdy musical history have yet to be paralleled.
And how could I forget psycho hose beast Donna Dixon as Garth's dream woman. She was a total un-babe.