It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when it was considered so shameful for big American movie stars to do TV commercials that they had to do them overseas, where no one would ever discover the evidence of their slatternly willingness to shill phone cards or canned coffee or whatever.
But the stigma surrounding celebrity commercials has eroded, much like the stigma surrounding movie actors appearing on TV. (“And our civil liberties, am I right folks?” —Bill Maher.) Thus we have this year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor, Matthew McConaughey, appearing in a series of commercials that build on a persona largely based on a character he played on HBO.
The commercials take place on that mystical stretch of open road where auto executives and uninspired film students go when they die; the first commercial in the series clearly bears the stamp of its director, Drive and Only God Forgives’ Nicolas Winding Refn.
Another finds McConaughey, his eyes slightly unfocused like he’s thinking really deep thoughts about time, talking about how he used to drive Lincolns just because, but now he drives Lincolns because he gets paid.
Then we’ve got McConaughey staring down a bull, because it’s a symbol of masculinity or some shit.
Supposedly the ads (of which there are many more to come) follow a narrative arc, but so far that arc seems to be simply “Matthew McConaughey is awesome.” McConaughey doesn’t seem to mind, however, probably because he’d rather hear people call him “Rust” than keep cracking a weak smile every time some idiot yells “alright, alright, alright” at him.