A still from the film Wayne's World

Better Late than Never: Wayne’s World

Our culture editor finally got around to watching a cult classic beloved by many in Mill-e-wah-que.

I’ve got a long list of movies and TV shows I’ve never gotten around to watching, even though I know I’d probably like them. I guess – until recently – I’ve just been too busy doing fun, interesting things like going to work and occasionally eating at restaurants. 

Anyway, now that my social life consists mainly of me taking naps with my dog, I figured I might as well get around to crossing items off that “better late than never” bucket list. And Wayne’s World seemed as good a starting point as any. The 1992 film – based on a Saturday Night Live sketch series starring Michael Myers and Dana Carvey – was a major box office success. And people around here are more than a little obsessed with it. (I’ve heard people quote Alice Cooper’s Milwaukee speech so many times since moving here that I’ve inadvertently memorized most of it myself.)

So I finally relented and settled in for an hour and a half with two of Chicagoland’s brightest public access stars. I took (spoiler-ridden) notes while watching and am sharing them here:

  • Now I know where the phrase “Exsqueeze me” came from. Cool.
  • Also, “That’s what she said”?
  • This is starting to feel a little like watching a ninety-minute collection of loosely connected sketches and pop culture references. I’m not upset about that, though.
  • I’m struggling a bit to believe that a beautiful, talented musician would fall so easily for a man with a mullet who still lives with his parents. I know he learned Cantonese for her and all, and that’s impressive. But still
  • Dana Carvey could be the unsung hero of this film. He doesn’t get as many lines as Mike Myers, but he makes them count. Case in point: “Sometimes I wish I could boldly go where no man has gone before … but I’ll probably stay in Aurora.”
  • Seriously, guys. Can we agree that Garth is way more likeable than Wayne? Wayne is the kind of person who tricks failed inventors into coming on his cable access show to make fun of them. Garth is the kind of person who leverages his genius-level understanding of satellite technology to help his best friend solve his personal problems. Also, he has better hair.
  • I do appreciate Wayne’s assessment of Vanessa, though: “She’s a fox. In French, she would be called la renarde, and she would be hunted with only her cunning to protect her.”
  • Rob Lowe is literally swimming in his suits. He looks like an adult man pretending to be a young boy dressing up as an adult man. So. Much. Extra. Fabric.
  • Am I the only one rooting for Rob Lowe and Tia Carrere to end up together? I know Lowe’s character is supposed to be evil. But look at those cheekbones! 
  • Obviously I’m biased. But I genuinely think the Milwaukee scenes are the best thing about the movie. The “Laverne and Shirley” tribute! The Chris Farley cameo! The Alice Cooper speech! I knew that he’d be delivering an impromptu lecture on the city’s early history, but I still snorted into my beer when he started rattling off factoids about Wisconsin’s status as a seventeenth-century French trade route. And I agree with Cooper – it is interesting that Milwaukee is the only major American city to have elected three Socialist mayors. 
  • I mean it. This entire movie could have just been a 90-minute lecture on Milwaukee narrated by Alice Cooper, and I would have loved it. If they ever decide to make a third Wayne’s World movie (apparently a second one already exists) they should really take that idea into consideration. 

And that’s that. 

Also, if you disagree with my take on Rob Lowe and Tia Carrere being a better match than Tia Carrere and Mike Myers, don’t at me. Those cheekbones don’t lie!

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.