R.I.P., the McConaissance.
Five years ago, Matthew McConaughey was the toast of Hollywood, scoring an Oscar and starring in a hit TV series, which combined to reinvent his career. Unfortunately for him, though, his films since then have struggled to perform alright, alright, alright. And with Serenity sinking this weekend and continuing the downward commercial and critical trend, it feels like a long time since the famed McConaissance. But we’re not giving up on our favorite Lincoln Lawyer/Pitchman, instead coming up a foolproof plan to launch another McConaissance (I’m currently accepting suggestions for a remixed name of it).
Find a Supporting Role in an Acclaimed Director’s Ensemble Drama
Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective get all the hype for starting the McConaissance, but the forgotten key was the actor’s small but memorable role in The Wolf of Wall Street. The same year he starred in Buyers Club, he shined in his few scenes opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, but McConaughey hasn’t taken such a role since and you can’t tell me that he wouldn’t have fit in perfectly with the approximately 56 actors cast in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. So let’s make sure he’s ready and willing for next big ensemble project from Tarantino, Adam McKay, or another high-profile director.
Stay Away From Gold
Critical failure Fool’s Gold and commercial failure Gold prove that McConaughey should start settling for silver. And between Fool’s Gold and Serenity, he might also want to stay away from water unless it’s Mud 2: Never Clean.
Reunite With Jean-Marc Vallée
Strong turns in Mud and Magic Mike helped lay the groundwork, but Dallas Buyers Club is what truly turned McConaughey’s career around. While that narrative itself was key to him winning the Best Actor Oscar, the film’s director, Vallée, brought a performance out of McConaughey that his previous résumé didn’t necessarily show him capable of. The next year, Vallée would do something similar with Reese Witherspoon in Wild, before becoming HBO’s go-to miniseries director with Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects. He’s not returning for season 2 of BLL and Sharp Objects is one and done, so Vallée’s got time for an another HBO project and an old friend.
Or, just go back to HBO with Nic Pizzolatto, the other creative mind who helped jumpstart the McConaissance. True Detective has been set up as anthology series from the beginning, but McConaughey has admitted that he misses his character, Rust Cohle, and audiences would surely be glad to see him back after a disappointing season 2 and a solid season 3 that lacks the buzz of the previous installments. I mean, Rust did famously tell us that time is a flat circle and “everything we have done or will do, we will do over and over and over again.”
Take It Down a Level with Character Names
Here’s a few of the characters that McConaughey has played in recent years: Newton Knight, Baker Dill, Kenny Wells, Buster Moon, and Moondog. To be fair, he also had success as a Rust and a Dallas, but maybe mix it up and see how John or Billy fits for size.
Make Another Rom-Com
For the middle stretch of his career, McConaughey was consistently churning out a rom-com once every two years, and while there’s probably not an all-time classic in the bunch, there are plenty of fans of The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. But it’s now been 10 years since the actor dipped his toes into the rom-com waters, opting instead for mostly darker material. As Jack Shephard would say, “We have to go back!” Let’s call up Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Kathy Bates, and Bradley Cooper and get 2 Failure 2 Launch off the ground ASAP!
Look Like Matthew McConaughey
The one thing that I will say for Serenity (and I have a lot of things to say) is that they let McConaughey look like McConaughey. Quick recap of some recent McConaughey film looks: glasses in Sea of Trees, fat and bald in Gold, super black dyed hair in The Dark Tower, and a koala in Sing. Yes, he dropped a great deal of weight for Dallas Buyers Club, but audiences miss their 2005 People’s Sexiest Man Alive! Like if he was strutting around shirtless in Magic Mike 2, then we might not be in this position…