I like Matthew McConaughey.

I mean I really like him. A lot. He's cute, warm, photogenic, Hell he's so gosh darned gorgeous, I wanna do him.

I even like him enough to learn how to spell his name.

If you don't know who Matthew McConaughey is, don't feel bad. A week ago, neither did anyone in America not either directly related to him or currently sleeping with him. But after this week, all that is gonna change.

I saw A Time to Kill, and he's the lead, and he's great. John Grisham's first and by far best book has finally been turned into a motion picture. Word is he was waiting for the right package to come along, and that package is Matthew McConaughey.

It helps that he spends the entire movie slightly wet.

The movie, if you don't know, and even if you do, is about a trial. See these two bad white boys rape a little black girl and then her daddy (Samuel Jackson) ups and guns them down. Then the movie starts. Matthew McConaughey is the black daddy's lawyer, and he has to save him from the death penalty.

The book is one of the best things you'll ever read. It keeps you on the edge, always getting you to ask yourself, should Carl Lee (Jackson) go free? Sure he gunned them down in cold blood but they brutally raped and tried to hang his 10 year old daughter. On the other hand, there is no legal way to let him go. He did kill them in cold blood. The book keeps you hanging right there on the edge between these two facts, and the movie, happily, does the same.

It's also a star studded cast, with great performances from Oliver Platt, Keifer and Donald Southerland, Kevin Spacey and Sandra Bullock, who is sort of stuffed into the movie to give it some skin. I mean, if you've read the book, then you know that her character is in about ten pages. It's expanded a little here, but she's window dressing. Good window dressing mind you, window dressing you'd like to take home and rub up and down your leg for an hour, but window dressing all the same. This movie belongs to Matthew McConaughey.

As will, one day, the world.

The main problem with this movie, is that it's looooooong. And it feels it. We're talking 2 1/2 hours easily. Sure it's got good spots, it's always fun to see that guy, you know the one, he's in all the B-movies as the evil stepfather and he's always smarmy and stuff and here he's in the KKK. That guy. He's fun.

It's also great to watch Matthew McConaughey flex.

But it drags, like a heavy cross wrapped in rags, ready for burnin'. Of which there are a few. The KKK shows up in all it's idiocy. They chant, they burn, they worship, they hide under costumes worse than the ghost sheets my mom used to make me wear for Halloween. But they're the Klan, so there ya go.

I see some Oscar nominations possible here. Certainly for his highness, Matthew McConaughey. But also for Samuel Jackson, who has this great bit where he gets to look at all of white, liberal America in the face (in the form of Matthew McConaughey) and tell it that it's the bad guy. And you (if you're white America) eat it up.

Yeah! We're evil! We're bad! Down with Whitey!

What this movie dares you to do, is to see the people in it as individuals, and not as members of a race. They aren't white, they aren't black. What would you do? Should Carl Lee go free? What if it were your daughter? Wouldn't you just wanna blast these bastards straight to hell?

Another thing we learn from this movie is that a judge named Noose is not gonna be nice to the defense.

And that you should drink plenty of fluids in the South.

And that the dog is always alive.

Actually, that seems to be the lesson of the summer. If you're a golden retriever in a movie with a big disaster, you're gonna live.

And they say cats have nine lives.

All told, A Time to Kill ends up with 3 1/2 Babylons. There are those who will say that this is the greatest film of the summer. And there are others who will say that it is slow, dull, and boring. I am neither. I critique to my own drummer and I say it was a perky movie with a total babe.

Make that two total babes, Sandra Bullock is in it too.

Editor's Note:

After being taken aside and questioned thoroughly, The Self-Made Critic finally admitted that he would rather be trapped on a deserted island with Sandra Bullock, but that he'd like Matthew McConaughey to be in a boat circling the island, doing monologues and stuff.

And then Helen Hunt and 1991 Playboy Playmate of the Year Lisa Matthews could show up in a pontoon to give him a sponge bath. He went on but we hung up, there's only so much of him we can take.