Between their frequent arrests, desperate need for attention and outrageously high earnings, celebrities tend to draw a lot of ire from the public. But sometimes it's easy to forget that famous people, just like everyday people, range from vapid and self-absorbed to completely cool, friendly and generous.
With that in mind, we've compiled a list of moments that will hopefully restore your faith in the ability of the rich and famous to be totally awesome.
1. Keanu Reeves Gives Away Loads of His 'Matrix' Money
Keanu Reeves catches a lot of flack for maybe kind of not being the most talented thespian out there ... but when it comes to being a first-rate guy, there's little room for debate. Exhibit A: Keanu Reeves gave an astounding $75 million of his "Matrix" money to the series' special effects and costume design team. According to someone in the know, Keanu "felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate." He's clearly a guy who takes his character Ted Logan's immortal advice, "Be excellent to each other," to heart.
2. Ron Perlman Makes-a-Wish as Hellboy
When playing the titular cat-loving demon of the "Hellboy" movies, Ron Perlman had to sit through a tedious three-hour makeup and prosthetic process every day before he even took a single step onto the wicked heat of the movie's set — a factoid that makes it even cooler that Perlman made a six-year-old leukemia patient and Hellboy fan's Make-a-Wish come true by greeting him in head-to-toe Hellboy gear. Zachary even got the mini-Hellboy treatment from the movie's makeup team. Don't take this personally, but if you check out these pictures and feel nothing, we find you to be a hideous, soulless monster.
3. Christian Bale Raises Spirits in Aurora
The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado on the opening night of "The Dark Knight Rises" will unfortunately forever be associated with the end of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Lots of folks involved with the movie, including Nolan and Anne Hathaway, took the time to express their grief following the shooting, but Christian Bale took it a step further, showing up at the Medical Center of Aurora with little fanfare to greet victims injured in the shooting and thank the first-responding medical staff for their work — a fine deed that we think more than makes up for any loud cursing he's done on the set sub-mediocre franchise reboots.
4. Harrison Ford: Helicopter Hero
Harrison Ford has earned a reputation for being a bit of a grump ... probably because he tends to be really grumpy when he talks to fans and the press. But in his spare time between talking down to people and making movies where he yells awesome things like "I already work around the clock!" and "Get off my plane!," Ford is an avid helicopter pilot who has twice rescued lost hikers near his Wyoming ranch, including one woman who had succumbed to altitude sickness. "I bet this is the best pickup line you've ever gotten!" said Ford after the rescue, in our imagination.
5. Tom Cruise is Pretty Much a Superhero
Maybe no one in Hollywood has been picked on more than diminutive action star and antisocial personality opponent Tom Cruise. It's a shame because not only is he reportedly a swell guy, but he regularly saves people from imminent death. His highlight reel includes saving a boy from being crushed by a crowd at the British premiere of "Mission: Impossible"; rescuing a group of sailors from a burning sailboat; coming to a woman's aid following a hit-and-run accident and paying her medical bill; saving an interviewer from "being decapitated" by falling debris; and protecting a young Dakota Fanning from being murdered by malevolent alien creatures — although that last one happened in "War of the Worlds," not in real life.
6. Dustin Hoffman Tears Up During 'Tootsie' Interview
Heartwarming celebrity moments aren't all restricted to life-saving heroics, outrageous financial generosity and spirit-raising kindness. In a recent interview that made the Internet rounds, Dustin Hoffman warmed our collective cockles when he teared up as he discussed getting in touch with his feminine side while making "Tootsie." Hoffman claimed the experience made his realize that for years he had been neglecting striking up conversations and forming friendships with women he didn't regard as attractive. No word if he's had similar revelations regarding the plight of existential detectives and Wonder Emporium owners.
7. Steve Buscemi Returns to Firefighter Roots After 9/11
As we've mentioned before, prior to showing up as creepers, low-rent gangsters and damn good bowlers in some of the best movies of the '90s, Steve Buscemi was supporting his acting and comedy career with a job as a New York City firefighter stationed at Engine Company 55 in Little Italy. After finding acting success, he moved on from the life-saving business, but following 9/11 he returned to his former engine, working 12-shifts sifting through the rubble at the World Trade Center site with his fellow fireman while refusing any media attention.
