Best Actor Matthew McConaughey's First Role

Several years ago, my wife and I were watching an old repeat of Unsolved Mysteries when we were surprised to see a very young Matthew McConaughey in one of their dramatic reenactments.

 A shirtless 23-year-old McConaughey mows the lawn

A shirtless 23-year-old McConaughey mows the lawn

 McConaughey is concerned about the pervert exposing himself to the neighborhood kids.

McConaughey is concerned about the pervert exposing himself to the neighborhood kids.

That's right, in 1992, the year before *Dazed and Confuzed*, McConaughey debuted in a season five episode of Unsolved Mysteries. He played Larry Dickens, a 1978 victim of murderer Edward Bell. Like most reenactments, it is pretty cheesy. My favorite thing about it is McConaughey's zombie impersonation as he follows his assailant down the driveway despite being shot multiple times.

 After suffering multiple gunshot wounds, McConaughey still pursues his attacker.

After suffering multiple gunshot wounds, McConaughey still pursues his attacker.

The chase ends quickly with Larry's mother clutching him while he falls to the ground.

 McConaughey's first death scene

McConaughey's first death scene

Not exactly Oscar-worthy, but that's exactly why I still love it today. It's a reminder that our early work isn't necessarily an indication of our ultimate quality. And who knows, if he hadn't landed this gig, a young McConaughey may have quit acting before he got the Dazed and Confused part a year later. McConaughey has been laughed at this week for saying his hero is himself in 10 years. After watching this performance again, I think I understand. He was speaking to a pursuit of perfection, the kind we admire in so many artisans.

I'm not going to embed a video of the episode because everything on YouTube is unofficial and likely to be removed very quickly. However, if you still get physical discs from Netflix, you can get Disc 1 of Unsolved Mysteries: Bizarre Murders to see it for yourself. Or you can just buy the set from Amazon if you're a fan of the show.