By JASON LLOREN
Blast San Francisco Bureau
I recently watched Keanu Reeves amble and emote his way through his latest flick "Devil's Advocate" and wondered to myself: How does he continue to find work in Hollywood?
His looks perhaps? Sure he's good looking but come on. He got a crooked
block head and what the hell is he anyway? Hawaiian, white, pale Filipino? I can never figure it out.
I guess you can say he "acts" in the sense that he puts on a costume and
reads lines. But even I, once in a while when I'm sporting my black suit and black tie, stand in front of the mirror and "act" like I'm Mr. White from "Reservoir Dogs." And you don't see my ass trying to rescue Sandra Bullock from a bomb-rigged bus.
No, the reason Keanu is able to be gainfully employed in Hollywood is simple: Location, location, location.
He places himself next to Al Pacino, the godfather of film hams, and we
flock to the theater. "Cool. Check out Pacino do Satan! Hey, there's Keanu too."
He rides a bus with a gun and hardly says a word of dialogue. "Damn. Sandra Bullock's hella fine. Dennis Hopper is sure one mean bad guy. This Jan DeBont sure knows how to put a action flick together. Hey, there goes Keanu Reeves."
He drops himself in Shakespeare and surrounds himself with a talented cast.
"Hey, Denzel! Emma Thompson! And there's Kenneth Branagh! What? You mean
Keanu was in this film? I must've blinked."
There's a great line in "L.A. Confidential" where a cop says something like "A whore that makes herself look like Lana Turner is still a whore." Well, no matter what role you give Keanu, it's still Keanu. His three best roles in his filmography are easy to peg:
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." Why? He played a stupid-ass stoner Southern Cal dork, a role he excelled at and something I suspect is not to
far from himself.
"Speed." He had a gun and got to run around a lot and he spoke fewer lines than Stallone in all three "Rambos."
"I Love You to Death." His part was so small in this I'm not even sure it was a credited part. He played the spaced-out partner of William Hurt's. Their job? To kill Kevin Kline. They were so stupid they couldn't even whack him while he slept, much less recite the Pledge of Allegiance without getting their left and right confused.
So basically Keanu shines onscreen when he's dumb (meaning silent) and dumb (meaning stupid). He should've been in Jim Carrey's "Dumb and Dumber." Heck he could have played the character that epitomizes the modern film retard, Rain Man.
Which brings us to another actor who has demonstrated over time a generallack of talent but keeps cashing a paycheck: Tom Cruise.
Again: location, location, location.
Tom Cruise and Newman in Scorsese's "The Color of Money." Tom Cruise and Hoffman in Levinson's "Rain Man." Tom Cruise in Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July." Whenever you place yourself next to a giant, two things happen -- you look like a midget or you look like a giant too.
Keanu, Tom, and even someone like Brad Pitt -- they're all just acting