I wouldn't be lying if I said I've gone out of my way to avoid Matthew McConaughey movies. For many years all he seemed known for was getting his shirt off and cheesy Rom Coms. It wasn't always like this. Early in his career he turned in some very good performances in very good movies like Amistad and A time To Kill. Then there was a dry spell when he seemed just to be paying the rent with movies like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Wedding Planner and Failure to Launch. Even a very popular literary character turned into film, such as Dirk Pitt in Sahara didn't bring him any more credibility and it was hard to take him seriously as an actor.
However, seeing him in several recent performances has caused me to reconsider the man and his acting chops. You'll be aware he just won Best Actor for his role in The Dallas Buyers Club. I'm not sure if it was the best performance of the year but it was a very good performance of a very unsympathetic character. Anybody willing to lose 22% of their body weight to realistically portray somebody deserves a lot of kudos. Just prior to this role he had a very good turn as the title character in Mud. What started turning me around was 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer. I thought he was a great casting choice in this John Grisham book/film. Magic Mike I did not care for but I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority -- he got his shirt off in this one, and a whole lot more. This did so well there is a sequel planned.
But far and away the best performance of his long career is in television's True Detective which just finished airing on HBO and is scheduled for DVD release in early June. Woody Harrelson and he play two detectives trying to solve a gruesome crime over a seventeen year period. Everything about this show is superlative- the writing, the direction, the cinematography, and especially the acting. I can't stop thinking about what an amazing performance he turned in---best thing I've seen since Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad.