2019 has without a doubt been the Year of Keanu Reeves, and for good reason. Reeves has maintained his grounded attitude and relatability to his audience on his rise to superstardom with the John Wick franchise, and his upcoming appearance in the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. Over the years Reeves has starred as some incredible characters that have provided fodder for party quotes for years, so today we are going to celebrate with a look at his best film quotes ever.
We'll begin this trip down memory lane with an honorable mention from the Canadian actor and musician's recent fictionalized appearance as himself in the Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe, which perfectly encapsulates the Year of Keanu Reeves with the spirit of the man himself; "the only stars that matter are the ones you look at when you dream." Breathtaking.
While 1989's Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure wasn't Keanu Reeves first role, it was his largest mainstream appearance alongside the controversial Rivers Edge. Keanu starred as the titular Ted "Theodore" Logan, who along with his best friend Bill S. Preston, Esq. embark on a trip across time in order to complete their history report before Ted gets sent away to military school.
The film focuses on the friendship between the two high-school students dreaming of rock stardom, a perfect snapshot of what would become the early nineties slacker youth culture. The film featured a number of memorable lines, but it was Bill and Ted's continuing use of the phrase "excellent" that maintains its presence in our modern pop culture vernacular.
9 "I WANT ROOM SERVICE! I WANT THE CLUB SANDWICH, I WANT THE COLD MEXICAN BEER, I WANT A $10,000-A-NIGHT HOOKER!
Before Keanu Reeves entered The Matrix, he dabbled in another virtual reality action thriller in the form of 1995's Johnny Mnemonic, which also serves as Keanu's first foray into cyberpunk. The film follows Johnny, a secure data transfer agent with a memory port in his brain for moving sensitive material outside of the Net, as he deals with the Yakuza, megacorporations, and a maniacal Street Preacher played by Dolph Lundgren.
Of course, all Johnny wanted was one last big job before he removed the data port that was restricting access to his memories. This led to one of the best complaints of Keanu Reeves' film career when Johnny lets loose and reveals how much he really wanted to celebrate his retirement with room service instead of saving the entire f***ing world.
8 "IF WE'RE GONNA WASTE THE DUDE, WE OUGHTA GET PAID FOR IT. I MEAN, THAT'S THE AMERICAN WAY, RIGHT?"
Whereas Bill and Ted were loveable slackers with big dreams, I Love You To Death saw Reeves skew that same type of character with the drug-addicted Marlon, cousin to Harlan, played by William Hurt. The two don't feature much into the dark comedy but their time together on screen is incredibly memorable.
Kevin Kline plays the womanizing husband of Tracey Ullman's character, who along with River Phoenix's love-stricken Devo, hire the stoner cousins to kill Kline's character. The negotiation about the murder between the stoner cousins and Devo results in Keanu's legitimate and patriotic question.
7 "WHAT DOES A SCANNER SEE? INTO THE HEAD? DOWN INTO THE HEART? DOES IT SEE INTO ME? INTO US? CLEARLY OR DARKLY?
A Scanner Darkly is easily one of the most uniquely filmed movies in Keanu's filmology, which is no surprise given the stories origins as a Philip K. Dick novel. Directed by Richard Linklater, the film uses rotoscoping technology to animate over the actors' performances, creating a photo-realistic scene that added to the more visually surreal moments of the story.
Reeves plays an undercover cop who becomes addicted to the dangerous Substance D, a fatal drug that he hopes to stop from reaching the streets. The quote itself is a look at Keanu Reeves' character (and Dick's own) descent into drug-induced darkness that has obscured his ability to see into himself. And if those judging him see the same way he does, they are all doomed to darkness. Not one of Keanu's brightest roles, but a quote that makes you think, nonetheless.
6 "HEAVEN AND HELL ARE RIGHT HERE, BEHIND EVERY WALL, EVERY WINDOW, THE WORLD BEHIND THE WORLD. AND WE'RE SMACK IN THE MIDDLE."
