There’s been a lot of talk lately about how Matthew McConaughey has reinvented himself as a Serious Actor, launching himself out of the chick flick ghetto (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past et al) and into Oscar-nominated territory with Important Movies like Dallas Buyers’ Club. But what we want to know is, how has his characters’ approach to love and sex changed over the years, and over the movies?
Turns out, it’s not just McConaughey’s Rust Cohle in HBO’s True Detective who has a bit of a philosophical bent. It was there from the start — it’s just been honed over the years, you might say. So here is a chronological timeline of McConaughey’s advice on love and sex over the years, according to his characters.
1993: Dazed and Confused
“Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N. ”
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”
“Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web… at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history.”
2001: The Wedding Planner
“[My fiance] is great. But… what if what I think is great really is great, but not as great as something greater?”
2003: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
“Andie: True or False: All’s fair in love and war.
Andie: Great answer.
Ben: Good question!”
“Andie: Does Princess Sophia want to come out and play?
Ben: Who’s Princess Sophia?
[Andie points at his crotch]
Andie: Little, big, little, big… I don’t know… we will find out!
Ben: You can’t name my member… Princess Sophia.
Andie: Yes, I can!
Ben: If you are gonna name my… member, you have to name it something hyper masculine. Something like Spike, or Butch, or Krull the Warrior King!”
“Guys, a woman’s purse, alright, it’s her secret source of power. Alright? There are many dark and dangerous things in there, that we, the male species, should know nothing about.”
2006: Failure to Launch
“I’m not afraid of love. I love love. Look, I’ve had a lot of girlfriends, right? And sometimes I’m the rebound guy. Other times, when I get lucky, I’m the “explore new areas of your sexuality” guy. But every single time, we have fun. Thank you. I have fun, they have fun. It’s good for me, it’s good for them. And I would argue that it’s damn good for civilization as a whole.”
[You’re going to let her walk away?] “I’m giving her space, Mr. Axelrod. Now, I’m going after her.”
2009: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
“Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right. But power isn’t happiness, and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less.”
“Get over [him cheating on you]. It was years ago! With some slutty friend of yours! A friend, incidentally, that you’re not even mad at. And you know why? Because you don’t actually care. You love Paul so much you forgave him the second you heard, and that’s what scares you.”
“I’ve been in your shoes. You know what? It scared the hell out of me too. What if she hurt me? What if she left me? What if she died? It would have been the end of me. So I cut it short, before she ever could. And you know what? It was the biggest mistake I ever made. And you’re making the same mistake right now, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to sit by and watch. You’ve got to risk love, Sandra! I didn’t and look at me! I’m a lonely ghost of a man. It doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get hurt, but the pain you feel will never compare to the regret that comes from walking away from love. And from someone who’s felt a lot of both, trust me, regret beats pain every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Don’t run away. Don’t do it… Now. Do you still want to get married?”
“When did casual sex become a crime? Really? I mean, now a days being a single means, what? You’ve lost your way? That something is missing? Never mind that every night I swim in a lake of sex, and they fall asleep in each others arms, spooning.” [Spooning is nice.] “Yeah, not as nice as forking.”
2012: Magic Mike
“You are the husband they never had! You are that dreamboat guy that never came along!”
“People just sometimes forget why they fell in love in the first place.”
“Don’t judge your life on all of our mistakes.You’ll make plenty mistakes of your own, no need takin’ on everybody else’s.”
2013: The Wolf of Wall Street
“You gotta stay relaxed. Do you jerk off?” [Uh, I don’t know, like two, three times a week?] “Okay, you’re going to want to raise those numbers. You’re in the fucking minor leagues. Me, I jack it twelve to fifteen times a week. Twice a day. Once in the morning after I work out, once after lunch. If you don’t do it, the stress of this job, it’ll make you explode. Or worse, you’ll implode. You don’t wanna implode. … I want to jerk off, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because I need to.”
2013: Dallas Buyers Club
“Watch what you eat and who you eat.”
2014: True Detective
[Can you imagine if people didn’t believe? All the things they’d get up to?] “Exact same thing they do now, just out in the open.” [past]
“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.” [present]