Be like Matthew McConaughey. On this glorious early fall Friday, toss it back to a simpler time and find your inner Wooderson.
The Academy Award winner and amateur philosopher posted a vintage photo Friday. It’s back from his days with Dazed and Confused. He captioned it: “Linklater + Wooderson = L-I-V-I-N.” Or, you can caption it “just a couple of Austin bros having big fun.”
If you know your Dazed and Confused history, Matthew McConaughey was Wooderson, the 20-something non-achiever who doesn’t want to grow out of his high school days. It’s where McConaughey first started his famous catchphrase “alright, alright, alright.” (But it’s pronounced awwwwl right, awwwwl right, awwwwl right).
Wooderson also had this classic line: “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”
Richard Linklater, like Matthew McConaughey, lives in Austin. That’s where they met. Dazed and Confused represented the first big movie Linklater created. It also was McConaughey’s first meaty role. When McConaughey pushed for Wooderson, he told Linklater “Hey, I’m not this guy, but I know this guy.”
Linklater knew the guy, too. The movie was loosely based on Linklater’s time at Huntsville High School. Dazed and Confused was one big day — the last day of school — in 1976. But Linklater changed the school’s location from Huntsville to Austin.
Linklater released the movie in 1993. It didn’t do much at the box office, earning about $8 million. But it became a cult favorite when folks started renting it from stores like Blockbuster. The movie also helped launch a number of careers. Did you know Ben Affleck was in the movie? So was Renee Zellweger. She and McConaughey both graduated from the University of Texas. Cole Hauser, aka Rip from Yellowstone, also was in the movie.
We’re wondering if Matthew McConaughey was referring to Dazed and Confused during a podcast interview earlier this week. He was discussing how he got his first acting role with the host of Amazon’s Set it Straight: Myths and Legends.
McConaughey said: “In the right bar, at the right time, meet the right guy, we hang out, having quite a few pops – enough to get kicked out of said bar. In a cab ride back to my house, he’s rolling up a doob, he’s dropping me off, he says, ‘Hey man, you ever done any acting?’”
McConaughey still is hanging out in Austin. He left for Hollywood for a few years, then moved back to Central Texas when he and his wife, Camilla Alves, started a family. McConaughey is a professor at the University of Texas and is a minority owner with Austin FC, the city’s new MLS franchise.
He’s also flirting with the idea of running for governor of the state. And, he’s enjoying his role as an ambassador for the Texas Longhorns athletic department. He’ll probably be at Royal-Memorial Stadium Saturday morning for the Longhorns Big 12 Conference opener against Texas Tech.
And for a moment, Friday, McConaughey also drifted back three decades to rediscover his inner Wooderson, if he ever left him.