Can't Get Enough of Keanu
By Patrick (H) Willems
Can't Get Enough of KeanuSep 23, 2020
Valley of the Gods
Retaining our previous form as WHH, we venture into "The Valley of the Gods" by Lech Majewski, respected Polish director and video artist the boys have absolutely no priors with. And so, as if from the void, comes this strange art film that Pat and Jake found pleasantly surprising, Matt not so much. Josh plays John Ecas, a frustrated copywriter and would-be novelist freshly cuckolded by his wife's hang gliding instructor and in the midst of an existential meltdown. What we get from this is a *groan* "tone poem" of sorts as reality and fiction blend and John Ecas, through the creative act of writing (?), achieves escape from his own mind. High points are The Richest Man in the World played by John Malkovich and his absurd palace, and the weird interweaving of Navajo mythology resulting in someone fucking and impregnating a mountain. Intrigued? Press play and we'll explain!
Most Wanted / Target Number One
We're doing another cheeky switch-em-up and putting on our other hat as We Heart Hartnett to cover Josh's latest: Most Wanted (2020), a journalism thriller with twin timelines, based on a true story (with some dramatization ;-)) directed by Daniel Roby. An extremis Quebecois junkie named Daniel Leger (Antoine Olivier Pilon) gets embroiled in a power play between small-time crook Glen Picker (Jim Gaffigan) and some crooked cops at the RCMP looking for an easy drug bust to justify their budget. This ultimately lands Leger in a Thai prison. And the only one who cares? You guessed it! Sexy, intrepid, righteous reporter Victor Malarek (Hartnett). It's a solid movie and the best we've seen from Josh in a WHILE. Listen up. See if you agree.
The Lake House (w/ Kendra James)
And now…a time travel episode. In October 2019, Kendra James joined the boys to discuss a film starring Keanu and Sandra Bullock and a time traveling mailbox. The episode was scheduled to drop in April 2020, and so a lot of time was spent trying to predict what would be happening in the future. Some predictions were correct! Most were totally wrong! It’s a loopy episode and boy oh boy it is weird to listen to it now! Time travel!
Bill & Ted Face the Music
The boys are back and discussing Keanu's latest, "Bill and Ted Face The Music." Look, we're a little rusty and it maybe took us a bit to get to the film, but we DO get there. Jake and Matt annoy Patrick their opinions and...should nicecore even be a description of something? Either way, all agree this was a nice movie and the bonhomie of Bill and Ted lives on, even in their progeny.
Ok folks, we've reached it. The big one. The crucial juncture. The Matrix (1999)! What to really say about this film? We live in a simulation created by machines in order to keep us blind to our captivity and usefulness merely as an energy supply for said machines. As a metaphor, consistently apropos. And if you haven't seen this film and are listening to this podcast you are a statistical outlier. Mostly the brothers Torpey give Patrick the space he needs to wax poetic about one of the biggest films of his young life. This is another long one, as we anticipated it being from the beginning. And that's good since we've burned through our banked episodes from our previous hiatus and there is a distinct lack of addressing certain "current affairs." So enjoy this nice long conversation about a seminal movie in Keanu's career that's deservedly praised and rad as hell.
The Devil's Advocate (w/ Scott Thomas)
Big episode, big movie, big acting! Scott Thomas returns to join us for "The Devil's Advocate" (1997). Keanu plays hotshot Florida criminal defense attorney Kevin Lomax, who ain't never lost a case. His bona fides (as well as a preternatural ability to choose a jury) get him an offer at a prestigious firm in NYC. There, Kevin and his young wife (Charlize Theron) are given a lavish parkside Manhattan apartment and go up a great many tax brackets. But could this have been....a deal with the DEVIL? Obviously we're all here for one of the great big Pacino roles of his career as John Milton, head of said firm. For whichever stragglers have not seen this I'll keep it spoiler-free, but obviously it all goes to shit. Pacino is surprisingly quiet and sinister in this, rising into a fiery crescendo only at the end. We discuss the lamentable decline of the big-budget "high concept" drama, and take many, many tangents. In the words of John Milton (the fictional one of this film): live deliciously.
