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A letter to Matthew McConaughey

Posted: March 30, 2011 - 6:52pm  |  Updated: March 31, 2011 - 7:56am

D ear Mr. Matthew McConaughey,

You probably do not have any real motivation to take career advice from a freelance writer in Juneau, Alaska. If it helps, a pal who works in the hotel industry in Colorado agrees with what I am about to say. That probably doesn’t help. I’m just saying, Matthew (I hope it is okay that I pretend we’re on a first name basis), this idea is not mine alone.

Here it is: As much as is possible, only play lawyers.

Counterintuitive to suggest you typecast yourself? Sure. Would that decision threaten the amount of screen time your washboard abs get? Probably. Could it mean a cutback in the number of times you get to say “dude”? Totally, dude. On the flip side, there are plenty of positives, too.

“The Lincoln Lawyer” is really good (3 out of 4 stars good). Fans of author Michael Connelly have to be pleased with the script John Romano wrote, and I would put good money down that they enjoyed director Brad Furman’s finished product on screen as well. Mick Haller, a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles that cruises around in a black Lincoln Town Car, is a juicy character. He is divorced from a prosecutor (Marisa Tomei), but they still fool around and clearly love one another. He works the system shamelessly and represents the people the L.A. Police Department would just assume lock up without a trial (I know you are aware of the character’s makeup since you played him. This is just a refresher in case this letter is only hitting your desk several months from now. Maybe it got lost under some fan mail or stuck under the ABFLEX.). Mick could not have been played by anyone but you, Matthew.

You are believable as the cocky, on top of the world Mick. You are just as believable as the Mick who suddenly finds himself being played in a ruthless and deadly game by a sociopathic Ryan Philippe. Your supporting cast is superb, which seems to be a virtual guarantee in lawyer films. By the way, did you get lost in Josh Lucas’ very, very, very blue eyes like I did? Are those real? His eyes are too blue. Josh, Josh’s eyes, and Ryan are joined by Marisa (also a first name basis), William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, and Bryan Cranston (After “Breaking Bad” he just looks weird with hair, doesn’t he?).

The cast is solid and you, sir, are the lead. Everything works. “The Lincoln Lawyer” doesn’t feel like it’s two hours long. Instead, it feels like you are watching an entire television series on DVD. In two hours. This is thanks, Matthew, in no small part to you.

Mick Haller is the best role you have had since Jake Tyler Brigance. Remember Jake? He sort of put you on the map. He was a lawyer, just like Mick. He was also created by a well known author (John Grisham), just like Mick. That was 1996, Matthew. 1996! There have been lots of roles since then, and lots of sit-ups. True, there has even been a fair amount of box office success.

Be honest, though. Are you proud of the “films” you made with Kate Hudson (“Fool’s Gold”), J-Lo (“The Wedding Planner”), and Jennifer Garner (“The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”)? Never mind the fact that I have seen the other movie with Kate (I’m on a first name basis with a lot of people), “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” three times. Okay, five times. Maybe six.

Take my advice, sir. Try to play only lawyers (preferably defense lawyers created by top-selling novelists). You are almost as good at playing them as you are at being handsome.

Best Wishes,

Chester Duke Carson

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