11. 'U-571' (2000)
A proudly old-fashioned submarine flick like this one needs a movie star who radiates classic Hollywood heroism — and McConaughey fit the bill nicely. Director Jonathan Mostow's thriller about a group of U.S. Navy seamen on the hunt for a doomed German sub finds our man playing a stoic, untested lieutenant who must rise to the challenge when his commanding officer gets wounded. Muted but no less captivating, McConaughey perfectly complements the film's no-nonsense approach, his every action a model of stripped-down efficiency.