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Posted 20 Jun 2010 in General

Eighteen months or so ago, staying at Sam and Laura’s place in Paris over the New Year period, I threw a minor tantrum because everyone, hungover and tired, voted in favour of watching Wall-E – an animated film from the Pixar stable – instead of going out to explore the city. Feeling superior, I opted to sit in silence, facing away from the screen, and read passive-aggressively. Everyone else was charmed by the film, and I quickly felt stupid for ignoring it.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson. When I was about thirteen my friends asked me to the cinema. For one reason or other, I wasn’t in the habit of going to watch films, so this was quite exciting for me. When I got to Barnet Odeon, I was appalled to discover that the film we were watching was Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Now, I hadn’t seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (I’ve seen it many times since) so I didn’t know that it was a minor classic, and assumed instead it was the worst kind of childish, goofy rubbish. Annoyed, we went in and I resolved not to laugh – and demonstrate in so doing my innate sophistication and maturity.

Within about four minutes, my face was hurting and I could barely breathe. I would not – no matter how much I wanted to – crack. So I sat in painful silence, fighting every instinct to laugh or smile. Clearly, it was brilliant and I was a tosser. Eventually I collapsed into relieved hysterics, and presumably my friends forgave me, or else never held my idiocy against me. From that point on, I not only enjoyed every moment of the film, but began to feel a reflex affection for Keanu Reeves which has never left me – although I’ve never seen The Matrix.

Clearly I’m not the only one. Here’s Kira Cochrane writing in the Guardian.

The public feel many emotions towards enormously successful, fabulously wealthy, extraordinarily good-looking Hollywood stars. Protective isn’t usually one of them. But Keanu Reeves is different. When a photo surfaced last week of him perching on a park bench, eating a sandwich, looking just a tiny bit morose, the internet went wild. Bloggers typed out a torrent of warmth, the Twitterers tweeted their larksong of love. It was as though the world had suddenly awoken to the ideal espoused in Reeves’s Bill and Ted movies: “Be excellent to each other.”

A thread started on Reddit, running to thousands of comments, including anecdotes of Reeves’s incredible generosity. There were stories of him taking out stage hands for free lunches, giving a poor crew member a $20,000 (£16,500) bonus, stopping to help a woman jumpstart her car.

How lovely. Occasionally you encounter a celebrity who, instinctively, you feel is a sympathetic, kind, down-to-earth person, and it’s a funny, disappointing feeling if and when you’re proved wrong. (I still maintain that Winona was innocent of those shoplifting charges).

Here’s Thank You Keanu Reeves, a site dedicated to just that – a rare opportunity of the internet just giving a big, happy, thumbs up.

A source who knew Reeves in the early 90s confirms the many stories of his kindness – he taught her bass guitar, brought chicken soup when she was ill, let all and sundry stay at his house, and sent flowers to his sister each week. Perhaps the simple truth is this. We want to protect Keanu because we can tell he’s good. Most excellent, even.


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