arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Keanu



I do not go to the movies often.  I always go to be entertained, but others I will definitely expect to be uplifting for my spirit.  Still others I know will not uplift me, but they are a guilty pleasure.  We all know the type, whether its food or some other type of nourishment that we are told is bad for us, we enjoy it anyway.

And so it is with Keanu, starring the cutest kitten ever.

Our hero is living a good life at the start in an abandoned church converted to an LA meth lab.  A few rivals come for a visit and before you know it all of the bipeds are slaughtered, but our plucky, four-pawed feline escapes.  The film producers would have us believe that he makes his way across the length and breadth of Los Angeles without so much as a misplaced hair on his furry back.   He ends up meowing pitifully at the steps of Rell (Jordan Peele), a photographer who must be living in Cheech and Chong’s old crib.  We can assume this because of the two foot high yellow bong on Rell’s coffee table, which he uses to get over his girlfriend breaking up with him.

Rell decides that Keanu’s sudden appearance in his life is a good sign.  It jump starts his creativity: he poses Keanu in several states of dress for a calendar honoring the film world’s more recent iconic achievements.  Reservoir Dogs, Point Break, et al all get the cute kitty calendar treatment.  Keanu even makes The Shining look adorable!

Rell’s cousin, Clarence, (Keagen Michael Key) is too wrapped up in his career to see Rell’s love for Keanu, but hell, he can’t seem to know how to love his family.   Even Clarence’s daughter is more annoyed than the typical sullen teenager should be with her father.  Before his wife and daughter go away for the weekend with daughter’s best friend and best friend’s father, she tells him to relax a bit.  

She should be careful what she wishes for….

The cousins enjoy a night on the town and return to find Rell’s house has been burglarized, ransacked and Keanu missing.   The police come, investigate, but don’t sound encouraging when it comes to the idea of Keanu being found…ever. The cousins turn to Rell’s neighbor, who is also his dope dealer (how convenient is that?) to see if he noticed any suspicious characters hanging around Ralph’s place in recent days.  The neighbor is not sure since he’s a little spaced out on his own products (think Dick Shawn’s LSD character from The Producers 50 years later).   Despite the drug haze and the fact that he woke his mother up (yes, the drug dealer lives with his mommy!) he points the cousins in the directions of a gang known as The 17th Street Blips.  If you’re not good enough to a Blood or a Crip, then you join the Blips!

The cousins are directed to the Blips hideout fronted by a topless bar which advertises a buffet all day Tuesdays. (I’ll be there Tuesdays, dudes!)  Keanu is readily found among the gang leader’s other pet (a boa constrictor), but Blip leader Cheddar doesn’t want to give Keanu up.   Every hardened bad ass in East LA can’t help but be smitten with Keanu.

Have I mentioned how g-d cute Keanu is?

The next forty-eight hours or so are a series of drug deals, kidnappings, catnappings, and other mishaps (aka gun battles) the cousins connive their way through just so Rell can get Keanu back.  It’s basically a fish out of water story with the two middle class cousins descending into the harsh world of illegal drugs where the “n” word is tossed about as casually as Keanu side steps all the violence happening around him. 

The kitten is charmed: he even manages to avoid being eaten by Cheddar’s pet boa.

Key and Peele’s big screen debut is mildly amusing.  It’s at its funniest when Clarence turns a van full of bad mothers onto the music of George Michael (as in Faith, as in Father Figure, as in yes, that George Michael).  Clarence has turned so middle-class that he forsakes smoking a joint and the whole rap culture for Wham.  As Clarence tells his new homeboys on the break-up of Wham: “And. Andrew. Ridgely. Was. Never. Seen. Again.”

Unfortunately, the comedy succumbs to the frequent (four of five by my count) displays of gangster gun play.  The movie audience doesn’t know whether to laugh at the stereotypes being busted one minute, only to have the stereotypes murder each other in cold blood the next.  It’s still a culture clash, but one in which the white community is on the periphery.  They are seen as being the meth lab's best customers.   Or is that another stereotype which needs to be exploded?

Keanu is part Colors, part Scarface (the Brian dePalma version), part Matrix, part okay, what the hell, Uptown Saturday Night, and 100% cute!  Have I mentioned how g-d, mother-effin’ cute Keanu is?

In the end, not everyone is what they seem.  Gangsters dig the whitest of music and one of these gangstas is an undercover cop.  The hardest hearts can be melted by pitiful meowing, but they still have to serve time for the consequences of their actions during a wild weekend.  All the humans, black and white, get to throw off their macho shells of middle-class success (legal and illegal) and get in touch with those they love or should love.

Awww, Keanu!  Good kitty!

(Thank you for reading.  And that’s my guilty pleasure. That’s guilty! Guilty! Guilty!)

3 Comments:

Blogger Raybeard said...

OMG! Had NO idea, RTG, about the subject matter, and now that I know it'll take me more than I think I'm capable of to watch this. Films featuring animals, ESPECIALLY when they are the 'stars' - also when any animal is hurt or, far worse, killed - is the big no-no.
I take note of what you say and the positive aspects of this particular film, but just the thought of sitting through it fills me with anguish and foreboding. However, at least I now know, and am grateful for your insight - as well as having seen the film FOR me, and others of similar sentiment.

May 24, 2016 at 3:39 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you Raybeard. I am happy to hear that I spared you this anguish. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

May 25, 2016 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Raybeard said...

Sorry to say it, but sooner you than me! So thanks again.

May 25, 2016 at 2:17 PM  

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