If it was okay and funny and even convincing in Broadcast News (1987) for Albert Brooks to present a half-serious case about super-smooth news anchor Bill Hurt being “the devil,” I should be allowed to express a similar view about Matthew McConaughey…no?
I saw the guy on a billboard this morning for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (New Line, 5.1), and I quickly said to myself, “That’s the devil…the devil walking amongst mortals.” Not that McConaughey is anything but average human. But if the Devil wanted to roam around and foster evil, he’d definitely pick McConaughey as a host. Because no actor on earth seems more vapid. (To me anyway.) And because vapidity, more than any other human quality, is what allows evil to succeed.
I explained some of my feelings about McConaughey two or three years ago in a piece called “King of the Empties.” The Brooks-Hurt analogy doesn’t fully work since Brooks was talking about Hurt personifying and hastening the lowering of journalistic standards in TV news and McConaughey isn’t lowering filmmaking standards, or at least not to my knowledge. He’s just cruising along on whatever current will carry him along. But some of what Brooks said could apply.
“What do you think the devil’s going to look like? He’s not gonna be a guy with a long grey pointy tail! What’s he going to sound like? Acchh-acch! He’ll be attractive, he’ll be nice and helpful, he’ll never do an evil thing, he’ll never deliberately hurt a living thing. He’ll just bit by little bit lower our standards where they’re important. He’ll just coaxe it along, just a little bit…flash over substance. And he’ll get all the great women.”