Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong might be the most recognizable stoner comedy stars of all time, but they're not as quotable as Matthew McConaughey's Wooderson. The underachieving pothead who stole the show in Richard Linklater's nostalgic 'Dazed and Confused' (1993) gave us gems like the highly quotable 'alright, alright, alright.'
And he also coined the slacker mantra 'Just keep livin' - his advice to the film's protagonist Randall 'Pink' Floyd (Jason London) when responsibilities and the pressures of growing up begin encroaching on his laid-back lifestyle.
But that carefree motto is actually much deeper than it seems on the surface. In fact, it was born out of personal tragedy.
"Six days into shooting 'Dazed and Confused' my father passed away from a heart attack and that [line] was what came to me in how to deal with my relationship with him spiritually," McConaughey told Stephen Colbert yesterday on 'The Late Show.' "Since he wasn't going to be here physically, you gotta just keep livin' to keep someone alive who's no longer with you - you keep their spirit alive. So that's where 'just keep livin' came from."
So the line isn't about dodging responsibility but tuning out the distractions in life that disconnect us from the things we love - especially the people that are no longer living.
Yesterday wasn't the first time McConaughey has opened up about the source material for Wooderson. Back in 2011, he told CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos about the origins of "alright, alright, alright." Check it out.