Matthew McConaughey

The Best Damn Oscar Blog

The Academy is voting! Nomination polls opened on December 17th and close on January 3rd. The two and a half week period might seem like a long time, but it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye, especially with Christmas and the New Year right in the middle. As voters pick through their piles of screeners and decide what to watch, I certainly hope that they dig deep enough to find some of the year’s best unheralded work. In fact, I’m going to suggest a few things. At this point much of the “don’t miss this movie!” conversation has been around performances, a valid pursuit if there ever was one. However, there’s also plenty of under-discussed work in “below the line” categories. Here’s a wish list, five extremely unlikely but entirely deserving nominations that would make me a very happy blogger.

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Performer of the Year: Matthew McConaughey

To truly understand the essence behind our choice for 2012’s Performer of the Year, we have to take a walk back in time to 2005. It was the year that, simply a heartthrob at the point, Matthew McConaughey was named “Sexiest Man Alive.” At the time, the Texas-born star was on the road promoting his latest big screen swoon-monster, Failure to Launch. A publicity tour that landed him a memorable spot on the couch next to Oprah, back when she was still just an absurdly rich and powerful talk show host. Why I was watching Oprah on that fateful afternoon, only a higher power would know. But to this day, I can’t help but remember the magnetism of that handsome, denim-clad man who seemed so proud of the fact that he had never worn deodorant in his life. “The women in my life,” he explained amidst talk of his highly publicized relationship with Penelope Cruz and his naturally sweet B.O. “”have all said, ‘Your natural smell smells, one, like a man and, two, [it] smells like you. … [And] there’s only one of those.” It was a line of questioning that left nary a dry seat in Oprah’s lavish studio. She could have given away vibrating chairs to her audience and it still wouldn’t have made as much of an impact. That was Matthew McConaughey’s world. And in 2005, he was king. The question now is how did he end up here, in the sights of a very serious film website being named our first ever “Performer of […]

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s ready for the weekend. Colin Firth is kind of a sneaky hunk. At first glance he’s pretty handsome, but not the most attractive dude in the world, and then he’s got this charm to him that just grows on you until you’ve scrawled his name on all of your Trapper Keepers. He’s such saucy dish that it looks like he can make even a big name star like Nicole Kidman develop a schoolgirl crush. THR is reporting that she liked playing his wife in the recent World War II drama The Railway Man so much that she’s now actively recruiting him to join her in her next project, Before I Go to Sleep. Apparently, Before I Go to Sleep is an adaptation of a S.J. Watson novel about an amnesiac woman whose husband must reintroduce himself to her every morning. Early attempts at titling the film The Rich Man’s 50 First Dates were reportedly rejected by the studio.

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Han Solo

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that’s been talking way more about a movie based on a racing video game than it imagined it would be. Read on for more information. It’s bound to get pretty annoying following every rumor that pops up about the new Star Wars movie between now and 2015. But, let’s face it, when comments start getting thrown around about Harrison Ford playing Han Solo again, even vague rumors start to get pretty interesting. So, when Inside Movies announced that they have sources claiming that Ford has reversed his famously grumpy position on Star Wars being lame, and that he, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are now all “upbeat” about more movies getting made, geeks everywhere instantly started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Let’s try to not let this Star Wars thing get out of hand—but Harrison Ford might play Han Solo again, y’all!

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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the paperboy

The Paperboy is, to put it bluntly, quite like a swamp. It is hazy, disorienting, and full of disgusting images. It is so densely packed and so haphazardly arranged that the experience of watching it is not unlike trying to find one’s way out of the Everglades with only a machete and a faulty compass. With this, his third feature, Lee Daniels has created a fictional universe in which rhyme and reason, focus and direction, and even basic character motivation seem like forgotten concepts. It is the sort of film that makes you miss Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s amazing. Ostensibly, this is a Southern-fried film noir, riffing on such films as In the Heat of the Night and Mississippi Burning. Matthew McConaughey is Ward Jansen, a muckraking journalist for the Miami Times, back in his tiny home town to expose the wrongful conviction of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) for the murder of the county sheriff. He was given the tip by Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who is currently engaged to Hillary even though they’ve never actually met. Ward’s partner is the dashing and difficult Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo), a sort of British take on Virgil Tibbs. They hire Ward’s buff brother Jack (Zac Efron) as their driver. All of this is narrated by the Jansen’s former maid, Anita Chester (Macy Gray). In the ensuing detective drama not much actually gets investigated. It’s the summer of ’69, the air is sticky and sweltering, and the entire cast is in […]

