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Posted at 3:03 PM ET, 06/14/2010

Here comes 'Cheer Up Keanu Day'

By Liz Kelly

Where would Betty White be without the Facebook campaign that landed her the most talked about "SNL" hosting gig in a decade? And what of Stephen Baldwin? Would the guy even have registered on our radar this year were it not for catching viral fire in April?

In the past year, the Internet has proven its value as a grassroots organizing tool not only for politics, but for DIY celebrity promotion. The "Y" in this case, though, refers not directly to the celebs at the center of these crusades, but to dedicated fans who take it upon themselves to get some attention for their beloved celebs.

And now it's Keanu Reeves's turn.

Sad Keanu with Forrest Gump. (Image courtesy

Tomorrow, June 15, has been declared "Cheer Up Keanu Day." And here you thought it was just Tuesday. According to the Facebook page explaining the concept, Reeves is in need of a worldwide Internet hug because he "has not gotten the recognition deserved for his talent nor his humility." (Though the page fails to mention that maybe Keanu also deserves a little bit of the blame for any lack of respect. I mean, this is the same guy who agreed to "Speed 2," starred in two increasingly horrible "Matrix" sequels and totally struck out with the treacly "Lake House.")

Still, he is Neo. He is Ted. He is Johnny Utah. And we love him for that. No question.

Granted, there hasn't been much Keanu buzz in the past couple of years, but why does Keanu need cheering up now any more than he did, say, in 2008 when he turned in an embarrassingly wooden performance in "The Day the Earth Stood Still?"

Well, last week a series of "Sad Keanu" pix was frantically forwarded around the Web, posted to Facebook, tweeted and liberally traded by those of us who value a good pop culture-related distraction from our daily labors. The pix all feature the same image of a downcast patchily-bearded Reeves inserted into various scenarios: surrounded by cats, considering a pigeon and (in my favorite) sharing a steel beam with a group of Depression-era construction workers. And more keep coming. Oh, and if you're not particularly handy with PhotoShop, you can use this handy tool to "float" the sad Keanu pic in front of any Web site.

In any case, the Facebook campaign has quickly picked up steam and already has more than 11,000 confirmed "guests." What exactly is the plan, though, for bringing Keanu a little cheer? Aside from the show of support, event organizer Daniel Patrick Murphey is asking fans to send "letters, e-mails, gifts, and any other niceties and kind words to a real bro, Keanu Reeves" via Reeves's agent or to donate to a cancer charity in the name of Reeves's sister Kim, who has battled leukemia for several years.

I can get on board with that. Dude.

By Liz Kelly  | June 14, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Hollyweird  | Tags:  Keanu Reeves  
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Next: Gary Coleman's death certificate released; Coldplay to get 'Glee' treatment


Keanu Reeves wasn't in Speed 2, and who can really be faulted for starring in the Matrix sequels? Those were like, the most highly anticipated sequels of all time. Plus Keanu was awesome in Constantine.

Posted by: kweible333 | June 14, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: reddragon1 | June 14, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

kweible is correct -- Keanu wasn't in Speed 2, he was replaced by Jason Patric; however, America's Sweetheart(tm) Sandra Bullock was in both Speeds, so if anyone deserves the blame for encouraging the Hollywood suits to greenlight that sequel, it would appear to be the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Jesse James.

Personally, I think Keanu peeked in the Bill&Ted series and it's pretty much been downhill from there.

Posted by: klaw009x | June 14, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "Speed 2" correction. I've obviously blocked it from my memory. Maybe instead we can sub in his laughable attempt at a British accent in the otherwise decent "Dracula."

