The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Early Keanu Reeves Day *

* (restored)


‘It is difficult for me to think of another young actor today whose performances are as honest as those of Keanu Reeves. While Judd Nelson flares his nostrils, Rob Lowe flashes his choppers and Andrew McCarthy forces his pout, Reeves quietly delivers a deeply cutting edge to his roles — from the moral Matt in the cult classic River’s Edge, to the romantic Danceny in the current critic s bon bon Dangerous Liaisons. His ethereal, amazingly true work in these movies, as well as in the acclaimed Permanent Record and The Prince of Pennsylvania, have made him film s most believable spokesman for eighties youth. Yes, I felt impelled to talk with him. I wanted to find out what Mr. Reality is really about. And I did, I think, but not without agitating my stomach first.

‘It’s a sunny but cool day in Venice, and Keanu Reeves has warmed himself with a few gulps of ruby-red wine. A couple of hours earlier, on a beach house rooftop where a photographer directed him to pose, he had seemed distracted, and it was hoped the Gallo would ease his ennui. But right now it is beginning to look as if Reeves is determined to remain as mysterious as the nearby sea, and we’re both getting a bit fidgety. We’re talking about the girlfriend he doesn’t have and the apartment he hates (or is it the other way around?), and his contribution is somewhat limited.

‘I ask Reeves if he’s in the mood for a relationship. “Uh huh,” he answers with all the enthusiasm of a yam. “My heart and my dick are out.” He gets serious about singlehood. “It’s kind of lonely,” he says, looking at a piece of lint floating in a beam of sunlight. On the chance that he’s about to bare his soul, I ask him if meeting someone is tough because he is into his career. “Into my career?” be mimics. “No, man, I just, you know, here. I don’t know, man. Sure, yeah, I guess.”

‘So, is it yes or no, I ask. “I don’t know, man … There’s so many angles to take on these questions. What do you say? You just kind of go, uh, yeah.” He pauses. “I don’t have a feeling about it,” he says finally, frustrated. His face is stoic until he adds, “But if you know of a good, expensive, elite prostitute agency, if you have a card, I’d like to know.” Whereupon Reeves sounds off like a cheap smoke alarm, his version of a nervous laugh.

‘This is not the person I was expecting to meet. On the screen, Reeves does not call attention to himself. Though his performances suggest a whole unsettled world rumbling beneath a coping surface, he doesn’t brood for effect. From his subtle, sensitive screen exercises, I expected him to be reserved, even pensive.

‘Reeves in person, though, is Crispin Glover with dark hair, an intensely hyper individual, a young man with a passionate soul and a superball factory for a mind. He has a crude sense of humor, is an occasional smart ass and can be aloof to the point of autism. Until, of course, he breaks into a wild impromptu street person soliloquy without warning.

‘As such, it s hard to get a handle on him. As a girl I once knew would say, “I’d like to crack his head open and see what’s inside.” I ask if Reeves, at 24, is getting a bit tired of roles that have him play a teenager. “It’s starting to become an issue. I’ve done it so much, I don’t want to do it much anymore,” he says. “I’ve worked pretty steady for a couple of years and I think I became kind of a freak. You know, you’re playing younger than you are … it affects you, man.”

‘He mentions he’s just done a version of Harold Pinter’s The Servant for PBS, and I ask him if he is well-read. “Not really. I’m kind of like sort of would have quasi maybe not really. I mean, you know, I dropped out of high school, so (now) I’m chasing all didactics. I really like to read, I never learned approaches to thinking. I never wrote essays. When you write essays, you f—ing think about what you read. You write it down and you have a point of view. So my thinking has been going through some changes since I’ve been out here, and I’ve worked with some people who are really well-read, intelligent people, and they’ve enlightened me onto a couple of things that have really affected me.”‘ — John Griffiths, 1989





Keanu Reeves @ IMDb
Keanu Reeves is immortal
Keanu Reeves Network
The Sad Keanu Tumblr
KeanuWeb: To Keanu Reeves and Beyond
Whoa. The Films of Keanu Reeves
Calimero’s Webspace: all news about KEANU REEVES
Keanu Reeves Movie Box Office Results
Keanu Connection
Know your meme: Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves Online @ Facebook
‘A story about Keanu Reeves’
Fuck Yeah, Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves Fan Club
MatrixwithKeanu @ Twitter
[For The Love Of Keanu Reeves]
whoa is (not) me: Defending Keanu Reeves



1984 Keanu Reeves. Wolfboy

1985 Keanu Reeves “Young Again” interview

Keanu Reeves – Under the Influence (1986)


Keanu Reeves interview ’94

Keanu Audition. Reeves.


