5 of our favourite Matthew McConaughey titles to stream
Matthew McConaughey is nothing if not versatile, and he didn’t mess around much when launching his almost-30-year career in film and television; Dazed and Confused (1993) was his second movie, and introduced this handsome guy with the soft-edged Texan drawl and cheekbones that could cut butter to the world, along with a few other unknowns, like Ben Affleck, Renee Zellweger and Parker Posey.
The coming-of-age movie tanked at the box office but later enjoyed commercial and critical success to the extent of reaching cult status, eventually ranking third on Entertainment Weekly magazine’s list of the 50 Best High School Movies.
After that, McConaughey found himself spending the rest of the 1990s working with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Steven Spielberg (Amistad), and opposite Jodie Foster in the Robert Zemeckis-directed science fiction drama Contact. The first decade of the new century was a mixture of minimal effort rom coms like The Wedding Planner, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Failure To Launch, and a string of titles best forgotten.
In 2011, he starred in Lincoln Lawyer, which The Guardian described as “A terrific LA noir thriller with a career-best performance” by McConaughey. In Magic Mike (2012), he played a supporting role to Channing Tatum’s titular character where he reprised his Dazed and Confused “all right all right all right” line, and which has become his catch phrase.
There were back to back successes with The Paperboy, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Interstellar – with the first season of HBO’s True Detective in the mix – followed by a bit of a slump. In McConaughey’s most recent film, The Gentlemen, he got the Guy Ritchie mojo sprinkled all over him so hopefully that will usher in a better decade for him.
Dallas Buyers Club, 2013 (Netflix)
McConaughey plays real-life drug smuggler Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and given 30 days to live. He was having none of that, and after he suffered adverse side effects from AZT, he learned about a host of drugs, supplements and medications available from Mexico that were not FDA-approved but that really helped him. Woodroof smuggled these into the USA but had to find a way to distribute them to other HIV/Aids sufferers: a buyers club.
“Terrific performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto elevate this socio-medical drama out of the realms of the ordinary into something quietly remarkable,” says The Guardian.
Woodroof died in 1992.
Multi-Oscar-nominee Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) directs McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain in this high-on-special-effects (it won the Academy Award) sci-fi action flick. It’s set in a dystopian future in which a group of astronauts travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humankind. As one does.
It was the 10th-highest grossing film of 2014, and Variety says: “To infinity and beyond goes Interstellar, an exhilarating slalom through the wormholes of Christopher Nolan’s vast imagination that is at once a science-geek fever dream and a formidable consideration of what makes us human.”
Action comedy drama written, directed and produced by Guy Ritchie – you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all, right? The style is unmistakable but this is not a waste of two hours of your life. It’s fast paced, flipping back and forth with flashbacks and flash forwards, witty and smart. The story is about an American marijuana tycoon who decides to cash in his business. The thing is, in the underworld, such a path is fraught with treachery, backstabbing and blackmail.
Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) are in the cast too, along with Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant.
“The Gentlemen is cut from the same cloth as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and its bigger-budgeted follow-up, Snatch, mixing a love of old-school East End low-lifes, 1990s flash (freeze frames, captions, voice-overs), flamboyant dialogue, and plots so complicated that you needed a flow chart to follow them,” says The Wrap. This is a good thing.
The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013 (Netflix)
The street cred of this movie is impeccable. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Written by Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with Jonah Hill (who says “f**k” 569 times in this film, the third most in any movie), Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, and of course McConaughey, leading a stellar cast of faces you’ll know. It’s outrageously over the top – and it’s based on a true story of excess and fraud. The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for all the big awards, from the Best Picture Oscar to BAFTAs and Golden Globes.
“Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is abashed and shameless, exciting and exhausting, disgusting and illuminating; it’s one of the most entertaining films ever made about loathsome men,” says rogerebert.com. “This is an excessive film about excess, and a movie about appetites whose own appetite for compulsive pleasures seems bottomless.”
McConaughey stars opposite fellow Texan Woody Harrelson (double the drawl for your money) in the first season of this anthology series. They play two detectives tracking down a serial killer with occult links, over a period of 17 years.
Critics loved the first season, falling over themselves to name it the best drama series of the year (2014 in case you’re not feeling old yet). It’s the thinking person’s crime series.
“The air is thick with philosophical dread in HBO’s curious new murder-mystery drama, True Detective, a miniseries event that brings the big-screen talents of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey to the long-form landscape of prestige television,” says Vanity Fair. “True Detective is an earnest show without being innocent – it’s taken stock of the world, found it broken or lacking, and offered those findings to us in swampy mystery form. That’s certainly far more engaging than any of my philosophy classes ever were.”