Since debuting in 1993, Matthew McConaughey slowly made himself into one of Hollywood's leading men. Keeping his nose clean and out of controversy, the Texas native used his acting skills, Southern draw and commitment to the acting craft to move himself from small-part acting roles, all the way to multi-million dollar blockbusters.
His most newsworthy performances came about in 2016 during what was dubbed The McConaissance by the media. Following years of films which portrayed him as a slacker-type, he began taking on very serious dramatic roles in films like The Dallas Buyers Club, which ultimately earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
With such a vast filmography, it is bound that not every film and role was made for him. Through his career, he has come across several blunders - and some serious ones - which are infamous in the film industry. There are certainly roles which have made him incredibly successful, but unfortunately more before The McConaissance which are very unfortunate.
It's time to keep l-i-v-i-n, and look at 15 Movies Matthew McConaughey Ruined (5 He Saved):
20 Saved - Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is a homage to the 1970's counter-culture. With such an honest depiction of teenagers from various walks of life, it has become a cult classic since its release. With so many rising stars in this cast, it was the start of some big careers. However, none were more noticeable than a young Matthew McConaughey.
While the film is chalk-full of one-liners and quotable moments, most of them come from McConaughey's Wooderson, a long-since graduated man who still attends high school parties. Even though he does appear less than the other characters, this is considered one of the most iconic roles on his filmography. This role was so iconic that he even quoted from it during his Academy Award acceptance speech.
19 Ruined - The Dark Tower
Despite having legions of followers for The Dark Tower book series, the film adaptation of this series failed to impress audiences. With the film achieving a very weak box office debut, it put future plans for the film franchise in jeopardy.
The consensus from reviews is that the film did not uphold the essence of the novels, severely disappointing fans. With such a loyal fanbase, the film - and McConaughey's performance should have been geared towards them. Unfortunately, it now serves as a reminder that not all film adaptations are created equal.
18 Ruined - Reign of Fire
Certainly a film about dragons taking over the world would be a sure-fire hit in the 2000s, right? While the premise seems silly, Reign of Fire was positioned as a box office hit, but unfortunately it returned very weak results.
Prior to Christian Bale cementing his claim as Batman, he took his cues from McConaughey in this film. Unfortunately, both received overwhelming reviews for their part in this film. Perhaps it was due to the subject matter, but neither seemed 100% sold on the film itself, and were therefore not fully invested in their performances.
17 Ruined - EDtv
When The Truman Show was released in 1998, it was released to rave reviews and still holds a 94% rating on RottenTomatoes. The subversive look at reality television was a big hit with critics and fans, and it continues to speak volumes in today's society. However, not all films based on this genre are created equal.
To try and capitalize on Truman's success, Ron Howard created EDtv, which did not fair as well. Holding a much more dismal 64% on RottenTomatoes, Matthew McConaughey tried his best but ultimately could not make this a memorable film. Falling back on his "slacker" tropes, this film is often forgotten by most movie-goers, and thankfully so.
16 Ruined - Gold
Following his Academy Award winning performance in Dallas Buyer's Club, film offers for McConaughey to take on more dramatic roles began rolling in. While his Oscar-winning performance was undeniably great, not all of the roles he was offered equated to greatness on screen. In fact, some of them did not strike at all.
Despite a sizable weight-gain and make-up changes all through the film, this loosely-based true story did not land with critics.
15 Saved - Mud
Just because a film does not receive the same amount of press as others, that does not mean its quality is lower. Despite not receiving a high amount of attention from the wider audience, Mud featured an incredible McConaughey performance.
Releasing on one-third the amount of screens as wide-release films, Mud received great critical acclaim for his supporting performance. While it may have cleaned up on the independent awards circuit, many fans of this film wished that this performance got much more attention.
14 Ruined - Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
While this Texas Chainsaw installment features performances from both young Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, it did not receive a lot of love upon its 1995 release. In fact - including a rerelease when its stars became famous - is amongst the lowest-grossing film in the franchise.
Featuring a very campy performance in McConaughey's only horror film, this is an often forgotten film from his resume. Considering how well-known he is now, it is likely that McConaughey himself would like to forget about this performance.
13 Ruined - The Wedding Planner
Like most attractive actors in the 90s and 00s, McConaughey tried his hand as a romantic comedy lead. While normally an incredibly popular genre, they are not known for being critically-acclaimed films. The Wedding Planner is certainly amongst them, but some point to McConaughey as part of the problem.
Co-star Jennifer Lopez's romantic comedy films are normally very well-received, but this one is amongst one of her lowest. The common denominator with these types of films not doing well - Matthew McConaughey. At this point in his career, he has stayed away from them, which is good considering this performance.
12 Ruined - The Beach Bum
Considering that The Beach Bum was made in 2019 - following the "McConaissance" - it was a very strange choice for him to consider as a role. Movie fans were loving his turn towards serious roles in dramas, so this film left them scratching their heads.
With tremendous dramatic performances beginning in 2013, this stoner-comedy was incredibly strange to appear on his filmography.
11 Ruined - We Are Marshall
The Marhsall University plane crash of 1970 which took the lives of most of the school's football team and staff devastated the entire community. Inspirational sports films like this one are usually fan favorites, but this one fell flat both critically and commercially.
