The Best Movie Ever | Best Keanu Reeves Movies List
30 years in the industry, approximately 70 movies to his name. Keanu Reeves may not look like he’s aged a day since the 1990s but he’s been a constant presence in the cinema for decades, and the time has come to look back at his filmography and decide which of his films really are The Best Keanu Reeves Movies Ever.
Joining us are the CraveOnline film critics – William Bibbiani, Witney Seibold, Fred Topel and Brian Formo – who were each challenged to pick one, just one movie that they can stand by as the best Keanu Reeves movies ever.
Best Keanu Reeves Movies List
But we all have our favorites, so after you read their picks – and their rationales for picking them – scroll down to the bottom of the page to vote for your own favorite Keanu Reeves movies. And be sure to come back every Wednesday for another installment of The Best Movie Ever, where settle your arguments once and for all.
Related: The Best Movie Ever: World War II
Fred Topel’s Pick: Parenthood (1989)
Brian Formo’s Pick: My Own Private Idaho (1991)
William Bibbiani’s Pick: The Matrix (1999)
Keanu Reeves is 50 years old. Let that sink in for a moment. He looks like he hasn’t aged in 20 years. The continuity of his screen presence is so unfettered – he cut his hair in the early 90s, and sometimes shows up with a beard in indie projects – that it’s easy to lose sight of just how long he has been entertaining us. It’s also easy to forget just how many great films he’s starred in over the years. For every lousy Chain Reaction or The Watcher there’s at least one I Love You To Death or A Scanner Darkly to make up for it.
So picking the best Keanu Reeves movie ever is a bit harder than I first thought it would be, but I think I came up with the answer. Unfortunately (for my street cred, at least) it’s also the most obvious answer imaginable: The Matrix, that kung fu head trip directed by Wachowski Starship. It’s not even one of my favorite movies. I admire the film’s ingenuity and dedication to blending ideas from multiple genres, but it’s also clunky and awkward and full of more exposition than it really needs.
But The Matrix is undeniably ambitious, and it speaks well of Keanu Reeves that he recognized just how much potential this weird-ass movie – which no one expected to become a pop culture event – had to reach audiences in search of new ideas and inventive action sequences. He may have been typecast as the “Whoa” guy, but Keanu Reeves is a smart person, and he let the intelligence that’s so obvious in interviews come out in his choice of material. The Matrix takes advantage of Reeves’ public persona as a “blank slate” actor, but for the purpose of tricking them into experiencing something wholly unusual, and unusually smart. He knew his place in the movie, he played it beautifully, and helped raise the standards of a generation of movie-goers. That’s gotta be the best Keanu Reeves movie ever… doesn’t it?
Witney Seibold’s Pick: Side By Side (2012)
The dude’s dude, the steely action hero, the swoony teeny-bopper idol, the mocked would-be thespian, and the earnest admirer of the cinematic form, Keanu Reeves is a divisive figure to say the least. When I was a youth, films like Dracula and My Own Private Idaho cemented him as a sex symbol for both straight girls and gay boys everywhere, even while Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure left him in airhead surfer territory, and Much Ado About Nothing assured that he would forever be remembered as a bad actor. Overall, the best adjective to describe Reeves would be “inscrutable.” He is talented and fascinating… most of the time. He has starred in some terrible movies and given some bad performances, but he has also appeared in some legitimate classics like The Matrix and Speed.
While it may not be objectively his best film, the project that best exemplifies Reeves as a whole figure who is worthy of a place in film history is the 2012 Christopher Keneally documentary Side By Side, produced and hosted by Reeves. 2011 was a watershed moment in film presentation, as that was the year most theaters made the final switch from 35mm film to digital projection. Reeves, along with a lot of people in the business, were ambivalent about the sudden and dramatic change in format, and he felt that this change needed to be discussed. What were the advantages and disadvantages of the change? Your average filmgoer probably doesn’t think too much about the format on which they see their movies, and Side By Side points out the differences and the disadvantages of each format. Reeves talks earnestly with Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, David Fincher, James Cameron, and many others about what all this tech shifting means for the business and and the business in the future.
Reeves clearly has a deep interest in this discussion. He knows his stuff. He may be an actor first, but he is also a lover of movies, and I think that makes him mare dynamic and interesting than any of his other feature films.
Don’t forget to let us know what you consider to be the best Keanu Reeves movies ever in the comment section below.