Monday, February 2, 2015

Genius of Reinvention: Matthew McConaughey

I loved EdTv growing up. The main character is an average Joe who is contracted by a television network to follow him around 24/7 by a camera crew. All of his personal relationships and family downfalls are aired for the world's entertainment. He becomes a major celebrity with college girls watching him every week together huddled in their dorm rooms, and temporarily he seems a hero to all of closest buds.

Before our culture eventually embraced the chaotic crazy world of crazies showing us every minute detail of their ordinary lives, the movie then seemed like a preposterous future. Today no channel is without a show about someone arguing with their friends, getting drunk, competing for cash, or showing off their ridiculous obsessions. Now, the movie seems less than special. Except to me it always has been because it brought Matthew McConaughey into my sphere.

He became my king of the big screen. His southern drawl, his good-natured spirit, his ability to play a normal guy with vigor and passion unlike I'd ever seen drew me immediately towards such an average character. McConaughey wasn't the first movie movie star I fell in love (John Travolta) nor the one that I declare to be my husband one day (Leonardo DiCaprio), but he was the biggest underdog.

Everyone seems to love McConaughey, or on some level, always did. Do you remember when he and Kate Hudson hit out of the park with How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days? It's your average chick flick of two people using each other to get ahead in their own careers, and then their "quirky" ambitions allow them to fall in love. Their chemistry was magnetic, McConaughey showed off his pecks, and the movie was a huge hit. Even before this chick flick that put him on every woman's radar, he was then building a career with popularized Dazed and Confused and Contact.

As a celebrity-loving culture, we often take severe notes over when we consider an actor or actress have hit their peak and 'fallen atrociously from grace'. Usually this happens in the course when someone's choices seemingly go from A+ material to something that may not even be worthy of a F- ranking.

A major tide turned for the Texan cowboy and his rom-com place in Hollywood: it went all over the map. In The Wedding PlannerFailure to Launch and Fool's Gold, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past he was attached to portraying a charming manboy who could swipe the panties off his love interest three thousand miles away. Every character slighted differently  but the scope his career took didn't reach expectations. Most people only remembered those movies and thought that's as far as he could reach.

Though he was never far away from movie making - he's made at least one almost every year since the 1990s - Hollywood and McConaughey made himself "a comeback kid" in 2011. After a "rough" decade of varying dramatic roles (several that I loved) like Two for the Money, Reign of Fire, and We Are Marshall, he finally gained notoriety in some better executed indies.

Suddenly taking notice of this electric presence on-screen, critics and audiences agreed he had finally made a return. With roles like Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Mud, and most recently The Dallas Buyers Club, how could anyone possibly ignore him. Throughout genres, he's carved an image of anti-hero. He was trying to catch lightning with more dramatic roles and he caught several bolts finally lighting up the world.

Similar to action stars like Nicolas Cage, we as audiences don't expect actors who take on blockbusters to have the level of intellect or intelligence they show when they are gifted with the opportunity to show it. They become servants enslaved to our pop culture expectations that they only have one side of their abilities whether it's blowing things up or being a shirtless sex god.

Though the material may range for McConaughey's carefully crafted talent, no one can deny the enigmatic spotlight he carries in every motion picture. That brimming smile, his thick accent, and that palpable energy. When he talks, he's on fire. You're hooked to his every charismatic and charming word. During his SAGS award acceptance speech, most people only heard Neptune and wouldn't let it go. I was watching someone with passion for his craft which was finally being taken "seriously".

Nowadays, actors are so immensely chillaxed about their life and career they barely have any personality orr energy. Everything seems to roll so lackadaisically off of people's shoulders, nobody seems to be affected either positively or negatively by their success, failures, and triumphs. Everyone is riding on neutral. Except Matthew McConaughey - he's soaring and always has been.

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