We don’t shy away from unpopular opinions here at Head Over Feels. And we extra-double-triple don’t shy away from opinions that are “unpopular” because they’re popular. Case in point: we’re into Ben Affleck and we don’t care who knows it.
He’s terribly polarizing for an actor who’s regularly thought of as generic. Your head would spin if you tried to document all the twists and turns public opinion has taken when it comes to Ben Affleck. But the complaint that rises above the din is that he’s the easy choice – a vanilla, white-bread movie star. (Mmm…vanilla white bread.)
Which is weird, since he’s got a lot more interesting incidents in his past than, say, Ryan Reynolds. He shared his first Oscar with his best friend when he was 25; overcame alcoholism; untied J.Lo’s bikini bottoms in the “Jenny From the Block” video; and awesomely got banned from the blackjack table at Hard Rock Casino for counting cards. “Counting cards” is the house’s name for “being really, really good at the game. Like, too good. We can’t even beat you.” Ben Affleck strives for excellence in all things, including blackjack! Fuck you, Hard Rock Casino!
We just really dig Ben Affleck, ya feel? And while we don’t owe anyone any reasons why, we’ve got ten of them. ‘Cause we also dig lists.
1. He does bad movies.
It’s endearing that, in his long career, Ben Affleck has been a part of so many terrible films. And has been so game to make fun of himself for them. Forces of Nature. Phantoms. Reindeer Games. Changing Lanes. Daredevil, Gigli, Paycheck, He’s Just Not That Into You. The list goes on and on, and does not include Pearl Harbor, which I stand by.
You’ve gotta hand it to an actor who’s experienced this many box office and critical failures and keeps on taking risks. I’d guess that his struggle to craft an leading man/action star persona off of the success of Good Will Hunting led to Ben putting his heart back into his own projects. And we all know how those paid off.
So don’t rag on Affleck for his choices, y’all. At least he makes them. (I see you, Mr. Takes 45 Minutes To Decide What To Order on Seamless). And don’t rag on Affleck for being the choice. If you think Ben Affleck as Batman is the thing to worry about as far as Batman v. Superman is concerned, you must be a Zack Snyder fan and thus, impossible to reason with. Aw, are you gonna cry because Ben Affleck’s your Batman? If there was an internet troll community at the time, they would have shit a damn brick over Michael Keaton getting that role. There’s an actual 10-year-old boy playing Batman every Monday on Fox right now. Don’t act like this territory is too sacred for Le Whoffleck.
2. Matt and Ben are still the ideal in guy/guy friendship.
In high school, I decided I was far too cool to get hung up in the Titanic fervor. “Too cool” included limiting myself to only seeing it six times in the theater and then learning the entire score on piano. I digress. Instead of lobbying for a James Cameron victory at the ’97 Oscars, I hitched my wagon to Good Will Hunting FTW. Cute guy best friends who are super upfront about their life partnership? Why ever was I drawn to them?
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are a fact. They are a reality. They are as undeniable as one of Professor Lambeau’s theorems. As long as they’re still BFFing, at least one things is going as it should in this crazy, upside-down world. And if anything should ever break them apart, whether it be human or otherwise, I am hunting that thing DOWN.
Their enduring friendship is really incredible if you take into account Hollywood’s need to tear down any relationship that’s good and worth something. Just three days ago, EW‘s Popwatch ran a piece called “Matt Damon and Ben Affleck: Who Wins? Then and Now.” Try as they might, no one has ever successfully pit Matt and Ben against each other. They’re just too chill and in love with each other to be baited like that. Bless.
3. He married the right Jennifer.
I have nothing against Jennifer Lopez – “Get Right” is still on my gym mix. But she and Ben’s relationship was a wackadoo love affair not built to last. They were together for the right reasons – they were both suuuuuper hot and suuuuper famous – but the suffocating media attention must have annoyed them as much as it did us.
We’ve asked and she’s said no, but still we’re sure that Jennifer Garner is the kinda girl Head Over Feels could be friends with. She’s luminous, yet totally approachable. She was a super badass spy and then her warm and funny performance in 13 Going On 30 cemented her as our anti-Heigl. She’s just the most lovely. Nice work, Affleck.
Ben and Jen are on our list of celebrity couples who hold our crumbling belief in love together, so we’re selfishly rooting for them forevs.
