- Revelation vs. Process: This is simply one of the best movies about medicine ever made, both about the peculiar evils of the American system and the painful universal dilemmas doctors and patients face everywhere. I wrote about how seeing a hero confront a character with information is often more interesting than watching the hero acquire that information, but this movie did the opposite: using masterful montages to show the process of McConaughey’s epic journey each step of the way, and making it fascinating. How did it do that? Well here’s a big part: It made sure to...
- Embrace Teleportation: I loved how quickly this movie moved. As soon as you begin to suspect what might happen next, we suddenly leap ahead a few weeks and land knee-deep into the middle of that plot turn. We never see McConaughey make the decision to do the next thing: “Wait just a second, I just had a big idea, what if we…” We just see that he has made a big decision, and he’s already facing the next big complication. We’re constantly playing catch-up…which is exactly what we want. (More on this when I discuss my #1 movie)
- Non-Selfless Motivation: I’ve always felt that he was a potentially great actor, so I was happy when I heard the buzz that this would be the “Year of McConaughey”…but then I saw Mud first and felt like I was in Bizarro-World: now I was the one saying that his performance was too pretty-boy, too charismatic, and too reliant on gee-shucks tricks, turning what was supposed to be a scary homeless outlaw into a big old sexy teddy bear. So now I came to this movie with my guard up…which just made his utterly-vanity-free performance all the more impressive. Not only did he ruin his looks, but he played this reptilian scheming bigot without a single “love-me” tic…which just meant that America was finally given a chance to fall in love with McConaughey on our terms, not his.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Best of 2013 #4: Dallas Buyers Club (Process, Pace, and Motivation)
Warning: I will once again throw some mud on Mud…