MCAT CARS Learns How Keanu Reeves Stays Mysterious

Session 60

Follow along with this challenging passage, where we talk about the news cycle and how to stay as mysterious as Keanu Reeves in an age of social media.

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[00:35] Jack Westin

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Today, we have a very descriptive, conversational piece. So you have to be careful with how they say stuff as they may ultimately trick you. Hence, you need to pay attention to the passage.

By descriptive, it means they spell things out in a very clear way for multiple times using multiple different words.

“Look for the point of view through the details.”

The author may say a lot of different things about someone or something. So you have to get the idea, not necessarily because they say it directly but because they keep referring to it using those descriptions.

Link to article:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/keanu-reeves-is-too-good-for-this-world

Last week, I read a report in the Times about the current conditions on Mt. Everest, where climbers have taken to shoving one another out of the way in order to take selfies at the peak, creating a disastrous human pileup. It struck me as a cogent metaphor for how we live today: constantly teetering on the precipice to grasp at the latest popular thing. The story, like many stories these days, provoked anxiety, dread, and a kind of awe at the foolishness of fellow human beings. Luckily, the Internet has recently provided us with an unlikely antidote to everything wrong with the news cycle: the actor Keanu Reeves.

Take, for instance, a moment, a few weeks ago, when Reeves appeared on “The Late Show” to promote “John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum,” the latest installment in his action-movie franchise. Near the end of the interview, Stephen Colbert asked the actor what he thought happens after we die. Reeves was wearing a dark suit and tie, in the vein of a sensitive mafioso who is considering leaving it all behind to enter the priesthood. He paused for a moment, then answered, with some care, “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.” It was a response so wise, so genuinely thoughtful, that it seemed like a rebuke to the usual canned blather of late-night television. The clip was retweeted more than a hundred thousand times, but, when I watched it, I felt like I was standing alone in a rock garden, having a koan whispered into my ear.

Reeves, who is fifty-four, has had a thirty-five-year career in Hollywood. He was a moody teen stoner in “River’s Edge” and a sunny teen stoner in the “Bill & Ted” franchise; he was the tortured sci-fi action hero in the “Matrix” movies and the can-do hunky action hero in “Speed”; he was the slumming rent boy in “My Own Private Idaho,” the scheming Don John in “Much Ado About Nothing,” and the eligible middle-aged rom-com lead in “Destination Wedding.” Early in his career, his acting was often mocked for exhibiting a perceived skater-dude fuzziness; still, today, on YouTube, you can find several gleeful compilations of Reeves “acting badly.” (“I am an F.B.I. agent,” he shouts, not so convincingly, to Patrick Swayze in “Point Break.”) But over the years the peculiarities of Reeves’s acting style have come to be seen more generously. Though he possesses a classic leading-man beauty, he is no run-of-the-mill Hollywood stud; he is too aloof, too cipher-like, too mysterious. There is something a bit “Man Who Fell to Earth” about him, an otherworldliness that comes across in all of his performances, which tend to have a slightly uncanny, declamatory quality. No matter what role he plays, he is always himself. He is also clearly aware of the impression he makes. In the new Netflix comedy “Always Be My Maybe,” starring the standup comedian Ali Wong, he makes a cameo as a darkly handsome, black-clad, self-serious Keanu, speaking in huskily theatrical, quasi-spiritual sound bites that either baffle or arouse those around him. “I’ve missed your spirit,” he gasps at Wong, while kissing her, open-mouthed.

Though we’ve spent more than three decades with Reeves, we still know little about him. We know that he was born in Beirut, and that he is of English and Chinese-Hawaiian ancestry. (Ali Wong has said that she cast him in “Always Be My Maybe” in part because he’s Asian-American, even if many people forget it.) His father, who did a spell in jail for drug dealing, left home when Keanu was a young boy. His childhood was itinerant, as his mother remarried several times and moved the family from Sydney to New York and, finally, Toronto. We know that he used to play hockey, and that he is a motorcycle buff, and that he has experienced unthinkable tragedy: in the late nineties, his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to their child, who was stillborn; two years later, Syme died in a car accident. Otherwise, Reeves’s life is a closed book. Who is he friends with? What is his relationship with his family like? As Alex Pappademas wrote, for a cover story about the actor in GQ, in May, Reeves has somehow managed to “pull off the nearly impossible feat of remaining an enigmatic cult figure despite having been an A-list actor for decades.”

This inscrutability makes each new detail we learn about Reeves’s life seem like a revelatory gift. On a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the actor admitted, twenty-five years after the fact, that he had a crush on Sandra Bullock when the two were filming “Speed.” Last week, a Malaysian Web site claimed that, in an interview, Reeves confessed to being lonely. “I don’t have anyone in my life,” he supposedly said, adding, “Hopefully it’ll happen for me.” The Internet responded with a collective shriek of longing. When it was reported, on Saturday, that, according to Reeves’s rep, the quotes had been fabricated, it almost didn’t matter. The Internet’s desire to plumb the hidden depths of this gorgeous puzzle of a man, and to serve as a balm to his perceived hurt, had been so strong that it willed this bit of news into existence.

