Not many modern actors can personify the word ‘cool’ better than Matthew McConaughey. With his Texan accent and rugged good looks, McConaughey has always been someone you can’t look away from. Though his career has seen many ups and downs, you wouldn’t be able to tell when he is on screen due to his pure charm.
His first role was in Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused,” playing one of the most iconic stoners in cinema history. From there, he caught the eye of directors like Steven Spielberg (“Amistad”), Robert Zemeckis (“Contact”), and Joel Schumacher (“A Time to Kill”) as their leading man. But when the new millennium hit, McConaughey’s career shifted towards safer roles in romantic comedies. While many were box-office hits, they turned him into the sexiest man of the year rather than one of the best actors working in the industry.
In 2009, McConaughey decided to take a break from romantic comedies and did some soul searching. He returned to the screen in 2011, and it’s when the ‘McConaissance’ began. Running from “The Lincoln Lawyer” to “Interstellar,” he worked with some of the best directors working today. From supporting roles in “Magic Mike” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” to his Oscar-winning performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” no one was doing better work than McConaughey. In terms of quality, no one might be able to match his run from 2011 to 2014.
His best work during the McConaissance didn’t even come from the big screen. His role as Detective Rust Cohle on the first season of HBO’s “True Detective” is the essential McConaughey performance. Equal parts brutal and sophisticated, he turns Cohle into one of the most complex television characters of the decade. He landed an Emmy nomination for the role in 2014, the same year he won his Oscar.
Since the McConaissance has passed, he’s doing whatever projects he wants. From “The Beach Bum” to “The Gentlemen” releasing this weekend, there seems to be no plan or method behind his choices now. McConaughey is doing whatever makes him happy, and that’s alright, alright, alright with us.