Sunday, May 26, 2013

Jim is observing the Memorial Day weekend quietly at home (his wife is off in Chicago visiting their oldest son at UC). The highlight of the weekend: a trip to see Mud, the new movie starring Matthew McConaughey as desperate fugitive hiding out on an island on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River, where he is discovered by two young teenaged boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland). The story, which carries with it echoes of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, turns on whether McConaughey's character, named Mud, is really who he says he is, and what role his supposed girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon) is playing in this drama. Beautifully acted, with strong, nuanced script by writer/director Jeff Nichols, himself a Little Rock native, Mud will prove to be a durable little gem.

Upon returning home from the movie, Jim surfed cable channels and came across two other McConaughey supporting roles: his turn as an overgrown adolescent in Dazed and Confused (1993), and last year's performance as a strip-club entrepreneur in Magic Mike. McConaughey has had a checkered career with plenty of turkeys (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, anyone?) but has forged a successfully career for himself played flawed, charismatic people you find yourself rooting for, in part despite/because they're largely losers. 

Best to all for a happy and relaxed holiday weekend, one paid for by the blood of soldiers. Notwithstanding mistaken, accidental, or unnecessary wars, of which the United States has had its share, the willingness of soldiers to make sacrifices remains essential glue for our way of life.