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C'mon, Hollywood: Make like Matthew McConaughey and shape up your actors!

11.19.2013

I've gotta be honest: Matthew McConaughey never was one of my favorite actors. His never-ending streak of romantic comedies were never my cup of tea and the stoner-surfer vibe kind of threw me off. Sure, I've seen my share of his movies including REIGN OF FIRE and SAHARA, but no performance or movie of his slapped me right across the face with its brilliance. However, that all changed when I caught KILLER JOE a few months ago. McConaughey's performance blew me away, giving me an intense, hilarious, terrifying and very memorable character. McConaughey must've known that mass audiences weren't going to see it (the film's NC-17 rating and explicit content saw to that), but he still committed to something darker and unusual for him and it was a risk that ended up paying off very well. 

McConaughey has been a household name for over ten years now, but with Oscar-worthy performances in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB and MUD, it seems like he's finally hitting his stride. Not only does he have these two performances already generating a large amount of positive buzz, but he also has a supporting role in Scorsese’s THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. If he delivers (and by the looks of it, he will) the Academy is going to have a decent amount of performances to choose from. So, after seeing his rise from films like HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS, FAILURE TO LAUNCHFOOL'S GOLD and GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIEND'S PAST, why can't other actors do it, too? 

As much as I hate to say this, actors that I generally like such as Jason Statham and Gerard Butler are guilty of finding a genre and sticking with it. Certainly, these two actors are extremely badass and genuinely likeable, but they continue to act in sub-par films. Butler's been jumping back and forth between shitty action movies (OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, GAMER) to shitty romantic comedies like THE UGLY TRUTH, THE BOUNTY HUNTER and PLAYING FOR KEEPS (typically with an inexcusably bad American accent, to boot). Statham is also at fault with forgettable action films like SAFE, PARKER and THE MECHANIC. On the other side of the thematic spectrum, we have actors like Vince Vaughn playing it safe by starring in tripe like THE DILEMMA, FOUR CHRISTMASES, and THE INTERNSHIP.  

I definitely get why these actors keep choosing to star in the same type of films. Gerard Butler is a good looking cat and brings in a lot of women when he stars in romantic comedies, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham bring in dudes wanting to see cool action movies and Vince Vaughn brings in audiences because they know he'll at least eek a few chuckles out of them, but I want to see these actors break away from their comfort zone and go for something different. I want them to go for an independent film or a genre that the public didn't expect they would see them in. I'm not asking them to try and get next year’s Oscar, but if they challenge themselves (like McConaughey obviously did), they’ll become better actors and they will consequently get to work on better projects. 

What these actors may not realize is that if they continue to act in films that are exactly the same, they’ll fall into obscurity. Take Eddie Murphy and his continuous, unfunny flops like MEET DAVE, IMAGINE THAT and A THOUSAND WORDS for instance. When he took on DREAMGIRLS, he got nominated for an Oscar and should have kept that momentum, but instead, went right back to SHREK sequels and substandard comedies. It’s unfortunate because it showed a comedic actor could do very well with dramatic material. I don't always need to see the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis in a dramatic role because it's always surprising and appreciated when someone unexpected gives a great performance in a tonally different movie (like Jim Carrey in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND or Jack Black in BERNIE). Look at Jonah Hill. After a string of (admittedly funny) comedies, he's been able to dip his feet in dramatic territory like MONEYBALL and now, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Yes, he's still doing comedies like THIS IS THE END and the upcoming 22 JUMP STREET, but after getting to act in different genres, he seems to be going about it the right way. 

So, C'mon, Hollywood! It's time to make like Matthew McConaughey and shape up! Making some coin with minimal commitment isn’t the safest way to lead a career. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what acting is: a career. If actors continue to do the same, exact thing over the course of said career, it will ultimately get tiring and boring, which will lead to smug apathy. However, if they challenge themselves, they'll open up different avenues in which they can explore that job and it will only get more exciting and gratifying. I'm sure if Matthew McConaughey did it, others can, too. So what if he's a little whacky and likes to get naked, smoke weed and play the bongos? He’s closer to doing that while surrounded by golden statues (not hallucinated) than some of his peers ever will be.  

