A Shocking Change: How Matthew McConaughey Has Transformed His Career

We all know the Matthew McConaughey of the late 90s and early 2000s.  His roles required Matthew to flash that brilliant white smile, wink at ladies, deliver some lines in his appealing drawl, and to take off his shirt from time to time.  Even in Contact, when he played opposite Jodie Foster as a surprisingly sexy pastor, his character only went so deep.

He was given a philosophical line or two, but was mostly expected to look pretty.  This isn’t to say that Matthew wasn’t good in these roles – I admit that I found myself really falling in love with his character in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.  He pulled off the silly humor and added spark to romantic comedies.  No one can deny that.  But if anyone were to tell me that he’d have a role with some real grit and gravitas, I probably would have laughed.

And yet, actors can surprise you with their range.  Jim Carrey, the over-the-top goofball who gibbered and fell all over himself as a pet detective, turned out to be shockingly poignant in The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.  So it should not have shocked me when I saw Matthew McConaughey as a hardened old detective with a nihilistic streak in the television series True Detective.

Indeed, he does a truly beautiful job of playing the world-tired, shockingly brilliant investigator.  He manages to deliver lines that, given to any other actor, would fall flat and sound horribly contrived.  He sucks down cigarettes and squints at the evils of the world, quoting great authors.  I am entirely drawn in and convinced by this new persona he adopts, and even forgot about his roles as a shirtless surfer.  He’s proven himself to be able to delve deep and to explore great complexity of the psyche.

The Five Hottest Celebs Right Now

If you’ve sworn off television, Netflix, the movies, Twitter, YouTube, BuzzFeed, magazines (if anyone ever buys those in the line at grocery stores anymore), and any other form of media, here’s a guide to the top celebrities these days.  These are the people to watch out for, and whom everyone else is watching.

1. Benedict Cumberbatch

This British babe has a following who have named themselves the “Cumberbitches” – despite Benedict’s concerns that they’re objectifying themselves.  This rabid group of admirers can find Benedict all over the silver screen these days.  Most notably, he has appeared as Smaug in the second of The Hobbit series, and as Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness.  He also plays the iconic character of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock. 

2.  Lady Gaga

Since her debut with “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga has managed to stay on top, and in the hearts of her huge following of fans she dubs her “Little Monsters.”  She has just released a new album that has, once again, hit the top of the charts.

3.  Jennifer Lawrence

Her role as Katnis Everdeen in the Hunger Games series has placed Jennifer in the spotlight, and she has handled it with a mixture of frankness and humor that has endeared her to the masses.  Her self-deprecating jokes and genuine nature, as well as her acting ability, make her a true darling.

4. Miley Cyrus

The controversy that surrounds this singer and her ever-present tongue keep people talking.  And her music is, as most people would admit, pretty catchy.  Swinging naked from a wrecking ball, apparently, can make a career.

5. John Legend

His beautiful love songs have captured the hearts of listeners everywhere.  A smooth voice and a pleasant personality make John – dare I say – a legend.

Snap, Click, Boom: The Role of Paparazzi in Our Society

Ever since the tragic death of Princess Diana, the paparazzi have been very much in the public consciousness.  Blamed for the demise of this beloved figure, the people who vie to get shots of celebrities have been considered a source of evil.  The widely accepted view is that they are motivated only by money, and will manipulate, shame, and harm if necessary to get the shot.  We see them as profit-driven, as part of the capitalist machine that encourage consumption and commodification of the rich and the famous.

More recently, they were similarly portrayed in Lady Gaga’s music video, aptly titled “Paparazzi.”  The storyline involves Lady Gaga’s character being thrown off a balcony because her lover wants to win the spotlight and be captured on camera.  As she lies injured on the ground she is swarmed by photographers, who excitedly talk about the excellent pictures they’re getting of the fallen woman.

As the video progresses,  Gaga intersperses scenes of dancing with images of dead women, likely to expose how the paparazzi loves to capture a grisly spectacle – or even that the aggressive tactics lead to death.  At the end, as Gaga claims vengeance by poisoning her lover, she intentionally plays into the role the paparazzi want, perhaps claiming some control over how she is portrayed by intentionally staring into the lenses with a snarl.

While I absolutely agree with the critics of the paparazzi, and think it’s just to say that the way they dehumanize celebrities for profit is worthy of vilification, I think we ought to look more closely into why this industry continues to thrive. And, hey. Listen. I get it. I’m a photographer myself. I have a budget camera and a good Nikon lens that I use, but I just mean to say that I understand the appeal.

We should treat the misdeeds of this group of people as a dark mirror into which we should look as a society.  These people wouldn’t make a living taking pictures of famous people at their worst if we didn’t love looking at them.

We must admit to ourselves that we take some pleasure in seeing the spectacle, in watching the suffering and humiliation of people in the public eye.  If we want o put an end to what the paparazzi do, we need to end our trend of sadistic voyeurism.

