Today in Holy Sh-t, Sign Me Up news, the University of Texas at Austin announced that Matthew McConaughey has been appointed as a professor and will teach a class this fall in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. He is teaching a “script to screen” film class based on curriculum he developed himself. I am deadly serious, if you are taking this class, or if you know anyone who is taking this class, please send me a copy of the syllabus. I MUST know what Matthew McConaughey deems worthwhile knowledge. Are there actual books for assigned reading? Or is there just a pile of coffee-stained napkins containing McConaughey’s thoughts and half-remembered dreams?
This is actually kind of a big deal. The UT Austin film school is consistently ranked in the top ten film schools in the US. McConaughey’s fellow alumni include the Duplass brothers and Robert Rodriguez. The UT Austin film school is not a joke. At the same time, apparently his “script to screen” class is about how HIS movies got made, so it’s Matthew McConaughey breaking down the career of Matthew McConaughey and oh god I REALLY need to see the syllabus. Does he talk about Tiptoes? Does he explain, in detail, what made Tiptoes seem like a good idea? Tiptoes should have its own class: “Tiptoes 101: When Bad Ideas Seem Good”. (Haven’t heard of Tiptoes? Well, now you have.)
For some reason I can’t put my finger on, this annoys me less than when James Franco taught classes at NYU. Maybe it’s because McConaughey doesn’t have a million other projects going at the same time, so I assume he can dedicate some real time to his students. Or maybe it’s because Matthew McConaughey is so chill, I bet his class is a blast. He’s been teaching as a visiting instructor, and his Rate My Professor ranking is a 5.0, with a difficulty level of 1.5 (sounds about right). He only has two reviews, though. Students of UT Austin, rate this professor! I MUST KNOW EVERYTHING.
I’m imagining Professor McConaughey slouching into class, just the right amount of disheveled, smelling vaguely of weed—like he smoked out before breakfast but drove in with the windows down—and telling his students on the first day of class that there are no books because the only learning that matters is the learning you do with your hands, and there won’t be any tests, he’ll grade you on how well you live, and besides grades are subjective. “An ‘A’ is only an ‘A’ when it’s next to a ‘B’,” he’ll say, and everyone will nod as if that makes sense. Except for one student, in the front row. There will be one uptight student who doesn’t know how to cope with such a free-spirited environment. Professor McConaughey and this student will have many spirited exchanges throughout the semester. This student will struggle with the nebulous nature of many assignments, most of which seem to involve some form of socializing with their peers. During one class, the student will break down when challenged to recount a memory that makes them happy. Professor McConaughey will radiate empathy when the class learns the student is obsessed with grades because their father only hugged them on report card day. If a boy, by the end of the semester he will have unbent enough to start wearing jeans with his blazers. If a girl, she will have gotten a dramatic haircut. On the last day of class, Professor McConaughey will award this student with a 100. “One hundred what? One hundred only has the value we give it,” they’ll say, and Professor McConaughey will laugh. “Exactly.”