7. 'The Lincoln Lawyer' (2011)
The McConaissance starts here. After years of wasting time in dim-bulb romantic comedies, the actor got serious, starting off nice and easy with this pleasantly gripping crime thriller. Playing Mickey Haller, McConaughey flashes the same snake-oil charm that once made him date-night catnip. But surrounded by a strong supporting cast he reaches down deeper, portraying a hotshot lawyer who realizes that his hot streak can't last forever. At the time, The Lincoln Lawyer seemed like an aberration. It was merely the beginning.