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: What's your favorite Matthew McConaughey movie?
Source: JoBlo.com

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+6
11:45AM on 11/20/2013

Kate Hudson is just as guilty!

One of the most guiltiest actors/actresses out there has to be Kate Hudson. Starts with a Oscar nominated performance in Almost Famous and now she has not been in a single "good/decent" film since then. What a disappointment!
One of the most guiltiest actors/actresses out there has to be Kate Hudson. Starts with a Oscar nominated performance in Almost Famous and now she has not been in a single "good/decent" film since then. What a disappointment!
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12:51AM on 11/20/2013

Adam Sandler

he is the new eddie murphy. no doubt about it
he is the new eddie murphy. no doubt about it
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3:42PM on 11/20/2013
Not true. Peep the box office for the two men. Sandler is arguably more popular than ever, whereas Murphy...?
Not true. Peep the box office for the two men. Sandler is arguably more popular than ever, whereas Murphy...?
10:42PM on 11/19/2013

EDIT

I just came back from Dallas Buyers Club...

McConaughey is winning the Oscar come February... it was such a powerful [link] GO SEE IT!
I just came back from Dallas Buyers Club...

McConaughey is winning the Oscar come February... it was such a powerful [link] GO SEE IT!
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9:47PM on 11/19/2013

Glad you fixed the glitch

I wanted to read this article when I first saw it two days ago and I was not disappointed! Statham's efforts to do 'different' devolve back into boring generic Statham territory because of Statham...Take Statham out of his movies, put in a better actor and the exact same dialogue/beats, etc. might be more dramatically effective. As for who I think could/should break out of their safe genre flicks and achieve the respect and attention McConaughey is receiving this year? I think Steve Carell is
I wanted to read this article when I first saw it two days ago and I was not disappointed! Statham's efforts to do 'different' devolve back into boring generic Statham territory because of Statham...Take Statham out of his movies, put in a better actor and the exact same dialogue/beats, etc. might be more dramatically effective. As for who I think could/should break out of their safe genre flicks and achieve the respect and attention McConaughey is receiving this year? I think Steve Carell is next thanks to Foxcatcher.
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8:45PM on 11/19/2013
I think Statham seems to be trying something a tiny bit different with Homefront. From the trailers, it reminds me of Snitch, in which Dwayne Johnson proved he actually could act while still being a badass papa wolf.

Re extra tibidt: Probably Contact or Amistad.
I think Statham seems to be trying something a tiny bit different with Homefront. From the trailers, it reminds me of Snitch, in which Dwayne Johnson proved he actually could act while still being a badass papa wolf.

Re extra tibidt: Probably Contact or Amistad.
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8:32PM on 11/19/2013
Minor nitpick first- 'Safe' is generic and cliche? It's got a real story and a slightly more dramatic turn from Statham than usual.

More to the point, I agree with this quite a bit. Vince Vaughn can be good in non-comedic roles (Clay Pigeons and The Cell come to mind). But he's stuck in a rut, and his schtick is old and boring now.
Minor nitpick first- 'Safe' is generic and cliche? It's got a real story and a slightly more dramatic turn from Statham than usual.

More to the point, I agree with this quite a bit. Vince Vaughn can be good in non-comedic roles (Clay Pigeons and The Cell come to mind). But he's stuck in a rut, and his schtick is old and boring now.
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6:53PM on 11/19/2013
Extra tidbit: A Time To Kill and Frailty. The guy is a very versatile actor.
Extra tidbit: A Time To Kill and Frailty. The guy is a very versatile actor.
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6:33PM on 11/19/2013

To be fair....

