Fresh of off his recent Oscar win for Best Actor in the incredible Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey is riding a big high. But he has made a lot of movies over the past 25 years and some of them are not as well known as they should be. He’s been a great actor for a while now, and with his Oscar win fresh in mind let’s take a look at the top ten Matthew McConaughey movies.
10. A Time To Kill (1996)
This John Grisham novel was practically a modern day version of To Kill A Mockingbird, and was filled with racially charged legal drama, in which McConaughey played a central part as the lawyer defending a black man charged with murdering two men that killed his child. McConaughey was young, and certainly not perfect, but he really showed off his talents here and had many moments where the screen was completely his.
9. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The only reason this is so low on the list, is that his role was so small, but it still makes the list because of how freaking awesome it was. McConaughey’s role as Mark Hanna near the start of the film was an absolute show stealer, and was hilarious to boot. He really set the tone for the movie and provided the root cause of exactly what created Jordan Belfort as we get to see him for the next two and a half hours. I think if he had more screen time the movie would have certainly benefited.
8. Magic Mike (2012)
I might get some hassle from the guys for adding this to my list, but I did so simply because the film was actually pretty good (that’s consensus guys, check the web) and because it was an important film for his career. In 2011 after his break from movies, McConaughey took on a number of daring projects which were out of his comfort zone, and this one certainly fits the bill of ‘daring.’ These were important to change his current type cast, and that’s how Magic Mike made it to number 8. I’ll bet all the girls won’t disagree. Now we just need Mila Kunis or Kate Hudson to have a similar desire to change their typecast, right guys?
7. Killer Joe (2012)
A recent, and also lesser known installment into the Matthew McConaughey movies archive is this dark, violent little thriller that also stars Emile Hirsch and Thomas Haden Church. McConaughey plays a hit man with chilling and often comic effectiveness, and ‘The Exorcist’ director William Friedkin provides a lot of graphic violence to go along with it. A really good little film, but not one for the kids.
6. Frailty (2002)
Another film that snuck into the Romantic Comedy portion of his career, was this chilling little psychological thriller which co-starred Bill Paxton. McConaughey plays a man who comes to the police claiming that his brother is responsible for a series of murders, and explaining the story of how his father (Paxton) caused this in flashback form. A movie with endless twists and turns, and plenty to think about, Frailty is actually one of my all time favorite horrors and a must see.
5. Lone Star (1996)
Lone Star is a movie from 1996 that a lot of people overlook these days, but was one of the better crime mysteries of the decade. In the film, a Sheriff is investigating an internal murder, and McConaughey plays that Sheriff’s father in a series of flashbacks. A great early role that let him flash some of his darker side before getting pulled into the endless string of romantic comedies.
4. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Perhaps the movie that really started what many call the McConaussaince was The Lincoln Lawyer, which saw Matty play another Lawyer, but this time a somewhat sleazy one who is forced to change his ways a little when he gets caught up in a case that may prove far more dangerous than any he’s had before. An awesome film with some great performances, and a lot of twists and turns.
3. Dazed and Confused (1993)
The first role he ever got and the first lines of dialogue he ever spoke were ‘Aright, alright, alriiiiight’, right here in Richard Linklater’s classic growing up comedy drama. He was one of a great ensemble cast, many of which would go onto some bigger things, but did a great job in his role. As the film that started his career, it had to sit high on the list. Richard Linklater himself went on to do some great work, including one of my all time favorite series including Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and recently Before Midnight.
2. MUD (2012)
So we know that Matty Mac won the Oscar this year for Dallas Buyers Club, but in my opinion, he put in another Oscar worthy performance earlier in the year, with Jeff Nichols’ fantastic drama/mystery MUD. He plays a drifter with a murky past to absolute perfection and made the film into one of the best of the year in my opinion. This was the film that really made me realize that this guy is going to be a force for the rest of his acting life and in terms of Matthew McConaughey movies it is certainly one of the best.
1. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
McConaughey’s first and much deserved Oscar victory came for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof, a former wild living bigot who contracted HIV and began a long battle with the medical industries and the law, to provide alternative medicine and keep himself alive. An unreal story that took years to make, and one which saw McConaughey make an incredible physical transformation to fill Woodroof’s shoes, cemented his status as Hollywood’s elite.