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After the critical and commercial success of Precious, director Lee Daniels most likely had offers flooding into his office. Considering the way he describes the post-Precious period, that was indeed the case. There were plenty of movies Daniels could have made and for large sums of money as well. In the end, Daniels decided to followup Precious with The Paperboy, a movie many have called “pulpy.” Pulpy material usually doesn’t equal commercial success, but after making a hit, Daniels decided to stick with his gut even if his gut told him to turn down millions. The Paperboy, as ludicrous as it certainly is at times, remains a personal story for Daniels. Some may not see through the sweat and violence of the picture, but he saw this as another tale filled with people he knows well and who we don’t see on screen often enough: characters with a death wish. The world those characters inhabits is one you’ll either love or hate. Here’s what director Lee Daniels had to say about his artist side superseding commercialism, when the magic happens on set, and why he really shows Zac Efron in his underwear so much:

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McConaughey on Wall Street

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that’s comin’ at ya, so you best be prepared. Our night begins with Matthew McConaughey looking ragged on the set of The Wolf of Wall Street, the film project from up-and-coming director Martin Scorsese. It’s not due in theaters until Christmas of next year, but can you already smell the Oscar buzz for Mr. Alright Alright? I can.

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All in all, this was a decent summer. There were plenty of highs and lows, with zero grand achievements for either sides of that scale. We could argue endlessly about what movies lived up to the hype or which ones totally blew it, but where’s the fun in having that conversation for the thousandth time over twitter? What we all should be discussing is the important stuff, like, how sad Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed could get this summer or how many ounces of man sweat we think Matthew McConaughey shed in Magic Mike? These are the real topics worthy of discussion, ’cause who cares why Vickers didn’t run a few feet to the right to easily save her life in Prometheus? Or how on earth Batman survived that nuclear blast when we clearly saw him in The Bat before the blast? These are details we all need to let go of. What you all really need to know is who came out as the winners and losers of this summer season, and I’m here to tell you who.

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For such an unrelentingly graphic and blood-spattered NC-17 thriller, William Friedkin‘s Killer Joe is more romantic than one would expect. The filmmaker behind The Exorcist and Sorcerer (a movie he’s currently fighting to get back out to the public) has crafted, as he puts it, a romantic comedy for the new age. That title isn’t a whole lot different than his previous collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, the even more claustrophobic and humanistic Bug. They’re stories of characters wanting more, but mainly love, which Dottie (Juno Temple) finds in the titular psychopathic (Matthew McConaughey). Here’s what director William Friedkin had to say about making Cinderella for the 21st century, the importance of reading between the lines, and how one of cinema’s finest chase scenes was completely unscripted:

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Okay, so maybe screen legend is pushing it, but it’s kind of hard not to get excited about the career resurgence that Matthew McConaughey has experienced in the past year. Remember all those years he was doing lame romantic comedies and cashing checks? Well, forget them, because hopefully that’s all over. This year the man famous for his bongos, his abs, and his southern drawl has already shown up in worthwhile projects like Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, and now Variety has word that he’s keeping that momentum going by being the latest to sign on for Martin Scorsese’s next, The Wolf of Wall Street. You remember what The Wolf of Wall Street is, right? We’ve only written up about a thousand casting announcements for it so far. It’s Scorsese’s look at the real life adventures of decadent day trader Jordan Belfort, and all of the drug and adrenaline fueled shenanigans he got himself into back in the ’80s (you know, before he got caught being involved in illegal trading and money laundering and had to go to jail).

