One of the greatest gifts of 2014 is Matthew McConaughey's collaboration with Lincoln to sell cars using existentialism. This week, Lincoln debuted two new commercials, two new performances. It still ranks high for McConaughey in a year marked by True Detective, Interstellar, and a recursive series of "alright." So how do you rank greatness? Like this.
1. "Sometimes you gotta go back to actually move forward"
Rumor has it the directors simply told him to sit in the car and "act." McConaughey had just seen an early cut of Interstellar and, not knowing the cameras were rolling yet, decided to use this time to think about his character's motivations:
"Sometimes you gotta go back to actually move forward. I don't mean going back to reminisce or chase ghosts, I mean going back to see where you came from. Where you've been, how you got there, see where you'er going. I know there are those who say you can't go back. Yes you can. Just have to look in the right place."2. "It's not about hugging trees"
This may be a controversial opinion, but McConaughey's latest performance is his finest. He's really grown in to the role of Matthew McConaughey: poet, philosopher, car driver. As he says it himself, "Taking care of yourself takes care of more than just yourself. That's the sweet spot."
This is part one in the "beard" series.
3. "There we go"
While some might think this is McConaughey's introspective post-mortem on Interstellar, he's actually playing a future version of Rob McKenna, the rain god from Douglas Adams' So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. McKenna is a truck driver and "Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer" who doesn't yet grasp his power. In this commercial, we see McConaughey take full control of his gift. Empowering.
This is part two in the "beard" series.
4. "That's a big bull"
The phrase "brevity is the soul of wit" is attributed to the character Polonius from William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act II, Scene II). It's important to know the origin of this phrase as we watch McConaughey step out of his comfort zone, channeling the bard in his first comedic performance of the series. It's a modern update on "Alas, Poor Yorick! I knew him."
5. "I just liked it"
While you might think this idea came from an advertising agency that went through several iterations, the origins actually came from a home movie McConaughey made to send to friends and family over the holidays. At some point he went off on a Lincoln tangent and liked it so much he sent it to then-President Jim Farley. (The origin is not entirely dissimilar to South Park's.) Lincoln took that clip outright and filmed the exterior footage at a later date. Though it may be the weakest, it's still a strong entry.