14 Lessons We Learned from ‘Blue Crush’

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2015 14 Lessons We Learned from ‘Blue Crush’

We first meet one rainy D.C. morning, when he shambles into the Examiner offices like a dazed bear that’s somehow found itself clad in a trench coat. He’s been up till 3:00 a.m. helping his son finish a term paper, and his voice is gentle, his manner abashed. In person, the 54-year-old Matthews is handsomer than he appears on TV, with a sweet smile and dancing Irish eyes.
What’s not apparent from Hardball is that Matthews is terrific company, filled with jokes and fun, bursting with an enthusiasm that energizes everyone around him. He loves trading gossip, exclaiming over attractive women, offering pithy remarks on politicianshe compares George W. Bush to the smugly amoral Otter in Animal House. I’ve never met anyone who quotes more often from movies. When he hears that I’m a film critic, he instantly begins singing a little ditty and demanding that I name where it’s from. I shrug, and he triumphantly cries, ‘”The Parent Trap!”
although his image as a motormouth bugs him, he understands that TV promotes self-caricature. “I’m different on the air than I am in person,” he admits, “because you’re forcing yourself to talk at a pressurized pace. You talk harder than you think or feel. You’re basically bottom-lining everything, and I think you miss the nuances that are there.”
Still, Matthews defends his show’s breakneck pace and famous “Yeah, yeah, yeah” cutoffs. “I hate it when people don’t get that I get what they’re saying,” he tells me. He says he learned from John McLaughlin that a good political talk show must conform to the lickety-split rhythm of the modem world. And. of course, it must be entertaining. Which doesn’t mean that he believes in tabloid TV. Matthews says he gets a lot of his best ideas from articles in The New York Review of Books: “I’d rather take highbrow and make it middlebrow than take lowbrow and try to make it middlebrow.”

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