Totally bogus, or bodaciously cool? Reeves is a class subject(also published on April 9 as a longer version under the title 'Keanu Reeves in Academe: Excellent Idea, or Bogus?')
Actor's range of films makes him the star of a college course.
by Janet Weeks
LOS ANGELES - A film instructor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena had a totally excellent idea this semester. Instead of offering his usual course in the films of avant-garde European directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Jean-Luc Godard, he's spending 12 weeks on the films of a most triumphant actor, an Olivier for the '90s.
Ted? No way.
Stephen Prina is offering a comprehensive study of Reeves' work, including the goofy teen comedy "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and its equally goofy sequel "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. "
Students view a film a week - like "Point Break," in which Reeves plays a surfing FBI agent - then spend an hour discussing what they have seen. Yep, a full 60 minutes.
Students also are required to read a variety of essays with themes that Prina said tie into the various movies. For example, the week the class viewed the original "Bill & Ted," they read Nietzche, Genealogy, History, by Michel Foucault. And to prepare for "I Love You to Death," they read excerpts from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. You remember Warhol, the gnarly artist dude.
Prina said he wanted to design a course about filmmaking in the 1980s and focused the class on Reeves because the actor has appeared in a diverse set of films that each exemplify a specific style.
To critics who write off Reeves as a one-trick pony, an actor who simply plays himself no matter the character, Prina said, "So what? " The same can be said of Jack Nicholson, he pointed out, and he's an Oscar winner.
Some students and others, however, think Prina's selection of Reeves as a metaphor for modern films is most heinous. A most bogus choice.
"Colleagues have lodged formal complaints about the class," he said. "They think it's a joke. Film students have said they are ashamed to go to a school that offers this class."
The unusual nature of the course also has prompted stories in the New Yorker and Harper's. MTV News is planning to tape a segment on the class. And there's a possibility Reeves himself will participate in one of the two remaining classes this week or next Thursday.
Now wouldn't that be bodacious?