The Last Time I Committed Suicide
"The Last Time I Committed Suicide" (1997) by Stephen Kay. This one's about Neal Cassady (played by Thomas Jane), muse of the beat writers, amphetamine popping driver of The Merry Pranksters, during maybe the most boring part of his life, rendered duller still by being treated so reverently. A young Neal is listless and dissatisfied in small-town Colorado, working at a tire factory and trying to suss out life's mysteries. These mainly consist of what type of girl is better to have sex with: The suicidal brunette Joan (Claire Forlani) or bubbly blond nympho Mary (Gretchen Mol), ultimately choosing neither. Adrian Brody appears as Neal's friend and Allen Ginsberg analog Ben. Our dude Keanu (who put on weight for the role!) is the believably sleazy barfly Harry. The whole movie is based on a letter between Cassady and Kerouac, and that feels about right since this is meagre fare. Almost like something written by someone on speed in their twenties and translated to a feature film.
Coming to you from an undisclosed bunker, bug out bags stocked, armed and ready. The show must go on! Content dispatch episode 29 "Feeling Minnesota" (1996) by director Steve Baigelman. It certainly feels like the product of a young mind; all the preoccupation with sex and criminality is there, violence as punctuation mark. What this film DOES have is a stacked cast who --most of them--manage to squeeze some drama and pathos from this script. Freddie (Cameron Diaz) is being forced by crime boss Red (Delroy Lindo) to marry his crooked bookkeeper Sam Clayton (Vincent D'Onofrio), until Clayton's brother Jjaks (Keanu Reeves) shows up. Freddie and Jjaks immediately fuck at the wedding and run off with Sam's money...the very money he stole from Red in order to force the marriage with Freddie! Yikes! What ensues is a comedy of errors and needless violence. Look, it's not great, but D'Onofrio is a national treasure and what else is your quarantined ass gonna do to pass the time?
We break our deafening silence with "Chain Reaction" (1996) by Andrew Davis. Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu) is an idealistic young scientist who finds a source of unlimited hydrogen energy by playing music to water or something. Unfortunately Eddie and his team are secretly funded by the deep state and it's chosen representative, the coldly pragmatic Paul Shannon (Morgan Freeman), who wants this revolutionary tech for himself and those he works for. What ensues is a real meat-and-potatoes chase thriller in which Keanu and Rachel Weisz are the loose ends everyone wants dead. It's dumb. It's expensive. Enjoy the episode and go watch "The Fugitive".
Inherit the Viper
It's Josh round 2 with Inherit The Viper, notable for being the first movie of his we've seen in the theaters since the naughty aughties. Our boy plays Kip Conley, one of 3 remaining members of the Conley clan, with some reservations about inheriting his criminal father's "business" as a local dealer in painkillers to a ravaged post-industrial town. It's a competent little thriller about the opioid crisis with a sometimes hack script and an unclear point of view. Doubt this will take down Purdue and the Sackler family, but at least Josh is delivering.
It's the triumphant return of WE HEART HARTNETT! It's also a return to Josh's late-career output with the very boring She's Missing, written and directed by Alexandra Mcguiness. A young woman named Heidi goes searching for her friend Jane, who appears to have become embroiled in a peyote cult led by Josh. This sounds cool and is not. We think it's, like, a commentary of some sort? Listen and decide for yourself!
Babes in Toyland
Merry Christmas! This week we’re jumping back to the beginning of Keanu’s career to discuss the made-for-TV film Babes in Toyland, in which our dude co-stars with a young Drew Barrymore. Together they sing songs about the great city of Cincinnati, travel to a magical land of toys, and get framed for the crime of grand cookie larceny. It’s a short episode because time is tight around the holidays, but the boys are drinking Corona Light so you know it’s a good time!
A Walk in the Clouds
This week: now that Keanu is a full-fledged leading man, it’s time to star in a sweeping, romantic period piece. He teams up with Alfonso Arau, hot off the success of Like Water for Chocolate, to make A Walk in the Clouds, in which our dude plays the nicest soldier in the world, who returns from World War II and finds new meaning in life by hanging out with a Mexican family who owns a vineyard. All this plus classic stories about Jake and Matt’s dad!
Johnny Mnemonic (w/ Gita Jackson)
William Gibson, largely considered the first cyberpunk author you read as a teenager according to an objective study, adapts his own short story with 1995's JOHNNY MNEMONIC, directed by Robert Longo! Our dude plays the titular Johnny, a data courier in a corporate dystopia where we are at once inundated with data to the point of illness, and denied anything not approved by aforementioned corporations. A real murderers row of stars here: Ice T, Henry Rollins, Dolph Lundgren and Takeshi Kitano. Johnny finds himself in a deal gone wrong with a whopping 320GB stored in his 160GB capacity brain. Thus commences a ticking clock until complete cerebral meltdown where Johnny learns to make friends and stick it to Big Pharma. Joining us is Gita Jackson (Kotaku), who teams up with Patrick to steer things towards The Matrix constantly. This is a fun film, all style without substance, but GREAT style. Watch Electric Dragon 80,000V or Tetsuo The Iron Man if you haven't and you like this shit. Cheers.
