John Wick

This season on Ten Movies we are watching – and deftly interrogating – the work of Jennifer Lopez. Though alert readers may have noticed that the popular 2014 action movie ‘John Wick’ is not technically a Jennifer Lopez film, in that she does not appear in the movie or have anything to do with it.

Alert readers will have also noticed that there is a currently a global pandemic raging, a challenging state of affairs that has already driven the production of Ten Movies from Hemal’s lavishly-appointed podcasting studio to her far less lavishly-appointed patio and last week completely borked our recording schedule.

Rather than leave you with only hundreds of thousands of other podcasts to listen to, however, we’re taking this brief interruption in service to treat you to a classic episode from the first season of Ten Movies.

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcast
Listen to this episode on Spotify

This weekend, the New York Times published a piece by film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott ranking the 25 greatest actors of the century. Lo and behold, Keanu Reeves came in at number four. Number four! Simply astounding.

In a follow-up interview, Dargis and Scott noted that a great number of people had expressed consternation at this development, but stuck to their guns, and specifically noted ‘John Wick’ as one of the films cementing this controversial assessment.

Keanu Reeves has been a controversial pick, but he was on the list from the beginning. Then we decided we were going to make a statement by putting him up there on the list [at No. 4]. The John Wick movies aren’t masterpieces of cinema, but the way Reeves embodies this slightly ridiculous action hero in those movies is just beautiful to watch.

Both Brian and Hemal enjoyed ‘John Wick’, though we nearly came to blows over the question of whether the film was supposed to be taken seriously or not. A chief finding of the Keanu Reeves season of the podcast was a growing respect for his stuntwork and physical acting. Not in a “Well, at least he does good fight scenes” way, but in the sense that watching his (better) movies gave us a genuine appreciation for what goes into that kind of acting. ‘John Wick’ is perhaps the pinnacle of this, which is maybe why the New York Times people liked it so much. We’re not sure. We love the guy, too, but it still seems a weird choice.

Anyway, check it out, it’s a good episode. And never fear, we’ll be back next week on the home stretch of the Jennifer Lopez season.

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