We can’t have a Best Actor nomination for a movie that debuts on January 27th, but Matthew McConaughey sure pushes the envelope in his masterful portrayal of the wild and crazy prospector Kenny Wells. McConaughey gained 47 pounds to play his overweight, hard drinking, chain-smoking, balding Kenny Wells. At his big night at the Oscars in about twenty years when McConaughey wins his Lifetime Achievement Award, the producers will flash a photo of Kenny Wells on the screen and the crowd will roar with applause.
He won’t win anything for this movie, and he also put his money and reputation in this film as a Producer, so he had to sign off on the release date of January. And that baffles me. What is the strategy to release this very well-made and directed movie with a big star, Oscar-winner in January, three days after the Oscar nominations were announced?
That’s a real question as I don’t know the answer and I’m seeking information. Here’s my best guess: they made a mistake and should have held it for a December 18th release with a lot of hype for McConaughey. Mack needs to hire me as his agent. I’m in the phone book.
The story is simple: Kenny Wells is a wheeler dealer gold prospector and is gifted in raising capital for his mining shenanigans. His father played by Craig T. “Coach” Nelson taught him the business. And then Kenny took it up a notch and hooked up with Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) of Indonesia and their partnership was off to the races.
Edgar “Hands of Stone” Ramirez starred as Roberto Duran in 2016 and he also appeared as Dr. Abdic in “The Girl on the Train.” Ramirez is classically handsome and a skilled actor so buy some stock in the Edgar Ramirez LLC. His performance as the get-down-in-the-mud Acosta opposite McConaughey showed that he could provide balance to an over-the-top performance by McConaughey as Kenny Wells.
More on McConaughey’s Kenny Wells: he smoked more cigarettes in “Gold” than he did as the extremely odd Rust Cohle in HBO’s “True Detective” in 2014. That’s almost physically impossible, but McConaughey can suck on a Winston; Kenny Wells favorite filtered cigarette.
At age 47, McConaughey is supposedly at the top of his leading-man game, but he certainly didn’t seem to mind allowing Director Stephen Gaghan shoot numerous close-ups of his beer gut and rib rolls. He took one for the team and claimed on a recent talk show that eating and preparing to get into his Kenny Wells mode was big fun especially when he was pounding milkshakes at midnight.
This is not a great movie, but the acting is great. Not bad for a January movie. Rock ‘n Roll.
Grade 89. Larry H. www.larryhmoviereviews.com
Note: if you haven’t seen La La Land, you need to get about it as it garnered 14 nominations and will probably win Best Picture; Larry H. gave it a 95 which is the highest grade possible for an initial viewing.