Select paranoia memes


19 of Keanu Reeves’ early films

Paul Lynch Flying (1986)
‘Olivia d’Abo stars as Robin, a teenage girl who likes gymnastics. Really likes gymnastics. As in, I hope you enjoy watching gymnastics, because that’s what you’re going to be doing for the next two hours. Also of interest is the fact that Flying marks Keanu Reeves’ first film appearance. With less screen time than you might expect, Keanu finds himself in a losing battle to out-Ducky Jon Cryer as lovable loser Tommy. And the unrequited love of Tommy is not this film’s only veiled allusion to Pretty in Pink? Robin is a girl “from the wrong side of the tracks” in love with hunky rich guy Mark, and she even seems to be sharing a wardrobe designer with Molly Ringwald. Those curious enough to pick up a copy of the film for Keanu’s appearance alone might actually find that scenes of stunt doubles twirling away on parallel bars are a welcome break from trying to figure out his vacant expressions.’ — Canuxploitations

the entire film


John Mackenzie Act of Vengeance (1986)
‘Fact-based story about the corruption that occurred during the United Mine Workers’ 1969 presidential elections. Jock Yablonski was a loyal follower of then chief Tony Boyle. That all changed after 80 men are killed in an unsafe West Virginia coal mine and Boyle defended the mine owners. At his wife’s urging and in fear of his life, Yablonski launched his campaign. And in fact, he became the target of assassins. The film stars Charles Bronson, Ellen Burstyn, and Keanu Reeves.’– collaged



Tim Hunter River’s Edge (1986)
‘One of the greatest movies ever. River’s Edge is a 1986 film about a group of high school kids. One of them murders their friend and the rest cover it up. Listen to this cast: Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye and Dennis Hopper, among others. The soundtrack includes Slayer, the Wipers and Agent Orange. It’s loosely based on the 1981 murder of Marcy Renee Conrad. I actually watched it on LSD once, but would not recommend it.’ — Lost at E Minor



KEANU REEVES on his experiences in River’s Edge


Clive Donner Babes in Toyland (1986)
‘While Walt Disney’s 1961 filmization of Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland pales in comparison to the 1934 movie version starring Laurel & Hardy, the Disney film is an unqualified classic when compared to the ill-starred 1986 TV version. Adapted for television by playwright Paul Zindel, the 1986 film stars Drew Barrymore as Lisa Piper, a contemporary girl whisked off Wizard of Oz fashion to Toyland. Here her friends and family from the “real” world are reincarnated as villainous Barnaby (Richard Mulligan), Old Mother Hubbard (Eileen Brennan), Jack-Be-Nimble (Keanu Reeves) et. al. Only “March of the Toys” and “Toyland” have been retained from the original Victor Herbert score; the rest of the songs were specially written for this adaptation by Leslie Bricusse-and, suffice to say, these were hardly classics.’ — rovi


Deleted scene


Marisa Silver Permanent Record (1988)
‘The opening shot of Permanent Record is ominous and disturbing, and we don’t know why. In an unbroken movement, the camera tracks past a group of teenagers who have parked their cars on a bluff overlooking the sea, and are hanging out casually, their friendship too evident to need explaining. There seems to be no “acting” in this shot, and yet it is superbly acted because it feels so natural that we accept at once the idea that these kids have been close friends for a long time. Their afternoon on the bluff seems superficially happy, and yet there is a brooding quality to the shot, perhaps inspired by the lighting, or by the way the camera circles vertiginously above the sea below.’ — Roger Ebert




Ron Nyswaner The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988)
‘The hero of The Prince of Pennsylvania is a sullen teen-age boy named Rupert Marshetta (Keanu Reeves), who is locked in battle with his father. Already, there’s a problem: the father, a stubborn, difficult, long-suffering coal miner named Gary Marshetta (Fred Ward), is nevertheless a great deal more likable than his loutish and self-involved son. This problem is greatly emphasized when Rupert and an older girlfriend, Carla Headlee (Amy Madigan), decide to kidnap Gary so they can raise enough money to leave their small Pennyslvania town. This scheme will seem both cruel and inefficient to audiences who wish Rupert would get moving in a hurry. The Prince of Pennsylvania, which strives for droll, idiosyncratic humor, is in its own way as narrow and limited as the small-town life it means to skewer.’ — Janet Maslin




