Yesterday was Flag Day, the one day of the year dedicated to Americans celebrating their national colors, but today, June 15, is actually a much more important holiday: Cheer Up Keanu Day. After a paparazzi image of a forlorn-looking Keanu Reeves sitting on a bench and eating lunch made its circuit through the magically arbitrary world of Internet Meme-land, someone started up a Facebook event called “Cheer Up Keanu Day,” urging fans of the actor to send him “letters, emails, gifts, and any other niceties and kind words” to let him know just how much he means to them. As of this post, there are over 14,000 confirmed participants. In the succinct words of Keanu, “Whoa.”
The star of such classics as Johnny Mnemonic and Chain Reaction is an easy target for cynical Internet snark-peddlers. (In fact, my not-particularly-clever reference to him as “the star of such classics as Johnny Mnemonic and Chain Reaction” is a perfect example.) That’s what makes this groundswell of support so endearing: The idea that we as a virtual world can take a day to earnestly praise what we would usually scoff. So, in the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to take this opportunity to enumerate the reasons I appreciate Keanu:
1. He is often front-and-center in movies of such pure testosteroned awesomeness they threaten to burn out your eyeballs. Examples: Point Break, Speed, The Matrix.
2. He regularly donates to cancer research funds, and even reportedly gave millions of his own earnings to the behind-the-scenes crew of The Matrix.
3. Reeves is really good in My Own Private Idaho.
4. I used to watch his version of Babes in Toyland all the time as a kid.
5. Wyld Stallyns!!!!
6. Can you honestly imagine anyone else as Neo?
7. He never comes across as anything but a nice guy who does what he enjoys, has gotten to work with some amazing directors (Gus Van Sant, Francis Ford Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Linklater) and rightly feels no need to apologize for it.
So, cheer up, Keanu. Just be glad you’re you. We are. What about you, PopWatchers? What are you grateful for in the Keanu canon?