Archive for July 21st, 2008

Okay, so it’s no secret that I have crazy love for Keanu Reeves.   Yes, I know he’s not a good actor, but there’s always been something about him that’s struck me as earnest and down to earth, and I kinda like that.  Plus, for someone who doesn’t have that much talent, he seems to work the best he can with what he’s got.

Mr. Reeves has made some excellent movie choices and he’s made some absolutely rotten ones.   So, without further ado?   Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly that Keanu Reeves has made.


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – The role Keanu’s probably best known for is probably the one he hates the most.   How many brains has Ted Logan been burned into now?   Sure, it’s not a bastion of haute cinema, but Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a gift that keeps on giving.   It’s one of my favorite movies of all time; it’s instantly quotable; it was eighty kinds of fun.   It’s still fun, and Reeves’ portrayal of the pleasant yet dumb Ted, who wanted nothing more in life than to rock out as a member of Wyld Stallyns, is so endearing, how can you not love him?

The Matrix – That Neo exclamation of “Whoaaa” really captured us, didn’t it?  Well, the whole stopping bullets and being “The One” thing helped too, but the Wachowski brothers’ movie about a dystopian society battling the machines solidified Keanu’s place in film history, that’s for sure.   Aside from the almost universally despised sequels, the first Matrix shocked the everloving hell out of everyone and really, didn’t everyone want to see Keanu Reeves just kick ass and take names some more after seeing this?

Speed – Here Reeves played the uber-brave, “I always get my man” kind of SWAT dude by the name of Jack Traven.   Sure, Speed wasn’t the best movie ever made, but Bruckheimer and Bay have essentially been riffing off of Speed and creating variations thereof for years, right?   And we liked Sandra and Keanu together.   Dennis Hopper’s bad guy Howard Payne is quoted muchly amongst my older sister and I when we’re together, mainly because no one delivers lines quite like Crazy Dennis Hopper.   (Pass the ether, please?)   It was fun and the epitome of the popcorn movie, and I can tell you that Older Sister and I have probably both watched this millions of times, primarily for Keanu Reeves’ Arms, which should’ve had a movie of their own.   (Seriously.   Damn.   The man had smokin’ arms in this one.)


Point Break – Keanu’s an FBI agent, and he’s not going to let you forget that.   I mean, I can understand how Point Break has it’s good points (because I love it, I’m not going to lie) but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  When your entire movie rests on the shoulders of Gary “I’m On Crack” Busey and Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze has to seriously shore up the movie as one of the main bad dude surfers, you have a problem.   Bonus points for hilarious, unintentional comedy between Busey and Reeves.   This is why Keanu Reeves needs a good director.   No offense, Director of Point Break.

A Walk In The Clouds – Okay, this movie was so bad, I don’t remember that much of it.   I remember I saw it because, well, Keanu Reeves was in it.  I remember there was a lot of awkwardness, a pregnant chick, some forced and stilted dialogue, and wasn’t there something about stomping grapes in there, too?   Or was that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin?   Oh my god, no one should ever confuse your movie with Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.   That alone is a pretty big “oh, no” kind of signal, but I remember when this movie came out there was a lot of pointing and laughing and snorting at Keanu’s expense.   Oh, Keanu.

Chain Reaction – Y’all, Keanu Reeves played a science researcher.   That’s right, deep breaths and laugh it out.   I mean, it was a forgettable science-action thriller of the early to mid nineties, but Keanu Reeves as a science researcher?   Are you joking with me?    Who decided on that as being believable?   Come on, I love the man, but we all know he’s been smoking something for years that will not allow him to correctly spell things like “depleted uranium”.   Gimme a break.


Youngblood – Keanu (very early on in his career) played a hockey goalie in this Rob Lowe tour de force.   Did you know that Reeves actually was a hockey goalie before becoming an actor?   He was.   This movie’s not awful because of Keanu Reeves.  It’s mainly awful because of the terrible script, the cliches and eye rolling worth crap contained in the movie, the combined suckitude of Rob Lowe and apparently a consistently drunk Patrick Swayze, but Keanu certainly didn’t help matters any.

Johnny Mnemonic – Okay, I love this movie.  It’s certified 100% 1,416 and Counting Movie Crack, for sure.   But god, is this movie terrible.  I mean, the special effects are horrible, the dialogue is awful and Keanu’s delivery makes it really, really laughable (literally).   It always shocks me that Dina Meyer still finds work as an actress because she is that terrible (who else would be in Starship Troopers and Bats, in an unironic way).  Henry Rollins is in this, which I imagine took him years to live down, for God’s sake.   Let me put it to you this way:  the fate of humanity comes to rest on Ice-T, Keanu Reeves, Dina Meyer and a goddamn dolphin.   Yes, a DOLPHIN.  Who can hack the Internets, or something.   No, I wasn’t on drugs when I watched this.  That really is the plot.

