Matthew was just a young kid, who wanted to become a lawyer, when he was discovered in a bar - Richard Linklater offered him a role in Dazed and Confused, now a cult classic movie. From that point while there were roles in some pretty bad films - McConaughey actually stared in Texas Chainsaw Massacre flick, which is at least really entertaining, there was also a lot of high profiles roles like his work in A Time to Kill, Contact and Amistad. It was the first one that made him a star.
And then in 2001 came the Wedding Planner - amusing and charming movie, where Matthew stared as every woman's dream (enter the angry feminists who will yell at me now) - handsome pediatrician who repeatedly saves the protagonist. The film was successful and that caused McConaughey to star in several more romantic comedies - How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - 2003, opposite Kate Hudson, Failure to Launch, 2006, opposite Sarah Jessica Parker, Fool's Gold, 2008, opposite Kate Hudson and Ghost of Girlfriend's Past, 2009 opposite Jennifer Garner.
There were also really bad films like Sahara and Surfer's Dude, but the ridicule McConaughey met was quite disproportional - he was a laughing stock, with people like George Clooney making fun of him always being shirtless. The fact that I claim he wasn't shirtless enough aside, some of these films had actual charm and McConaughey always had chemistry with his female partners. How often does that happen? This is a man who managed to convincingly portray being in love with Sarah Jessica Parker. That's masterclass of acting.
McConaughey gave his honest effort. So many actors out there - mainly Johnny Deep, just care about getting their paycheck and seem not to put effort even when it comes to doing their job. In the meantime when promoting things like Sahara and Fool's Gold McConaughey had fun, he talked about the projects enthusiastically and it really seemed like he had a blast working on them.
Even during that time McConaughey was trying different things which those who ridiculed him often forget - he stared in dark and surprising Frailty, he was badass dragon hunter in Reign of Fire and I'm told he was good in Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, there was also We Are Marshall - a far from great, but very entertaining movie with his solid performance.
But it's not until several years back and by that I mean when Killer Joe was released, when people stopped and went 'wait...this guy is good!'. For the last 5 years it was great role after great role in daring, unique and provocative brave movies.
10. Tropic Thunder (2008)
All right, you killed a hooker. Calm down. Here's what you're gonna do. Get your hands on some bleach, some hydrogen peroxide and a shitload of lime.
While I'm sure most will say that McConaughey's comeback started with The Lincoln Lawyer, back in 2008 when he was still making shit - remember Fool's Gold? - he also starred in Ben Stiller's hilarious Tropic Thunder where he played his agent Rick Peck. From his hilarious expression during Tom Cruise's screaming moments to his perfectly timed 'A G5 airplane?', not only is he funny, he is funny in an actual good comedy.
9. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
I checked the list of people I trust and your name ain't on it.
While this film may not be something hugely memorable, it is very entertaining and it's worth seeing for its cast alone. McConaughey plays badass lawyer Mick Haller who is not only compassionate but also very clever. He gets into trouble when he realizes his client is guilty and he can't get out of defending him. McConaughey is one of those actors who keep getting cast as lawyers - are people under impression that all those lawyer dudes running around in courthouses and law firms are hot and charming? Yeah, my life ain't that sweet. Anyways, back to the point - it's a strong performance and the movie wouldn't work without it. His character is flawed, but because of McConaughey's charm he is also someone you are rooting for.
8. Bernie (2011)
Now, come on. That's got to be about the lowest thing a man could ever do, ain't it? Shoot a little old lady in the back? Four times.
Another legal system representative figure, Danny Buck. Here Matt plays the villain of the film - close-minded DA from the hick town who is focused on catching Bernie. Well, yeah, sure Bernie was guilty, but McConaughey makes his character so ignorant - hilariously so, in fact - that it's hard for you not to root for Bernie to get away with murder somehow.
7. Killer Joe (2011)
Now suck this.
This is by far my favorite McConaughey's film, a movie that has very secure place in my all time top 20. This film is just outrageous and the stuff required of actors to do is outrageous too. Joe Cooper is a horrible, horrible man. He is into teenage girls, he kills people and in spite of his seemingly well mannered behaviour, he is a beast. He's like the Devil the poor, stupid family signed the contract with. And when the facade of calm, cool, well mannered exterior slips, the horror ensues.
