Wayne’s World director Penelope Spheeris reflects on film’s 25th anniversary

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Wayne’s World is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a limited re-release in theaters // Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Whether it’s recent remakes of “Ghostbusters,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” or the 26th version of “Batman,” it can feel like there really aren’t “new” movie ideas coming out of Hollywood anymore.

In fact, the remakes of great movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s have been remade so many times that at this point it’s hard to remember what movies we actually enjoyed growing up.

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However, there are a few rare cinematic gems that have not only stood the test of time, but have managed to grow in popularity and nostalgia with each passing year. One of those films is “Wayne’s World.”

The SNL skit-turned movie franchise that launched the A-list careers of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey turns 25 this year, and to celebrate this most excellent occasion, the iconic film will return to theaters on February 7–8, complete with behind the scenes features and interviews with the cast and crew, plus all of the same headbanging, pelvic-thrusting charm that made audiences fall in love with Wayne and Garth back in the ‘90s.

“Those were happier times back then,” says director Penelope Spheeris when asked about the reason the film has stood up for more than two decades. “Times are tougher now; people are more negative. Plus there just aren’t that many good movies these days.”

Spheeris was responsible for helming the ship on the original “Wayne’s World” film, turning a funny five-minute weekly SNL sketch into a full-length feature universe. The film was a box office smash, but Spheeris famously fell out with burgeoning star Mike Myers, after rejecting his edits of the final cut. While their off-screen relationship may have turned tumultuous, no one can question her ability to bring some of the movie’s funniest and most iconic moments to life.

“I remember that Mike and Dana didn’t want to do the headbanging scene,” she laughs. “They were complaining that their necks hurt and that it wasn’t even funny. I enjoyed torturing them.”

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Penelope Spheeris on the set of Wayne’s World // Photo via penelopespheeris.com

Though “torture” may be a tad sarcastic, Myers himself admits that Spheeris was responsible for jokes that would become etched in pop culture history.

“Mike admits that he didn’t know if the jokes would work,” she recalls. “When Stacy gets hit by the car, for example. He didn’t think it was funny and that’s one of the most iconic moments that people remember.”

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Wayne’s World is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a limited re-release in theaters // Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

While numerous theatres across Minnesota will be joining in the celebration and showing the film and special features on the big screen, major celebrations like a six-month blowout in the real town of Aurora, Illinois, (where the film is set) are popping up across the country, featuring everything from photo ops and costume contests, to headbanging competitions and World Record attempts.

Spheeris is quick to say that she’s proud of the film and is happy it’s getting the star-treatment for its 25th anniversary, she also admits that she doesn’t travel down memory lane all that often. Or really, ever.

“I watched the movie at the Village Theater [in Los Angeles] in 1992. That was the opening of the film. I haven’t seen it since,” she says. “I like to be in the now and not think about what I did in the past.”

As for whether or not she’d be willing to do a sequel or remake of the film, Spheeris is understandably underwhelmed.

“I guess if Mike and Dana were going to do it, I would,” she says thoughtfully. “Really, that film was the result of the stars lining up and getting the right people, times, and places together. It was once in a lifetime. It was special.”

Click here to find a theater near your screening the film and purchase tickets.

 
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