Speed (w/ Andy Webb)
Reeves, Hopper, Bullock, Daniels, Morton, Jan de Bont at the mf helm, winner of 1995's Academy Award for best sound editing/mixing: it's SPEED (1994)! This is a big one for our boy, setting him up as a bona fide action star as LAPD SWAT member Jack Traven (more like Jacked Traven right?!). Hopper plays Howard Payne, disgruntled ex bomb squad who honestly just wants his damn pension, even if it entails elaborate extortion games with explosive-rigged speedometers. Hapless commuter Annie (Sandra Bullock) and Jack vibe under the highly erotic threat of possible death. Vehicular mayhem ensues and if you don't already know the conceit of this one then that's sad and I won't spoil it here. Guest Andy Webb returns to help us discuss da freakin' bus that couldn't slow down! Strap in.
This week it's Little Buddha (1993), by Bernardo Bertolucci. Every now and then you run into these films by critically lauded directors tackling some large philosophical/theological/metaphysical theme and it just ends up....hollow. That's this! And it's for kids supposedly. Tibetan monks go to Seattle in search of the reincarnation of their old Buddhist teacher lama Dorje, seeing him in the person of Jesse Konrad, a little blond bowlcutted(?) boy. His parents are passive nothings. Eventually Jesse goes to Bhutan with his dad and meets other vessels for lama Dorje. Nothing really comes of it. Keanu plays the Buddha in a fascinatingly weird case of miscasting. Even visual wizard Vittorio Storaro can't save it. It's too long. Not fun to watch, but fun to pick apart.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Hey now! Keanu's second collab with the talented Mr. Gus Van Sant; This time we have the mystifying and often incoherent Tom Robbins adaptation of "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues", a surreal tale of one Sissy Hankshaw (played by Uma Thurman), a huge rubber-thumbed hitchhiking savant who feels it's her destiny to forever remain a nomadic free-wheeling spirit; that is, until she get's embroiled in a strange political battle at the Rubber Rose Ranch, an escalating plotline involving liberational Cowgirls, drugged-out Cranes, and literal douche bags. It makes almost no sense. Keanu has asthma and is pretty funny in it, though :)
Much Ado About Nothing (w/ Rachel Schenk)
The Bard doth speak in the immoderate winds of galvanic plenitude most loquacious by familiar visages and....it's our episode on Much Ado About Nothing by Billy Shakes. We are joined for this pithy, digression-heavy episode by Rachel Schenk (@IAMRachelSchenk), who once played the role our very dude plays, Don John, the villain! We discuss Kenneth Branagh's career, do a southern-accented Joker character, and attempt to tackle this adaptation of heavy literary material which stretches the abilities of your dummy philistine hosts. So sit back, fold clothes or do some chores or whatever. This is a long one. Don John is a man of few words, we are not.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Hello boils and ghouls, we have a nice long (they're all long tbh) Halloween spooktacular for y'all: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)! We have a Halloween soundboard and everything! This needs very little introduction; it's the classic Dracula story with the major addition of a romance between the titular count (Gary Oldman) and Mina Harker (Winona Ryder), maybe involving reincarnation (?). As far as Keanu's legacy this is maybe most famous for saddling him forever with the popular idea that he's a stiff, wooden actor who is "bad." Now, is this performance labored? Yes. Is he clearly JUST struggling to deliver lines in something resembling an English accent and still failing half the time while forgetting to ACT in the process? Maybe. But for real it's not that bad and otherwise this movie is a visually sumptuous masterpiece and a must-see, not just for horror fans, with extremely memorable performances. Get on it and happy Halloween!
My Own Private Idaho
Who's ready for some Gus Van Sant and his laugh riot exploration of longing and search for human connection? It's My Own Private Idaho this week, a film about male street hustlers constructed from three separate creative endeavors (including an adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV) into a surprisingly coherent and moving art house hit. River Pheonix plays Mike, the emotional focal point of the film, prostitute, former ward of the state and hapless narcoleptic. Mike is in love with Scott (our dude Keanu), scion of a wealthy family, who is essentially LARPing as an impoverished person with no options, knowing full well he will claim his birthright and leave his "friends."
