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Monday, 3 February 2014
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY Feature-SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Hmm, hmm". Catch the comfort of the hottest actor from the South right now and you may find the charismatic and charming actor of conflicted and courageous roles of great conviction in a number of places. "Hmm, hmm". You may find him beating his chest over a cameo lunch date with Leonardo DiCaprio, (F.Y.I. that improvised scene beats from what Matt does all the time before scenes to centre and motivate himself (Leo loved it (asked for him to do it in the scene) and so do we)) discussing topics ranging and raging from money to masturbation. "Hmm, hmm". Or you may find him making sweet and sober-ish acceptance speeches to his wife for awards that his cabinet is going to have to make even more room for. "Hmm, hmm". Or you may find him long hair, trucker steering a handle bar moustache and weary worn wrinkles that draw out the dark depths of the case he's making out to interviewing detectives over two cans from a six pack of alcohol abuse and things of that substance. "Hmm, hmm". This is today's Matthew McConaughey, in just a couple of years and a mountain of critical and billboard climbing movies, hands down one of the best actors in the biz. "Hmm, hmm". 44 and going nowhere. 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days' hmm? You can't even kill this character in 30 days!
Not that was anything particularly wrong with the romantic comedies and 'Sahara' type films that where his bread and butter in the first decade of the new millennium but they weren't exactly the prolific legal proceedings of his incredible court vision in the racially charged 'A Time To Kill' and Spielberg historically one 'Amistad'. These where the making of the young man from Texas who started his draw with that distinctive drawl in '91. Despite not sinking in 'U-571' and showing some 'Truman Show' vision in 'EDtv', the 'Ghosts Of (Rom-Com) Past' that haunted the depths of his character creation gave his 30-something part of his career a 'Failure To Launch' that Sarah Jessica Parker or 'The Wedding Planner' couldn't save. A career that now see's him sitting at tables with some of the greatest directors of all-time and pop culture symbols from the modern music mainstream. Some said this man-child still living with his parents in one movie needed to grow up. Others pointed guilty fingers despite magic moments like filling in for a similar down but by no means out Owen Wilson for Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder' comedy battalion. Even with that critical injustice it was clear we had to take it back to court.
Now you may want to sue whichever casting director crossed out the name McConaughey. You better be able to spell it right now, because its going to be engraved on a lot of gold, whether Golden again or maybe even Academy. Yep that's right, that 'Surfer, Dude' from 'Fools Gold' who likes to take his shirt off better keep it on for his speech...unless impersonator Matt Damon's presenting the award. It was 'The Lincoln Lawyer' that passed the bar and made the case for Matthew in a jury of his professional peers. Arguably the saving grace and best, most critical movie and moment of his career, the movie based on legendary L.A. Writer Michael Connelly's novel narrative came out of nowhere and just two, long, script lonely years after Matt was jumping through jilted brides at the alter. With a great cast of Ryan Phillipe, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, John Leguizamo and Bryan Cranston it was McConaughey who broke good with new ground, returning to the career making courtroom of John Grisham's 'A Time To Kill' albeit one that legally operated out of a Lincoln town car. This drive around the cool California and sunny, soul soundtrack of Los Angeles put this star back on the map and with the writer/muse talking in an interview about returning to the character (Connelly has just released yet another Lincoln novel) who knows and everyone hopes we just may see more in what could turn into a novel franchise. Sure it's not 'Sherlock' or 'Bond' but it's an American lawman who could take over James Patterson's Alex Cross. Along came a lawyer.
Following his briefcase success, McConaughey opened up his character acting and his equally good supporting performances to his leading man world in Jack Black's beautifully sweet comedy 'Bernie'. Making a name for himself further in billboards Matthew assisted Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman's piss in the wind 'The Paperboy' with a scarred performance to remember. This came after he exposed (quite literally) himself to the female audience that loved his romantic side in Channing Tatum's male striptease 'Magic Mike'. A film even fellas could-if they would be so shamed-admit was enjoyable too. As every woman was amazed how this former naked banjo player still had the muscle to play, every man in the gym wanted to imitate that velvet voice of his too. It was the dirty work of diligent desperation and the clawing away of survival in the magnificent 'Mud' that confirmed this actor had given the ghost of his romantic comedy past a clean slate. He could do anything he wanted now and get away with it...especially if it was a good film. I defy you to watch 'Killer Joe' and not see some brilliance behind all that bleak brutality, but I also urge you to never go to KFC again after watching quite literally the worst of what this guy can get away with.
