Is it just me, or does it seem like Keanu Reeves is everywhere lately? Now, I am not necessarily referring to the prominence he has gained from high-profile roles in the John Wick films, a motion-capture performance in the highly anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077, or his return to, arguably, the most iconic franchises of his career in this summer’s Bill & Ted Face the Music and the currently in-development fourth Matrix movie. I am talking about his smaller roles in movies that have an unusually serendipitous feeling to them.
On the other hand, these random cameos have become such a recurring trend for the possibly immortal actor in recent years that Keanu Reeves’ haphazard presence is almost anticipated in just about anything. I feel like I was the only one who didn’t gasp at his appearance as a freaking tumbleweed in the trailer for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. However, when the actor popped up on screen in the following five movies (three of which came out in 2019 alone), I will admit that I was a little caught off guard, in the best possible way.
How we did not see this coming, I will never know, considering the man’s name is in the title of this comedy starring dynamic duo Keegan-Michael Key and and co-writer Jordan Peele as cousins who must pose as assassins to retrieve an adorable kitten named Keanu from an intimidating LA drug dealer. When Clarence Goobril (Key) takes his criminal performance as far as accidentally inhaling a powerful hallucinogenic with the street name “Holy Shit,” he embarks on a trip that, after a detour into a George Michael video, puts him face-to-face with his cousin’s pet kitten, who quotes Keanu Reeves movies to him in the voice of Keanu Reeves.
In case you were initially unable to guess that Keanu is the one making a fitting, yet hilariously bizarre, cameo as the titular kitten in Keanu, Clarence points it out directly for you.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Speaking of fitting, yet hilariously bizarre, voice cameos, in Toy Story 4, Woody’s (Tom Hanks) quest to reunite his owner Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) with her new, homemade favorite toy, Forky (Tony Hale) leads him to enlist the help of the Canadian equivalent of an Evel Knievel action figure, Duke Caboom (voiced by the Canadian equivalent of a badass action star, Keanu Reeves).
Duke is, at first, reluctant to assist Woody in his mission due to, as he explains, the memory of his former kid throwing him away after he fails to match the same high-stakes stunt-jumping ability as his advertisement fraudulently promises, but after much needed-encouragement in his exceptional crashing abilities from Bo Peep (Annie Potts), he exclaims, “Yes I Canada.” With that uproarious catchphrase, an exciting chase sequence, and a fun callback to Reeves’ famous Neo “Whoa,” Duke Caboom might be the actor’s most unforgettable role of 2019 (yes, I know that John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum came out that same year).
Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019)
For his keen sense of humor and impeccable ability to make fun of himself, Keanu Reeves has always seemed like the perfect candidate for an episode of Between Two Ferns, the online talk show from Funny or Die in which Zach Galifianakis’ demonstrably rude alter ego takes shameless jabs at celebrities right to their faces. He may not have gotten his own episode, but he did land a spot in the feature-length adaptation, exclusive to Netflix, in which a series of gut-bustingly awkward celebrity interviews are weaved into the mockumentary-style story of Galifianakis and his crew taking the show cross-country when a flood destroys their set.
Reeves really gets his chops busted in the interview, but gets the last laugh after Galifianakis asks him if he’s ever researched a character that has taken acting classes, to which he replies, “Right now I’m acting like this is fun. How am I doing?”
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
I may have high praise for Keanu Reeves’ awkward cameo as himself from the 2019 Netflix film, Between Two Ferns: The Movie, but his absolute best performance in an awkward cameo as himself from a 2019 Netflix film has to be his appearance in Always Be My Maybe.
When Marcus Kim (Randall Park) and his girlfriend, Jenny (Vivian Bang), join Marcus’ childhood friend (and crush) Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) for dinner to meet her new beau, he is flabbergasted to discover it is Keanu Reeves, playing an insufferably pretentious version of himself on a night that only gets more hilariously painful when he invites them to his penthouse for an “apocalyptic” game of Truth or Dare. Reeves’ cameo is the moment his trend of obscure movie appearances reached its ultimate peak and is a prime ingredient for the success off this endearing romantic comedy.
Keanu Reeves’ upcoming reunion with his Wyld Stallyns band mate in the upcoming threequel Bill & Ted Face the Music will actually mark his and Alex Winter’s second collaboration on a feature film since 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The first is this surreal, gross-out 1993 comedy co-directed by Tom Stern and Winter, who also stars as a self-centered TV spokesperson forced to join a circus act when his left side is transformed into a troll-like creature. Reeves stars in an uncredited, unrecognizable, yet whole-heartedly delivered role in Freaked as Ortiz, the half-man, half-dog, Spanish-accented leader of the freaks, who likes to host makeshift game show competitions from inside the barn they call home in his spare time.
Will Keanu Reeves’ role as Sage in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run surpass these equally bizarre appearances as his most epically random yet? Until we can fairly make a decision, be sure to check back for more news on the actor’s next lead role (or cameo) here on CinemaBlend.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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