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (w/ Adam Lance Garcia)
This week's episode is a beefy one: Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991). Adam Lance Garcia (WIRED) joins us to discuss the second installment in the adventures of Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu) and Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter). We crush Twitter beef, veer all over the place and speculate on B&T's upcoming 2020 elaboration on their universe. This movie really blows open the door's further, having Bill and Ted journey through heaven and hell to secure the safety of their maiden babe wives and defeat evil robot versions of themselves. There's an alien named Station with a huge ass. Wyld stuff.
Point Break (w/ Michael Curran)
The prodigal son returns! Lost scion and Philly jawn Michael Curran joins us to discuss Point Break (1991), Kathryn Bigelow's action masterwork about two men obsessed with each other: Fresh-faced agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and the sexily charismatic surf guru/bank robber, Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). We also have Utah's partner Angelo Pappas, played by an unhinged Gary Busey fresh from a serious motorcycle accident which hurt his brain! It's the best. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are in this because they love California. So is Lori Petty as love interest Tyler, but we all know where the real romance lies. The boys all agree Johnny Utah is a dogshit FBI agent.
Tune in Tomorrow...
I Love You to Death
This week's episode is I Love You to Death (1989). Inspired by a true story, philanderer and Italian stereotype Joey Boca (Kevin Kline) cannot keep the sausage in his pants, breaking the heart of his dedicated wife Rosalie (Tracy Ullman). Thus a murder plot is hatched, involving Rosalie, her mother, Devo (River Pheonix), and our dude, Keanu, as a heroin addict looking to raise some drug money. This one goes hard on Italians, indomitable creatures of sauce-based appetites. So be warned. Xoxox
It's 1989 and we're talking Parenthood, the Ron Howard dramedy that arguably birthed Steve Martin's current reputation as suburban America's humorously exasperated white-haired dad. Gil (Martin) is just trying to be the best dad he can be, but his overwrought, neurotic son is throwing a wrench into the works of his fatherly self-image. Meanwhile, a satellite of other stories involving the members of his multigenerational family orbits Gil's own, tackling a surprising number of issues related to the trials and tribulations of parenting. Overall a solid film with a stacked cast reviewed by your beloved hosts who, it must be said, are without children. Obviously.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (w/ Griffin Newman)
Y'all were waiting for it: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). We're joined by special guest Griffin Newman (The Tick) as a proselytizer for all things Bill and Ted. Two San Dimas simpletons must time travel to avoid flunking their history exams or else be separated, thus destroying any chance for the future utopia they engender via their apparently transcendent music as rock group Wyld Stallions, an as yet a purely aspirational venture. But most of you dudes already knew that. Party on for the good of us all!
This week: we enter the lascivious intrigue-laden world of 18th century French aristocracy with Dangerous Liaisons (1988). Bored socialites John Malkovich and Glenn Close enact psychosexual revenge on various friends and family in an attempt to navigate the love and repulsion they feel for one another. Our dude Keanu plays an innocent fresh-faced music teacher and gets into a duel. Naturally everyone gets their comeuppance. Plus we read a negative iTunes review of the show which we definitely don't even care about at all.
The Prince of Pennsylvania
This week, Keanu gets an extremely dumb haircut and decides to kidnap his coal-mining dad (Fred Ward) in 1988’s The Prince of Pennsylvania. Patrick, Jake, and Matt try to diagnose where this movie went wrong, while also covering important topics like Jake’s brief childhood modern dance career, the Torpeys’ recent trip to Croatia, and the Rugrats and Wild Thornberries movies.
This week, Patrick, Jake, and Matt do their best to keep the mood light while discussing 1988's Permanent Record, a movie that deals with the difficult subject of teen suicide. Keanu is Chris, the wacky best friend who gets thrust into the lead role when David (Alan Boyce) tragically takes his own life. This episode tries to make sense of a movie that veers from wacky comedy to searing drama while also answering questions like: why isn't podcast pornography a thing? What jobs did Matt work in 2012? And do the Torpeys actually know the premise of the show 13 Reasons Why?
The Night Before
This week it's 1988's The Night Before. Winston Connelly (Keanu) wakes up in an alley wearing a dirty tuxedo and must recollect how he got there, and where the heck is his prom date, Tara Mitchell (Lori Loughlin)?!! AND the police chief is her DAD?!!! Who's Tito?? Honestly this is a pretty solid 80s flick with a very high energy turn from Keanu and a cameo by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, bearing a classic lesson for the era: if you're a horny nerd, put yourself and your crush in danger, black out on drugs, sell them into sexual slavery, then save them right at the last minute in a sexy act of bravery. Easy!
