10 Best Matthew McConaughey Movies

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

Has any other actor faced so much hate, only to become one of the most sought-after actors of our time? Matthew McConaughey has had one of the most enigmatic careers imaginable for an actor. He stuck to goofy comedies and romantic leading roles for a while, always playing that smooth-talking, inexplicably good-looking guy that the leading women would fall for over and over. It really was bad there for a while — practically indefensible, even.

Then, when all hope seemed lost, McConaughey turned himself around. He started strong, after all, playing one of the leading roles in one of the most beloved comedies of the 1990s, so there’s really no reason he shouldn’t’ve been able to pull off a move like that. Now, in the midst of another solid year for the actor, it’s a wonder he was ever in such dire straits. He’s treated like acting royalty, continually getting uniquely fascinating roles, the polar opposite of the way his career once was. At this point, as a matter of fact, McConaughey’s best roles completely overshadow his worst.

Interstellar

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

Getting cast in the leading role in a Christopher Nolan movie is almost a surefire way to score the best acting credit of your career. Regardless of how one feels about Nolan — whether you’re excited by his work or bored out of your mind—there’s no denying McConaughey’s craft in Interstellar. He’s a dad on the edge, willing to do anything for his kids and their future. It’s a science fiction film first and foremost, but it’s certainly a character-driven one at that.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

While he might only exist in the first act, that’s a lot more screen time than it sounds like in a Martin Scorsese movie. What might be about twenty minutes in another film ends up being somewhere around an hour here — an hour of McConaughey being a dopey, rich weirdo who guides Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort in the right (or rich) direction on Wall Street. His character is as important as he is iconic.

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Dazed and Confused

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

This movie was a really big deal for its writer/director Richard Linklater, but it was just as big a deal for McConaughey, as well. It showed audiences how talented he truly is and how much potential he was harboring inside him as an actor before getting cast in all those bland comedies. The movie takes place in the late 70s but was released in the early 90s, flopping at the box office but quickly becoming a cult classic. It’s the kind of role he should’ve been getting all along.

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Kubo and the Two Strings

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

We might only hear his voice, but McConaughey’s part in Laika StudiosKubo and the Two Strings is one of his most interesting to date. He plays a character named Beetle who is, as you might assume, a gigantic beetle warrior who accompanies Kubo on his mission to locate his father’s suit of armor so that he can defeat a spirit hellbent on vengeance. It’s a divine and beautiful film, and McConaughey’s role as Beetle is an important part of the film’s backbone (or exoskeleton).   

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Dallas Buyers Club

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

This Oscar-season darling would’ve managed to do all right with a different actor than McConaughey, but there’s no doubt his performance made the movie into the awards-season treasure that it was. The film has a couple of great supporting roles played by Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, but McConaughey is the anchor of this one. It takes place during the AIDs crisis of the 1980s, and McConaughey seems to encapsulate the uncertain times with tremendous skill.

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Mud

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

When it comes to independent dramas, Jeff Nichols is one of the 21st century’s most unique voices. McConaughey’s casting in his 2012 sleeper hit Mud is a perfect choice, seeing as the actor provides a steady lead for this storytelling adventure film. Nichols never wastes an actor’s talent, which we often see whenever he uses Michael Shannon, but McConaughey should definitely be added to that list as well.

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Lone Star

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

McConaughey was still in the midst of an uncertain period of his life when John Sayles’s Lone Star came out in the late 90s. His role is smaller than the ones he’d go on to achieve in the coming years, but McConaughey is good enough here to prove that the talent he hid for so many years was always there, just on the back burner. He started scoring romantic comedy roles not long after this movie, but there’s a clear second path his career could’ve taken after Lone Star.

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Killer Joe

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

From the play of the same name by Tracy Letts, Killer Joe came at a time where McConaughey had just started to change his image. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Director William Friedkin’s delightfully gruesome direction combined with Letts’s darkly comedic script results in one of the most menacing and unique performances we’ve seen from the actor so far. It’s worth checking out, especially considering how significant it is to McConaughey’s career trajectory.

Purchase now on Amazon for $7.99.

Bernie

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

Reunited with one of his first directors, Matthew McConaughey and Richard Linklater create magic once again with the 2011 film Bernie (starring Jack Black, also reuniting with the director many years after School of Rock). The film is based on an insane true story, with McConaughey playing a true-to-life district attorney. It’s a subtle yet important part of the actor’s filmography.

Purchase now on Amazon for $14.99.

Contact

10 best Matthew McConaughey movies

Robert Zemeckis’s 1997 science fiction drama Contact gave audience is their first glimpse at what McConaughey would be like as a serious leading man. For whatever reason, this was the only glimpse audiences got for a while—it comes right before his turn as a romantic leading man. Like in Lone Star, audiences can see that McConaughey clearly has talent. The movie might suffer from a few problems of its own, namely its tendency to go on for too long, but there’s not a single thing wrong with McConaughey’s performance here.

Purchase now on Amazon for $14.99.

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Weekend: Oct. 24, 2019, Oct. 27, 2019

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