McConaughey has been shaking it up for a while now really... Between The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy he did Frailty and Reign of Fire. Then between How to Lose a Guy and Failure to Launch he threw in Two for the Money, then there was We Are Marshall before Fools Gold, then a nice little cameo in Tropic Thunder before Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and then Lincoln Lawyer. So he's had a fair mix... just some of the stuff mixed in there wasn't always that well received or popular. So it's
McConaughey has been shaking it up for a while now really... Between The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy he did Frailty and Reign of Fire. Then between How to Lose a Guy and Failure to Launch he threw in Two for the Money, then there was We Are Marshall before Fools Gold, then a nice little cameo in Tropic Thunder before Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and then Lincoln Lawyer. So he's had a fair mix... just some of the stuff mixed in there wasn't always that well received or popular. So it's not so much he's just now mixing it up, I think he's just a little more choosey and has decided to put the rom-coms behind him. I think it also helps that the general audience was over his rom-com run.
Also I'm glad Vaughn was included in this. I've been saying that for years now. Guy has to start trying to be an actor again and stop settling for basically playing himself over and over. Last semi out of character role he played was in 2007's Into the Wild but that wasn't much of a stretch as a role, just more out of norm as a movie as a whole. He honestly hasn't tried to flex his acting chops since 2001's Domestic Disturbance. Everything else is pretty much the same role just either it has a nice lovable guy twist to it or a dickish mean antagonist twist to it. It's grown quite stale and I think audiences are starting to lose interest in him.
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+6
4:20PM on 11/19/2013

so far?

Everything he's done since about Lincoln Lawyer!!
Everything he's done since about Lincoln Lawyer!!
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+5
3:40PM on 11/19/2013

Eastbound and Down

It's not a movie, but I always go back to this because I never liked Matthew as an actor before. Then he came on Eastbound and Down and made me roll on the floor. Then the dramatic roles started coming, and now he's established himself as one the best. Good stuff!
It's not a movie, but I always go back to this because I never liked Matthew as an actor before. Then he came on Eastbound and Down and made me roll on the floor. Then the dramatic roles started coming, and now he's established himself as one the best. Good stuff!
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2:29PM on 11/19/2013
Nice article! I really can't wait to see him in Interstellar. Him in a Nolan film is going to be great.
Nice article! I really can't wait to see him in Interstellar. Him in a Nolan film is going to be great.
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2:17PM on 11/19/2013

Some of those actors just don't have it in them, others like the comfort

I can see Gerard Butler maybe turning around and having an interesting and challengins career down the road. Statham though is an action movie star who not only seems comfortable with that role but incapable of something deeper. Vaughn usually sticks with what he is good at. He is probably weary of crossing into drama again. He tried back in the 90's if I remember correctly. I think he has it in him but he has become those roles he plays...an underachiever who you feel can be capable of
I can see Gerard Butler maybe turning around and having an interesting and challengins career down the road. Statham though is an action movie star who not only seems comfortable with that role but incapable of something deeper. Vaughn usually sticks with what he is good at. He is probably weary of crossing into drama again. He tried back in the 90's if I remember correctly. I think he has it in him but he has become those roles he plays...an underachiever who you feel can be capable of more if he puts his mind to it. Murphy just likes to easy projects for the pay. He had his shot to do something with the response to his "Dreamgirls" role, but he just has come back to his safe zone.

I think these actors are scared of losing their fan-base. They may venture out to something out of the box but if it fails they will rush back to their safety zones. Look at Jim Carrey. I was happy when he took a risk and started by straight roles. He was good at them and won a lot of postive attention for them. He had one failure (Number 23) and he went back to the stupid comedies. I wish he had kept on trucking because his act from almost 20 years ago is old and this is a person who worshiped the guy like there was no tomorrow.

As far as my favorite Matt Movie: Frality...it was the first time I saw that there was something to Matt besides being shirtless.
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2:04PM on 11/19/2013
Bruce Willis, say what?
Bruce Willis, say what?
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2:01PM on 11/19/2013
I always liked Matthew McConaughey. He had charm to spare and every now and then a movie like Lone Star or 13 Conversations About One Thing would come along and give him a role that was a little meatier. To me he was the poster boy of wasted talent. But I never in my wildest dreams thought he would be looking at maybe winning an Oscar. What's even crazier is his presence seems to indicate quality (I understand if Magic Mike and The Paperboy aren't your cup of tea, but I enjoyed them).

