Matthew McConaughey

All posts tagged Matthew McConaughey

Recent DVD Release: Dallas Buyers Club

Published March 20, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring:  Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Denis O’Hare, Michael O’Neill, Griffin Dunne.

Rated: R.  Biography/Drama/History.  Running Time: 1 hour 57 minutes.

Wow, Matthew McConaughey is on fire!  After viewing the abysmal movie duo of Killer Joe and The Paperboy within the last couple of years, I thought this guy was heading for career suicide.  He got me to consider jumping back on his bandwagon with Mud, then reeled me in hook, line and sinker with his turn in the amazing HBO series, True Detective (see TV Talk at, and apparently everyone else has hitched to his star after his Oscar winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club.  The true story of a bull riding, con artist/hustler, electrician, bigot, drug using, and all around asshole named Ron Woodroof; who contracts AIDS in Dallas in 1985.  He’s so far gone by the time he goes to the doctor that they give him a measly thirty days to live.  McConaughey lost more than forty pounds for the role, and he looked so bad it was hard to watch on several occasions.  ’85 was close to the beginning of society’s understanding of the disease, and treatment was non-existent or VERY hard to come by.  You could say many things about Woodroof, but a quitter he was not, and he goes literally to the ends of the Earth to stay alive.  Along the way he meets, and forms an unlikely partnership with, Rayon (an almost unrecognizable Jared Leto), a homosexual cross dresser.  Together they hustle to get the drugs that people with AIDS need but can’t get through regular and legal channels.  It’s no mission of mercy to start with for sure, they make tons of money and they need the drugs themselves, but eventually the whole story morphs into something deeper. 

The sheer magnitude of the transformation these two actors have gone through for the authenticity of their roles is just impressive.  There’s no other way to put it.  I pointed Jared Leto out to Ross and he hadn’t even realized it was him on the screen.  And McConaughey is seriously hard to watch in the first half hour of this film.  His usually muscled and healthy looking physique is a sheer shell of what it normally looks like.  The appearance is capped off by some non-stop hard drinking, drug use and altogether hard to watch activities…including stomach turning coughing fits.  This film is not my favorite type of fare, although I do enjoy a true story every once in a while.  But DBC did more than depress the shit out of me.  It also showcased the unbelievable transformation of a total douchebag, highlighted a majorly disturbing road block our government set in the path of some seriously ill citizens and seamlessly told a story of overwhelming struggle and the amazing human spirit.  There is no doubt in my mind that these men deserved their Academy Awards.  They earned them with these unforgettable and powerful performances.

They absolutely deserved their trophies, no question, but Hollywood loves an actor who will change their body for a part.  Think Robert De Niro in Raging Bull and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Cast Away (Golden Globe).  I read that the script for Dallas Buyers Club had been floating around out there for a while, and that the people with the money were having a hard time envisioning it having commercial success.  I can understand it, as Maria mentioned, the movie is a series of unsettling scenes.  I would submit that there are at least a couple of enduring lessons to be learned from DBC.  One is to appreciate life and what you have and try not to sweat the small shit.  And also, try to understand your fellow man and the trials and tribulations they may be encountering.  Ron Woodroof is a bad man.  He is a bigot and a homophobe and it’s not until he has to walk in the shoes of some of the people he reviles that he begins to transform.  It’s a shame and an indictment  on the human condition, that oftentimes it takes a tragedy or loss in our lives to truly appreciate what we have or to take a really good look in the mirror.   Hopefully, watching Dallas Buyers Club can turn on the light bulb for some of us, yours truly included.

It’s so true.  You can’t help but feel blessed to have your health after watching this.  We’re all guilty of taking the small things for granted and it’s nice to have something to remind us how lucky we truly are.  I enjoyed the movie a great deal more than I expected, which is always a nice surprise when it comes to film.  I remember the first time I saw McConaughey in one of my all time favorite crime/thrillers, A Time to Kill.  He was so young and handsome – and he just oozed stardom.  I can never forget the scene when he lets out that genuine and lovable laugh when he views his ‘on-the-curb’ drunken parking job.  A laugh as recognizable as his dimpled face these days.  It seems he has found his niche in Hollywood.  Let’s hope he keeps on this newly found path.

Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummies.

