Posts Tagged ‘Matthew McConaughey’


[NOTE: This was originally published in June of 2012, but is being re-posted to foster thoughts about the up-coming release of Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Yesterday we considered many thoughts that surrounded the movie Thor, centering on lust. Is it okay to watch a scene that highlights a certain actor’s – or actresses – physical attributes? Does it bump up too closely to lust? In my opinion, the scene from Thor was designed to make you do so, and other similar scenes do so as well.

These thoughts came about from a post I read on Facebook, the rise of female pornography addiction, and the release of Magic Mike. Here is the synopsis of the film: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. Classy! I promise to stick to some of the same concerns from yesterday and stay away from the question of, why Steven Soderbergh is continuing to throw away his career by making bad movies?

I guess this is the main question I have with the release of Magic Mike, is this a preview of what’s to come? Will films like this become common-place because of the rise in popularity of female porn?

I may be wrong, but I cannot think of a film that has marketed male nudity this explicitly, at least in recent years. The content says “brief graphic nudity”. Some may think, ‘at least it’s brief.’ Yes, but it’s still graphic. This film is dangerous for at least two reasons.

First, the cast is made up of notable actors. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are guys that have catered to girls idolatry of love in many romantic comedies. Now, they are going to be leaving little to the imagination in MM, but women will flock to the theaters.

Secondly, the story seems to follow your typical romantic-comedy plot. Rom-coms usually depict rank fornication, but do so in a cutesy way which sells tickets. And even though the story of MM follows male strippers, the added rom-com subplot makes this pill easier to swallow. It makes porn seem cutesy.

To me, a line from the film sums up everything. Dallas (McConaughey) is giving his fellow narcissistic strippers a pep talk and states, “You are the husband she never had.” This statement is wrong on so many levels, but let’s just pick one.

Husbands and wives make a vow before God that death will be the only thing to separate them. Because of this covenant, the man commits to the wife and visa versa, no matter what. In light of the current discussion, this means the wife holds the husband as her standard of beauty – not some stripper.

And this is the true danger of films like this, creating lustful covetousness of a fantasy. You see, many men and women can remain in a marriage, while fulfilling fantasies through movie stars and make-believe characters. The new, exceedingly popular, pornographic novels Fifty Shades of Grey have proved that. Walt Mueller, President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, recently wrote an article about the literary porn phenomena. Read what he witnessed at the book table at Costco one afternoon:

A younger woman was holding the book and pondering the purchase. She had an inquisitive and slightly guilty look on her face. An older women standing nearby happened to see the same inquisitive and guilty look and decided to engage the younger lady in conversation. . . . a conversation that pushed the latter to a tipping point. “Thinking about reading it?”, the older woman asked. “Yes, but I hear it’s a little dirty,” the younger woman replied. At that point, the young woman’s husband appeared behind her with their cart. Noticing her husband was now privy to the conversation, the young woman turned a little red and muttered something about her husband showing up. . . as if the conversation needed to come to an end. She looked like a guilty kid who had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The older woman. . . probably in her mid-60s by my estimation. . . looked at her, gave her a little wink, and said, “It’s ten dollars well spent.” With that, the young woman placed the book in her cart. . . . and I watched her exchange a sly little smile with her husband. That was an interesting mentoring moment that says a lot about who we are and what we’re becoming as a culture [read the full article here].

One can never point out the deceitfulness of our sin enough. Whether it’s Thor with his shirt off, Magic Mike struttin’ his stuff, Twilight vampires glistening in the sun, or new explorations in bondage from Fifty Shades of Grey, we must be cautious of toying with our sin. Remember, sin wants to destroy your marriage, lead you down a path of adultery, and, ultimately, drag you to hell, so be wary of the lie it’s telling. Should you go see Magic Mike? Will it help you appreciate your husband? Will it cause you to lust? You might not have to search your heart too long on this one.


