Ranking The Many Eras Of Matthew McConaughey, From Worst To Best

Senior Pop Culture Editor
01.09.14 58 Comments

Matthew McConaughey true

It wasn’t long ago that Matthew McConaughey was a joke. And not a good one, either. Circa 2008, he was known for three things: Dazed and Confused, the bongo incident, and squandering his talent on terrible rom-coms and big-budget disasters. It seemed impossible that he would escape from mediocrity, save for the occasional Tropic Thunder. But in 2011, things changed: he began taking riskier roles in weirder, more prestigious movies, culminating in Magic Mike, which he should have received an Oscar nomination for, and Dallas Buyers Club, which he will.

This Sunday, McConaughey’s career renaissance continues on HBO’s True Detective, which holy sh*t. I want it now, in all its swampy, brutal glory. (His character is named Rust Cohle!) Today, in honor of True Detective‘s almost-certain awesomeness, let’s take a look at the many eras of McConaughey, and rank them from worst to best.

18. Desperate Romantic Comedies With Kate Hudson Matthew McConaughey

matt kate

(How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days and Fool’s Gold)

17. Desperate Romantic Comedies Without Kate Hudson Matthew McConaughey

ghosts girlfriends

(Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past)

16. Kids Movies Matthew McConaughey

kids movie Matthew McConaughey

(Larger Than Life — sorry Bill Murray)

15. Failed Blockbuster Matthew McConaughey

reign of fire

(Reign of Fire and Sahara)

14. Inspirational Matthew McConaughey


(We Are Marshall)

13. Mugshot Matthew McConaughey


12. Genuinely Bad Worst Movie of His Career Matthew McConaughey

surfer dude

(Surfer, Dude and The Paperboy)

11. Genuinely AMAZING Worst Movie of His Career Matthew McConaughey


(Tiptoes — seriously, just watch the trailer)

10. Lawyer Matthew McConaughey


(A Time to Kill and The Lincoln Lawyer)

9. Mid-to-Late 1990s Movie Star Matthew McConaughey


(Amistad, Contact, The Newton Boys, EDtv, and U-571)

8. “I Totally Forgot He Was In That” Matthew McConaughey

matthew angels

(My Boyfriend’s Back, Angels In the Outfield, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation)

7. Random TV Appearance Matthew McConaughey


(King of the Hill and Eastbound & Down)

6. Playing an Alcoholic Who Tries To Sell a Truck to Sam Rockwell in Glory Daze Matthew McConaughey

glory daze

(Glory Daze)

5. Smaller Parts in Great Ensemble Films Matthew McConaughey

tropic thunder matthew mcconaughey

(Lone Star and Tropic Thunder)

4. Bizarro and/or Critically Acclaimed Indie Matthew McConaughey

bernie matthew

(Bernie, Mud, Killer Joe, and Dallas Buyers Club)

3. Iconic Stoner Matthew McConaughey

David Wooderson

(Dazed and Confused)

2. Chest-Thumping Matthew McConaughey

chest thump

(The Wolf of Wall Street)

1. Magic Mike Matthew McConaughey


(Magic Mike)

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