Toy Story 4
This week: part 4 of the Toy Quartet. The toys have learned to die, what's left but to learn how to live? Our boy is Canadian action figure Duke Caboom, and the tragicomic figure of Forky sparks a theological discussion. Choose life.
Always Be My Maybe (w/ Sophia Park)
This week: we warp forward to 2019 again to cover the Netflix original romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, starring Ali Wong and Randall Park. Childhood friends Sasha (Wong) and Marcus (Park) have not spoken to each other since some friend-ruiningly awkward, post-funeral car sex as teenagers. Now adults, their lives having radically diverged, and they meet again to fulfill their romcom destinies. It's a genre film that competently runs its paces, but the lynchpin is KEANU, playing against type and catalyzing said romantic destiny with a game of "apocalyptic" charades. Featuring special guest Sophia Park to offer some much needed perspective on Asian representation within the genre of romantic comedies, as well as Ali Wong's reclamation of Keanu Reeves as an Asian actor. Join us, won't you?
This week: Keanu is in this movie for like a collective minute and a half, so we HAD to watch 1986's intensely homoerotic "Youngblood." Hunks and hockey and following your dreams is the formula here, another disappointingly disjointed attempt at a teen sports movie. I mean, at least there're some highly symmetrical heavy hitters in here: Keanu, Patrick Swayze and (a very stilted) Rob Lowe as the titular Dean Youngblood, along with Cynthia Gibb. Most importantly, however, is that this film marks the first appearance of Swayze and Keanu together onscreen. Humble beginnings.
This week: part 2 in what will be known henceforth as "The 1986 Trilogy," the surprisingly solid and underseen River's Edge. Inspired in part by the 1981 murder of Marcy Renee Conrad, it tells a tale of anomie and moral turpitude among a group of teens in northern California. Keanu plays Matt, looking appropriately scuzzy. Dennis Hopper is in it, and there's a pretty memorable turn from Crispin Glover which the hosts are divided on liking. We all agree Tim needs a good punch in the face though.
Flying / Dream to Believe / Teenage Dream
This week: we warp back in time to cover 1986's Flying, AKA Dream to Believe, AKA Teenage Dream, wherein young gymnastics hopeful Robin (Olivia d'Abo) tries to make her local team despite a prior knee injury and living in dreary Buffalo, NY! Our boy is in a kind of 'Ducky' role here, the ever supportive dude who it's so obvious is right for Robin. This one's kind of all over the shop folks, like a leering John Hughes doing Flashdance type of thing.
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Contains spoilers for the 2019 film Tell It to the Bees.
John Wick Chapter 2 (w/ Siddhant Adlakha)
This week: John Wick is back, and so is guest Siddhant Adlakha (Polygon, Village Voice). He joins Patrick and the Brothers Torpey to discuss the second installment in the Wick saga, as well as important topics like Hannah Montana, Indian film censorship, and…who is Mortdecai anyway?
The journey through Keanu's career begins, unexpectedly, with a look at one of his more recent iconic roles: the grieving, dog-loving murder machine: John Wick. In the show's inaugural episode, Patrick, Jake, and Matt revisit Chad Stahelski's modern action classic, and explore what it meant for action cinema, and more importantly, for Keanu himself.
Episode 0 - Can't Get Enough of Keanu
They're back! Finally! Patrick, Jake, and Matt reunite for a brief introductory episode to answer the important questions: what is this podcast, why are they doing it, and most importantly...why Keanu Reeves?
The Big Emotional Final Episode
Josh's Short Films, TV Appearances, & Commercials
6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain
The Ottoman Lieutenant
Notes On Our Josh Journey So Far (w/ Chris Decerbo)
Penny Dreadful Season 3 (w/ Andy Webb)
Penny Dreadful Season 2
Penny Dreadful Season 1
Parts Per Billion
Stuck Between Stations
Girl Walks Into a Bar
I Come With the Rain
We want to wish Josh Hartnett a happy birthday
Happy birthday to Josh Hartnett
We’re watching your movies because we heart you
So have a
Happy Hartnett birthday!
Also in this episode: what superhero should Josh play? Is Collateral Beauty the next Seven Pounds? How much do Matt and Jake love the film Labyrinth? Who is Truth Springsteen?