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The Paperboy Movie Lee Daniels

Now don’t tell me that when you heard that Precious director Lee Daniels was directing a film about a love-crazed lady (played by Nicole Kidman) who is obsessed with a man on death row (John Cusack) that you thought, “yes, this will be fantastic and insightful and awards-worthy and dramatic and searing.” You did? But then you heard that Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron were co-starring as brothers who investigate the potential wrongful conviction of Cusack, who also get mixed up with Kidman, and it’s all kinds of wacky and crazy and embarrassing and you changed your mind? No? Really? But then you heard that Kidman pees on Efron in an act of love at some point in the movie and you remembered, “oh, yes, Lee Daniels. Hack.” Good. That said, wow, can The Paperboy arrive in theaters now? The film’s first trailer is positively off the wall, the sort of marketing that includes review pull quotes that include words like “pulpy,” “sweaty,” and “down and dirty” in order to sell the film. And while Kidman doesn’t urinate on Efron in this first trailer, it just might contain a glimpse of her face while in the act (in other news, can you believe this movie?). Check it out after the break.

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Killer Joe

Exploitation cinema is good for the id. Because the great majority of us are not thieves, murderers, sociopaths, or people with problematic sexual instincts, exploitation cinema provides a safe space and an opportunity to view characters who may be any of the combinations noted above without having to experience the debilitating guilt, life-ending consequences, or moral panic that would incur if we ever engaged in such activities ourselves. In other words, exploitation cinema is a brief respite from a reality mostly determined by standards of law and order, rational behavior, stability, and long-term thinking. Exploitation cinema provides the exhilaration of chaos that is enthralling to witness onscreen, but that one wouldn’t want to encounter in anything resembling reality. While William Friedkin’s Killer Joe is a film that fully earns its NC-17 rating with its portrayals of abject cruelty, predatory sex, and strange and unusual acts of punishment, it’s never a film that asks audiences to take the events onscreen all to seriously as Killer Joe doesn’t even seem to even take itself at face value. The movie’s mood and ending will certainly polarize audiences, but if one is willing to accept and go along with the esoteric tone Friedkin strikes (and there are perfectly legitimate reasons not to do so), then Killer Joe is likely one of the more engaging films of the year if for no other reason than its sheer audacity.

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James Marsden in The Butler

Make no mistake, we love us some Matthew McConaughey around these parts, but his unique brand of show-stopping performance is perhaps not so well-suited for historical dramas with large casts of characters, particularly ones that might not have the strongest of directing talent to steer them. Films like Lee Daniels‘ upcoming The Butler, set to chronicle the life story of Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler under an incredible eight presidents and through the years 1952 to 1986. To that end, Variety reports (via The Playlist) that James Marsden has joined the film as JFK. McConaughey had been attached to the role for only two months, but dropped out of the project just last month due to scheduling conflicts with the long-gestating The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Of course, we must also wonder if those “conflicts” have anything to do with Daniels and McConaughey’s last project, Cannes giggle factory (and home of Nicole Kidman demanding to pee on Zac Efron), The Paperboy.

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Eastbound and Down ended on the perfect note last season. Whether there would be a fourth season was still up in the air, but Jody Hill and company gave their series a sense of closure. Unlike that cheap slap in the face Entourage gave to its fans – “It may not really be over because of that silly movie idea, but it might be!” – Kenny Powers’ arc and the show itself felt completed. However, apparently HBO disagrees, considering that they’ve recently ordered a fourth season.

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The Dark Knight Rises

Alright, so June didn’t exactly kick us into high gear the way it should have. We didn’t get another Avengers, a movie everyone lost their nuts over. From the blockbusters to the little guys, there was a lack in unanimous love and praise to be found. We did finally get Prometheus, a movie which could go down as this summer’s main topic of movie conversation over whether “It was awesome! No, it sucked!” but we get those all too often during this time of year. If we’re going to get one movie to feed the millions with true, big summer entertainment where all the harshest critics will be beaten across the world, then we got one ‘lil superhero movie coming up that may provoke such a reaction… The Amazing Spider-Man! Actually, no, but Marc Webb‘s reboot does pass the time nicely and, at the very least, gives us a new Peter Parker we can care about. But that doesn’t mean it made this list. Find out what did:

