In the first of our new series we take a look at Ben Affleck and wonder why he’s not more highly regarded.
Yes, he did himself few favours when he was basically paraded around as Jennifer Lopez’s plaything, a fate, if we’re honest, not many men would choose to avoid. There was that regrettable video with him and J-Lo on a boat singing about how much money she had, but that she was still Jenny From The Block. Then there was the utterly dire Gigli, but the good vastly outnumbers the bad.
If you look back at the start of his time as an actor, not counting his performance in the criminally overlooked Mallrats, it was Good Will Hunting that really caught the imagination. But from the outset the begrudgers, or trolls to give them their modern parlance, were out in force.
It wasn’t written by Affleck or his co-writer Matt Damon they cried.
According to them it was really the work of screenwriting legend William Goldman.
A theory that Goldman himself laughed off as ludicrous. He questioned why someone of his stature would secretly write a script for two unknown kids to get all the credit for.
It was clear that Hollywood would be calling for both Damon and Affleck now though with a lot more frequency.
Affleck began to go down the matinee idol route and chose roles in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil, neither were terrible movies but it’s fair to say they didn’t set the world alight.
The studios were so enamoured with Affleck that they chose him to take over the role of Jack Ryan from Harrison Ford in The Sum Of All Fears.
The film was an outstanding thriller that is arguably the best in the franchise, but the backlash against Affleck had begun.
It wasn’t until Gone Baby Gone that Affleck showed there was more to him than being a Bradley Cooper-esque hunk of the month.
Gone Baby Gone was written and directed by Affleck and to say it was a success is an understatement of some magnitude.
He created a taut and intelligent film dripping in emotion that was cruelly overlooked at the Oscars, an award ceremmony that’s becoming less and less relevant with each passing year thanks to the constant conservatism of the academy.
Next up was The Town. The Boston set heist movie was a throwback to the films of Sidney Lumet and showed that Affleck was more than a flash in the pan.
Next up for Affleck is an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.
It’s a measure of his stature now that few are complaining about his involvement.
King’s fanbase can often be savage in their opinion but they know class when they see it.
So how about a bit of respect for Ben Affleck?