Stuck in thankless rom-coms, Matthew McConaughey famously lost weight, bagged the part of a man with AIDS in “Dallas Buyers Club,” copped an Oscar and revitalized his career. Voila — the former punchline is suddenly credible, relevant and full of gravitas.
Matt’s agenda was so successfully carried out that “doing a McConaughey” remains the most potent way for an actor to grab a career by the balls and make it look alive again. This year, Steve Carell and Michael Keaton are actually Oscar contenders, and Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are doing well-received semi-serious work, too. The work is working!
Here’s who else desperately needs to McConaugh-ize their IMDB profile.
Kim’s “career” is not in the least bit of trouble, but still, now is a good time to start rethinking things and plant some seeds for future rejuvenation, just in case. A guest spot on “Downton Abbey” would be a good way to start changing gears. Quick — someone had first better tell her what it is.
Would the “Downton Abbey” folks allow for two guest cameos? They’d be doing the world such a favor and helping save a couple of trashy careers in the process. I think Kim and Snooks as a pair of American brothel workers who arrive to spice up the post-Edwardian era would work magic on the reality stars’ credibility. If they end up shutting down the show in the process, well, it’s been on long enough.
Remember when she played Selena and did a terrific Soderbergh film (“Out of Sight”), too? J-Lo needs to get back some of that grit, perhaps with a sizzling new biopic. I know she wants to play salsa legend Celia Cruz, but that would just involve more hip shaking and culo swaying. The woman needs to stretch a little more than that. I know — Jennifer Lopez as Eleanor Roosevelt! Trust me — it would definitely change the tone of her career.
Halle already did a McConaughey by playing a gritty role in “Monster’s Ball” in 2001 and winning the Oscar for it. But then she squandered her newfound cred (“Catwoman,” anyone?) and has mostly been busy doing franchise films and that TV show, “Extant.” Halle needs to play a paranoid schizophrenic whose split personalities include a child and a white racist. Oh, she already did that with 2011’s “Frankie & Alice?” And it was no good? Never mind.
Kate used to costar in those lousy rom-coms with the likes of McConaughey, and she must feel very lonely right now since she’s yet to go the career-revitalization route herself. She actually started out in a well-regarded film, “Almost Famous,” which proved to be her first and last Oscar nomination. And then she got trapped as a popular star of puffy pablum. Time to play someone with more challenges than just a hangnail and get back to some awards show visibility!
Kevin is one of modern Hollywood’s great success stories. Not only has he been scoring in a series of outrageous comedy flicks, but they don’t cost much to make, creating a profit margin that the big boys find extra irresistible. But creatively, his well might end up running dry, just like McConaughey’s did, which means it might be time to start shaking things up with an eye toward the long term. I’m not sure how culturally rewarding Hart’s upcoming films like “The Wedding Ringer,” “Get Hard,” “Ride Along 2” and “Captain Underpants” might be to the comic, especially if he’s the type who secretly longs to be appreciated for stretching his gift. And he must have noticed by now that Tyler Perry has a role in the acclaimed David Fincher film (“Gone Girl”), which could lead to serious Oscar consideration. Hart needs to self-produce a sequel to “12 Years a Slave” and play Solomon as he readjusts to his free years — and to an Oscar. I’m serious.
The Biebs is still on top, but there’s a certain hollowness to his output, especially since he’s more famous for his annoying antics than for anything substantively cultural. Ever since he said that Anne Frank would hopefully have been a “Belieber,” one started to question whether the Canadian singer had any soul at all, or was maybe some just windup “A.I.”-like being, designed to make money and ritualistically offend people. He needs to stop singing, cease dancing and immediately get a job at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance. Even if he’s just a ticket taker there, the Biebs will learn from the experience, and when he returns to the world stage, he might even seem human.
Gaga needs to promptly switch gears and play a man. Oh, she did? Well, then, she needs to do an album of duets with an old legend like Tony Bennett. Oh, she did that, too? This is Halle Berry all over again! In that case, I can’t help the woman except to say that that maybe her McConaughey should involving recording some really good songs.
Bill is still hot, ratings-wise, but his shtick grew old about 10 years ago. Time to revitalize! I think the right winger needs to do exactly what McConaughey did — in other words, lose a ton of weight, get the part of a man with AIDS who becomes a hero and win an Oscar. Though I still wouldn’t like him.
She’s 104 and still kicking, but you don’t hear much from Weezy these days. In fact, the German-born actress has been barely on the radar since she won back-to-back Oscars in the 1930s. The woman clearly needs better management! A recurring role on “Hot in Cleveland” would surely do the trick for her. She could play … I don’t know, an older woman?
Michael Musto is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.