The indie awards that has stacked up over these nominating three years or so are about to joined by the big boys as the latest Oscar buzz see's 'Dallas Buyers Club' having the collective sold. Not only is 30 Seconds To Mars superstar singer Jared Leto of all people (you won't say that once you've watched and witnessed) expected to take home the 'Best Supporting Actor' (or should we say actress?!) Gold, Matthew McConaughey's scrawny and skinned down performance of his moustache replacing muscle is expected to be the tip of the stetson of his now classic career that see's his Golden Globe Award turn into some mid February love at the flashbulb moments of the Kodak Theatre. If he did meet Oscar this month he'd take him from under the nose of the man he mentored in character for DiCaprio and Scorsese's latest and greatest De Niro chasing classic collaboration 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'. In one course of lunch and cocaine McConaughey makes the argument for the cameo category being added to the Oscar circuit because it's more than just a trailer tease of a quick draw from the slow drawl. It's a fantastic and formidable, funny and founding scene from the tanned and slimmed down to the pinstripes of his suit man that's anything but fugazi or fairy dust. The 'Wolf' whistles are following Matthew now and if that wasn't enough, speaking of DiCaprio the next 'Inception' of 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan's career 'Interstellar' sees McConaughey's next movie shrouded in secrecy but wrapped in wonder. Matter of fact we know this science fiction is going to be on another planet and on a whole other time zone.
Still, how can the silver screen and silver linings of the playbook of the best career turn around arguably of all-time, a classic cameo moment and possible Oscar to start the year be overshadowed by the small screen of a household T.V? Well if that is a question then you've obviously not seen 'True Detective'. What some thought was a movie because of the billboard character calibre is acutally a show that will show HBO that this really isn't just actually T.V. With everyone talking about 'Breaking Bad' and 'House Of Cards' like it was the new 'Mad Men' and 'Sopranos' over the last few years its time to investigate the inspired dark depths of detective work that's every beat cop fans coffee awoken dream drama. Set over eight episodes and with different characters in each season this could be McConaughey and fellow distinctive drawl/redemptive young veteran actor of versatile complexity Woody Harrelson's (believe me with the drawn dialogue in this one this mystery would be perfect for radio too...if the female fans wouldn't call in and complain) only case. Still to talk more or even about one of these episodes would be the ultimate, unsettling spoiler. All you need to know is after one episode you'll be hooked on the story of these two actors who raise the bar another level on their increasing popularity. As great as Woody is, it's McConaughey's dark shades that illuminate all this drug hazed hue of the addiction to a drowning despaired life. Especially when it comes to the aged and haired up scenes of his recollections of evidence 10 years later that sets the story and makes an interview look like an interrogation of the soul as McConaughey's character stares through the smoke of his cigarette and blurred, blinking vision of his silenced sobriety right through to our subconscious. As appealing as they are unsettling, his ramblings are inspired like his off-screen interview speeches, albeit in very different, darker ways. Need anymore evidence this is the next, great classic case for the man who's made a career out of rewriting the yellow legal pad? And you thought his vocal cameo in 'King Of The Hill' was his calling.
It's been a long time since the 'Glory Daze' of 'Dazed and Confused' and its coming of age that led to some 'Contact' with more mainstream success in the form of franchises like 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' , headbutting Christain Bale for real in 'Reign Of Fire', or time with Pacino in 'Two For The Money'. Far from a slasher now McConaughey's latest shots are sure things that see him able to diversify and capture the craft of his art with more master strokes. His portrayal of a cowboy diagnosed with AIDS for the biographical 'Dallas Buyers Club' Oscar leader is the type of legend making legacy that makes Tom Hanks' role in the powerful 'Philadelphia' proud...and look at many great films he's done over the years. Right now McConaughey is having a better fall, New Year career moment that the robbed and snubbed 'Captain Phillips's and 'Saving Mr. Banks'. Now the man who continues to shed pounds for his characters is putting more of his dollars made from these into the people and the communities that need them. His 'J.K. Livin' foundation is instrumental in helping somewhat troubled teenage kids achieve better lived for themselves instead of just hanging around and maybe causing trouble. Its an influential inspiration. Hoping to make a change in the lives of others like he's done himself this star spokesman is the symbol of his strategy. Showing that no matter how long it takes and how much is thought of you in a certain way, how you end up being put out there and perceived is all up to how you proceed. The man who made himself from mainstream, fluff fodder to critical capturing and singling out now has everybody watching him. Time to follow. Go on, pound your chest and say it with me..."Hmm, hmm".