Keen on Keanu? Now you can fill up
by Scott Craven, The Phoenix Gazette
Had the scales of fate tipped the other way, you would have seen Alex Winters casting steely-eyed glances toward Sandra Bullock in "Speed," or Winters looking sari in "Little Buddha."
Winters, you probably don't recall, was Keanu Reeves' co-star in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." Winters was Bill or Ted, as was Reeves, in roles so alike that the breakout star must have been determined by coin flip.
Winters should have called tails. Instead, Reeves is the one with the film career, while Winters hasn't even been able to land a small role in a Golf Channel movie.
Reeves' name is on the marquee again, appearing ("starring" implies talent) in "A Walk in the Clouds." In it, Reeves plays Bill or Ted, only this time he's a World War II vet.
If you need a Keanu fix, here are a few of his movies on video:
"Babes in Toyland" -- This 1986 TV-movie remake of the Laurel and Hardy classic proves once and for all that "March of the Wooden Soldiers" was written with Reeves in mind.
"River's Edge" -- Reeves is one of the teens who learns a friend has killed a member of their clique and left her body alongside a river. Interesting look at detached adolescents and worth a look, since Reeves blends in well. He's excellent playing someone who's detached.
"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" -- Two of the greatest airhead movies of all time. Bill and Ted travel through time and space to interact with everyone from Marco Polo to Death. Reeves' future performances would forever be compared to these stints as Bill or Ted.
"I Love You to Death" -- Bill & Ted's Copious Contract. Reeves is one of two dopey hit men hired to kill Kevin Kline in this semi-delightful romp saved by the performances of Kline and Tracey Ullman.
"Little Buddha" -- Bill & Ted's Odious Odyssey. Reeves, religion and debates over belief systems don't quite mesh. If only someone had thrown in a time-traveling phone booth.
"Bram Stoker's Dracula" -- Bill & Ted's Baffling Bloodbath. Someone was asleep at the script when they cast Reeves as Jonathan Harker, vampire bait. Francis Ford Coppola's overwrought production starred Gary Oldman and lots of red corn syrup. Need a wooden stake? Look no further than Reeves' performance.
"Much Ado About Nothing" -- Bill & Ted's Sheepish Shakespeare. Kenneth Branagh's adaptation is a frolic (an official critic-approved term). And Reeves does his best impersonation of a British accent. It frolics.
"Parenthood" -- Bill & Ted's Familial Farce. OK, so Reeves is just a bit player in the ensemble cast that follows Steve Martin around for 90 minutes. It makes the movie that much better. Funny, warm and charming look at raising a family.
"Point Break" -- Bill & Ted's Dubious Distraction. Reeves is typecast as a surfer dude (and undercover cop) trying to bust a bank-robbery ring led by Patrick Swayze. Reeves looks pretty good next to Swayze's hair.
"Speed" -- Bill & Ted's Moneymaking Machine. A bomb, a bus and thou. Few people know the bus was rigged to blow up the second Reeves showed any acting ability. No one was hurt.
(Note: Reeves will appear tonight at 9 for a sold-out show at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach with the band he's in, Dogstar. See story on page 18.)