Posted by: Liz Kelly | June 14, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Keanu has done some garbage films, no doubt, but so has every actor and actress. For every Godfather 2 there's a Righteous Kill and for every The Blind Side there's a...well, The Blind Side. I think Keanu gets a bad rap though. Yes, the Lake House sucked and A Walk in the Clouds was horrific, but he's got some winners, too, and not all of them are him playing the slightly spacey guy like in The Matrix. The Devil's Advocate, The Watcher, and The Gift are all pretty bada$$ movies and all 3 have him playing against his stereotyped role. Street Kings was good, too. And let's not forget how awesome Point Break is, regardless of whether or not it's Oscar worthy (though as far as I'm concerned, Kathryn Bigelow's win this last year was just an overdue statue for this surfing/bank robbing/Reeves-Swayze gem).

Posted by: kweible333 | June 14, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is a critic nowadays, and that is perfectly fine. Without appropriate knowledge however, it makes me wonder what else may have been *blocked from memory*. Maybe someone who is actually familiar with Mr. Reeves' work should have written the article, to be at least a little credible in light of making an assessment? This article certainly makes me wonder about WP and if it is okay to be misinformed (or forgettable) when writing for such an accredited news forum.

Posted by: somebody67 | June 14, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Liz, some comments. First of all, he's not Jack Traven? As in .... Speed? You just can't forget that! Also, although the Matrixes 2 and 3 weren't all that great, Keanu put lots of training hours/days/weeks/months into those sequels. And he gave vast amounts of $ to the crew members.

The whole SadKeanu meme, in fact, started with just that. The old (2003) news that Keanu gave most of his Matrix earnings to the film crew. It was then followed up with the (for us fans, rather old) news that he gives unbelievable amounts of $ to cancer research (yes, his sister suffered and almost died from leukemia during the filming of the first Matrix) as well as lots of other charities. He never talks about it, though.

The fact that ppl who have met him have nothing but positive things to say about him also helped, of course. He's the kind of guy who will give you his bottom $ if you need it (but the press will never know). And he travels low-style, as in by subway when he's in NYC. He could afford a chauffeur-driven limo, but that's not his style. Plenty of Tweeters have confirmed this lately, as he's in NYC to put the finishing touches to his next movie, Henry's Crime. That's also where the SadKeanu photos were taken, btw. On a bench in SoHo.

Tomorrow is what the "Internets" have deemed "Cheer Up Keanu Day". Otherwise cruelly humourous discussion forums have (untypically) gathered around the idea of being nice to an actor who has a genuinely down-to-earth attitude to his A-lister fame, and who cares so little about the trappings of riches that he gives most of his earnings away.

Everybody: please celebrate Keanu Day tomorrow, June 15th, by donating $ to cancer related charities in Keanu's name. He'd appreciate that. Actually, he'd appreciate you donating $ to any charity at all, without any mention of his name. That's the kind of person he is.

Posted by: inkhuldra | June 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I've always liked the man, and particularly enjoyed his weaselly turn at Shakespeare in "My Own Private Idaho", and thought he made a sublimely mellow Enlightened One in "Little Buddha". His good-humored sports movies - dancing football player and subbing baseball coach - showcase a different side of our dude.

And it almost goes without saying that I also love me some Ted "Theodore" Logan....

I like the fact that he's not a divo.

Posted by: undercover_hon | June 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"I like the fact that he's not a divo"

Nicely played, your use of "divo," undercover_hon!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 14, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Loved Constantine although Keanu should have did it with blond hair. Also let's not forget Much Ado About Nothing, A Scanner Darkly, Johnny Mnemonic and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues . . . the latter may have been in the top ten for bad movies . . . not his fault though . . .

Posted by: rkersh | June 15, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

It is incredibly sad and unprofessional that you take pot-shots at Keanu when reporting that his fans are trying to have a day to appreciate him and care about him and express that they enjoy his acting. Trust me, there is a large portion of your readership that is not interested in your snarkiness towards Keanu, especially today. You can't give it a rest for one day? Pathetic and very unprofessional cuz you take pot-shots at your readership too by writing the article this way.

Posted by: deej123 | June 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Give the guy a break. He's not responsible for sequel frenzy, any more than Anthony Hopkins is responsible for re-make frenzy because he's in the new Wolfman. And even the Matrices are better watching than the current crop of crap.

Posted by: kabuki3 | June 15, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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