SPidge Tales

Monday, September 26, 2005

Keanu Reeves--The Best Bad Actor

The other day I decided to pop in my DVD copy of Point Break, the movie that I believe was Keanu Reeves’s coming out party as the worst actor of our generation. True, more people may know him from the two Bill & Ted movies, and now from the Matrix, but Point Break was his real breakout role. In Bill & Ted, Keanu plays an idiot; i.e. he plays himself. The real comedy comes when he tries to act in serious roles, beginning with his star turn opposite Patrick Swayze in Point Break.

There is no getting past the hilarity in a preposterous movie that tries to take itself seriously. Keanu Reeves stars as Johnny Utah, a Midwestern boy two years removed from leading his college football team to the Rose Bowl as the star quarterback. He has just set foot in Los Angeles to begin a career in the FBI unit that investigates bank robberies. He is assigned to partner with 20 year veteran Angelo Pappas, who is annoyed to be “babysitting some quarterback punk.” Pappas is played by the immortal Gary Busey.

When you cast Keanu and Gary Busey, you already know that the movie is going to be ridiculous. Gary Busey is known as That Guy who was the bad guy in Under Siege, the crazy army guy in Black Sheep, the aging Cubs pitcher who dates Henry Roengarter’s mom in Rookie of the Year, and also formerly known as That Guy who looks like Nick Nolte, although now I would say he is more famous and more entertaining than Nolte. Busey has gone from “That Guy” status to “Caricature of Himself” status, and to completely do him justice, he would need his own column.

Before moving on, we need some Gary Busey quotes from this movie:

“When they run they dump the vehicle and they vanish... like a virgin on prom night. I mean they vanish, swishh...”

“Listen you snot-nose little shit, I was takin' shrapnel in Khe Sanh when you were crappin' in your hands and rubbin' it on your face.”

“22 years. Man, L.A. has changed a lot during that time. The air got dirty and the sex got clean.”

“Let me tell you something, Harp. I was in this bureau while you were still popping zits on your funny face and jacking off to the lingerie section of the Sears catalog.”

“I'm so hungry I could eat the ass end out of a dead rhino, I should have had you get me three of these things!”

Anyways, there is a group of bank robbers called the ex-presidents. Gary Busey thinks that they are surfers, since they only rob during the summer months, and one of the guys mooned the security camera during their last robbery, and he has a surfers tan. So, Keanu goes undercover and heads for the beach, to learn to surf and try to get in with the surfer dudes, with the hope of finding the bank robber gang. Of course, there is a girl (That Girl who plays the younger sister in A League of Their Own) who teaches Keanu how to surf, but more importantly, become the token romantic interest who of course has a tie-in to the bad guys.

Or, are they bad guys? We meet a band of surfers, with the leader a dude named Bodhi, played by Mr. Dirty Dancing himself, Patrick Swayze, with a little facial stubble and blond curls. There is the requisite male bonding between Keanu and Bodhi, mystical bullshit about being one with the waves, and the movie forgets that it is starring Keanu Reeves, and tries to be deep with Bodhi (after we find out—as if we didn’t know—that he and his buddies are the Ex-Presidents) giving a speech about how corporate America is the real bad guy, and they are the ones who are really living life by being rebels, searching out the next wave, and blah blah blah.

It won’t be giving anything away to say that Bodhi and his boys find out that Keanu is an undercover cop, so they take him along for sky-diving (cue cheap symbolism) and let him join in with the Ex-Presidents on their next robbery; a rush Keanu won’t pass on since Bodhi has the girlfriend under captive somewhere else. Things go bad during the robbery, and Bodhi and his two surviving bodacious dudes are on the run, with Keanu and Gary Busey on the trail. Busey (the real star, in my opinion, not only of this movie, but of every movie he graces his over caffeinated [over-coked?] self in) gets killed as Keanu won’t allow him to shoot Bodhi, since he knows Bodhi must be kept free until the girlfriend is found. We have another skydiving scene, this time with Keanu not using the brain he doesn’t have and jumping out of the plane without a parachute and catching onto Bodhi. We have reached our climatic moment—will Keanu, holding onto Bodhi, drop his gun and pull the parachute string at the last minute? A good movie might have allowed us to doubt what would happen.

Bodhi goes on his way, and releases the girl to Keanu. The movie can’t end here, though. We have to jump ahead 6 months to an approaching tsunami in Australia. Bodhi is ready to ride the wave of the century, and Keanu arrives on the scene to arrest him. Keanu cements his place as the worst actor of our generation with lines such as “You crossed the line. People trusted you and they died. You gotta go down” and THE line that shows Keanu’s (limited) acting rang and (sadly) his jump into stardom, “I’m an EFF BEE EYE agent!” Will Keanu arrest Bodhi and bring him in, or let him have his one shot riding the wave of the century? Once again, this movie leaves no doubt.

Point Break was terrible, yet very entertaining. Like the ghettho-ized Bad News Bears rip-off Hardball, and the so bad and clichéd its unintentionally funny The Replacements, Keanu Reeves always manages to make movie-going quite an experience. I’d like to say to you, Keanu, and I think I speak for many, vaya con dios, bro.

San Dimas football rules!!


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