Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Column #4: He's man enough to admit he loves McConaughey

Let us consider the “man crush.” According to the website Urban Dictionary, it refers to “a man having extreme admiration for another man, as though he wants to be him.”

Next, let us consider Matthew McConaughey.

I've concluded that I am fascinated with Matthew McConaughey because he is the complete opposite of me. He is handsome, rich, popular and beloved. He makes doing his job look effortless always — he never looks like he's trying to be someone he's not, even though that actually is his job.

I think, and I worry, and, frankly, it's gotten me nowhere. If 7-Up is the un-cola, he is the un-me. He is a tall, muscular Gentile. I don't know if he named his son Levi because of the Bible or because of the jeans, and I appreciate that it could go either way.

The first time I realized that there was something special about McConaughey — that he was no ordinary heartthrob like Antonio Sabato or and Josh Hartnett — was when he made an appearance on “The Daily Show” in 2001. His interview aired in two parts because… well, I'll let the show's website describe what happened:

1. “Jon Stewart shows the pt. 1 of his interview with Matthew McConaughey in which they discuss ‘getting ready' and emus.”

2. “Matthew McConaughey tells and acts out a nasty story about goat sex.”

The man represents the good life, ala Jimmy Buffett. His production company is called J.K. Livin. This is short for “Just Keep Livin',” which is his personal motto. Who has a personal motto? That's adorable!

I don't care much for his action movies. Anyone can do that. I don't want to be Harrison Ford — I'm already grumpy. Chuck Norris? We already know what Chuck Norris can do.

No, I love that McConaughey has carved out his own subgenre of romantic comedies. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — his rom-coms seem to be parts of a series, like his own private Bridget Jones. We know that he will play a charming cad who will refuse to grow up — until the end. He will charm parents and children, though he might smoke too much weed, and he will want to spend more time with his bros than with his chick. Christopher Guest might be better known for his unscripted comedies, but I can't imagine McConaughey sticking to anyone else's screenplay, either.

Also, I love that he spent some of his own money to finance a movie called Surfer, Dude, about a “longboarding soul-surfer… (who) returns to Malibu for the summer to find his cool hometown vibe corrupted.”

What happens next, Matt? “He must endure the insanity that comes with no waves or give into ‘The Man.'”

I've always had unpopular opinions about actors. Before McConaughey, I had Burt Reynolds. Burt, though, is much older. Once, I admired Burt for his effortless charm, quick wit and light touch with the ladies. It became too hard to cheer Burt on, though, especially when he does things like pass out in a pool of his own blood after a prescription drug overdose made him fall over and crack his head open. Matthew McConaughey would never find himself in that position — at worst, too many Coronas might make him miss some killer waves.

I can still remember telling a woman in 1996 that my favorite actors were Burt Reynolds and Don Johnson. She laughed at me. A year later, Burt was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Boogie Nights. (Okay, so Don Johnson never lived up to his potential.)

That's the other thing I enjoy about following McConaughey's career — he's 40 now, and I still can't tell if he'll one day be seen as the next Paul Newman. While I spend way too much time thinking about it, Matthew McConaughey just keeps livin'.

c. 2009 Velocity Weekly

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