Stephen Frears Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
‘A baby-faced Keanu Reeves plays the Chevalier Raphael Danceny in Steven Frears’s adaptation of the bodice-ripping French novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. The film was nominated for seven Oscars and won three, catapulting a 24-year-old Reeves into the limelight. The film was shot entirely on location in France, specifically in the région of Île-de-France, and featured historical buildings such as the Château de Vincennes in Val-de-Marne, the Château de Champs-sur-Marne, the Château de Guermantes in Seine-et-Marne, the Château du Saussay in Essonne, and the Théâtre Montansier in Versailles.’– collaged



Stephen Herek Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
‘Preoccupied with plans for ‘a most triumphant video’ to launch their two-man rock band, The Wyld Stallyns, they’re suddenly, as Bill put it, ‘in danger of flunking most heinously’ out of history. Through brief, perilous stops here and there, they end up jamming Napoleon, Billy The Kid, Sigmund Freud, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Genghis Khan, Abraham Lincoln and Mozart into their time-traveling phone booth. Each encounter is so brief and utterly cliched that history has little chance to contribute anything to this pic’s two dimensions. Reeves, with his beguilingly blank face and loose-limbed, happy-go-lucky physical vocabulary, and Winter, with his golden curls, gleefully good vibes and ‘bodacious’ vocabulary, propel this adventure as long as they can.’ — Variety




Ron Howard Parenthood (1989)
‘Noisy but charming family comedy, noteworthy because it was one of Keanu Reeves’ (then 25) first films, as a horny lover. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Dianne Wiest for Best Supporting Actress and Randy Newman for Best Song for “I Love to See You Smile”. The film was adapted into a NBC television series on two separate occasions, in 1990 and again in 2010.’ — collaged



Lawrence Kasdan I Love You to Death (1990)
‘Lawrence Kasdan’s black comedy about a wife’s ultimate revenge against her womanizing husband is based on a true story about the wife of a pizzeria owner who decided to kill her cheating husband. When her attempt to murder him failed, the husband refused to press charges against her because he felt she had done the right thing. The people she hires to do her husband in are of the cut-rate variety and are unsuccessful. They then try to knock Joey off by feeding him barbiturate-laced spaghetti, but also to no avail. Rosalie then enlists pizzeria employee Deco Nod (River Phoenix), who has a crush on Rosalie, to do the job. But even then, they have no luck. As a last resort, they try to hire professionals. What they get instead are two drugged-out junkies — Harlan (William Hurt) and Marlin (Keanu Reeves).’ — collaged



Jon Amiel Tune In Tomorrow (1990)
‘In “Tune in Tomorrow,” Peter Falk is an oddball scriptwriter who lights a fire under New Orleans in the 1950s with his sizzly radio soap operas full of passion, incest, intrigue and other vicarious enticements. A tremendous seriocomic performer — from “The In-Laws” to the “Columbo” series to his memorable angel’s role in Wim Wenders’s “Wings of Desire” — Falk is easily the best thing about this production. But in director Jon Amiel’s version of Mario Vargas Llosa’s “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter,” the movie spends too much time with the Aunt and not enough with the Scriptwriter. Barbara Hershey, who plays the Aunt, doesn’t turn out a bad performance so much as an ineffective one. She and Keanu Reeves, whose affair is supposed to be “Tune In’s” main attraction, manage to be the least interesting people in New Orleans. She’s an eccentric widow. He’s a fledgling radio writer at WXBU, and her nephew by marriage, who becomes obsessed with her. But this older-woman-eager-lad affair leaves the Crescent City and heads straight for Dullsville in a hurry.’ — The Washington Post

the entire film


Kathryn Bigelow Point Break (1991)
‘A modest box-office hit when it was released 20 years ago, the extreme sports/heist/action flick Point Break has become one of the most beloved cult-action movies of all time. Its premise, in which Keanu Reeves’ undercover cop Johnny Utah infiltrates the “ex-presidents” — a gang of thrill-seeking Los Angeles surfers led by Patrick Swayze’s Bodi, who don rubber masks while robbing banks — set the tone for such modern action hits as The Town and The Fast and the Furious. Although movie buffs have championed the merits of the edge-of-your-seat, adrenaline-pumping flick for years, the cult classic gained further steam with the production of “Point Break LIVE!” — a “reality play” that allows an unrehearsed audience member to join the cast to tackle Reeves’ role of Utah, reading cue cards from the stage.’ — ABC

