C'mon, Hollywood: Make like Matthew McConaughey and shape up your actors!
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 Scorseses 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 LAUNCH, FOOL'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 years Oscar, but if they challenge themselves (like McConaughey obviously did), theyll 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, theyll 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. Its 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 isnt the safest way to lead a career. At the end of the day, thats 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? Hes closer to doing that while surrounded by golden statues (not hallucinated) than some of his peers ever will be.
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|Extra Tidbit:||What's your favorite Matthew McConaughey movie?|