8. Zach Galifianakis Strikes Unlikely Friendship with an Elderly Woman
As a born and bred rural North Carolinian-turned-alternative-comic-turned-unlikely movie-star, Zach Galifianakis is a keep-to-himself kind of celebrity who rarely shows up in the headlines unless he has a project in the pipes. The sole exception to that rule has been the touching story of Mimi Haist, an elderly laundromat attendant he befriended in his early Hollywood days and later started taking to movie premieres. Galifianakis also put Haist up in an apartment when she fell on tough times and became homeless ... and even recruited his bud Renee Zellweger to help decorate. Feel-good celebrity story double team!
9. Helen Mirren Treats a Cancer Patient Like Royalty
When Oliver, a young British boy with down syndrome, learned he was succumbing to cancer, his one wish was that he could meet Queen Elizabeth in person for tea at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately a meet-and-greet with the Queen wasn't in the cards; instead, Oliver and his family got an invite to see Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in a play called "The Audience" — her second time playing the Queen, if you're keeping track at home. She also greeted Zach and his family as the Queen after the show, where she "knighted him and told everyone that they had to call him Sir Oliver," which isn't a power we think she actually has but should. As to why the actual Queen couldn't abandon her routine of drinking tea and waving at people, we aren't entirely sure. But hey, we'd rather hang out with Dame Mirren any day.
10. Russell Brand: Friend of the Homeless
Sometimes generosity comes in the form of simple acts of kindness, as "Get Him to the Greek" star Russell Brand has shown by regularly hanging out with homeless folks, taking them out for meals and listening to their stories. Although Brand's most widely reported good deed was treating a group of homeless folks in West Hollywood to breakfast, it's apparently the kind of thing he does all the time. According to Brand, he enjoys their company because "they're outside receiving frequencies of consciousness inaccessible to those of us that live within conformity." Hey, whatever keeps the kindness rolling.
11. Angelina and Brad Pitt Help Katrina Victims
Did you know there's more to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt than being the most famous and therefore best couple in America? Following Katrina, the power couple responded in a huge way, establishing the Make it Right foundation with almost $5 million of their own money to build 150 eco-friendly houses in the hard-hit Lower 9th Ward. Since Make it Right was established in 2007, the foundation has also helped do things like build a multi-family building for disabled veterans in Newark, NJ. Sure, when one has the life, means and general sexitude of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, it's probably easy to do nice things. But still.
12. Johnny Depp Makes Surprise School Visit as Captain Jack
When Johnny Depp was in London filming "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," 9-year-old Beatrice Delap sent Captain Jack Sparrow a letter asking him if he might be able to stop by her nearby school — and in an instance of complete Depp awesomeness, he showed up dreaded out in full Sparrow regalia. So why did he decide to stop by this girl's classroom when he presumably gets hundreds of fan letters from kids across the globe every day? It's hard to say, but we'd like to think it had something to do with the terms of the letter Beatrice's letter: she asked for help in leading a mutiny against the teachers at her school, which is just completely adorable.
13. Ben Affleck Is the World's Best Tipper
Ben Affleck is another fellow who's been subjected to excessive amounts of public vitriol — mostly in response to his participation in Bennifer, the unholy godfather of portmanteau relationships, and some truly awful early '00s movies like "Paycheck," "Daredevil," "Gigli," "Pearl Harbor" and we could go on here. But Affleck is quietly known around Hollywood as a superior guy that frequently opens his wallet to regular working Joes. Most famously, after an incredibly successful night at the blackjack table in Las Vegas' Hard Rock Casino, Affleck reportedly tipped around $150,000 of his winnings to casino employees. Between this class move and his directing career, maybe you're willing to give him a break on the whole Batman thing? Still no? Well, it was worth a shot anyway.
14. Sandra Bullock Keeps On Giving
Sandra Bullock, who will be doing a whole lot of floating around in this fall's 3D space opera "Gravity," is well known for her willingness to reach deep into her bank account after disaster strikes: she's helped to rebuild a charter school in New Orleans following Katrina, donated $1 million to help support 9/11 recovery efforts and donated another $1 million following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The most recent moment of touching Bullock generosity came when she donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders in an effort to help Haitians in dire need following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
15. Bradley Cooper Visits Boston Marathon Victims
Following the Boston Marathon bombing in April, all-around good guy Bradley Cooper did what he could to make the best out of a terrible situation when he took time off from working on his upcoming film "American Hustle" to visit with victims at Boston Medical Center. While Boston was in shutdown mode, Cooper made the rounds alongside Senator Elizabeth Warren ... and Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots, in what is surely one of the most random combinations of famous people ever. He's seen here in the well-circulated snap with Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the attack and helped authorities identify the bombing suspects.