BernieNo, this is not a review of Weekend at Bernie’s, that classic 1989 dark comedy about a wealthy dead man who is kept “alive” by his two idiot employees. Ironically, this Bernie is also about a dead rich person who the town thinks is still alive–but it’s a woman this time, and is actually a true story. The film stars Jack Black as Bernie, the sweetest man in small town Carthage, Texas. Shirley MacLaine is the wealthy widow that he ends up murdering, and Matthew McConaughey is the quirky D.A. who prosecutes Bernie. You need to watch Bernie simply for Jack Black’s incredible performance as the lead character. Personally, I’m not a big fan of his movies–other than Kung Fu Panda–but he really captures this part perfectly.

Spoiler alert! Bernie Tiede comes to a small East Texas town and becomes its assistant funeral director. He is a chubby, partially effeminate man who the old ladies find intoxicating because of his sweetness to grieving families. The movie opens with Bernie training young morticians in the art of preparing a dead body for a viewing, as well as how to care for the bereaved. But Bernie is much more than an incredibly sensitive funeral director. He is the lead tenor in the Methodist church choir. He teaches Sunday School. He volunteers his time to teach drama at the local high school. He even acts and sings in the high school musicals. And the list goes on. Bernie finds time to help almost everybody in town in some way.

Bernie’s practice is to visit widows a few days after a funeral to check on them–especially the elderly ones. On one such occasion, he reaches out to the richest (and meanest) widow in town, Marjorie Nugent (MacLaine). Gradually, he becomes her personal assistant, taking her to dinner, traveling with her, and even handling her financial affairs. The townspeople don’t know if Bernie has become her paramour or is just being sweet (because he may be gay anyway). In the end, Marjorie becomes so controlling of his life that Bernie shoots her in the back five times and stores her body in the freezer. For nine months, he goes about life as usual, giving the appearance that she is still alive, and just reclusive. Only the local D.A. (McConaughey) and Marjorie’s stockbroker are suspicious, since they never succumbed to the saccharine sweetness of Bernie.

What’s fabulous about this movie is how the true story is interspersed with the “real” townspeople of Carthage, giving their play-by-play analysis of the entire tragedy. These characters really capture the feel of small town Texas, that’s for sure. And, unfortunately, they are pretty typical Bible Belt evangelicals too, albeit on the naive side of the spectrum. With their descriptions of Bernie, you would think they were describing Jesus Himself–which caused quite a dilemma when Marjorie was discovered to be murdered. Even then, many of the people of the town either dismissed the idea of Bernie’s guilt, or found ways to rationalize how he could have committed such great evil. In the end, the trial actually had to be moved to another small East Texas town because there was no way Bernie could have had a fair trial–he was too universally LOVED!

Which brings me to the main question of this post: Why do we have trouble believing that sweet, kind people can do evil things? We seem to be able to understand the Adolph Hitlers and Osama bin Ladens of this world. After all, evil people do evil things, right? But even then, if evil people show the right amount of remorse and sorrow, we are tempted to exonerate them, no matter how horrible the crime. So it is even worse when a “good” person does something really out of character! Bernie had done so many great things for so many people that it was beyond belief that he even had an evil thought, much less commit murder.

The problem is that so many people, even evangelical Christians, don’t really believe in total depravity. I see it in the eyes of parents when they talk about how unbelievable it is that their “good” child could have done such bad things. They attempt to explain their child’s sins away, blaming friends, fatigue, or some bit of misfortune. In this humanistic age we live in, many do not want to believe that people really are depraved and sinful.

But the truth is that there is no such thing as a good person. Jesus himself said: “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.” (Luke 18:19). When we don’t believe in total depravity and the deep-seated wickedness in the heart of man, then we will easily close our eyes and excuse behavior instead of expose it. Bernie is a film that exposes our desire to see the world as a place where good people do only good things and bad people do all the bad things. This sort of thinking doesn’t leave room for a good God who alone saves even the “sweet” people of this world!