True Detective, season 1: “Seeing Things”

True Detective is getting an incredible amount of buzz, from the lead actors to the dark, Twin Peaks like storyline and high end cinematography. I’m not quite onboard yet with all the high praise; the jury is out until we see where this eight episode season ends up. But one aspect is undeniable: Matthew McConaughey is doing amazing acting work and remains the most interesting aspect of the show. This LA Review of Books delves into the show, but really is most about McConaughey’s resurgence from romantic comedy punch line to A-list actor:

While McConaughey certainly signed off on those roles [in many romantic comedies], it’s difficult to blame him for what was, in essence, the work of the contemporary star machine, with its imperative to find charisma, cast it in a blockbuster, flatten it out, and relegate it to B-pictures when the concept, not the star, fails to catch hold.  McConaughey was never a bad actor: he was just a bad Hollywood actor.

He was bad, in other words, at playing the annoying manchild who “grows up” to be a bourgeois provider, bad at playing supporting actor to a CGI franchise, and bad at being a palatable white guy who stands in for the audience.  Think back to Dazed and Confused: McConaughey isn’t either of the main dudes who earn our identification. He’s the weirdo in the peach-colored jeans hanging outside by himself and giving no fucks.