Over the last few years I have repeatedly accused Matthew McConaughey of a number of horrible things, with the general theme being that he is a charlatan of an actor making his way in Hollywood by dint of his impressive physique, his ‘airhead charm’, and his incredibly smug and punchable face.
In my defence, he made it very easy for me to jump to this conclusion with a number of career choices that gave the impression he was happy taking a pay check to appear topless in films that according to their posters seemed to be about a man who has lost all the walls in his life and has instead chosen to deploy attractive women to lean on while looking ever-so-cool and charming..
In between filming these romantic-tragedies he ‘stretched himself’ in films like U-571 (a film which makes Churchill: The Hollywood Years look like a Simon Schama documentary), and Sahara where he plays a character very much like Indiana Jones – if Indy had stared into the Ark of the Covenant and his charisma had melted away.
And then there was this advert.
There may be a hint of jealousy here. I’m an overweight four-eyes who spends his evenings watching films and then writing about them for a handful of strangers on the internet afterall.
But I would never want to be Matthew McConaughey. I’m jealous of artists – not well-defined bags of bronzed flesh. My problem with Matthew McConaughey is that he seemed happy to be Matthew McConaughey – wasted potential and all.
Then in the last two weeks I have seen Magic Mike and the Lincoln Lawyer. We’re reviewing the films on this week’s Failed Critics, but before we record I wanted to register my apology to Mr McConaughey.
The man can seriously act. He steals the show in Magic Mike with his performance as Dallas (a cross between Peter Pan and Fagin, but in the world of Tampa male strippers). He is all blustering arrogance on the outside, and cleverly plays on the same audience perceptions of Matthew McConaughey the man that I was referring to earlier while at the same time displaying flashes of almost violent self-doubt and paranoia. I just hope he isn’t overlooked come award season.
And in The Lincoln Lawyer he simply carries the entire film on his shoulders. Appearing in virtually every scene, McConaughey finally portrays a believable schemer onscreen with a very nice line in quick put-downs and moral ambiguity. I finally found myself caught up in the life of and rooting for a McConaughey character.
I’d love to also be able to discuss his performance in Killer Joe – however despite having four cinemas all within walking distance there is only one showing of this film daily at an awkward time. That’s not McConaughey’s fault though.
So Mr McConaughey – I’m sure you’re a fan of Failed Critics, and I hope that you’ll accept this apology. Maybe even pop on the podcast sometime to discuss your favourite French New-Wave films?
Be warned though – one more film poster of you leaning on a woman and I’m coming for you…