The best Matthew McConaughey movies, ranked

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is a man of many metaphorical hats. Whether it’s business, philanthropy, education, or acting, the Texas-born performer is open to a wide variety and the same can be said of his experiences in cinema.

First he did small bit parts to build himself up, then he got pigeonholed into romantic comedies before experiencing a career renaissance in a number of acclaimed character dramas. What comes next remains to be seen, but as a result of this eclectic body of work, it can be hard to determine what is “best” from the usually intensely relaxed entertainer.

With this in mind, here’s a ranking of Matthew McConaughey’s movies to date that are the most alright, alright, alright.

Warning, this article contains mild spoilers. Please proceed with caution if you have yet to see all of Matthew McConaughey’s films.

10. Serenity (2019)


Though this drama only earned a 21 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, do not let that dissuade you. It features a great cast and has a twist in it that’s so bonkers, it qualifies as high art in the so “bad it’s stunning” genre. McConaughey deserves praise here for picking something so utterly ludicrous, and it’s worth your time with a drink.

9. Reign of Fire (2002)

Though this 2002 film only has a 42 percent positivity rating, it shines for a number of other reasons. It featured a younger Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, and Doug Cockle before they blew up as a result of their respective film and video game franchises. The digital visual effects shot for the stars at a time when so many movies just phoned them in or utilized practicality, and McConaughey’s character has an interesting backstory that would make for a cooler new installment in the series. Give us him and his team fighting dragons as they attempt to get to the U.K., please.

8. EdTV (1999)

While it lost some of its thunder to The Truman Show, this piece follows an ordinary man’s life as a television show and deserves praise for being one of the predictors of what “reality television” and pop culture would become over the ensuing decades. McConaughey stars as an ordinary fellow who resorts to doing absurd things to stay on television and ultimately ends things after feuds with producers. It earned a 64 percent from those who assess movies for a living, so maybe it’s at least somewhat decent?

7. U-571 (2000)

The historical inaccuracy of this 67 percent positive movie was so bad that it resulted in numerous apologies from those behind it. Outside of this, it’s a serviceable action movie and one of McConaughey’s better works before the period that found him stuck making romantic comedies for your mom’s older friends. Give it a watch, enjoy, and remember that not much of what ends up in cinema is real and often gets exaggerated in an attempt to excite audiences.

6. Sing (2016)

Though Illumination Entertainment might best be known for giving adults the world over the extremely irritating Minions, this 71 percent positive movie is sweet and has some genuinely great performances in it. McConaughey voices a theater owner who is struggling to save his business in a world of anthropomorphic animals and manages to make you believe that his little koala is in a desperate circumstance. Come for the koala, stay for the elephant, whose performance at the end will blow your mind.

5. Interstellar (2014)


Telling someone in 2005 that McConaughey would one day work with Christopher Nolan would have been fun, and he is excellent in this scientifically accurate movie which earned a 72 percent rating from critics. You believe in his journey here, and the sequence later on that makes him burst into tears is truly one for the history books of the acting craft.

4. Frailty (2002)

When putting these lists together, it can be easy to name the common movies, as it’s safe to cite the popular. This work, on the other hand, is a 2002 psychological horror movie directed by Bill Paxton (may he rest in peace) that finds McConaughey as a man on the border between desperation and depravity, and he really sells it. More of this, please. It has a 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and was certainly better than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel he appeared in.

3. Killer Joe (2011)

One of the earliest works in Matthew McConaughey’s career renaissance that later led to him win an Oscar, this piece finds him playing a police officer with a hidden agenda. It earns its 80 percent positive rating and man, the scene that involves a certain type of food is one for the books. Go see it, let it burn into your brain, and tell us about your experience afterwards.

2. Bernie (2011)

No, it is not about the famous politician, but this 88 percent positive film proves that McConaughey is at his best when working with Richard Linklater as a memorable side character. It’s funny, dark, sad, and real in a way that makes everyone who has seen it rave about it afterward.

1. Mud (2013)

This southern coming-of-age tale earned a higher rating than Matthew McConaughey’s award-winning Dallas Buyers Club (92 percent vs. 97 percent, respectively) and seems to have been forgotten about by many. Not us. Here he plays a fugitive that some young boys come across and thankfully the film does not end how that scenario could in real life. Give it your time and you WILL want to watch it again after the credits finish rolling.

This concludes our list of the Matthew McConaughey movies that are the most alright, alright, and alright to date. Which one is your favorite? Is there an unusual one you think deserves a sequel? What should have made the list but didn’t, and what would you swap it out with? Let us know in the comments.