Keanu Night

Happy Keanu


Thursday, June 15
Doors at 8pm; screening starts at 8:30pm

It is pretty much guaranteed that each year, as a certain holiday approaches, one will be subjected to the pontifications of various smartypants naysayers. It is a “made-up holiday,” they’ll crow, “invented by greeting card companies.” Or perhaps it is some sort of conspiracy of the chocolatiers, in cahoots with the rose growers and the teddy bear lobby.

These naysayers are, of course, far less smart than their pants. Because all holidays are “made up.” They are cultural inventions, not natural facts. And while a holiday’s vintage may lend it an air of inevitability (or not), its relative real-ness has less to do with its age than its contemporary relevance. Holidays speak to our values, marking what we choose to remember and to celebrate. And, as our values continue to evolve, so too do the stories we tell and the rituals we enact.

Which is all to say: we are very confident in our assertion that Cheer Up Keanu Day is very much a real holiday. First of all, there is more or less universal agreement that Mr. Reeves is a generally most excellent human being (just about every publication, from Gawker to the New Statesmen, has published an article to this effect). And, sure, the man was probably simply eating a sandwich and not actually all that glum when the “sad Keanu” meme spread a few years ago. But that doesn’t matter because the holiday is really less about the mood of one specific rich, white, male celebrity and more about nice folks hoping other nice folks are genuinely happy — using Keanu once again as an empty vessel, not quite for our salvation as he often is on screen but at very least as a kind of salve.

So to celebrate Cheer Up Keanu Day this year, Betalevel revives our defunct Keanu Night series for one night only. We realize everyone has likely already seen Speed at some point. And that it is not really a cult classic requiring frequent repeat viewings. But when was the last time you actually saw it? If you’re like us, it has probably been a long while indeed. Maybe it’s time to see it again, huh? Bathed in L.A. sunshine, with Dennis Hopper bringing the manic, and Keanu and Sandra Bullock trading zingers, it is sure to cheer up even the saddest of sandwich eaters.