‘Point Break Greatest Lines’


Gus Van Sant My Own Private Idaho (1991)
‘Released in 1991, Idaho was Van Sant’s third feature film and remains his most anarchic and, in many ways, ambitious. It’s certainly the film where his art school sensibility and the postmod-ernist aesthetics that dominated the art world during the seventies and eighties are most in play. Van Sant attended the Rhode Island School of Design from 1971 to 1975 (among his schoolmates were David Byrne and other members of the Talking Heads), shifting his focus from painting to film partway through his time there. The explosion of the sixties underground film scene was over, but Andy Warhol was still an influence, as were Kenneth Anger and other avant-garde film diarists who toted their 16mm and Super-8mm cameras everywhere. The toughness of his previous film Drugstore Cowboy, the director’s obvious empathy with alienated adolescents, and his talent for getting shockingly genuine perfor-mances from his actors helped him land the then teenage idols, Phoenix and Reeves, for My Own Private Idaho.’ — Amy Taubin


Keanu Reeves introduces My Own Private Idaho at the Toronto International Film Festival


Francis Ford Coppola Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
candys1: Keanu Reeves cannot act to save his life as proven here in this clip! he sucks! But I would totally bone him!!! gOtHiCxAnGeLxox: I don’t like Keanu Reeves but, he was SUPPOSED to act like that. The whole point of his character was to represent the common man at the time – strict, formal, overly-polite and entirely dull. That was one of the main reasons why Dracula was such a catch! jennybeanSMC: Or you’re just jealous that Keanu’s a million times richer than you. yellowcougar18: Keanu has actually said that he regrets doing this movie (and Coppola regretted casting him also) because, by his own admission, he was not good. He had starred in a string of movies back to back, and he said that, quite literally, there was nothing left in the tank afterwards. He was just worn out, hence why he himself admits his acting was quite poor.’ — collaged



Bernardo Bertolucci Little Buddha (1993)
‘Photographed gorgeously by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, Little Buddha is graced with sweet-natured lamas, stunning sights from the Himalayas and — in the wackiest bit of casting since George Burns played God — Keanu Reeves as the Buddha. Few will believe this without seeing for themselves, but Reeves is rather charming in the role. Bertolucci intermixes high art with childlike wonder, blatant special effects with tacit spirituality. The movie, which also stars Bridget Fonda and Chris Isaak, may initially seem superficial and commercially pandering, like something Steven Spielberg would have conceived. But it is remarkably devoid of cloying sentimentality. As someone once said about the films of Max Ophuls, Little Buddha is only superficially superficial.’ — TWP



Tom Stern and Alex Winter Freaked (1993)
‘Originally conceived as a low-budget horror film featuring the band Butthole Surfers, Freaked went through a number of rewrites, eventually developing into a black comedy set within a sideshow, which was picked up by 20th Century Fox for a feature film. After several poor test screenings and a change in studio executives who then found the film too “weird”, the movie was pulled from a wide distribution and only played on a handful of screens in the United States.’ — Wikipedia

the entire film


Kenneth Branagh Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
‘In the history of film adaptations of Shakespeare, certain performances have so captured the essence of a character that the actor and role are forever linked afterwards. There is Olivier’s Hamlet, Olivier’s Richard III, Welles’ Othello, and Keanu Reeves’ Don John. Wait … did I say Keanu Reeves? How can I include the Maestro of the Monotone — “ the Duke of “Dude!” and the Wizard of “Whoa!” — in such company? As the villainous Don John in Kenneth Brannagh’s 1993 Much Ado About Nothing, does Reeves reach some heretofore unattained height of thespian mastery? Well, no. This is the same Reeves whose portrayal of Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula elicited winces and guffaws from audiences nationwide. And, in fairness, this is the same Reeves whose gift for looking intense, befuddled and blank has led to superb performances in Parenthood, Speed and Matrix. Indeed, for the most part, Reeves’ most effective and enjoyable performances occur when he assumes one of the two archetypes over which he is the undisputed master — the “dude” (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Parenthood) and the “quiet, intense action guy” (Speed, Matrix).’ — Michael Burgin