[03:25] Paragraph 1, Sentence 1

Last week, I read a report in the Times about the current conditions on Mt. Everest, where climbers have taken to shoving one another out of the way in order to take selfies at the peak, creating a disastrous human pileup.

Jack says:

The author wants you to read in a manner where you visualize the scene. Don’t get lost in it or you might lose sight of the bigger picture. The sentence suggests that Mt. Everest is the worst place to be mean.

[04:50] Paragraph 1, Sentence 2

It struck me as a cogent metaphor for how we live today: constantly teetering on the precipice to grasp at the latest popular thing.

Jack says:

It’s a little bit of a cultural issue and where we are in our world. You may not understand what “teetering on the precipice” means but it says, “grasp at the latest popular thing.” You’re climbing something popular and you’re doing something great.

[05:43] Paragraph 1, Sentence 3

The story, like many stories these days, provoked anxiety, dread, and a kind of awe at the foolishness of fellow human beings.

Jack says:

The author is saying how silly we’re being.

[06:00] Paragraph 1, Sentence 4

Luckily, the Internet has recently provided us with an unlikely antidote to everything wrong with the news cycle: the actor Keanu Reeves.

Jack says:

The author is setting up this cliffhanger to the next paragraph about how Keanu Reeves can save us from this problem.

[06:29] Paragraph 2, Sentence 1

Take, for instance, a moment, a few weeks ago, when Reeves appeared on “The Late Show” to promote “John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum,” the latest installment in his action-movie franchise.

Jack says:

The author is setting up this example of what Reeves has done but we don’t know it yet.

[06:48] Paragraph 2, Sentence 2

Near the end of the interview, Stephen Colbert asked the actor what he thought happens after we die.

Jack says:

The author is just further describing what’s going on.

[07:02] Paragraph 2, Sentence 3

Reeves was wearing a dark suit and tie, in the vein of a sensitive mafioso who is considering leaving it all behind to enter the priesthood.

Jack says:

The author is painting a picture of what Reeves looks like.

[07:18] Paragraph 2, Sentence 4

He paused for a moment, then answered, with some care, “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”

Jack says:

Reeves is giving his answer.

[07:34] Paragraph 2, Sentence 5

It was a response so wise, so genuinely thoughtful, that it seemed like a rebuke to the usual canned blather of late-night television.

Jack says:

The author likes the answer as he describes it as “genuinely thoughtful.”

[07:50] Paragraph 2, Sentence 6

The clip was retweeted more than a hundred thousand times, but, when I watched it, I felt like I was standing alone in a rock garden, having a koan whispered into my ear.

Jack says:

In this paragraph, the author is setting up this example of how Reeves is coming as the antidote through his answer to the question. You see these sides of the spectrum.

On one side, there are these people trying to be popular and pushing each other as they’re doing all these crazy stuff. Then you have someone like Keanu Reeves who seems so calm and thoughtful.

The author apparently likes Keanu Reeves and he’s the exact opposite of what most people’s direction in life.

[08:59] Paragraph 3, Sentence 1

Reeves, who is fifty-four, has had a thirty-five-year career in Hollywood.

Jack says:

More about Keanu.

[09:06] Paragraph 3, Sentence 2

He was a moody teen stoner in “River’s Edge” and a sunny teen stoner in the “Bill & Ted” franchise; he was the tortured sci-fi action hero in the “Matrix” movies and the can-do hunky action hero in “Speed”; he was the slumming rent boy in “My Own Private Idaho,” the scheming Don John in “Much Ado About Nothing,” and the eligible middle-aged rom-com lead in “Destination Wedding.”

Jack says:

It’s a recap of Keanu’s acting history.

[09:47] Paragraph 3, Sentence 3

Early in his career, his acting was often mocked for exhibiting a perceived skater-dude fuzziness; still, today, on YouTube, you can find several gleeful compilations of Reeves “acting badly.”

Jack says:

The author is pointing the fact that there are people that don’t like his acting.

[09:47] Paragraph 3, Sentence 4

(“I am an F.B.I. agent,” he shouts, not so convincingly, to Patrick Swayze in “Point Break.”)

Jack says:

The author is giving an example of his bad acting.

[10:17] Paragraph 3, Sentence 5

But over the years the peculiarities of Reeves’s acting style have come to be seen more generously.

Jack says:

The author is saying that Reeves has his own acting style and people are looking more favorably at it.

[10:34] Paragraph 3, Sentence 6

Though he possesses a classic leading-man beauty, he is no run-of-the-mill Hollywood stud; he is too aloof, too cipher-like, too mysterious.

Jack says:

The author is describing Reeves as someone mysterious.

[10:58] Paragraph 3, Sentence 7

There is something a bit “Man Who Fell to Earth” about him, an otherworldliness that comes across in all of his performances, which tend to have a slightly uncanny, declamatory quality.

Jack says:

More examples of Keanu Reeves being a little bit different. It’s easier when you already know this person. But if they didn’t? Would you be able to pay attention? This is why you probably will not see a passage about today’s time.