Of the
I always liked Matthew McConaughey. He had charm to spare and every now and then a movie like Lone Star or 13 Conversations About One Thing would come along and give him a role that was a little meatier. To me he was the poster boy of wasted talent. But I never in my wildest dreams thought he would be looking at maybe winning an Oscar. What's even crazier is his presence seems to indicate quality (I understand if Magic Mike and The Paperboy aren't your cup of tea, but I enjoyed them).

Of the other actors mentioned, I actually think Vin Diesel is the most likely to break with type-casting the moment an opportunity presents itself. The man's loyal to his franchises, but when he was given the chance to be in a Marvel movie he chose a voice-acting role.
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1:32PM on 11/19/2013

Started With The Lincoln Lawyer....

McConaughey really got my attention in The Lincoln Lawyer, playing an amoral defense attorney. Now , I haven't seen the films mentioned about yet, but I did see Killer Joe, and he was riveting in that as well. What happened? Maybe he took stock of his career and started taking chances. Maybe, Like Denzel Washington has proven, you can play both sides of the character street and pull it off if the audience buys into what you're doing Or maybe he was tired of looking at scripts that required
McConaughey really got my attention in The Lincoln Lawyer, playing an amoral defense attorney. Now , I haven't seen the films mentioned about yet, but I did see Killer Joe, and he was riveting in that as well. What happened? Maybe he took stock of his career and started taking chances. Maybe, Like Denzel Washington has proven, you can play both sides of the character street and pull it off if the audience buys into what you're doing Or maybe he was tired of looking at scripts that required him to take his shirt off on Page one. Either way, Mr. McConaughey is turning heads for more than his abs recently, and that's a good sign for longevity in the business of show....
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1:20PM on 11/19/2013
Hard to argue with any of this. Pretty spot on. As for becomming smug and apathetic, look to Bruce Willis as exhibit A.
Hard to argue with any of this. Pretty spot on. As for becomming smug and apathetic, look to Bruce Willis as exhibit A.
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12:46PM on 11/19/2013
I really want to see Statham do more stuff like The Bank Job and Snatch. This new Homefront looks like a step in that direction. But this article was spot on about him doing serviceable yet forgettable actioners.
I really want to see Statham do more stuff like The Bank Job and Snatch. This new Homefront looks like a step in that direction. But this article was spot on about him doing serviceable yet forgettable actioners.
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+7
12:19PM on 11/19/2013
People say how McConaughey had a slew of crappy movies for a long time now and now he is finally showing his chops but ask yourself this: was he bad in those terrible movies? No he was great and has always been great he was just in crappy movies (except Ed TV I love that flick) what he does now he is making better choices in roles so this talent that you people are suddenly seeing really should come as no surprise.
People say how McConaughey had a slew of crappy movies for a long time now and now he is finally showing his chops but ask yourself this: was he bad in those terrible movies? No he was great and has always been great he was just in crappy movies (except Ed TV I love that flick) what he does now he is making better choices in roles so this talent that you people are suddenly seeing really should come as no surprise.
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12:18PM on 11/19/2013
I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this collumn but.....
Olympus has fallen is shitty??? Seriously.... to each it's own but I really enjoyed that one...
I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this collumn but.....
Olympus has fallen is shitty??? Seriously.... to each it's own but I really enjoyed that one...
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12:47PM on 11/19/2013
Agreed, that movie was awesome
Agreed, that movie was awesome
1:54PM on 11/19/2013
I agree with you as well, Olympus was awesome and far far better to that Tatum POS film.
I agree with you as well, Olympus was awesome and far far better to that Tatum POS film.
2:37PM on 11/19/2013
White House Down was such garbage...I enjoyed Olympus much more.
White House Down was such garbage...I enjoyed Olympus much more.
12:16PM on 11/19/2013
Tidbit: Of his most recent, Mud and Killer Joe.
Tidbit: Of his most recent, Mud and Killer Joe.
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