Gus Van Sant Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994)
‘Delayed for a year while Van Sant did some serious re-editing, this adaptation of Tom Robbins’ novel (originally published in 1976) only serves to prove how unadaptable the book was. It aims to be a hip slice of 70s counter-culture cinema but it’s hard to be moved by Sissy’s psychedelic trip through political activism and the New York high-life. Unlike the book, which retains some humanity amid philosophical digressions and flowery dialogue, Van Sant’s film is cold and the gallery of eccentrics merely come across as vulgar caricatures. The cast do their best with the stilted dialogue, and Thurman projects the right air of innocence, but the best performance is by Angie Dickinson as the ranch’s uptight manager. Ultimately, not even the combined efforts of her and Hurt can rescue this film.’ — whoa is (not) me



Robert Longo Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
‘”Johnny Mnemonic” is one of the great goofy gestures of recent cinema, a movie that doesn’t deserve one nanosecond of serious analysis but has a kind of idiotic grandeur that makes you almost forgive it. Based on a story by William Gibson, the father of cyberpunk fiction, it has the nerve to pose as a futuristic fable when in fact all of its parts were bought off the shelf at the Used Movie Store. The problem is, “Johnny Mnemonic” uses the cyber-visuals entirely as atmosphere. Take them away, and the plot could be a 1946 B picture, right down to and including the concocted deadly deadline after a machine in the Newark airport scans him and announces, “Neural seepage! Fatal within 24 hours! Seek medical attention immediately!”) The fiction of Gibson is much prized on college campuses, where, I am tempted to say, its fans know more about cyberspace than about fiction. That’s why it’s puzzling that this movie is so dumb about computers. Where did it get the notion that the best way to get information from Beijing to Newark would be to hand it to a courier and have him travel the distance? Hey, a lot of people went to a lot of trouble to invent computers and modems and satellites just to make trips like that unnecessary. There have also been great advances in the art of cinema since this plot was first recycled – but that’s another story.’ — Roger Ebert




p.s. Hey. ** David Saä Estornell, Hi, David! Huge: thank you. How are you? Nice weather we’re having. ** H, Hi. Nice timing there, cool. I’m glad to hear the move has been fine, and your new neighborhood sounds nice, yes. Sound in films is very important. Strangely or not, we think it’s maybe the most important part. It certainly was with ‘LCTG’. Anyway, I can’t wait to get started on that. I wish almost everyone wasn’t away from Paris on vacation this month. I liked your tone, no worries. It was complex, and I love that. ** David Ehrenstein, Ha ha, good one. Interesting about the knowingness about Ozu in Japan. But of course. Will punters like myself be able to score copies of ‘Soon’? I’m pretty much dying to get and read one. ** New Juche, Hi, Joe! Lovely to see you, my friend! I’m quite good, thanks. Yes, I’m literally itching to get the next film’s development underway. Very cool about the successful and allies-producing lecture. Do you think you’ll ever publish your lectures? How’s everything with your work these days? McCarthy is a pretty chewy writer. One can get quite into his texture. Take good care! ** Steevee, Hi. Ah, Jonathan Rosenbaum. So great, He might be my favorite living/working film critic. Hm, nice description of Amebix. I’m sold. I’ll get it. I put together a Mario Bava Day yesterday, and it’ll run here next week. Super interesting to compile and make. I realized how many of his films I haven’t seen, and in many cases, had even heard of before. Thank you very much for being the inspiration for the post and for my fuller investigation of his work. Exciting that you finished your Clarke piece, and I hope it gets to run in its director cut. I have only seen excerpts from ‘Christine’ but never the entire film in a single gulp. Sounds like I absolutely need to. Awesome. ** Sypha, Hi. Oh, dang, did I give myself away with my fave track choice? I do like the noise. And yours is top notch. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Thank you for taking time to drop in despite your tiredness. Wonderful about the visit and great conversation with Anita about your book! My day was kind of nothing, I think, wasn’t it? Yes, I think so. Just this and that. We’re having this, I guess, freak wonderful weather whereby it feels almost like November here. I just strolled through it and enjoyed the exotic feeling of wearing a coat outdoors. Yes, gosh, it was quite a measly but okay day. How was Tuesday? Did you get enough refreshing sleep? ** Jamie, Howdy. As I just told Dora, my Monday was so incredibly low-key that I almost can’t remember it anymore. I guess that’s better than your shitty one. Another new plan?! Lordy. Yes, I think you guys will get to meet Zac and he you. Like me, he’s an amusement park fanatic, so he will probably be at his best or at least his most enthusiastic. Yeah, my sister is kind of the only family I talk with. Well, my nephew too. My parents are dead. If I have any living relatives, I don’t know them. One of my two brothers is a hateful psycho, and I have nothing to do with him. I like my other brother but we have little in common — he’s a psychic healer in an outer space/UFO cult — so we rarely talk. You have a possible screenplay ending? Whoa, not bad. Endings are, you know, tough. I like cypheric characters. I think most of mine are, but I do try to make them relatable and stuff. I am enjoying my relatively leisure time, but leisure is not my thing, so I’m basically looking for work and projects to work on, and it’ll be short lived because Gisele Vienne’s new dance piece ‘Crowd’, for which I created the characters and secret narrative, starts two weeks of rehearsals in Nanterre — a slightly annoyingly far away Paris suburb/adjunct — soon, and I suppose Gisele will want me there working for much of them. Which I will enjoy. But, yeah, it’s kind of a much more leisurely time than of late. I hope your Tuesday causes the earth to transform in a giant bucket of gold doubloons. Shiny love, Dennis. ** S., Hey, bud. Did you just link me to ‘Spinal Tap’? Oh, that’s very interesting about how karate works. That’s pretty beautiful. Yeah, thank you. Ha ha, excuse me? ** Misanthrope, I did it again! Oops! Britney-style. Good, the teeny-tiny piece of my brain that said, ‘Oh, just go  see Dunkirk and stop being such a anti-Nolan jerk’, is now dead and buried. Me act? Well, when I was a young teen I had a brief phase of thinking I might like to be an actor. I took acting classes at the legendary Pasadena Playhouse wherein I quickly realized that acting is not a gift I have. I mean, I did a little acting turn in that Christophe Honore film. And if some cool director asked me to do a little thing in a film, I would probably say, ‘Sure, why not’. But I have no jones to act, no. What about you? Is there is a repressed actor inside you somewhere? ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Thanks, my pleasure, naturally. High Cube = Cluster with vocals? Huh. I’ll see if they have stuff on Soundcloud or somewhere. Oh, re: Pitchfork, I never read their articles. I usually forget they even have articles. I just read the reviews and look at the news page sometimes. Their reviews don’t seem to have been effected so far, as far as I can tell. Maybe the news feed has been, though, now that I think about it. Early new novel (or several? wow) work, yes! I think I’m pretty intuitive about when to move from pondering/note taking/etc. into starting to draft the actual prose. I don’t have a pre-set system about that anyway. I think I just follow my urges. Sometimes I find it right to get extremely far along in the pr-planning before I write something, and sometimes I find it useful to start writing when my ideas are still somewhat larval and develop the prose/novel by writing my way into it. What’s your current thinking about the right time? ** Okay. I decided to resurrect this defunct post about the early works of Keanu Reeves for reasons having to do with who knows what. Good impulse? See you tomorrow.


