Tag Archives: Matthew McConaughey

The Set of 400: #29 – My Favorite TiVo Contract Clause

Today! Because the one man who made a difference five times before is about to make a difference again. Only this time, it’s different –

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Directed by Ben Stiller

Starring Ben Stiller (x2), Robert Downey Jr. (x10), Jack Black (x7), Jay Baruchel (x2), Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise (x5), Nick Nolte (x4), Steve Coogan (x2), Matthew McConaughey (x2), Danny McBride, Bill Hader (x3), Brandon Soo Hoo, Reggie Lee, Maria Menounos, Christine Taylor, Tyra Banks, Tobey Maguire (x5), Yvette Nicole Brown, Jennifer Love Hewitt (x2), Jon Voight (x3), Lance Bass

Hang on a minute – a movie about movies and it was in the epic summer of 2008? There was no way Tropic Thunder wasn’t making this list, right? Maybe it seems a touch high to you? Are people still talking about this film a dozen years on? I think it’s safe to say that even though this movie isn’t all that old, it already feels like something that wouldn’t be made today. I mean, it’s got the universal comedic concept of egomaniac actors and how completely out of touch with reality they can be, but it also has legitimate black face throughout the movie, even if RDJ got nominated for an Oscar in the role. Could this get made right now, given the changes in the world over the past decade? I’d say maybe, but only a 50/50 chance.

Because the movie really does work hard to handle this issue as being actor ridiculousness, and not even remotely a cool thing to do. Brandon T. Jackson’s rapper-actor Alpa Chino is there half the time to keep Downey’s Kirk Lazarus in check, even as he effectively steals the movie. And while this character seems to popularly be the movie’s lasting cultural impact, it is stuffed with tremendous comedic turns – from Matthew McConaughey’s loopy agent Rick Peck to Danny McBride’s special effects expert Cody to Steve Coogan’s Brit director Damien Cockburn. Stiller’s work as over-the-top action hero Tugg Speedman is spot-on, but a touch thankless, as the nominal lead more or less swallowed in the plot, by being the de facto damsel in distress. Jack Black’s Jeff Portnoy gets largely overlooked, which I think is really unfair, as his typically hyper-invested work as this wacky, drug-addled Z-grade comedian delivers a bunch of great moments. And none of this is to ignore the literally amazing work of Tom Cruise, unrecognizably transformed into the vulgar uber-producer Les Grossman – by far the funniest role Cruise has ever played.

His end credits dance sequence is incredible

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The Set of 400: #388 – My Favorite Paper Cut Riddled Sex Scene

Today! Because it was like mainlining adrenaline –

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Shea Wiggam, Christine Ebersole, Cristin Milioti, Joanna Lumley, Ethan Suplee, Thomas Middleditch, Kenneth Choi, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski

My third favorite Scorsese/DiCaprio outing felt like a glorious return to vulgar form for Marty, following the excellent kid-centric Hugo in 2011. He never stopped making good-to-great movies, but Wolf so revels in the obscene decadence of unabashed douchebag Jordan Belfort’s life that it is more reminiscent of Goodfellas than anything Scorsese has made since. It is also by far his funniest movie, whether that was the original intention when rights were purchased or not. The excellent, epic screenplay by Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire helmer Terence Winter turns what could’ve been a harrowing, drug-fueled Wall Street knock-off into a hilarious Scarface/Bachelor Party hybrid. DiCaprio was never better, and was roundly robbed of the Oscar by co-star McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, thus enabling him to later win for the lesser work in The Revenant (I know this the second post already where I take swipes at Revenant, which isn’t a movie I realized I didn’t care for until this month). Also, if Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie don’t win Oscars in the next decade, I’ll be surprised – put me on record saying it! Continue reading

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