The Tender Bar First Look: The George Clooney-Directed Ben Affleck Movie Heads To Theaters And Amazon This Winter

George Clooney's directing career has been all over the map. He came out of the gate hot with "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" in 2002, but by the time you get to last year's underwhelming "The Midnight Sky," you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks he's a vital and exciting storyteller behind the camera. But perhaps that's about to change.

Clooney's next movie is "The Tender Bar," an adaptation of J.R. Moehringer's coming-of-age memoir. William Monahan ("The Departed") wrote the screenplay, and Clooney has gathered a strong cast to fill out the ensemble, including Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Christopher Lloyd, and Lily Rabe. Clooney and Affleck have been trying to find a project to work on together for years, and the timing finally worked out for this to be the one. And that's quite the collection of talent, so we have our fingers crossed that this will be a step up from some of Clooney's more lackluster movies. 

Here's the official description:

The Tender Bar tells the story of J.R. (Sheridan), a fatherless boy growing up in the glow of a bar where the bartender, his Uncle Charlie (Affleck), is the sharpest and most colorful of an assortment of quirky and demonstrative father figures. As the boy's determined mother (Rabe) struggles to provide her son with opportunities denied to her — and leave the dilapidated home of her outrageous if begrudgingly supportive father (Christopher Lloyd) — J.R. begins to gamely, if not always gracefully, pursue his romantic and professional dreams — with one foot persistently placed in Uncle Charlie's bar.

Today, Amazon announced that it will put "The Tender Bar" in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on December 17, 2021, before the film opens in theaters nationwide on December 22, 2021. For those who still don't feel safe returning to theaters quite yet, you won't have to wait long until the movie becomes available to stream worldwide on Amazon Prime Video: that will happen on January 7, 2022.

The Affleck of It All

This movie's December release date is right smack in the middle of awards season, so it seems as if the studio has high hopes for this project. Affleck could very well be positioned as a Best Actor or Best Supporting contender for his work here, especially since he's won two Oscars but has been ignored by the Academy Awards in the acting department for his entire career. There's a built-in narrative with Affleck, both off-screen and on-screen (which, as unjust as it may be, plays a significant factor on the campaign trail): he looks to be playing a bartender in this movie, and on the heels of his strong performance in last year's "The Way Back," this could be a way for him to continue to explore his personal but well-publicized struggles with alcohol. 

He's also in another big movie later this year – Ridley Scott's "The Last Duel," which Affleck co-wrote with his "Good Will Hunting" pal and "The Last Duel" co-star Matt Damon – and when it comes to the awards race, it sometimes helps for an actor to be in multiple well-received projects in the same year. It remains to be seen exactly how well-received "The Last Duel" will be given its controversial subject matter, but for what it's worth, Damon has said Affleck's performance in that movie is the best he's ever given.