  1. Dóra Grőber


    Oh, yes. Thank you for this post. I really adore some of Keanu Reeve’s earlier roles/characters.

    Sure thing, of course!
    I’m glad to hear the weather turned out to be so great there and I think these “nothing” days are much needed and lovely sometimes!
    Yes, I luckily managed to sleep yesterday’s tiredness off! Not that I need that much of my energies today as I’m just home, mostly writing and reading, but still. It’s nice.
    Anita will come over tomorrow and she’ll spend a few days here so I won’t be able to visit the blog for a little while. I think I’ll be back on Friday.
    I can’t wait to hear what happens/happened to you during that time! Take care, Dennis!! All the love!

  2. steevee

    I have an appointment with my psychiatrist in about three hours where we will discuss why I freaked out a week ago, but I plan to bite the bullet and see DUNKIRK tonight. Tomorrow morning, I’m seeing NOCTURAMA and writing a review.

    I have a complicated relationship with Rosenbaum. I agree that he was one of America’s greatest critics up to the point where he retired from the Chicago Reader, and in fact, the body of work he wrote for the Reader is something I aspire to when I write reviews for Gay City News or the Nashville Scene or something like the Alan Clarke article. But I have encountered him as a person, and we didn’t get along; in fact, he wrote an essay In which he disses me without using my name. I’ve never actually read this essay because I thought it would just infuriate me, but other people have described it to me. Since he started writing for his blog, his writing has taken a turn towards hyper-moralism and way over the top political judgments that alienate me. Two of the turning points for me were when he likened INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS to Holocaust denial and responded to THE ACT OF KILLING as though it was an apology for the CIA. Our tastes have also grown far apart – when I became very enthusiastic about the New French Extremity and certain violent films by Asian directors like Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike, I realized that our definitions of humanism were not on the same page at all, no matter how much we both loved Kiarostami as well. But I have never dissed him in print, although I suppose this may be sort of doing so – I’ve never discussed these issues in public before, but the chances that he’s reading this blog are very slim. J. Hoberman is an equally strong influence on my writing, as is Serge Daney, but Hoberman has never let me down the same way (I’ve had minimal social interaction with Hoberman, but all of it has been fine), and Daney died five years before I began writing and worked in another language so his situation is different. But Hoberman’s reviews for the Village Voice and Daney’s reviews for Liberation between 1981 and 1986 are also models for my work.

