Matt Damon didn’t have to mop up any floors during his return to MIT on Friday morning as the Good Will Hunting star was the featured speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony.
The Cambridge native gave a funny yet heartfelt speech, urging graduates to take the lead on solving some of today’s biggest issues while sprinkling in jokes about his buddy Ben Affleck, as well as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Check out highlight’s from Damon’s MIT commencement speech below.
Reading MIT’s Review of Good Will Hunting
Of course Damon brought up his role in the MIT-set Good Will Hunting, reading a hilarious passage from the school paper’s review of the film.
“‘In the end,’ the reviewer writes, ‘the actual character development flies out the window,'” Damon said. “‘Will and Sean talk, bond, solve each other’s problems and then cry and hug each other. After said crying and hugging the movie ends. Such feel good pretentiousness is definitely not my mug of eggnog.'”
Plenty of Ben Affleck Jokes
Damon couldn’t resist cracking a few jokes about his lifelong friend, saying Affleck’s a “brilliant guy, good guy, never really amounted to much.”
After talking about the lessons they learned from their many agonizing bus trips to New York for failed auditions, Damon gave the graduates a humorous bit of advice he received from his pal.
“As the great philosopher Benjamin Affleck once said, ‘Judge me by how good my good ideas are, not how bad my bad ideas are,'” Damon said.
Ranting About Wall Street, Government, and the Media
Damon got serious while talking about the issues facing the world today, asking the graduates to drop everything and solve them. He covered pretty much every big topic during a lengthy rant on what’s wrong with America.
We’ve got congressmen on a two year election cycle who are incentivized to think short-term and simply do not engage with long-term problems. And add to that a media that thrives on scandal and people with their pants down, anything to get you to tune in so they can hawk you products that you don’t need. And add to that a banking system that steals people’s money.
It’s alright, I’m not running for office. But by the way, while I’m on this, let me say this to the bankers, specifically the ones that brought you the biggest heist in history: It was theft and you knew it. It was fraud and you knew it. And you know what else? We know that you knew it. So, yeah, you sort of got away with it, you got that house in the Hamptons that other people paid for as their own mortgages went underwater. You might have their money but not our respect. And just so you know, when we pass you on the street and look you in the eye, that’s what we’re thinking.
And I don’t know if justice is coming for you in this life or the next, but if justice does come for you in this life, her name will be Elizabeth Warren.
Taking Jabs at Donald Trump
The actor took a few jabs at Trump while talking about simulation theory (of all things), which postulates that we may be living in one of many video game-like simulations run by more intelligent beings.
“If there are multiple simulations, how come we have to be in the one where Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president?” Damon said. “Can we like transfer to a different one?”
He also snuck in a joke about the candidate’s controversial university while urging graduates to never stop learning.
“I’m told there’s even a Trump University,” Damon said. “I have no earthly idea what they teach there.”
Inspiring Final Words
Damon was pretty inspiring during his closing remarks on Friday, telling graduates that it’s up to them to solve the problems facing the world.
“I hope you’ll turn toward the problem of your choosing, I hope you’ll drop everything, and I hope you’ll solve it,” he said. “This is your life, class of 2016. This your moment and it is all down to you.”
He added, “Ready, player one, your game begins now.”
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