[12:15] Paragraph 3, Sentence 8

No matter what role he plays, he is always himself.

Jack says:

He’s him.

[12:22] Paragraph 3, Sentence 9

He is also clearly aware of the impression he makes.

Jack says:

Another short statement here.

[12:30] Paragraph 3, Sentence 10

In the new Netflix comedy “Always Be My Maybe,” starring the standup comedian Ali Wong, he makes a cameo as a darkly handsome, black-clad, self-serious Keanu, speaking in huskily theatrical, quasi-spiritual sound bites that either baffle or arouse those around him.

Jack says:

It sounds like Keanu is mocking himself a bit because he knows how people perceive him to be.

[13:04] Paragraph 3, Sentence 11

“I’ve missed your spirit,” he gasps at Wong, while kissing her, open-mouthed.

Jack says:

He’s trying to make fun of himself. But don’t get lost in this stuff. The author is painting Reeves to be this atypical leading man or actor. Atypical, odd, mysterious – these are things you should keep in mind about Keanu Reeves.

“It can be easy to get lost in these descriptions. Try to get the bigger point across.”

[14:18] Paragraph 4, Sentence 1

Though we’ve spent more than three decades with Reeves, we still know little about him.

Jack says:

The author is setting up this mystery around him.

[14:30] Paragraph 4, Sentence 2

We know that he was born in Beirut, and that he is of English and Chinese-Hawaiian ancestry.

Jack says:

This is an interesting piece of information about Reeves.

[14:40] Paragraph 4, Sentence 3

(Ali Wong has said that she cast him in “Always Be My Maybe” in part because he’s Asian-American, even if many people forget it.)

Jack says:

Now we know a litte bit of him.

[15:03] Paragraph 4, Sentences 4-5

His father, who did a spell in jail for drug dealing, left home when Keanu was a young boy. His childhood was itinerant, as his mother remarried several times and moved the family from Sydney to New York and, finally, Toronto.

Jack says:

This author describes the upheaval in his childhood.

[15:20] Paragraph 4, Sentence 6

We know that he used to play hockey, and that he is a motorcycle buff, and that he has experienced unthinkable tragedy: in the late nineties, his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to their child, who was stillborn; two years later, Syme died in a car accident.

Jack says:

The author cites some traumatic stuff in his life.

[15:57] Paragraph 4, Sentence 7

Otherwise, Reeves’s life is a closed book.

Jack says:

Secrecy. We don’t know much.

[16:06] Paragraph 4, Sentences 8-9

Who is he friends with? What is his relationship with his family like?

Jack says:

We don’t really know.

[16:15] Paragraph 4, Sentence 10

As Alex Pappademas wrote, for a cover story about the actor in GQ, in May, Reeves has somehow managed to “pull off the nearly impossible feat of remaining an enigmatic cult figure despite having been an A-list actor for decades.”

Jack says:

This sentence is saying this is a huge actor but we still don’t know a lot about him. He’s more secretive than everyone else.

[17:38] Paragraph 5, Sentence 1

This inscrutability makes each new detail we learn about Reeves’s life seem like a revelatory gift.

Jack says:

The author seems to really like Reeves.

[18:03] Paragraph 5, Sentence 2

On a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the actor admitted, twenty-five years after the fact, that he had a crush on Sandra Bullock when the two were filming “Speed.”

Jack says:

This is another “revelatory gift” about Reeves’ life. It’s more mysterious.

[18:40] Paragraph 5, Sentence 3

Last week, a Malaysian Web site claimed that, in an interview, Reeves confessed to being lonely.

Jack says:

Another mystery revealed.

[18:47] Paragraph 5, Sentence 4

“I don’t have anyone in my life,” he supposedly said, adding, “Hopefully it’ll happen for me.”

Jack says:

He’s lonely.

[18:58] Paragraph 5, Sentence 5

The Internet responded with a collective shriek of longing.

Jack says:

The internet loves Reeves as well.

[19:08] Paragraph 5, Sentence 6

When it was reported, on Saturday, that, according to Reeves’s rep, the quotes had been fabricated, it almost didn’t matter.

Jack says:

The internet loves him anyway.

[19:18] Paragraph 5, Sentence 7

The Internet’s desire to plumb the hidden depths of this gorgeous puzzle of a man, and to serve as a balm to his perceived hurt, had been so strong that it willed this bit of news into existence.

Jack says:

We are just grasping at these things revealed about Keanu whether they’re true or not.

[19:55] The Main Idea

You might think the main idea is how much the author loves Keanu Reeves. That’s the tone. The author is very positive towards Reeves.

It talks about how interesting Keanu Reeves stems from how mysterious he is. The fact that he’s not so open makes us like him more or want to learn more about him.

Basically, what they’re trying to say is that Keanu Reeves is not like other people. He is different and he’s not going to try to get attention. He doesn’t have this pretentious kind of attititude. And that is probably part of the reason people like him because he doesn’t act like a movie star.

Links:

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Jack Westin (Text CARSCOUPON to 44222 and get a link to the $100 off)

Link to article:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/keanu-reeves-is-too-good-for-this-world

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