Matthew McConaughey Is Appealingly Grimy In Mud

Mud movie still with Matthew McConaughey Tye Sheridan Jacob Lofland 2013Hey so Mud opens today, aka that movie you’ve only heard about because Reese Witherspoon got arrested for egomania disorderly conduct while coming from a party promoting it. But its regrettable associations with Jim Toth’s drunk driving aside, it’s actually pretty great! It’s the story of a fugitive named Mud — played by Matthew McConaughey sporting a cracked set of acting teeth and a strangely appealing layer of grime — who’s set up an island camp in an abandoned boat lodged in a tree while he waits to be reunited with his one true love. But the thing about boats in trees is that they’re infamously appealing to youngish boys, and the rumor of this one draws two such lads, Ellis and Neckbone, out to the island, where they discover Mud in all his magical shirt-wearing, pistol-toting glory.

Oh did I say magic shirt? Yeah, I think I did. Mud has this normal-looking white shirt that he believes protects him from snakebite. The thing is, as a kid he was bitten by a snake and would have died from it, had not his lady love rushed him to the hospital. She got him there barely in time, as the doctors said he should’ve died, and will for certain if he gets bitten again, as the antivenom can only be used once. Oh strange Southern world that has such antidotes in it. Naturally, the lady love from that story is the same lady love he’s waiting on now, whose name is Juniper, and she’s played by our old friend Reese Witherspoon and some extraordinarily short shorts.

But guys! Important plot point! There’s a snakepool on this island! Filled with roiling cottonmouths! You may assume they’re eels the first seventeen times you see them, but they’re snakes. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Anyway, turns out that Mud is on the run from the law for killing Juniper’s last boyfriend after he pushed her down the stairs and made her lose the baby she was carrying. So since his crime was so noble, Mud is able to win first Ellis and then Neckbone over to his cause, and they vow to help him evade the bounty hunters and reunite with the be-legged Juniper.

So that’s the set-up. Like I said, it’s pretty good, and made great by the talent of the actors. I’ve been loving watching Matthew McConaughey get more serious lately (although you’ll be pleased to note, he did have his requisite shirtless scene), and the two kids are insanely talented. Their names are Tye Sheridan (Ellis) and Jacob Lofland (Neckbone), and Tye in particular really kills it. He’s only sixteen, but he’s super mellow and nuanced and lets moments come to him. I was very impressed with him, and with the whole movie as a consequence. Particularly their inspired and repeated usage of delicious cans of beanie weenies.

(Image: IMDB)

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