Ben Affleck: the man who saved his career. After years of giving terrible performances in terrible movies, he finally showed the world what he was made of and proved he was a fantastic director. Now, he’s back on track, and next year will be playing the Caped Crusader in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but right now, he’s accused of murdering his wife in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. To celebrate, let’s take a look at his best films. (Yes, he does have good films).
Honourable Mentions: Quite a few good films that didn’t quite make the cut, such as his Oscar winning Argo (not the most deserving of the award that year though), Dazed and Confused, Shakespeare in Love, the director’s cut of Daredevil and of course, the phenomenal Gone Baby Gone, which he doesn’t star in but it was his directorial debut that he hasn’t quite improved on yet. Oh, and I haven’t seen it myself, but apparently he was the bomb in Phantoms yo.
Kicking off our list is the first of three Kevin Smith films to appear in these Essentials, and arguably one of the most critically panned, but perhaps the most sentimental of Smith’s career. After his career is sidelined by the tragic death of his wife (Jennifer Lopez) during childbirth, a single man must look after is precious daughter, with the help of his father (George Carlin) and a video store clerk (Liv Tyler). Jersey Girl was not a favourite among Kevin Smith fans let alone critics, possibly because the least Kevin Smith-y of all the films, being the first not to be set in the View Askweniverse (comprised of films such as Clerks, Mallrats etc). But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Affleck and Carlin give fine performances but the obvious highlight is Raquel Castro as his adorable daughter Gertie who steals the film in every scene, and overall the film has a lot of heart, but maybe quite surprising to Smith fans.
Smith Film Number Two - Dogma. Teaming up with best buddy Matt Damon, they play a pair of angels who were banished from heaven, and in order to get back in, must pass through the doors of a church in New Jersey to gain entry once again. Dogma’s biggest merit is easily it’s cast: Affleck, Damon, Jason Lee, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Chris Rock, Alanis Morisette, Salma Hayek and best of all Alan Rickman as Metatron, the voice of God. If you are religious, you REALLY need to avoid this movie. If not, then indulge yourself in this ridiculous yet hilarious take on Catholic faith.
The second of his three directorial features stars Affleck as a thief from Boston who must deal with his aggressive friend (Jeremy Renner), a bank manager from a previous heist who he has developed feelings for Claire (Rebecca Hall), and an FBI agent trying to take him down (Jon Hamm). Admittedly, the extended edition of this film drag a fair bit, but The Town is still an excellent film. It gives us a visceral, realistic look at Boston, and boasts some excellent drama and great performances, especially from Hall and Hamm (And Renner doesn’t suck too bad either).
Clerks is usually regarded as Kevin Smith’s best film, but there are those who would argue that Chasing Amy has the upper hand. Affleck and Jason Lee star as Holden and Banky, two comic book artists with ordinary lives until they meet Alyssa, another artist who has Holden smitten, but he is crushed to discover that she’s a lesbian. Like Jersey Girl, Chasing Amy has more to it than stupid comedy, albeit not a lot else. But it is perhaps one of the best written of Smith’s films, if not THE best, and is a cult comedy classic. Plus, it possibly contains the best ever performances from Jason Lee.
Bringing our list to a close is Ben’s other Oscar winner, Good Will Hunting. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a university janitor with a lot of brains and a lot of potential, which he wastes away. A professor at the university (Stellan Skarsgaard) sees this potential and hires old friend and psychiatrist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) to spend time with Will and help him find out who he really is. Good Will Hunting isn’t just one of the best films of the 90's, but one of the best films of all time. Affleck and Damon picked up Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, whilst the late great Williams was awarded Best Supporting Actor, and they were some of the most deserved Oscars ever as Good Will Hunting gets everything right and knocks it out of the park. (And for the record, it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Titanic).
What Do YOU Think?
“You like apples? Well I’m Batman, how do you like them apples?” is what I imagine Ben says to the haters these days.
That’s it for our list, what are your favourite Ben Affleck films?
Are you excited to see Gone Girl?
Let us know in the comments!