Chris Pizzello

A few years ago Matthew McConaughey was stuck in a creative rut of unremarkable romantic comedies, more notable for chest shots than story or character. Then something happened. He was offered, and he accepted, a string of parts that played to his strengths as an adventurous and unpredictable actor.

AP

5. Bernie 

Richard Linklater re-enlisted his old buddy to play an opportunistic small-town prosecutor in this dark East Texas comedy.

MCT

4. Mud

If you need someone to play a grimy, sensitive convict hiding out on an island with a couple of adolescents, Matt's your man.

3. Dazed and Confused 

McConaughey was more than alright, alright, alright as an arrested development case in Linklater's breakout high school nostalgia trip.

Independent Pictures

2. Killer Joe

There's a scary cool behind those good looks, as this chicken-fried Gothic made abundantly clear.

Anne Marie Fox

1. Dallas Buyers Club 

The full McConaughey: Physically and emotionally committed, wild, rangy, risky and moving.

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