Hollywood might have lost McConaughey to the law. He was a pre-law student who loved acting, and he might have gone on to law school had it not been for his big break in fellow Texan Richard Linklater’s film. In this 1993 ensemble comedy about a night in the lives of about two dozen high school students – a film that also launched the careers of Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Renée Zellweger, and others – McConaughey stands out as David Wooderson, a guy in his twenties who still hangs out with teenagers. As he famously says about his fondness for high school girls, “I get older, they stay the same age.” The movie also marked the first time the actor uttered his catchphrases, “All right, all right, all right” and “Just keep livin’.”
Aside from some unfortunate ’70s hair (shag coif, porn-star mustache), McConaughey displays here most of the traits that will make him a star for years to come: an easygoing charm, a laid-back attitude, and a skeevy edge. When one of the smarter girls takes a shine to him, you want to warn her not to go off with him, like you’d warn someone away from a vampire.
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