Mark it down, folks: 2013 was the year I finally stopped worrying and learned to love Matthew McConaughey.
In the past, not liking him was kind of my “thing.” I’m not sure if it was the constant bongo playing, the shirtlessness-as-a-life-choice, or his stoner-genius life’s motto, “JKL” (stands for “Just keep living” in case you didn’t know), but the guy bugged the heck of me. And as an actor, I felt like he coasted on good hair, good teeth, and good ol’ boy charm.
That being said, there was one role I loved him in: His first, as the irresistible sleazeball David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused. (Wooderson was famous for his take on high school girls: “I get older, they stay the same age!”) That, I thought, was the real McConaughey—a red neck stud, an unrepentant bad boy, a true American archetype. If he could just tap into that, he’d really be onto something.
Well, he’s onto something.
Because in the last few years, McConaughey has stopped trying to be a heartthrob, or whatever Hollywood expects him to be, and has embraced his own particular brand of reptilian charm. As a result, he’s given some of the best performances of his career—Magic Mike, Mud,...