Actors who started out as “heartthrobs” only to descend into walking-joke territory getting serious comebacks in middle-age is becoming a trend of 21st Century Hollywood, what with Robert Downey Jr. improbably serving as the masthead of a Disney action franchise and Ben Affleck getting cast in some sort of caped-person movie over the weekend. It’s been looking for awhile now that Matthew McConaughey would be added to that list after solid turns in little-seen features like “Lincoln Lawyer” and “Killer Joe.” Now he’s going full steam ahead with “Dallas Buyers Club,” a biopic of hard-living rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof who, after being diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and nearly dying from ineffective AZT treatments, went looking for FDA-unapproved medications in Mexico; eventually becoming the unassuming leader of a semi-underground meds-smuggling network – ultimately keeping himself alive about six and a half years longer than his initial diagnosis projected.
OSCAR: “A true story, you say? Average rural bigot (Woodroof was apparently not the biggest fan of the gay community prior to his experience) opens his eyes and becomes a hero, you say? One-man-against-The-System, you say? AIDS you say!? Attractive famous person losing a bunch of weight to simulate debilitating illness, you say!!???”
Still, hell of a trailer. There’s the usual heavy-sigh to be had about how of course it takes finding a story wherein the hero/victim/martyr is a straight white guy whose so classically All American he’s a literal Cowboy to get mainstream audiences to show up for a movie about just how much of a blind eye we turned to the AIDS crisis… but effective is effective.