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Archive for the ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’ Category

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.

THE GOOD

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.)

THE BAD

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.

THE UGLY

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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Sometimes, you can look back at an actor’s resume and you may think, “Ooh!” Conversely, you may think, “…Ewww.” Most of the time, though, it’s a strange mix of the two where you end up wondering, “How did [Insert Actor Here] end up in that piece of crap?”

Gary Oldman is by all accounts an established, respected actor but my word, has he been in some terrible dreck. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Name: Leonard (?!) Gary Oldman

Hobbies: Perfecting accents, since he uses a new one in almost every film; scenery chewing; stealing movies out from other actor’s feet; being almost criminally underrated by a lot of critics and The Academy; being the “thinking girl’s Brad Pitt”.

What He’s Best Known For: Playing psychopaths, freaks and other malcontents of society; he’s the guy producers keep on speed dial for when you have that crazy whack-job character you haven’t cast yet.

THE GOOD

Léon/The Professional — Oldman starred in an excellent film about a hitman who befriends a small girl after her parents are brutally murdered. Of course Oldman plays the psychotic cop Stansfield, who has such classic lines like, “I like these little calm moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It’s like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin’ and the insects. Do you like Beethoven?”

Yeah. Psycho, right? He’s also a big pill-muncher. Seriously, there’s a lot of good acting in this one (Jean Reno and Natalie Portman) but Oldman pulls the rug out from under all of them. Good movie, too.

The Fifth Elemnt — Here we see Oldman costumed by Jean-Paul Gaultier as the thickly Southern accented villain; he overcomes having a massive piece of Plexi-glass glued to his poor head to become actually pretty freaky. Zorg’s not a nice character, but Oldman gives the character a lot of depth where there could’ve been none.


Sid & Nancy
— He gave Sid Vicious some sort of emotion instead of just portraying him as the snarly punk we all knew; more people my age can now identify Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious than Sid Vicious as Sid Vicious, I think. He and Chloe Webb did a great job as Sid and Nancy.

THE BAD

Air Force One — Okay, I love Air Force One, but I can firmly admit it’s a bad movie. Gary’s rockin’ it as a maniacal Russian extremist who hijacks Air Force One with the President on board. It’s a pretty bad action movie, but Oldman is good — as usual — while putting on another crazy accent. Harrison Ford started his decline right about here, which is sad, but true. Seriously, everyone in this movie is not so good save for Oldman. And that includes Glenn Close as the Vice-President.

The Scarlet Letter — if your movie is so terrible, so awful, that I can’t appreciate Gary Oldman in it, you’ve screwed up royally. Thanks a lot, Demi Moore. There aren’t words in the English language to describe the suck of The Scarlet Letter.

Immortal Beloved — Gary had a pretty good role in Immortal Beloved, which tells the story of Ludwig von Beethoven and an old friend’s quest to find his “immortal beloved”, who is listed in his will after Beethoven’s death. While Oldman does a spectacular job…the rest of the movie just falls flat. If I want to turn off the movie even though Gary Oldman’s in it, you’ve got problems.

THE UGLY

Hannibal – Oh my god, this movie blows. The book sucked; the movie was worse. Gary Oldman plays the psychotic, insane Mason Verger who’s hellbent on seeking his (oddly elaborate) revenge upon Hannibal Lecter. Lecter’s the one responsible for making him look like Pumpkinhead, so understandably, Verger’s a little upset. Oldman does a good job even under 18 pounds of prosthetics, but I’m glad you can’t recognize him in this film. Really glad.

Lost In Space — A travesty of filmmaking. I like this movie in a “so bad it’s good” kinda way, but let’s face it; it’s atrocious and the TV show wasn’t even that good. For having an all-star cast, it fails spectacularly, probably just because everything about it is just bad. Even Oldman look like he’s phoning it in for the paycheck; it has one of the worst plots I’ve ever seen (time travel? giant spiders? …the hell?) and generally manages to make William Hurt, Mimi Rogers and Gary Oldman look bad.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula — Francis Ford Coppola, what were you thinking? Keanu Reeves? Winona Ryder? The filmmakers had a stroke of genius casting Oldman as what else – the tormented Dracula – but this movie sucks hard. Keanu Reeves looks like he’s constantly looking around as if to say, “Am I really in this movie?” Winona Ryder looks stoned. And Gary? He kind of totters around being his badass self, outfitted in his top hat while his harem of female vampires writhe around back in Transylvania. What a hot mess of a movie.

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