8. 'Lone Star' (1996)
McConaughey's best Texas movie that wasn't directed by Richard Linklater, John Sayles Southern-fried noir-cum-neo-Western (and biggest hit) features a cavalcade of terrific turns, including Chris Cooper, Joe Morton and the dearly departed Elizabeth Peña. But just as he was making the leap from indies to studio movies, McConaughey reminded people that he wasn't merely a goofy guy with hunky good looks. His Buddy Deeds holds the secret to a decades-old murder mystery, and the actor emphasizes the character's enigmatic essence, craftily withholding whether he's the story's hero or villain.