    • h

      Hello, I’m not a film critic, but some of academics also cite Rosenbaum and broadcast his positions and drive my work (even literary studies) in that direction. I of course respect his work (maybe his enthusiasm more), but, I also feel distant to his very narrowly political and ideological positions. To me, he doesn’t seem rational or attentive enough to locate films in a more complex ethical infra-texture which is invaluable in viewing and readings films like any sensitive forms of art(even anti-art, or however people’d say depending on their educational or cultural upbringing). Also, his reviews and essays are often read too loud (like a personal sermon) — I find his criticism serving his own voice, not really thinking fairly enough through the films, and its complicated references within other cultures and thoughts (including different thoughts on what humanism is), and otherwise creative impulses and expressions which can be contradictory, elusive or excessive. Well, I’m sure you have much more precise and profound thoughts on this matter.

      • steevee

        You picked out one exact problem I have with Rosenbaum, especially in the work he’s done for his blog since leaving his Chicago Reader. He constantly writes as though he’s defending the concept of humanism and attacks the films he dislikes as “anti-humanist.” Yet his definition of humanism seems quite narrow and he defines films as anti-humanist simply because they’re violent and that fact prevents him from examining them any further. Without using his name, I touched on this in a long Facebook post that mentioned various violent films I like and he doesn’t, and I concluded by saying “most of these are films aren’t genuinely anti-humanist; they’re about the damage caused in the world by the lack of humane values.” Since I started writing a script that’s essentially about people arguing about the representation of violence, set at a film festival, I’ve thought a lot about the subject and talked about it with my friends, and I’ve realized that I find it much easier to watch violent films than many people. (That said, there are specific kinds of images, like injections and eyeball gouging, I find it very difficult to watch.) Rosenbaum and I have obviously come to very different conclusions on this subject, and we’re not on good enough terms to have a conversation on the way our tastes and ideas about ethics and politics differ. That would be fine if I didn’t get the impression he thinks I’m morally bankrupt for considering AUDITION a masterpiece.

        • h

          I really should read your work more but as far as I read your criticism wasn’t anti-humanistic – on the contrary it was ethically restrained. Personally I’m not a big fan of violent films in general, but I think attentive and deep criticism of them is important to distinguish meaningful or at times thought provokingly equivocal violence from flippant, if not self servingly distorting ones.

  3. Juana quinones


  4. New Juche

    Hey Dennis

    Surprised not to see Brotherhood of Justice here today, I haven’t seen it for 20 years and have just this second found it on Youtube. So an hour and a half of anti-climactic, diminishing nostalgia awaits.

    That’s great that you’re so driven in making films now man. Did this start with Zac? Or had you been leaning toward film anyway before this partnership? I am curious about what inspired and enabled this.

    Yeah my talks are sometimes published as papers in academic and university journals and so forth. They are dry and technical affairs, believe me. Thanks for asking about my real work also. My new book Bosun is in submission at 2 places so far, one of whom just turned it down. Because it relates in part to childhood, and also has a major visual component, I’m toying with the idea of submitting it to Kiddiepunk. I’m also halfway through a new manuscript with 9BB in mind, and am considering releasing some photocopied zine/chapbook type releases on my own later this year. I might start assembling stuff for these whilst I’m down and dirty in the capital, as of tomorrow.

    Good to talk to you Dennis!



    • Bill

      Joe, hope to hear good news about Bosun soon! Mountainhead is one of my favorites of the year.


  5. David Ehrenstein

    A Thing of Beauty is Keanu Forever

    Bill is working on the “Soon” reboot. It’ll take awhile as it needs recopying by hand (the paper it was written on is so thin)

  6. Bill

    I appreciated this Keanu day the first time, and needless to say, am appreciating it again.

    The last Keanu movie I saw was The Matrix, which I totally did not enjoy (sorry, fans).

