Friday Timewaster: Whoa

Right about now I should be regaling you with the results of Thursday evening's pub quiz.

However, thanks to Mike "The Widowmaker" D* there is no more Thursday night pub quiz. Unless we wanted to go to the east side, which — after some discussion — it turned out that we did not.**

So .... Back to everyone's*** favorite post of the week: The Friday Timewaster.

This week: Keanu Reeves Trivia.


One word has come to identify one of the biggest actors, for better or worse, to ever come out of Canada. That's right — time for a Keanu Reeves quiz.

I found this quiz after I Googled "Keanu Whoa" yesterday afternoon.

You may ask why on earth would I Google "Keanu Whoa." That is a perfectly valid question, and I will honor your polite request for additional information.

I did it because I received the following review of the new Keanu Reeves movie, which sounds like it's landed squarely in his craptastic wheelhouse, so I sort of want to see it. On bargain night, anyway. Nevermind that some people want to petition the International Weights and Measures Society**** to have "the Keanu" established as
the unit of measuring how much things suck.

Teddy's Take on Street Kings

"Street Kings" (new in theaters this Friday, April 11) is a movie that was probably conceived and written with a lot more serious intentions than what is on screen. Unfortunately, you can't make a serious movie about an on-the-edge, alcoholic, slightly bigoted, slightly corrupt, morally bankrupt L.A. vice detective ... and cast Keanu Reeves in the role. You just can't do it. Kurt Russell? Oh yeah. Michael Douglas back in the day? Absolutely. But Keanu?! Nope.

"Street Kings" in an unintentionally funny serious movie ... the kind they don't really make anymore actually. Everyone in it thinks they are making the next "Heat" or the next "Training Day." But the longer the film goes on, the more the actors just come unhinged and ham is sliced like you wouldn't believe. Forest Whitaker has never been so damn funny as the squad commander who pulls strings so his corrupt cops can go about their murderous hunts for bad guys. Even his lazy eye overacts in this movie. You can never take Reeves seriously as the unit's star cop. Whole scenes where he has to noodle through the moral and spiritual quandaries his character is put through actually look they are hurting Keanu's head. And the rest of the cast--which includes Hugh Laurie as an Internal Affairs investigator, Terry Crews as a turncoat cop, Chris Evans as a straight-laced homicide detective, and Jay Mohr as an oily sergeant--all take turns out-hollering one another.

It's one of those flicks where pretty much everyone you thought was crooked in the first part of the film is actually good by the end, and everyone who is supposedly good early on winds up dirty and dead by the closing credits. It's a street western set on the Wild Wild West Coast of the 21st century, complete with a rainbow coalition of ethnic stereotypes, a rogue's gallery of dirty badges, and one conflicted gunfighter in the middle torn between his talent with a firearm and his nagging conscience.

So, am I recommending it? You know, this is actually a pretty terrible movie. But I can't deny that it held my attention and I was entertained chiefly because I was laughing at the film so much. The bullets, the blood, the double and triple crosses, the showdowns, the pulsing soundtrack. It's all there to either bury or lift up. I am choosing this time to lift the film up ... but only to a certain audience, namely those with a high threshold for violence and a complete willingness to follow Keanu.

Actually, I get a lot of ribbing by my movie pals for being a Keanu Reeves fan. How can I like a guy who can't act worth a lick? Well, I acknowledge that the guy is not much of a thespian. He'll never do something like "Dangerous Liaisons" or "Bram Stoker's Dracula," but...

{Uh, Teddy, he was in both those flicks.}

Really? Oh, yeah. Hmmm. Well, OK, here's the deal. Keanu Reeves is a marvelous physical performer. Look at how cocksure and cut he was in "Speed." Perfect role for him. And having him mouth lines like: "You got a hair trigger pointed right at your head. What do you do?! What ... do ... you ... DO?!" Well, that just invites self-parody and makes the film an instant classic. Ditto "The Matrix." The role of Neo didn't require an actor. It required a beautiful physical specimen. Reeves provided that. The Wachowski brothers originally wanted Johnny Depp for Neo. And, God, would he have been awesome. But he wouldn't have LOOKED as cool as Keanu in that leather trenchcoat and shades, executing those wire-fu moves, all the while emptying guns.

If you cast Keanu Reeves in a role that requires more physical acting than actual acting, he is golden. Check out how good he was in "The Replacements." How he added just the right amount of Provolone and machismo to "Point Break." Look at how "Speed 2" fell apart without him. But, man, ask him to do more acting than running, jumping, shooting and fighting ... and you got a problem. To take "Street Kings" seriously, you needed a Russell or a Michael Douglas in their prime. Too old? Then, you needed a Depp or a Colin Farrell.

A more serious version of this movie is 2002's "Dark Blue," written and directed by the same team of David Ayer and James Ellroy. Ayer also wrote "Training Day" and Ellroy rolled in the corruption of 1940s L.A. in "L.A. Confidential" and "The Black Dahlia." God help either of these men if they are pulled over in Hollywood tomorrow. They are essentially working on variations of a theme within the corrupt cop sub-genre here. If you go in just looking for a shoot-'em-up, this will be your flick. If you go in expecting the Second Coming of "Heat" or a big-screen version of "The Shield" ... well, just don't be that way, OK?

"Street Kings" is rated R for the orgy of bullets and blood that it delivers.

All content @copyright 2008 Teddy Durgin. All rights reserved.
Click here to subscribe to Teddy's Takes, an online journal for movie lovers.

As for my Keanu knowledge ...

I only got half of them right, so my Keanu movie equivalent is Point Break.

Whoa, indeed!

Whoa, indeed.

* Thanks to Thom from Team 11 for this moniker; apparently he is the go-to guy for snarky nicknames as well as smart-ass answers to questions about Mississippi. I don't know how he has time do all that and be the evil mastermind behind Love and Capes — which I have never read, but have heard mentioned many a time during the raffle portion of a Mike D pub quiz — but there you have it.

** And I quote:

---- Original Message ----
From: Amy
To: Cathy, Christine
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:12 AM
Subject: Fw: New comment on Quote Me as Saying I Was Misquoted *

Uh-oh. Is this a challenge?

I was just telling Cathy about an hour ago that we could go to the east side. She already said she's not interested in driving all the way out there. I could have my arm twisted .... What say you, Christine?

----- Message ----
From: Christine

To: Amy, Cathy
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 9:14:53 AM

Subject: RE: New comment on Quote Me as Saying I Was Misquoted *

Heck no. Let Team 11 go annoy the other side of town by themselves.

-- C

*** By "everyone," I think we all know that I mean "me."

**** Obviously I just made this organization up. And yet, I'm not far off. Feast your eyes on the official Web sites of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, which ensures worldwide uniformity of measurements, and the International Society of Weighing and Measurements, a trade association for weighing and measurement industry professionals. I wonder if that's a growth industry.

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