|Well, all right all right all right.|
Dallas Buyers Club, in which Woodroof goes from rodeo enthusiast and serial hellraiser to terminal patient during the giant AIDS scare of the 1980's. Faced with the impossibility of obtaining life-saving drugs in the United States, he heads south of the border to get help via non-FDA-approved medication in Mexico. With the assistance of a fellow patient and trans woman Rayon (fellow Oscar winner Jared Leto), Woodruff traffics and distributes this unapproved medication to others ostracized by the system.
Let's be honest; as much as I love Chiwetel Ejiofor, and as AMAZING as he was in 12 Years, McConaughey ABSOLUTELY put forth the best performance by a leading man in 2013. It's easy to point to his physical transformation - his Woodruff looks like he could be snapped in half by Lou Ferrigno - but its the acting side of this man which deserves the most praise. McConaughey absolutely masters the screen, and when you consider what he as already accomplished in the world of entertainment last year (Mud, HBO's True Detective, and even stealing some early scenes in The Wolf of Wall Street, which we'll get to later), that this is his (and the) greatest acting achievement of 2013 is really saying something. And while he's surrounded by a good supporting cast - including solid second-stringer Jennifer Garner as the requisite fictional love interest - the only one who steals any of the naked bongo player's spotlight is Leto, whose transformation into the (also fictional) Rayon is haunting in its perfection and commanding presentation. And to address the elephant in the room, I understand peoples' opinions that a real trans woman should have played the role. Their arguments make a lot of sense, however, to that I have two responses. One is that Leto's work does absolutely nothing to marginalize, insult or make light of the trans community. The other is that this is ACTING, and if Leto was the best actor - trans or not - to portray the role, than he was the right one to be cast. I know it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but does that also mean Idris Elba, Damien Lewis, Emma Watson and Daniel-Day Lewis can only play British people? That seems a tad restrictive, and kind of unnecessary. If someone is the best fit for the role, then it should be offered to them. And when they do as good a job as Leto does, there's not that much left to complain about.
|Two of 2013's best.|
|I love me some Rayon, even if she doesn't actually exist...|
The Wolf of Wall Street fits in. On one hand, it's from a filmmaker (Martin Scorcese) who easily sits atop many experts' Best Director lists, and has absolutely earned that distinction. It's also headlined by superb talents in Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill (who now has more Academy Award nominations than an embarrassingly long list of talents like Gary Oldman and Bill Murray) and even a scene-stealing McConaughey. It's even got a screenplay by a man (Terence Winter) who cut his teeth on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. On the other hand, a LOT of controversy came out of this release, from the accusations that condones greed and sexism, amongst a litany of other transgressions carried out the film's characters. It has the distinction of containing the most uses of the word "fuck" in a mainstream motion picture, and that level of f-bomb dropping usually indicates a lack of creativity, rather than a surplus. Based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Jordan Belfort, this definitely wasn't going to be as cheer-worthy as any of the other nominees. Of course, that didn't matter as it still turned out to be one of the best flicks I've seen in recent years.
|Little known fact: Leo doesn't crumple up and throw away money, but James Franco does.|
|But the show belongs to these boys.|
|Well, we know his kryptonite...|
|Well... that's different...|