Thursday, June 30, 2016

Matthew McConaughey's Best Roles

As June comes to a hasty close, I'm concluding the month by discussing Matthew McConaughey's finest performances (May's list). McConaughey was once a rom-com regular who eventually went for gold and capped off a 2013 awards season run with his first Oscar. Therefore, let's take a look at the actor's best roles in June's movie list of the month (note: I never saw "Killer Joe" where his work was highly regarded).

Honorable Mention: A Time to Kill, Free State of Jones and Magic Mike

#5. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

I've always been a sucker for courtroom movies and McConaughey's The Lincoln Lawyer is an overlooked genre gem. As the smooth talking Mick Haller, McConaughey becomes entwined in a game of cat and mouse with his wealthy client (Ryan Phillippe) who's accused of assaulting a prostitute. The Lincoln Lawyer is paced to perfection and serves as an entertaining and taut thrill ride. McConaughey's carries the film with a slick and natural confidence that makes for a fantastic lead character. If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend seeking it out.

#4. Dazed and Confused (1993)

Perhaps the quintessential role of McConaughey's career comes from Richard Linklater's 90s cult classic, Dazed and Confused. This memorable comedy exams a day in the life of junior and senior high students on the last day of school in 1976. McConaughey steals the show as Wooderson, a twenty-something who socializes with the local high school students. He delivers quotable line after quotable line and, in fact, many would probably argue that this should be higher on the list.

#3. Interstellar (2014)

Right in the middle of his often quoted, "McConaissance", the actor delivered an exceptional turn in Christopher Nolan's ambitious epic sci-fi adventure, Interstellar. McConaughey takes center stage as Cooper, a retired pilot who's summoned to pioneer human kind's last-chance effort to save the human race from a deteriorating planet. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and McConaughey clearly shines in his surprisingly dramatic leading role. And although he ended up as a forgotten player during the year's awards season, I will always appreciate McConaughey's performance in Interstellar.

#2. Mud (2013)

2013 proved to be an amazing year of performances for McConaughey. One that became overshadowed by his eventual Oscar-winning turn, comes from Jeff Nichols' indie drama, Mud. McConaughey stars in the title role as a fugitive on the run who forms an unlikely pact with a pair of teenagers who promise to help him reconnect with the love of his life (Reese Witherspoon). There's plenty of heart and intrigue scattered all throughout the film. Co-star, Tye Sheridan is exceptional in his role as an impressionable teen, all while McConaughey quietly puts on a phenomenal acting display. Mud has a few minor issues with pacing, but it's definitely worth a watch if you're looking for something you probably haven't seen.

#1. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

A lot of actors tackle Oscar-bait roles, but it takes a special talent to actually pull it off. McConaughey went all in with his passion project, Dallas Buyers Club, by uglying-up and shedding nearly 40 pounds. The film focuses on the true story of Ron Woodruff, a hard-partying and homophobic Texan who discovers he's been infected with HIV and goes on a drug-smuggling spree to acquire the most progressive medicine to sell to locals who are also suffering from the virus. Jean-Marc Vallee's powerful drama earned McConaughey Oscar immortality in 2014 and remains as the performer's most impressive acting feat.

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