Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Keanu Reeves, One-time King of Cool
Central air-conditioning has been part of my life long enough to become bourgeois blasé. But early August’s triple-digit heat wave brought back twenty-something memories of stifling apartments, clunky window air-conditioners that seldom worked and evenings spent watching ice melt. Way back in 1991, during a heart wave as grueling as this summer’s, Keanu Reeves was my savior, my personal King of Cool. It was a dog day afternoon in mid July and my girlfriend and I were weary of walks at the local shopping mall. We had already watched every summer movie we wanted to see: “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” It was too hot to say in our apartment so we opted for Reeves as stone-faced FBI Agent Johnny Utah battling Patrick Swayze’s surfer/bank robber in the action movie “Point Break.” Twitchy Lori Petty played the love interest and Gary Busey provided lackadaisical support as Utah’s partner. I remember director Kathryn Bigelow managing a couple of exciting robbery escapes in a movie best summed up as a B-grade mess. Still, the movie delivered exactly what we were seeking, a break from the heat.
Power failures, steaming sidewalks and melting pot temperatures came back with gusto this summer but I wonder if as many people need movie theaters for escape from the heat they way I needed them in 1991. If that were the case then filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s failed mermaid thriller “Lady in the Water” certainly would have sold more tickets.