KEANU REEVES (IN THEORY)
You might be under the impression that "The Films of Keanu Reeves" - Course F/373, Spring Term, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena - is a gut, but it's not. "The Films of McLean Stevenson" - now that would be a gut. "The films of Keanu Reeves" is actually twelve gnarly weeks of culture, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy, plus there's, like, a lot of homework. For instance, one week you not only have to watch "My Own Private Idaho" but have to read "The Idea of Decadence" from "Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism," by Matei Calinescu, and then you probably have to talk in class. Keanu would totally get this, because Keanu has range. "Incredible range," Stephen Prina, the course instructor, was saying recently. "Keanu is very, very broad. This really isn't about being a good actor. It's not about applauding quality. I haven't even seen all of Keanu's films. That's my way of eroding my authority in the class, so I can be closer to the students. I didn't want the class to just be a sort of Steve's Favorite Films kind of thing."
Mr. Prina, who taught courses on major dudes like Fassbinder and Pasolini in previous years, said that he had been encouraged to design a course on the films of River Phoenix but had been more drawn to Keanu. "I certainly appreciate River's work, but Keanu's career has had a wider scope," he said. "What attracted me to Keanu was the way he occupies the heartthrob position but also dabbles in Shakespeare. And, of course, there's his work in both "Bill and Ted" films." Mr. Prina is, of course, referring to "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey," which are both really righteous.
"Those should be great classes," Mr. Prina said. "We're reading "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," by Foucault, when we screen "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and a piece by Cynthia Fuchs on exploring masculinities in cinema with "Bogus Journey." We've got some other great readings, too, such as Barthes, Richard Sennett, and Andy Warhol. We've also invited Keanu to come speak to the class, which I think would be fantastic, but we haven't heard anything from him yet."