With the Ben Affleck written and directed The Town cleaning up at the box office over the last few weeks, there is hardly any room for picking on the guy anymore. After winning his Oscar for Good Will Hunting with best buddy Matt Damon, the two split up and started off on their own acting careers, Damon struck gold and Affleck fizzled. Unfortunately, the bad is more memorable than the good – but I like to look at both. It’s more fun that way.
With Affleck, I’ve jotted the good, the bad and the guilty pleasures. Like almost everyone else, I never saw Gigli, so you won’t find it on this list.
Top 5 Ben Affleck Films
5. Extract – In Mike Judge’s (Office Space) Extract, Affleck plays the druggy bartender buddy of Jason Bateman’s central character. Although Extract is an “acquired taste” comedy, nothing about Affleck’s performance requires a certain “taste” at all. It is perfectly funny comedic performance. And to be honest, while I remember enjoying Extract, Affleck is really the only thing I remember about it now.
4. State of Play – In this journalist-driven political thriller, Affleck plays a U.S. senator framed and accused for a nasty murder/crime. He is tense, bold and somewhat frightening because of his powerful position. But Affleck isn’t the only actor worth watching. Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman also dish it out. Although it passed under the radar, State of Play is an all-around great film.
3. Shakespeare in Love – Having spent so much time around theatre people, Affleck bursts into Shakespeare in Love like the stereotypical attention-hungry thespian that is fun to have around (even if only to laugh at). He lights up the screen every minute he is on it. Although Affleck is not the first actor to come to mind when you think about Shakespeare in Love, he should be!
2. Good Will Hunting – Matt Damon and Robin Williams raise the bar in Good Will Hunting. And although the amount of time that Affleck is on screen isn’t even close to Damon and Williams, he is still a solid driving force in the film. This is also the film that launched Damon and Affleck, turning them into household names over night. Even if you don’t agree with me on the performance bit, you can’t discredit it for that reason alone.
1. The Town – If you will notice, Affleck has only played supporting characters in my Top 5 list up until The Town. He deserves double-accolaids here because he not only gives a stellar performance here, but he directed himself to give it! Many nay-sayers claim he only works well in The Town because the location, characters and scenarios are close to home. I say ‘give it a rest.’ Even if he hadn’t written and directed it, this would still be his film. He flexed his muscles with Gone Baby Gone, but proves himself a strong writer, filmmaker and actor with The Town.
Bottom 5 Ben Affleck Films
5. Daredevil – I will admit that the Director’s Cut if far better than the theatrical one, but Daredevil still isn’t great. As boring as the movie is, its performances are even more boring – starting with Affleck. Stagnant is the word.
4. Paycheck – Along with Uma Thurman and Aaron Eckhart, Affleck deserves to have his nose shoved in this one. Bad actors! Each one of them should have known better than to participate in this movie. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
3. Forces of Nature – A direction-less movie is obviously going to feature direction-less performances. Affleck had done some good before this, so it was shocking to see him do something so bad – unlike his romantic co-star Sandra Bullock. Despite having won an Academy Award for acting, Bullock isn’t that good. The chemistry is absent between the two and you never really care what happens to them in the end. If you haven’t seen it, don’t.
2. Surviving Christmas – Surviving a family Christmas is a whole lot easier than surviving Surviving Christmas. Best thing about the movie – its short runtime. Most people remember this movie because it opened in theaters on October 22, 2004 and was available on DVD just nine weeks later for the holiday season. It is rumored that the film began principle photography without a completed script. I can see that being true.
1. Pearl Harbor – What a deceptive movie. One of the United States’ most influential historical events is shadowed and bastardized by a long and boring white trash love triangle between Affleck, Josh Hartnett and my girlfriend Kate Beckinsale. As if ruining the historical event wasn’t bad enough, they had to thrown Kate into the mix. Michael Bay should have been slapped on the wrist a long time ago for this turd. Pearl Harbor is an all-around horrible film.
The Guilty Pleasures
Jersey Girl – Writer/director Kevin Smith – as well as die-hard Smith fans – tears this film apart. It was his first (and only) attempt at a PG-13 comedy. After seeing Cop Out, that is the movie he should be beating himself up about. Not Jersey Girl. Honestly, it was Jersey Girl and the interaction with Affleck and his on-screen daughter that made me excited to have a daughter of my own. Despite its sappiness, Jersey Girl is an honest little tale about fatherhood.
Armageddon – I’ll admit it – I love Armageddon. I love watching a group of space cowboys defy science and physics in a typical Michael Bay manner. I love watching Affleck go on an animal cracker safari on Liv Tyler’s tummy. I love hearing a sobbing Affleck yelling out “Harry, I love you” while riding in a slow-moving futuristic tube into the underbelly of a space shuttle. I love it all.
The Third Wheel – If you have never seen this little direct-to-DVD gem, check it out immediately. Starring Luke Wilson and Denise Richards, Affleck again owns the screen as a supporting character. Wilson somehow gets a date with the office hottie Richards and Affleck is the friend playing bookie to see how long the date will last. Wackiness ensues. It also has the “O-face” guy from Office Space.
Jimmy Kimmel Live: I’m F—ing Ben Affleck – While TV host Jimmy Kimmel and comic Sarah Silverman were dating, Silverman played a prank on Kimmel during his show. She aired a “confessional” music video called I’m F—ing Matt Damon. Shortly thereafter, Kimmel released his star-studded comeback, I’m F—ing Ben Affleck. While both videos are censored, they may not be considered suitable for work. Check out I’m F—ing Ben Affleck below.