You know I’m the last in line to pity a straight, rich, attractive white man, but the Academy’s snubbing of Ben for Best Director last year was cold. (It’s already baffling that the Best Picture and Best Director nominees aren’t one and the freakin’ same. How do you think Best Pictures get made, Academy? Elves?) He handled it gracefully, while accepting every other award on the way to Oscar Sunday. And then he took the stage with his cast and creative team to accept the Best Picture trophy. Argo fuck yourself, haters.
**P.S. I really enjoy The Town too, except the egregious error of casting Blake Lively as a Southie townie.
5. We’re still fucking Ben Affleck.
6. Meet his other best friend, Joe.
When Joe Kindregan was 13-years-old, Ben Affleck met him in an airport while Ben was filming Forces of Nature. That one short visit led to a lifelong friendship. Ben has flown Joe, who suffers from a rare disease called Ataxia-Telangiectasia, out to visit him on every one of his film sets for as long as they’ve known each other. He and Jen co-hosted an auction in D.C. benefiting AT research and Ben gave the commencement speech when Joe graduated from high school in Falls Church, Virginia. And if you still wanna talk shit after that, I bet Joe’s got a few choice words for you.
7. He’s a crucial part of the View Askew universe.
Nothing brings joy to my life like a chubby, villainous Ben Affleck invoking the title in my favorite ’90s slacker comedy: “You’re dead, mallrat.”
I can’t say that I’ve been the most loyal of Kevin Smith fans, what with all the weird detours his career has taken since the mid-00’s or so. But the classics are classics, and I’ll never turn down a marathon of the blessed Jersey Trilogy. He’s sadly absent from Clerks, but the latter two are perfect little time capsules of bb Affleckdom. There’s Shannon’s full face in Mallrats (comin’ at you right when he fucks you in a very uncomfortable place: the back of a Volkswagon.) and Holden’s questionable goatee of manpain in Chasing Amy. (Somewhat related: hands up if Chasing Amy taught you what lesbian sex entailed.) Then there’s also his conflicted angel in Dogma (“Your hard-on for smiting has prevented us from negotiating what should be the relatively simple matter of catching or staying on a bus.”) and every moment of the film that most makes me want to be a 24-7, Class-A stoner, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. (“No sir, a 10-82 is disappearing a dead hooker from Ben Affleck’s trailer.” “No, bullshit, because I wasn’t with a hooker today, ha-HA!”) I’ll also be over here holding it down for Jersey Girl, which was unfairly vilified because of the super-couple connection.
A few years back, I was out in Red Bank, NJ at an outdoor screening of Clerks. Kevin Smith did a Q&A before it and in between requests for him to sign boobs, a cocky teenage boy got up to ask the question he thought would make him the hero of the night: “Just how much of an asshole is Ben Affleck?” Kevin didn’t seem perturbed or particularly rattled. He simply answered him, “Affleck’s one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve had the privilege to work with. And I’m doubly fuckin’ lucky because he’s my friend too.” The kid sat down silently.
8. He was the only choice to play Nick Dunne.
I read Gone Girl before Reese Witherspoon was attached to produce, so I waited for the casting news with serious interest. I don’t know if I would have come up with Ben Affleck in my fantasy casting session, but when I heard his name attached, it just clicked. Rosamund Pike is little known in this country, which is an asset to her performance. But the household quality of Ben’s name didn’t hurt his. Everyone knows him, though so many of us don’t know how we feel about him. Maybe it’s easier to write him off as a pretentious dick than to try to see things from his perspective, which is basically Nick Dunne’s story.
9. He could still get it.
I know he’s getting those Batman muscles now, but I was way into Nick Dunne’s broad, lived-in quality. In fact, I think Ben Affleck’s looking finer now than he did when he was in his lanky ’20s. He’s still got a great face, most of his hair, and the body of a hot dad. And I’m increasingly finding myself way more attracted to the hot dad than the hot guy. I check ring fingers on guys juggling kids in the grocery store now. It’s whatever.
Anyway, Ben wears his age well (don’t they all?) and continue to get more distinguished and hot-dad-like as the years pass. What’s your verdict, Matty?
10. He called out actual garbage person Bill Maher.
Ben is a member of SNL‘s five-timers club and can be counted on to deliver a solid episode. See: the classic Mango/Talented Mr. Ripley parody; his turn as Girth Brooks in the girls-who-used-to-do-porn informercial; and this, his corn-rowed wooing of the Target lady.
Care to appreciate Ben with us? Leave your love in the comments.