    Dennis, are you in the anti-Nolan jerk club too? I’m vaguely tempted by Dunkirk, if only for the eye candy. Also tempted by Valerian.


  7. Sypha

    The funny thing about “Black Hole” was that the version that appeared on the finished album was originally meant to be a demo or trial recording. But the feedback ended up sounding so good I realized that I would never be able to replicate that a second time. So I decided to keep it as it was. Sometimes the first time is the best! But I hear you on the noise thing. My own personal favorite track is the one that came right before it, “Forbidden Blocks,” which is probably the most abrasive song on the thing.

    Oh, Dennis, before I forget, you appeared in my dream last night. A rare sighting as I don’t dream about my online friends often. O.B. De Alessi was in it as well. You were giving her and I a tour of a private exhibition of a gallery full of various paintings and drawings you had done over the years (but had kept a secret from almost everyone else). I forget what these drawings/paintings looked like but they were quite abstract and some of them had curious Latin names that made me think of the terminology of alchemy. Towards the end of the tour you stopped at a desk and in one of the cabinets were a number of handwritten notes of gratitude you had written for various friends over the years, but which you had never sent out for whatever reason: in the dream you seemed very embarrassed to have O.B. De Alessi and I read these, and after we were done reading them you took them back from us and locked them back in the desk. As it was I could barely read your handwriting anyway, though I found it odd that the note was written in 2004, as we did not begin to correspond until 2005. The one other thing I remember about this note was that you expressed sadness about the presidential election of that year.

    The night before I dreamed that I went to a wedding where I met the comic book writer Alan Moore. What’s with all these celebrities suddenly popping up in my dreams? Maybe it’s because I started reading Burroughs’ “My Education” a few days ago! :p

  8. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – I love how the blog moves seamlessly from Kristeva to Keanu. Nice to see this day back again.

    High Cube is too new to have any recordings, but I think they’re working on some. Their mastermind is local maestro Bo White who has several far-flung bands going now that you can find tracks by: TKO Faith Healer (rock-ish) and Patois Counsellors (electro-noise-ish). Super talented guy.

    Emailed you that MP3 you asked about — let me know if it isn’t playable and will find another way to send.

    In terms of the pre-planning process, I’m feeling right now like I need to get pretty deep into that before I start writing. But I’m wary of that becoming an excuse for avoiding the page. There’s a lot of material that’s haphazardly accumulated over a long time and I feel like I need to see it all in one place and take its pulse, figure out what’s still relevant.

    You have any larval ideas/sketches for novels that are tucked away on a hard drive? And any strong urges to return to the actual novel-in-progress?

  9. h

    Hello, Dennis, I enjoyed the early KR post. I have a small crush on a younger Reeves, and it’s nice to have your gentle reminder that I should watch those films soon. Oh I understand you want to get to start the sound work sooner, but I’m glad you can have a little rest (hopefully) in the mean time. Have a lovely day.

  10. _Black_Acrylic

    I’ve been away from the comments for a while, but still enjoying the blog. I really appreciated the recent Kristeva Day.

    Had a talk yesterday at work about the coming redundancy, and what can be done about potential future employment. I’ve not quite hit panic mode yet but anxiety is starting to creep in. There’s still a few months before the situation gets serious. I spent most of today at the DCA, first meeting the Tayside Health Art Therapy Course aka THAT course people who are arranging a screen printing class in a couple of weeks. They’re the folk who were arranging art classes through the MS Society, and I hope it could be a way to kickstart my creativity. Then this afternoon we heard a talk from some people involved with international exchanges to Port of Spain in the Caribbean and that was very worthwhile. Sometimes it’s nice just to hear from folk with similar interests.

  11. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I remember this day very well. Even remember talking about it at work once.

    I have yet to see that Honore film. I’m a bad film viewer. 🙁

    Well, I have thought about acting. Way back when. I used to get that from people all the time: You should go into acting. Maybe because I can be very animated and shit when I’m telling a story. Of course, not a one of them was a talent scout or anything, so what do they know?

    And as I’ve actually read about acting and how it’s done and all that, nah, not for me. I don’t think I could do it. But there was a point in my life where I wouldn’t have minded trying.

  12. S.

    lol did i ever tell you about the one kid woke up and was like what was that country music while you were fucking me duh earth. i want a lp but with emgs. philosophers are in the concept biz. i love the 4 kinds of crazy phobics perverts obsessives hysterics and psychos. keanu johhny utah young that was some shit. just saw the murf mobile

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