Alright, Alright, Alright: Five great Matthew McConaughey movie roles
What with The Dark Tower opening this month and Matthew McConaughey starring in it, we're taking a look at eleven McConaperfomances and putting them into a definitive (yes, definitive) McConaranking.
It is entirely possible your favourite isn't on here, especially if you liked Interstellar.
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Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
A six-minute, surgical strike cameo: Nobody who saw McConaughey as the coke-snorting, martini-guzzling, hooker-endorsing and, most importantly, chest-thumping Wall Street bigwig ever forgot it.
It is his Alec-Bladwin-in-Glengarry Glen Ross moment – a world-of-the-film defining monologue delivered with maximum weird. McConaughey said the chest-pounding thing is something he does to warm up his voice, because of course he does.
Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club (2013).
McConaughey picked up an Oscar for his portrayal of this bull-riding, racist, homophobic guy who acquires HIV, overcomes his homophobia and starts a co-op for unapproved AIDS drugs.
Many contended after the film's release that the real-life Woodroof was both bisexual and far from the man McConaughey portrayed, but it's an excellent, complicated performance nonetheless.
Buddy Deeds in Lone Star (1996).
As with many John Sayles films, Lone Star is complex, adult, subtle and underrated – so subtle, in fact, that it's possible you totally forgot McConaughey was actually in it. He plays a legendary sheriff whose son Sam (a stunningly good Chris Cooper), also a lawman, struggles to get out from under his father's shadow.
This is very early McConaughey, and he still seems to be learning his craft, but wonderful, subtle moments abound. To watch it is to contemplate what would have happened to his career had he stuck with boutique indies, rather than rom-coms.
Dallas in "Magic Mike" (2012).
"Male stripper" might not have been the first part that sprang to mind when you thought of McConaughey, but in retrospect, he was an absolutely inspired choice.
Hilarious, earnest and just a little (OK, just a lot) sleazy, McConaughey imbues Dallas with a go-for-broke energy that, as is true for so many McConaughey performances, is impossible not to watch. McConaissance starts here.
David Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused" (1993).
It was 25 years ago this month, August 1992, when University of Texas undergrad Matthew David McConaughey started filming Linklater's period comedy Dazed and Confused as David Wooderson, the guy who is a little too old to be hanging around the high-schoolers who worship him. McConaughey improvised "alright, alright, alright" into the hearts of millions.
The movie itself was a critical smash, a financial dud and a cult classic almost instantly – it is very possible that McConaughey as Wooderson was the most influential, non-Tarantino-directed indie performance of the early 1990s on college-age males (especially those who happened to go to schools in the South). I promise you: Ask any given 40- to 45-year-old in 2017, and I bet they can remember when they first saw this movie, AND I bet most of them started quoting Wooderson the next day, a trend that continued for a good couple of years.
And who can blame them – everything that comes out of Wooderson's mouth is fantastic, from "be a lot cooler if you did" to "watch the leather!" to "I get older, they stay the same age". Of the many fascinating things about this lightning-in-a-bottle performance is McConaughey's look. The bowl cut, the moustache – if anything, his movie star looks are actually toned way down; he never looked like that again. It remains one of the most memorable debuts of all time.