Last week, the University of Texas at Austin announced that Matthew McConaughey will team up with his Free State of Jones director Gary Ross this fall to teach a film class. The good news: Professor Matthew McConaughey. The bad news: Well, not really, as McConaughey’s lessons will be delivered via pre-recorded videos instead of freewheeling lectures and classroom discussions that he leads while eating an apple and sitting on his desk in jeans and a tweed jacket with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and fine, I have been thinking about this a lot. Maybe too much.
But in my defense, it is a lot of fun to think about. Like, what would a film class taught by Matthew McConaughey look like? I wonder…
PROFESSOR MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I’m Professor McConaughey and this is Film 101. Film. It’s like life, but recorded. Recorders. We’re surrounded by them now. Cell phones… [begins snapping fingers]… Snapchat. The future is today. [long pause, wry smile] I say we embrace it. Questions? You, third row, green shirt.
A FRESHMAN NAMED LUCAS: This syllabus, uh, it’s just a drawing of a tree.
PROFESSOR MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Sure is. The tree of knowledge. We’re planting seeds. Little tiny seeds filled with genetic information, filled with that… [begins thumping chest]… power, to transform, to grow, to become for-mid-able, like a mighty sequoia towering over the forest, branches stretching out and providing shade for all the little critters… [begins making critter noises]… scurrying about, leaves providing nourishment. Ecosystems. Photo-syn-the-sis. That’s you, Chad. That’s what you’ll become.
A FRESHMAN NAMED LUCAS: Um, my name is Lucas, sir.
PROFESSOR MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: [breaks into huge smile] Lucas the sequoia.
PROFESSOR MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Lemme clue y’all in on a little secret. I’ve worked with some great actors. Geniuses. Anthony Hopkins. Morgan Freeman. Kevin Spacey. Sandra Bullock. Woody Harrelson. Leonardo Di-Cap-rio… [begins chuckling to himself after this last one in a way that implies he has a secret he has no intention of sharing]. But the best acting advice I ever received was from Terry Bradshaw on the set of Failure to Launch. He said, “Wait, Kate Hudson is Goldie Hawn’s daughter? Well hot damn. I had no idea.” And that’s what it’s all about. Circles. Hollywood. The passage of time. The mo-ments… [interlocks fingers and holds them up in silence for 15 full seconds]… that connect us all.
A FRESHMAN NAMED EMMA: But Professor McConaughey… I thought Sarah Jessica Parker was in Failure to Launch, not Kate Hudson.
PROFESSOR MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: [leaps up from desk and points finger at Emma] Exactly!