The Devil’s Advocate – Hey, does anyone remember a time when Al Pacino played another character besides Al Pacino?   I mean, Pacino’s schtick gets old, fast.   And haha, he’s playing THE DEVIL!   Keanu Reeves’ Southern accent is suitably atrocious, and poor Keanu looked so lost and confused throughout the entire thing.  Even Charlize Theron looked like she had no clue what to do.  It’s a miserable little movie, one that is wholly unfulfilling and doesn’t give you much to work with in the end.   And it certainly doesn’t help that half the movie it feels like Reeves is begging Al Pacino to help him carry the movie and all Al can do is make with the crazy eyes and say, “Look at me, I’m Al Pacino!”   A god awful movie, for sure, but one that’s not even god awful enough to mock or be good-bad; it’s just awful.

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Alright, folks, here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Princess Raccoon (J.D.)
  • Noises Off (Kevin)
  • Wonderland (Joseph B.)
  • The Claim (Joseph B.)
  • Fantastic Planet (Piper)
  • The Warriors (Scott)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (Shawn)
  • Night of the Hunter (andrew/Scott)
  • Night of the Lepus (my mother)


  • Lost Horizon (Paul)
  • Demon Knight (andrew)
  • Scanners (andrew)
  • The Secret Life of Words (J.D.)

Yes, that’s right, my mother did beg me to do that immortal ’70’s classic, Night of the Lepus.

J.D. and Piper – Netflix now lists Little Mermaid II (J.D.) and Meet The Feebles (Piper) as discs no longer in inventory, so if you’d like replacements, let me know. As soon as the next round of Netflix rentals gets in the mail, these are coming.

Thanks again for all of y’all who submitted.

And have you entered the Quentin Tarantino contest yet?

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As we walked out of the theater, my friend turned to me and said, “Holy hell, that was a lot of movie.”

The Dark Knight is an awful lot of movie – at two hours and thirty minutes, it’s a lot to shove in your brain.

We pick up primarily where Batman Begins left off.   In one scene, Harvey Dent puts it best — it’s always darkest before the dawn — and that’s where we find Gotham, knee deep in violence and corruption but at a pivotal moment when the scales are beginning to tip in the favor of clean streets and against the seedy criminal element that’s so pervasive in the city.

Enter The Joker, a sadistic, psychotic man who has little aim in life except to create chaos and confusion, but who has a crystal clear understanding of how to win back the streets in favor of Gotham’s hardened criminals – kill Batman.

The main thing is, The Dark Knight is what every comic book movie ever made should have been or should be striving to be.   Comic books (or graphic novels, nowadays, depending) aren’t just silly little pieces of fluff dedicated to colorful drawings of extreme characters.   Comic books wouldn’t be very popular if they didn’t deal with universal themes and elements that people can identify and associate with, things that come from everyday life, just presented in a far different fashion.    The Dark Knight takes things that have always been turned into broad, often comical movies and narrows them down into a real world setting with real life people.   Simply put, The Dark Knight succeeds because the filmmakers take this world seriously and seriously enough to give it a dramatic, nuanced feeling.

Batman/Bruce Wayne has become more withdrawn, in a way.   He keeps up the exterior of the devil-may-care playboy, but he’s reaching burnout rapidly.   Although he wishes for someone else to take up the mantle of Gotham’s hero, a question the film puts forward is that once he’s crossed the line to being Batman, can Bruce Wayne ever really give Batman up?

Heath Ledger’s performance is as excellent as everyone’s been saying.   You can’t tell it’s Heath Ledger under all that pancake makeup as the Joker; the creepiest thing is that even his eyes look different.   Does Ledger deserve an Oscar for this?   Oh, absolutely.    WIthout exaggeration, Heath Ledger created possibly one of the scariest villains in the history of film.   This is a guy who without reason or remorse will torture you (probably while mocking you) and then kill you just for his own satisfaction.   Even when he’s joking, it’s pretty terrifying.   And after seeing The Dark Knight, I honestly doubt anyone can not hear the phrase, “Why so serious?” without hearing Ledger intoning it in your head and feeling a small shiver down your spine.

The great thing about the Joker is that he has no backstory, no explanation for why he’s completely insane.   He just is what he is.

The real underappreciated actor here is Aaron Eckhart, who does an equally fabulous job as Harvey Dent.   It’s one thing to play crazy, but Eckhart takes Harvey Dent and shows him to be a fallible human being which only makes his sharp descent into insanity even harder to bear.   Christian Bale is effective as usual as Batman, but he takes a back seat to the supporting cast.   Maggie Gyllenhaal is decent as Rachel Dawes, and far, far better than her predecessor, but she’s given little to work with other than to advance the plot along as necessary.

The Dark Knight is not a perfect film.   It’s got its problems; some of the fight scenes and other scenes are difficult to follow, mainly because of the lighting and partly because of how certain scenes are shot.  Batman gets some neat new technology that becomes really annoying to watch put into practice in the later parts of the film.   There’s a side trip outside of Gotham that feels a little forced and unnecessary and only serves to really make a long movie longer.

All in all, though, it’s a stunning film, primarily because the actors and directors treat the material with such care and a sense of responsibility to take it seriously, which 99% of other “comic book” films get so very wrong.

It’s probably my most favorite film I’ve seen so far this year.

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