Recent DVD Release: Mud

Published August 22, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring:  Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks, Joe Don Baker, Bonnie Sturdivant.

Rated: PG-13.  Drama.  Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes.


We’ve been on a roll of reviewing some really predictable and extremely mediocre movies of late.  If you’re a regular to MRSRAG, you know on occasion we get viewing suggestions from our friend Kevin (usually films off the beaten path), and he hasn’t let us down yet.  The Intouchables was his best referral; a sub-titled, must-see that we never would have caught if not for him.  So here we are again with Mud, and for the first time, we’re a little worried.  The problem: the last two McConaughey movies we’ve seen were dreadful.  Killer Joe and The Paperboy.  Unwatchable cinema at it’s very worst.  Trepidation unwarranted, Kevin was right as usual.  Mud is the story of two teenage river rats from Arkansas, Ellis (Sheridan) and Neckbone (Lofland).  They happen upon Mud (McConaughey ) on a deserted island while seeking a boat in a tree, deposited there during a flood.  Mud is living in it and the boys want it.  We don’t find out for a while that Mud is on the run from the law, but it’s easy to deduce.  He’s also waiting to meet up with his true love, Juniper (Witherspoon).  The boys befriend Mud, and soon a scavenger hunt for boat parts is on.  No formulaic predictability in this one, thank goodness!

Those two films Ross mentioned earlier were atrocious.  So you can understand our consternation with Kev’s newest suggestion.  McConaughey has been on some career path.  I recall a time when every movie the guy touched turned to gold; A Time to Kill, Amistad, Frailty, Reign of Fire, The Lincoln Lawyer, and a slew of memorable romantic comedies including The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Fool’s Gold and Failure to Launch.  Recently, he’s been hitting the independent film circuit, but his choices have been strange.  He’s also been favoring roles where he gets to play a perverse or exaggerated version of himself, most apparent in last Summer’s Magic Mike.  Mud has the usual makings of a McConaughey character: scarcity of shirt, down South townie roots and an innate resourcefulness.  However, this film had an incredible supporting cast that authenticated his portrayal.  The two young boys were spectacular, especially the lead, Ellis.  His performance was spellbinding and heart wrenching as he realizes the painful truth of the hardships surrounding life, family and love.  I also thoroughly enjoyed Sam Shepard’s character, Ellis’ neighbor & a retiree who spends most days on the river fishing.  Mud had the originality, the heart and the talent that a lot of films lack in this day and age.  And it is, by far, the best piece of work McConaughey has done in several years.

McConaughey, like Johnny Depp, seems incapable of playing any kind of “normal” role.  Nothing wrong with wanting to be unique, but after too much of the same thing, the quirky-ness becomes tiresome.  Honestly, I think they’ve both lost it.  Matthew is only comfortable playing southern drawling, sweaty, half-naked, dirty, smarmy weirdos of which Mud is no exception.  The difference here is, while he is the title character, as Maria has already alluded to, Mud absolutely belongs to the two boys.  Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland are wondrous as Ellis and Neckbone.  Two relative newcomers who I believe you’ll be seeing much more of in the future.  Ellis is kind, tough, a protector of women and a romantic.  He loves living on the river, and dreads the thought of moving into town, if his mother has her way.  Neckbone is not quite as quick to help or believe, but he is fiercely loyal, has a keen sense of self preservation and generally ends up onboard with whatever Ellis wants to do.  The boys learn some tough lessons along the way about truth and trust and love, but they always have each other in this ‘us against the world’ tale.  It made me think back to my teenaged days hanging with my buds, getting into some mischief and the great feeling of someone always having your back. 

Ross could identify with Ellis, while I found much in common with the skeptical Neckbone.  Ellis was eager to help, while Neckbone kept a practical and level headed approach to the dubious Mud.  Mud was suspenseful, touching and well executed.  Overall, I enjoyed the film.  It was well worth our usual Redbox stipend, which has not been the case recently.  I hope Ross’ prediction is right & we see more of these two young boys in the near future.  They seem to have a ton of potential and they basically stole the show.  Let’s hope McConaughey plots a new course from here on out, Mud is the right direction for him.  And we have to give one more note of thanks to our pal Kev again!  You, my friend, have exquisite taste.


Ross’ Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Gummy Bears.

Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummies.