Cochrane's breakout role came when he was cast as stoner Ron Slater in 1993's Dazed and Confused, a film that Entertainment Weekly ranked #3 in their "50 Best High School Movies" of all-time. Cochrane followed up with a powerful performance as the psychotic Billy Mack in the Renée Zellweger action/comedy Love and a . 45 in 1994. Cochrane again found success with a major role in the poorly-received Empire Records and appeared in Hart's War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell. He also appeared in the Richard Linklater film A Scanner Darkly (2006).