While it's very true that Keanu Reeves starred in a terrible adaptation of the DC Comics/Vertigo character John Constantine, it is also true that Keanu Reeves starred in a great film with fantastic special effects about a damned exorcist who can see the supernatural... that also happened to be named Constantine.
It's much easier to appreciate the film without its comic book roots in mind, especially considering the much more accurate adaptation seen on TV by Matt Ryan. With that being said, Constantine's explanation about the true nature of the world seems apt without even adding in the supernatural themes of the film, which is part of what makes the quote so great.
5 "I WISH I COULD SAY SOMETHING CLASSY AND INSPIRATIONAL, BUT THAT JUST WOULDN'T BE OUR STYLE. PAIN HEALS. CHICKS DIG SCARS. GLORY LASTS FOREVER."
The character of Shane Falco was an unlikely follow-up to the heroic Neo, but he proved to be just as important to his misfit squad of replacement football players as Neo was to humankind. Okay, it was just a few football games, but watching Keanu Reeves play his heart out and bond with his scab Washington Sentinel brothers under the heartfelt watch of Coach Gene Hackman was truly inspirational.
Which makes Falco's line about not being inspirational quite ironic, as it fired up not only everyone on that football field but all the fans watching, just like any good football movie quarterback should be able to do. Glory certainly does last forever, Mr. Falco.
4 "SHOOT THE HOSTAGE."
1994's Speed launched Keanu Reeves into the action world, where he would continually fall back to over the years after his numerous explorations into other film genres. His role as SWAT cop Jack Traven alongside Sandra Bullock's Annie on a bomb-strapped bus forced to stay above 50 mph was an instant hit and became an action cult classic.
It was also full of so many repeated quotes it was a little hard to pin down the best of the film, but it really could only be his decision when faced with the hypothetical choice to save a hostage at gunpoint. Sure it was cold-hearted and it left his partner Jeff Daniels with a permanent limp, but it sounded cool and came back a few more times throughout the film, making for quote gold.
Of course the infamous "whoa" would be high on the list because it's easily Keanu Reeves most quoted word/line. The real trick is figuring out which movie the quote is coming from, as Reeves has said it in pretty much every single film since Babes in Toyland, though it was most famously used in the Bill and Ted franchise.
You might think we're exaggerating when we say every Keanu movie ever, but really, it's in almost every movie in some way. Whether that's due to the popularity of the word in our general vocabulary or Keanu's own increasingly perfect delivery is up for interpretation, but if Keanu doesn't drop a "whoa" in Cyberpunk 2077 we will be very disappointed.
2 "YOU EVER HAVE THAT FEELING WHERE YOU'RE NOT SURE IF YOU'RE AWAKE OR STILL DREAMING?"
The Matrix is arguably Keanu Reeves biggest role to date, with only one other challenger that we'll get to shortly. When Neo first appeared in the 1999 science-fiction thriller, Keanu Reeves wasn't exactly a household name, though he had planted his feet in the action genre with films like Speed and Johnny Mnemonic.
Neo's best quote comes from his time before he understands what the Matrix is, and his question about the reality of reality is one that permeates the film's franchise and has even propelled a similar discussion in the real world about our potential existence as a highly advanced holographic simulacrum. Whoa.
1 "PEOPLE KEEP ASKING IF I'M BACK AND I HAVEN'T REALLY HAD AN ANSWER. BUT NOW, YEAH, I'M THINKING I'M BACK!"
Keanu Reeves comeback role is the perfect culmination of a number of Reeves previous work, as it relied heavily on his previous action training and skill with fight choreography and intense action sequences for the hit John Wick, which quickly spawned a franchise that recently "ended" with John Wick: Chapter Three - Parabellum.
In the first film, John Wick is a retired hitman pulled back into the action after his wife dies and his new recovery puppy is murdered by the son of a former business associate. As Wick drops back into the life he left behind to take his justified revenge, he is frequently questioned about his return. This quote delivers the perfect message before he heads into a rampage, and launched the fan-favorite franchise that has helped raise Keanu Reeves to his newfound 2019 godhood.