I Saw Hannah in Montana

Believe it or not, I ran into Miley Cyrus while I was on a camping trip in Montana. It was a simple weekend trip in the wilderness.  My boyfriend and I are big nature people, so we wanted to get away from the rush of life for a little while.  John is an accountant, so he has to crunch numbers all day around a bunch of very nit-picky ladies (who are wonderful people, of course).


And my job as a middle school teacher gives me little peace and quiet.  I have my hands full with the little bundles of hormones in my class trying out their feelings and wrapping their minds around the Civil War.  Any way, an escape was much needed.

For those of you who have never been camping In Montana, it’s truly lovely.  There’s something about the wilderness there – it just feels so much more wild, so much more removed from civilization.  I’ve always loved looking at the mountains through my binoculars or setting aside a weekend to go backpacking and sleep in a tent. We set up camp along one of the trails so that we could hike during the day, and come back to our base for dinner.  We cooked baked beans in the fire and watched the stars.  John ran into a little poison ivy, but that’s to be expected.  We believed that this, and hearing some wolf howls, were going to be the most notable parts of our trip.  And then we heard the rustle in the brush near our camp.

John put a hand to his gun, which he keeps with him in case we run into some serious wildlife.  I’ve always been a little nervous about this, because firearms can so easily be misused, but I trust John.  I drew close to him, and suddenly we saw the source of the commotion.  A girl, half-clothed with close-cropped, bleach-blonde hair came stumbling into our little clearing.  She was, unmistakably, the famous singer Miley Cyrus.

“Hey, y’all,” she said, waving.  And, as soon as she had come, she wandered off again.  We wondered if we should follow, if we should make sure that she was okay, but John had no desire to run into her.  So we left it at that.  I still wonder, though, what would have happened if I had followed her.

Tom Cruise the Hunter

And I thought the world couldn’t get any weirder. Picture this.  Tom Cruise, dressed head to toe in hunting clothes.  You know, the brown-and-green camouflage flannel pants and the big, baggy jacket.  He’s got a tool belt and a big survival knifeone of those knives you’ve seen in his movies. On his head, he’s wearing one of those caps with the earflaps, and on his feet, he’s got some big honking boots that lace halfway up his calves.

He’s muddy, dirty, sweaty, and sitting still up in his tree stand.  (A tree stand, for those of you who are not familiar with hunting terminology, is a tree house for hunters.  It’s basically just a platform nailed into the tree so you can sit high above the ground and watch for game to walk by.)  Or maybe he’s sitting behind a hunting blind.  (Again, for your education, this is a screen that hunters can sit behind set up on the ground so they can remain hidden from their prey.)

He’s got a .22 rifle in his hands, sighting a buck with some promising-looking antlers.  Tom takes a deep breath, lets it out, and pulls the trigger.  Down the deer goes, and he lets out a yodel of triumph.

The first kill of the season!  He springs out from his perch and bounds over the undergrowth to claim his prize.  He drags the carcass to his truck, strapping it into the bad, and then hops in the cab, humming happily to himself.  He switches to a country station, and sings along to some Garth Brooks as he makes his way back home.  He’ll have venison for months now.

He can already imagine the deer steaks that he’ll fill the freezer with, and the chili and sandwiches he’ll be able to make soon.  There’s something satisfying about eating something you’ve hunted for yourself, Tom decides.  Something delightfully primal.   He’ll be able to mount this deer with all of the other heads in his basement –  a token to show off his manliness.

Yes, this is the same Tom Cruise.  Who would have thought?

Nice Whips: A Few Hot Cars Celebrities Drive

I’m sure we’ve all played that game: If I were famous, what would I drive?  If money were no object, what sort of wheels would I get for myself?  Would I get a giant 7 passenger car to have parties in? Would I get a baller SUV? We can always look to the rides celebrities buy for themselves as a guide, because money for them, as we know, is no object.  Her are some cars worth getting jealous of and deaming about owning.  Who know?  Maybe someday you’ll win the lottery.  Or get that modeling gig.  Or get scouted.  Hey, it has to happen to somebody, right?

1. The Bugatti Veyron

For those of you who love speed, the Veyron is fro you.  It’s German engineering at its most sleek and powerful.  Top Gear loves this car, naming it the best car of the decade.  With a top road speed of 254 miles per hour, this car has shattered all of the records with a gorgeous roar.  Any car that can stand up in a race against a jet plane is a powerful ride indeed.  And the hard lines and ground-hugging profile make this a gorgeous machine.  If you have a cool $2.1 million to spare, this is the ride for you.

2. Porsche Boxster

A slightly more practical option, the Boxster is a sexy choice.  With excellent handling and a seven-speed engine, this Porsche creation can really move.  The quick acceleration will leave you glued to the back of your custom leather seat.  They’ve updated the interior with a touch-screen system and ten-speaker audio.  This car can really growl, so op the top and go for a cruise.

3.  The Jaguar F-Type

For those of you who can’t drive stick, the Jaguar is for you.  It has an 8-peed automatic transmission, but all the power and speed of the Porsche.  The low-riding seats with stitched leather and the metal-accented interior make the PJaguar a classy choice, and you can ride dirty with the top down if you dare.

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