Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10: Matthew McConaughey Movies (Man of the Year Award)

 The year is coming to an end and I've been procrastinating long enough over my final Top 10 for 2012 but with Skyfall to be seen on Saturday I thought I'd share one last Blahblahblahgay award, Man of the Year. 2012 is without a shadow of a doubt the year of one man and that man is 2005's Sexiest Man Alive, Matthew McConaughey. His three performances stand out so far beyond those of the other mere mortal actors that only Guy Pearce can come remotely close. The major question, 'are we just reacting to his previous incarnation as a good looking piece of meat for Kate Hudson, that hideous woman from Sex in the City, Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck's ex and Penelope Cruz to hang off of?' And you might follow that question up with 'can he maintain this exciting new direction?'

“I looked around, at my life and career, and said, ‘I’m in a good spot.’ I was reading some of the same action and romantic comedy stuff. Nothing was that exciting. I had done those for a while. They were fun. They treated me well, I treated them well. They paid my rent. I said, ‘I want to do something else – I don’t know what it is, but I want something to scare me.’ That was a word I remember telling myself. And I wanted it to scare me in a good way.” 

“There’s two sorts of fear: one you embrace and one you should listen to and turn the other way. Good fear is when you’re scared because you don’t know the answer, and looking at a role, whoa. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be able to do with that; this is really courageous and daring material, I’m not sure about it. But I’m excited, because I know I’ll come out the other side, I just gotta go through the blind spots, dive in, and say, ‘I’m going to take it on.’ It’s very different than a fear when you’re trying to make it work because you think it would be eccentric for eccentricity’s sake — that’s not the good fear. That’s the one you should probably turn away from and go, ‘No, the reason my gut isn’t into this is because it’s wrong’” - Matthew McConaughey

I've been a big fan of the guy for a long time, since I saw him charming the pants off of everyone in EdTV opposite the now invisible Jenna Elfman, so it comes as a pleasant surprise to find him actually acting these days. But even prior to that I had seen him in five big films in five years going back to Dazed and Confused and ending with The Newton Boys, a movie that could have finished everyone's career but instead only accounted for Skeet Ulrich and yet I hadn't paid any attention to him. Clearly somebody did as when he was finally given some room to breath and put his own stamp on things he excelled.

How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, Failure To Launch, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and The Wedding Planner are just four of the stinkers in his past but for me this second stage of McConaughey's career is most notable for his musical talent, later referenced with a great big wink in Magic Mike. He was arrested by Austin, Texas police in October 1999 and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a neighbour called to complain about the volume of the music coming from his home. On arriving at the scene the cops found McConaughey dancing naked and playing the bongos. The drug charges against McConaughey were eventually dropped, though the star did plead guilty to violating Austin's noise ordinance, for which he paid a $50 fine. How cool is that?

As his bank account grew fatter his credibility dropped off but now in a move that mirrors that of Ben Affleck (only without the directing so far) he has boldly taken hold of his career. In a statement that basically reads as a fuck you to the Hollywood nonsense that made him rich, he has been seeking out interesting scripts and putting in bold performance after bold performance. In 2012 he kicked some serious acting ass and the lack of awards consideration is surprising to say the least. Major supporting roles in Bernie and Magic Mike would have been enough for most actors in the wake of last years Lincoln Lawyer but his eponymous turn in William Friedkin's (who has surely made a film as a call to arms for all directors needing to restart their careers in a low budget style) Killer Joe was by far the most enjoyable male performance I've seen this year and a complete revelation. And yes I did see the chameleon-like Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

It doesn't look like this will be a one off year either, with forthcoming releases Mud (fugitive from law gets help from PG-13 kids,) Dallas Buyers Club (horrifically skinny AIDS sufferer opposite Jared Leto,) The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorcese directed true crime story) and the most dangerous film of all The Paperboy, which just might suffer from the recent John Cusack curse and stink, 2013 could be even bigger for him. Here's hoping the Bongos train is too powerful to be derailed by that curse.

To celebrate 2012, the year of Matthew McConaughey, here is a selection of my ten favourite Bongos movies:

10. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) Dir. Brad Furman
If only because it was the start of this current run of fine form The Lincoln Lawyer is worth seeing.

9. Reign of Fire (2002) Dir. Rob Bowman
Bongos, Batman and in Rob Bowman a key figure in the history of The X Files? Of course it has a place on this list even if it wasn't so great.

8. A Time To Kill (2006) Dir. Joel Schumacher
Easily the best of the John Grisham mega blockbuster adaptations with a cast that also features Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt AND both Sutherlands not to mention it is one of the most memorable (in a good way) of Joel Schumacher awful career.

7. Sahara (2005) Dir. Breck Eisner
OK so this is one of Leah's favourite movies of all time and I'm not entirely sure why. It's good fun, the kind of adventure movie that seems to be quite rare these days and don't forget the underrated Steve Zahn.

6. Dazed and Confused (1993) Dir. Richard Linklater
I was never a huge fan of this like others are but there's no mistaking that this was a great followup to Slacker and features some phenomenal talent in its ensemble cast.

5. Bernie (2012) Dir. Richard Linklater
It was Jack Black's movie but what Bongos did he did very well indeed.

4. Magic Mike (2012) Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Not one of Soderbergh's best movies due to its uneven nature but features a powerful performance from McConaughey and is the second movie in which I didn't hate Channing Tatum.

3. EdTV (1999) Dir. Ron Howard
Directed by Ron "Oscar Machine" Howard this was far from a success, especially in the face of the similar themed but far better Truman Show. However McConaughey is at his charming best and is surrounded by great actors seemingly having a great time which carries this film over the finish line. Something tells me it was quite prophetic and might require a rewatch in the near future.

2. Lone Star (1996) Dir. John Sayles
It's a John Sayles with a memorable lead performance from Chris Cooper, what more do you want?

1. Killer Joe (2012) Dir. William Friedkin
Pretty much my favourite new movie in a long time thanks to bold direction and a brave performance from Bongos, not to mention the supporting players putting in high class shifts.

I apologise to fans of Contact and am waiting to hear somebody defend those chickflicks. Go!


  1. How could any of us hope to pull off a mug shot after THAT mug shot? But seriously...

    I openly admit I have a soft spot for "Sahara" too. Don't get me wrong, it's ridiculous and kind of awful, but nevertheless... Also love that you called attention to "Lone Star." McConaughey sweats charisma in that one.

    1. Yep, even in a mugshot he's trying to turn on the charm.

      Lone Star was an all round surprise to me, it's quite an obscure movie these days and took a while to track down a copy. The more people interested in seeing it the better.

  2. I actually love Frailty. It's a bit cheesy, but there it is. One of these days, I'll tell you a story about me 'n McConnaughey in a bar in Texas. One of the least proud moments of my entire life.

    1. You wouldn't be you if you didn't like those cheesy moments Alan.

      I'm all ears on that Texan bar story but in your own time, I know these things need building up.

  3. Sahara's a guilty pleasure of mine, and I like his three 2012 films. Sadly, I haven't seen the other 6 films yet.

    Oh, and where is Angels in the Outfield? It's even got JGL in it. ;)

  4. I had to google that movie! Great cast, is it terrible?

    1. Haha, I haven't seen it in years. Since I grew up with it, I'd probably give it 3 or 3.5/5. Not sure if it holds up so well now though.

  5. This is really a great list of Matthew mcconaughey movies!! He is my favorite actor and I completely love his acting. Inspired from his acting, I have also joined acting school. In true words he is my idol.
    matthew mcconaughey movies list