Posted on Sunday, July 8th, 2007 by Zach Lawrence
The following is an editorial by /Film correspondent Zach Lawrence.
Like many of you Slashfilm enthusiasts out there, I have just read the article on Gone Baby Gone by Peter Sciretta, and watched the cool trailer. While he makes all the right points in all the right places, he lacks a few aspects to what I like to call the “mythology of Ben Affleck”. You see, some time ago at the end of the “Bennifer” era, and with the barrage of shoddy films Affleck had been releasing he went into hiding. Some people are fan boys for Star Wars or Transformers, but being from Boston I had happened to be an Affleck Fan boy, and this vanishing of my hero hit me hard.
Last year sometime I had written an article of Hollywoodland and Surviving Christmas and I thought that with the upcoming release of his new flick so would an upswing in his career. I was correct, if only slightly, I thought he deserved an Oscar nod for his supporting role but the snub fairy had struck again. We all can admit, Ben has a knack for awesome SNL performances and knows how to makes fun of himself. Did Jennifer Lopez have to disappear when this all happened? No. Ben took it all to the chin like a champ and I believe, will come out stronger for it. When the Hollywood Goldenboy did films like Gigli and Surviving Christmas he was crucified for them, but I’m sorry, they both were pretty damn good flicks. Fresh and original takes on the Gangster and Xmas genre.
So why, you ask? It’s an easy enough answer. At that point in time, it became a cool thing to rip apart Affleck. I share the same affinity for Good Will Hunting as Pete Sciretta does, being myself a Bostonian, and we both cringe with delight when Affleck feebly attempts to reenact his non existent Boston accent. The things we loved about Matt and Ben were what everyone had loved originally; they were branded the messiahs of Hollywoodland and were supposed to usher in the new era of what it was to be a star. Then there was. “Naw-uh, fuck that. Nick doesn’t do anything until Nick gets something for Nick. I want some hot chocolate. You want to hear about some Indian casino, I want to see some goddamn hot chocolate! And a piece of pecan fucking pie!”
For a fan it doesn’t get much better than that, but sadly Reindeer Games was just the slopes of the mountain for Affleck to ascend before his fall from the top down the other side. You forgot about his scene stealing characters in “Shakespeare in Love”, and seeing myself in the torment of Holden McNeal in “Chasing Amy”. The brilliance he gleamed with there as an actor was tear evoking, it was the only movie I believe I have seen where the protagonist was both hero and villain. “The girl?” Jason Lee asks on the couch, and he nods with tears streaming. And he meant that shit! You could see in his portrayal that as the “Good Guy” he was charming and funny, but he couldn’t bite his tongue and lashed out verbally as Darth McNeal when he felt inadequate. It was realistically acted for him to be bi-Affleckual in that flick, and that right there should have been the bar to which his acting chops were always judged.
So did he take the low road, while Damon took the high? No. Ben was just at the time, cool like gigipets and pogs and at some point needed to become lame to the public. So now with the Gone Baby Gone trailer impressing this writer, I will say what I have never abandoned Ben, and just sat in the wings eating my feelings waiting for his triumphant return. And while I shouldn’t hold out for “The Revenge of Shannon Hamilton”, I don’t know if I will be satisfied with this new Affleck behind the lens. Which raises another question, is he not crediting himself in the trailer for a reason? Does he believe it will attract negative attention to it, and he won’t be taken seriously as a director? It’s hard to say. But hey, I’ve got Matt and Ben possibly inking it up again, a new film coming my way, and anytime Kevin Smith does anything I can count on getting a glimpse of Ben which should be enough Affleck heroin to stop the itching in my veins until he headlines another flick. So here is the second wind, the upswing, the second coming, the resurrection of Affleck, and I’ve got my hot chocolate…And my piece of pecan fucken pie.