6. The Paperboy (2011)
Better be late and be right than be first and be wrong... boy!
This is another really provocative film. People keep taking about Kidman pissing on Zac Efron's face or the scene in which she is having sex with John Cusack even though he is siting few feet away from her. But McConaughey's character, Ward Jensen, is involved in some seriously rough stuff too - for me the scene involving him lying in the pool of his blood was truly shocking to witness.
5. Magic Mike (2012)
Fact is, the law says you cannot touch! But I think I see a lotta lawbreakers up in this house tonight...
This is probably the closest McConaughey was to an Oscar nomination until Dallas Buyers Club. His Dallas is a charismatic, cheerful but also aging and selfish owner of a strip club. Dallas looks down on education and thinks that perseverance and ambition is all you need to get ahead. It's amazing just how much McConaughey is able to do with such short screen tome. All of this culminates in his dance. I heard stories of electricity shutting down in cinemas during that. I'm not even kidding here. Nor am I surprised.
4. Mud (2012)
There are fierce powers at work in the world, boys. Good, evil, poor luck, best luck. As men, we've got to take advantage where we can.
In Mud McConaughey plays a romantic hero who would do anything for the woman he loves. Sounds like his romantic comedy work? No, no, no. As handsome as he looks in this movie, his Mud is a wayward man who lives outside of world and common sense. While him and Reese Witherspoon only have one scene together, it's the look in McConaughey's eyes in this moment that sells that love story - you can see it in his eyes, their years of romance and the love he has for her. It's one of the many reasons that scene is one of my favorites last year.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Cocaine and hookers, my friend.
It's a sign of incredible charisma if an actor can appear in a handful of scenes and still be on your mind once the film is over. So it's quite the charisma this man has, if he only appears briefly in the beginning of The Wolf of Wall Street and you still can't forget his scene after 3 hours. In one of the film's most memorable moment McConaughey steals the scene away from DiCaprio as a man who knows the secrets of Wall Street and coaches the young protegee how to survive. Jordan Belfort partied hard. But can you imagine what Hannah must have been doing?!
Cause I try to image that.
2. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Let me give y'all a little news flash. There ain't nothin' out there can kill fuckin' Ron Woodroof in 30 days.
While there's no denying that the tremendous physical transformation McConaughey went through to play this part contributed to his win last Sunday, people tend to forget that Academy - and I think audiences as well - love when an actor takes quintessential traits of his or hers and amplifies them, tweaks them, uses them to make the performance feel more real. And Ron Woodrof, while he was a homophobic asshole, also had plenty of charm - and that's something that McConaughey brought in with him along with his charisma and yes, even some comedy skills - his banter with Jared Leto is incredible and infuses the film with so much energy. It's a moving, dedicated and utterly convincing performance.
1. True Detective (2014)
It's all one ghetto, man, giant gutter in outer space
Now this right here is my favorite work from Matthew. The biggest strength of True Detective is its great writing and when it comes to his character - Rust Cohle, that writing is downright brilliant. Rust is a hopeless nihilist, who after losing his daughter and getting a divorce from his wife just cruises through life - all he cares about is catching bad guys and getting drunk. The case that the plot of True Detective revolves around takes 17 years of his life during which Rust never gives up on chasing the answers. It's a beautiful work - McConaughey sells a character that is odd, harsh and truly bizarre but he makes him seem so vulnerable and heroic at the same time.
This year Matthew stars in one of the most anticipated movies - Christopher Nolan's Interstellar which for me can either be a true mess or an absolute masterpiece. The script revolves around his character and Matthew said it's the most ambitious movie he ever made, so at the very least we can expect another wonderful performance from him.
He will star in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees - the script centers on an American man (McConaughey) and a Japanese man (Watanabe) who meet in the Japan’s infamous "Suicide Forest," where people go to commit suicide. But instead of killing themselves, the duo embark on a reflective journey through the forest together.
There is also rumoured sequel to Magic Mike and I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping that Dallas will return in this one.
In the meantime - alright, alright, alright!