Critic’s Corner: Matthew McConaughey, a History

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Because it still blows my mind that Matthew McConaughey is nominated for an Oscar, I’ve assembled a timeline detailing the Southern charmer’s unexpected evolution.

God bless him.

The Early ‘Daze’ (1991-2000)

“My Boyfriend’s Back,” Guy #2

McConaughey made his filmic debut in “My Boyfriend’s Back,” a film about a teenage boy who returns from the dead to be with the girl of his dreams. Needless to say, critics panned the movie. But hey, it can’t be worse than competitor Leonardo DiCaprio’s first film, which was “Critters 3.”

“Dazed and Confused,” David Wooderson
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

McConaughey as David Wooderson in 1993’s “Dazed and Confused.”

“That’s what I love about these high school girls man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

“Angels in the Outfield,” Ben Williams

The man can catch a helluva fly ball, I’ll give him that.

“Glory Daze,” Rental Truck Guy

A riveting performance.

“A Time to Kill,” Jake Tyler Brigance

In 1996, McConaughey earned some acting clout in “A Time to Kill,” a thriller based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. His performance earned him a “Best Breakthrough Performance” win at the MTV Movie Awards—an honorable legacy shared with true artists like Mandy Moore, Ashley Tisdale, Lindsey Lohan and Robert Pattinson. He should be proud.

“Amistad,” Roger Sherman Baldwin

Somehow, McConaughey ended up snagging a role in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” based on the 1839 historic mutiny. The film was nominated for many awards, but, sadly, our Matthew wasn’t recognized.

“Contact,” Palmer Joss

Riding off the success of “Amistad,” McConaughey assumed a leading romantic role in sci-fi film “Contact,” opposite Jodie Foster—the two scientists meet, fall in love, come into contact with aliens, and yadda, yadda, yadda. Some critics said the film was even better than Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which has to be a joke

The Chick Flick Era (2001-2011)

“The Wedding Planner,” Steve “Eddie” Edison

In “The Wedding Planner,” McConaughey falls in love with the woman organizing his wedding, played by Jennifer Lopez—major jerk move. Lopez was nominated for a Worst Actress Razzie and critics eviscerated the movie—even McConaughey’s oozing Southern charm couldn’t save the dud.

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” Benjamin Barry
Paramount Pictures

McConaughey and Kate Hudson coddle Krull the Warrior King in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

A classic.

“Sahara,” Dirk Pitt

I don’t even know what this movie is about. It sounds pretty similar to “National Treasure” except that it’s in the desert and it might be more complicated. But I really don’t know and don’t care.

“Failure to Launch,” Tripp

In “Failure to Launch,” McConaughey plays an unmotivated a**hole who lives with his parents, but still manages to win over the ladies. Because McConaughey always wins over the ladies—even when he’s a drug-addicted, homophobic, HIV-positive rodeo cowboy.

“Fool’s Gold,” Ben Finnegan

Basically “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” but on a boat. And there are more pirates.

“Surfer, Dude,” Steve Addington

Got a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A zero percent.

“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” Connor Mead

Sometimes I have nightmares about this movie.

The Rebirth (2012-Present)

“Bernie,” Danny Buck Davidson

McConaughey plays a Southern lawyer for the bajillionth time in “Bernie,” based on the famous 1996 murder of 81-year-old millionaire Marjorie Nugent by her companion, Bernie Tiede. The indie film was nominated for multiple awards and praised by critics—McConaughey himself was nominated for a number of critical awards. Smooth move, Matthew. Real smooth.

“Mud,” Mud

Never in my life could I have guessed that Matthew McConaughey would star in a film vying for the Palm d’Or. Pigs really do fly.

“Magic Mike,” Dallas

“Magic Mike” was quite a relapse for McConaughey—he was doing so well, steering away from those poorly written blockbusters and cliché roles he’d come to love in the early 2000s. But he couldn’t stay strong—“Magic Mike” was just too enticing.

Wolf of Wall Street

He’s in maybe 15 minutes of the movie and he drops the f-bomb at least 20 times. And it’s fabulous.

Dallas Buyers Club
Voltage Pictures
Voltage Pictures

“Dallas Buyers Club” is, undoubtedly, the pinnacle of McConaughey’s oft-mocked career.

Ladies and gentlemen, our boy Matthew McConaughey has finally become a man.