While not as widely appreciated as films like Remember the Titans, this film was considered to have one distracting element - McConaughey's mannerisms. His portrayal of coach Jack Lengyel included a very exaggerated accent which was apparent throughout the entire film. Had he decided to tone it down, it may have actually made the film more enjoyable.
10 Ruined - Sing
In one of the only films which McConaughey has lent his iconic voice to, Sing did receive great reviews from critics and fans. The music-led feature had very fun moments, songs and characters for viewers to enjoy, but there was one thing which was very apparent throughout the film - McConaughey's own voice.
It was distracting for viewers to think about his other iconic characters while listening to him voice a singing koala. His distinctive Texas drawl is unmistakable.
9 Saved - Dallas Buyers Club
The beginning of the McConaissance started with McConaughey's surprising turn in Dallas Buyers Club. As an HIV-ridden rodeo cowboy who makes a turn to try and help others, McConaughey's performance was one of the brightest films of 2013. With many only remembering him for romantic comedies, this performance made everyone see him much differently.
The raw emotion and soul-searching that this performance required revitalized his career, and is still continuing to this day. If McConaughey can find more roles like this one, no one would ever question his career again.
8 Ruined - Interstellar
Space epics combined with Christopher Nolan's direction are obviously going to be incredibly successful. There are very few faults in Interstellar from a viewer perspective, making it a very enjoyable film. However, if a fan had to pick some things to complain about, they would unfortunately be centered around McConaughey.
As Honest Trailers pointed out with their review, McConaughey's constant screaming for "Murph" and his low-talking demeanor take away from the excellent film he is in.
7 Ruined - Surfer, Dude
When a film maintains a 0% on RottenTomatoes over the years, it is destined to be known as one of the worst flops of someone's career. To think that McConaughey spent months on this movie as both a star and producer, it is sad to think about how much it flopped critically and commercially.
Adding another stoner-comedy into his repertoire was not was for his career, as many point to this performance as one of his worst. Perhaps Surfer, Dude was also one of the films which pushed McConaughey to more serious roles, but it was unfortunate he had to sink this low to boost himself back up.
6 Ruined - Amistad
Among McConaughey's early dramatic roles is Amistad, which unfortunately did not receive the accolades that some thought it would. Featuring McConaughey in what would continue his typecasting as a lawyer, he doesn't appear to ever find his footing amongst the cast.
Being surrounded by acting juggernauts like Morgan Freeman and Sir Anthony Hopkins must have been intimidating for the newer actor. The other actors received most of the praise while McConaughey's performance faded into obscurity. It may not have hurt the film, but is also didn't seem to help it either.
5 Ruined - Fool's Gold
In what was one of McConaughey's final romantic comedies, Fool's Gold reunited him with Kate Hudson. Unfortunately, this was the reunion which no one had asked for. This film failed to impress anyone at the box office or critics panel, and was one of the biggest bombs of McConaughey's career.
With foolish tropes and a reliance on formulaic rom-com drama, this film is on no one's top 10 list. A lack of chemistry between the leads also hurt the film, which is strange considering their prior history on film. Perhaps this was the case of going to the well one to many times.
4 Saved - Magic Mike
While a film about male dancers sounds like it will fail on paper, Magic Mike surprised everyone, including critics. This brutally honest look at male exotic dancers was a pleasant surprise for anyone who got to see it.
Not only was the film not a train wreck, but McConaughey's performance was among one of the best in his career. He fully committed to his role, which took away any campiness that was likely for this film. Without him, this film may not have been nearly as successful - for reference, just look at the performance of Magic Mike XXL.
3 Ruined - Failure to Launch
Just like The Wedding Planner and Fool's Gold, McConaughey seems to have stayed away from romantic comedies following this string of releases in the mid-2000s. When all else fails, McConaughey seems to lean very heavily on this slacker-type persona, and it never seems to work out for the film.
Failure to Launch was about a woman hired to make late-blooming men move out of their parent's houses. Unfortunately, the chemistry between McConaughey and Sarah-Jessica Parker was non-existent from the start, and movie-goers seemed to be able to sense this from the trailer alone.
2 Ruined - Sahara
When looking at Matthew McConaughey's filmography, there are certainly some blunders but also some big budget films. Unfortunately, Sahara is under both categories. Produced with a whopping $160 million budget, this film failed to make its money back and is among one of the biggest box office flops of all time.
McConaughey tried his best with the material, but this film was doomed from the beginning. The plot was preposterous and unsustainable, and would never have been accepted by the wider audience.
1 Saved - The Wolf Of Wall Street
His screen time may only be for less than fifteen minutes in The Wolf of Wall Street, but it is one of the most memorable features in the film. McConaughey's Mark Hanna is the personification of excess and greed, and perfectly sets the tone for the debauchery that takes place through the rest of the film.
Anyone that has seen this film can perfectly quote McConaughey's chest-thumping scene, as it began the corruption of Jordan Belfort. If there was only one way to make The Wolf of Wall Street a better film, it would have been to include more of McConaughey in it.