Grinchmas 2023 · Horrorthon365 · Microreview · Movies · Much Ado About Keanu

Grinchmas 2023: Keanu Reeves’ ‘The Prince of Pennsylvania’ Features a Traumatic Family Christmas

Rupert Marshetta (Keanu Reeves) is a creative, punk rocker outcast in a conservative mining town where his dad Gary (Fred Ward) is one of the wealthiest men and considers himself king. Gary is a hard-nosed businessman and has zero time for Rupert’s artistic visions and dreams for an anticapitalist life that doesn’t revolve around the mine. Rupert’s mom Pam (Bonnie Bedelia) has resigned herself to her overbearing husband — sort of. She’s having an affair with a much younger man who happens to work with Gary, and when Gary finds out his meanness turns to straight-up domestic violence. All of which Rupert witnesses. And he even fights his father to protect his mom, it’s fucking intense.

How is ‘The Prince of Pennsylvania’ (1988) a Christmas movie? Rupert schemes with his mother and girlfriend Carla (Amy Madigan) to kidnap his father for a $200,000 ransom, the value of a nearby plot of Gary’s land, that everyone can use to begin new lives. And the kidnapping is scheduled for and goes ahead on Christmas.

One of my favorite things about this movie, other than Keanu’s gorgeous side-shaved hairdo long before it was fashion and his tender relationship with much-older Carla, is the scene between him and his on-screen dad when Gary finds out who masterminded the kidnapping. Keanu’s performance is so raw and honest and powerful. The rage in him as he finally has it out with the man who has tormented him his whole life, trying to mold him into a new version of himself and not letting Rupert be even a little of who he already is. It’s profound.

✨White spray paint/5 stars. I highly recommend revisiting all of Keanu’s 80s movies, and this one streaming for free on Tubi.✨

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Zuzu Zombie’s #Horrorthon365 project is a collection of eclectic genre watchlists with accompanying microreviews to suit the changing seasons. Horrorthon365 was sparked by a gnarly hand injury and carpal tunnel surgery gone awry, hence the flash-style reviews. After a wicked fall at home and brutal elbow fracture that required surgery, posts will be sporadic until I’m healed. In the meantime, browse the entire collection here