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Film has certainly explored the female side of the world of stripping, but rarely has the glittered curtain been pulled back on the male side of this risqué form of entertainment. Director Steven Soderbergh paints this picture with his signature style and does so in a way that shows us the highs and lows of living a cash-only lifestyle, the sort that can seem like one big party, but one that leaves you questioning your future when the sun comes up, the high from the night before wears off, and you realize you have nothing more than a stack of ones to show for your “day at the office.” Magic Mike focuses on Mike (Channing Tatum), a man with a plan who is a natural hustler, bouncing from odd job to odd job, saving his cash, and working on his plan to start his own custom furniture business. Mike is a charmer, not just with the ladies, but with anyone he meets thanks to an unflappable, positive outlook on life as he good-humoredly chuckles in the face of even the most outlandish of situations he finds himself in. But Mike is not some good-looking blockhead, he knows where his strengths lie and has parlayed that into a successful run at a male revue, Xquisite, where he is “second in command” to the club’s owner, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey.) Mike is constantly watching the bottom line and while he is certainly having a good time, he considers it all a temporary stop […]

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Though we’ve been talking about Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike for nearly a year now, the passage of time has in no way lessened the inherent weirdness of Soderbergh directing a movie about male strippers that’s loosely based on the real life experiences of one of his many very attractive male stars. The marketing has not helped make Magic Mike seem even less bizarre – it’s almost unfathomable that a film that will see Matt Bomer playing at being a Ken Doll during an all-male revue will make it to the big screen for mass consumption. Again and again, I’ve stared wide-eyed at Magic Mike marketing materials and asked myself, is this really an actual movie? It is. It really is. While it’s still hard to say if Magic Mike will end up being the unexpected hit of the summer, there are a few things we do know (that we can glean just from some newly released pictures alone): That Matthew McConaughey will, at one point, drink from a gold goblet on the beach. That Alex Pettyfer and Channing Tatum will go shopping for Speedos together. That the costume department didn’t both buying any shirts whatsoever for McConaughey. That it will be rife with crotch shots. And, at some point, McConaughey is going to play us a song. Thank you to everyone involved with this movie for making this movie. Check out the new photos (and a few old) after the break.

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The Paperboy Movie Lee Daniels

For a long time heavy-weight director Pedro Almodovar attempted to bring an adaptation of Peter Dexter‘s excellent novel “The Paperboy” to the screen, and a cursory glance at the story details of that novel confirm exactly what promise the Spanish auteur saw in that potential project. The book focuses on the case of death row inmate Hillary Van Wetter, convicted for the death of a local sheriff who murdered his cousin, and whose romantic relationship with letter-writer Charlotte Bless leads to the involvement of two investigative journalists from Miami who look into the possibility of Van Wetter being innocent. Without wanting to give away too much, as the book progresses, all is not what it seems, leading to a catastrophic ending. It seems that Almodovar was not the man to bring a film version of The Paperboy to life, and Precious director Lee Daniels stepped in to offer his own take on the story, investing a good deal more social outrage and shifting the focus onto the younger brother of one of those journalists. Zac Efron plays that brother – Jack Jansen – a former swimmer kicked out of college for an angry act of vandalism, and Matthew McConaughey his elder brother Ward, who enlists the help of writing partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) to investigate Van Wetter’s (John Cusack) innocence, at the behest of local vamp, and regular inmate letter write Bless (Nicole Kidman).

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When the first trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming male stripper drama, Magic Mike, came out, it painted Channing Tatum’s titular character as a dreamer whose side job was at odds with his aspirations for becoming an artist and finding true love. It seemed like the movie was a fun excuse to have a bunch of ripped dudes take their shirts off in order to sell tickets to the boy-crazy segment of the film-going population, sure, but it also looked like a story that had heart and the potential to connect with audiences on a deeper level. This new international trailer is a little bit different. Its focus is on Alex Pettyfer’s character making his debut in the world of male stripping, and it doesn’t make even momentary mention of anyone’s post-stripping goals. Basically, it makes Magic Mike look like a movie where, for a couple of hours, girls will be shrieking and guys will be wiggling. I guess abs translate much easier than dreams to a multilingual audience.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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