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The origin of Matthew McConaughey's "Alright, Alright, Alright"

The unofficial rallying cry of Matthew McConaughey’s revival donned ‘The McConaissance’, outlining his career transformation from Hollywood eye-candy to top-quality talent, the actor welcomed his evolution with a simple “Alright, Alright, Alright”.

Reciting the three-worded mantra during his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards for Dallas Buyers Clubit was this very moment that Matthew McConaughey had completed his industry evolution, all with a smart quip too. This wasn’t the first time he’d uttered this catchphrase, however, having used his famous tagline in Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age classic Dazed and Confused in 1993. 

The mystery of where exactly this phrase came from had been a piece of unknown movie trivia for decades until, at long last, the actor revealed the phrases’ origin in an interview in 2014 in conversation with George Stroumboulopoulos. Discussing his character in Linklater’s classic, McConaughey reported how he came up with the phrase on his first-ever scene on film during the section of the film at Top Notch, the fictional hamburger joint. 

Before filming the scene, Matthew McConaughey commented that he had just been listening to a live recording of The Doors during which Jim Morrison repeated the word “alright” four times. Speaking to Stroumboulopoulos, the actor commented about the personality of his character in the film, noting: “So right before we’re about to go, I’m, like, ‘Well, what is Wooderson about?”. 

Continuing, he explained, “Man, he’s about four things: He’s about his car, he’s about getting high, he’s about rock n’ roll, and picking up chicks,” before revealing, “And I go, ‘I’m in my car, I’m high as a kite, I’m listening to rock ‘n’ roll… Action! And there’s the chick — alright, alright, alright. Three out of four”. 

Referring to the three things his character cherished, his car, music and getting high, the missing fourth “alright” was reserved for a girl in a distance he didn’t have. So Matthew McConaughey’s iconic statement actually has roots in the classic American rock band, The Doors, and specifically the energetic exclamation of frontman Jim Morrison

Sticking with the actor since his very first appearance on the silver screen, according to a handy supercut, he has since said ‘alright’ over 280 times throughout his filmography from 1993-2017. Using the phrase at his 2014 Oscars speech, 2014 Golden Globes speech and his 2014 Critics Choice Award speech, he’s the only actor we can think of that holds an actual un-ironic catchphrase. 

The nature of the phrase itself, however, is simply too smooth and stylish to ridicule, though would undoubtedly sound absurd coming out of anyone else’s mouth. Good job, McConaughey.

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