thoughts//TOP TEN BEN AFFLECK FILMS

TOP TEN

Tomorrow David Fincher's Gone Girl releases with plenty of Oscar buzz attached. While festival-goers in Toronto and New York have been mostly positive, the film has the possibility of being a little too built up. Zero Dark Thirty went through a similar phase of being a widely lavished film that did live up to the hype, but still may have had too much hype to help it in the long run. Affleck's performance in Gone Girl is receiving a lot of mention as well, with some calling it the best acting work of his career. It seems that Affleck has definitely overcome the career rut he seemed to be going through a few years ago. With two Oscars on his mantle for writing and directing, perhaps an acting Oscar is on its way.

Here's a look at the Top Ten Ben Affleck Films:

10. FORCES OF NATURE (1999)
Directed by Bronwen Hughes
Starring Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, Maura Tierney

I'll admit that this is a completely selfish pick. There is probably a "better" film I'm omitting from the list just to include this little film from 1999. Believe it or not, this strange dramedy opened at number one at the box office. Bullock was the main draw, but the film was the subject of an unfortunate marketing campaign. Most thought they would be getting a slapstick comedy when, in reality, the movie was a little more artistically inclined. Affleck is a bumbling everyman trying to do what's right. It's a character that seemed a natural fit.

9. ARMAGEDDON (1998)
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler

The better of the two astroid-heading-towards-Earth movies to hit theatres in the summer of '98, Armageddon was a massive success. Most of that can probably be attributed to the Aerosmith song that everyone couldn't stop listening to. The rest of the success goes to audiences' infatuation with disaster flicks and the teaming up of Willis, a bonafide action star, and Affleck, a new star everyone was beginning to love. As cheesy as the movie's premise and ending can be, Bay does a great job of bringing it home.

8. HOLLYWOODLAND (2006)
Directed by Allen Coulter
Starring Ben Affleck, Adrien Brody, Diane Lane

This movie would have probably been a bigger hit if it were released now and not just a few short years after the downfall of Affleck (thanks a lot Gigli). Hollywood loves films about itself and Hollywoodland is a love story to both the golden age of the Hollywood era and the rise of the modern celebrity. Following the still-unsolved mystery around George Reeves' death, the film was a seminal critical hit. Affleck played Reeves to a subtle effectiveness. This was the movie that made people appreciate Affleck again and remember that there was some talent there, somewhere.

7. THE COMPANY MEN (2010)
Directed by John Wells
Starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones

Topical dramas usually work, but are hard to keep relevant. The Company Men took the current downfall that was America's economy and presented a highly effective workplace drama, with a stellar cast to boot. Corporate downsizing is never a fun topic, but Affleck and co. keep it as surefire entertainment. It's a sad tale, to be sure, but another remarkable reminder at how talented Affleck is, and what a shame he had to go through a "career renaissance" so early in his career. The film wasn't much of a box office beast, but should make it to your streaming queue.

6. CHASING AMY (1997)
Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, Ethan Suplee

Falling in love with a lesbian sounds like a major problem for a guy (unless you're falling in love with Ellen DeGeneres, which is understandable). Affleck's Holden McNeil is the focal point of this hilarious, sometimes crude, but honest look at modern relationships from Kevin Smith. It's also one of Affleck's most honest portrayals. The film is a sort-of 90's classic and completely deserves the praise it's received over the years. It also makes you wonder what happened to Joey Lauren Adams, who should have become a huge star.

5. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998)
Directed by John Madden
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush

Affleck isn't necessarily the star of this film, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1999, but his role is pivotal to the plot. The film has been criticized over the years for offering a false view of how Shakespeare's story truly played out, but that's the point. It's a tongue-in-cheek comedy of romantic proportions. It's also a perfect example of how the Weinstein's can control any Oscar race. It wasn't necessarily the best movie of the year, but it looked like pure Oscar from the beginning. Affleck's BFF, Matt Damon, was in the competing Saving Private Ryan. I'm sure there were some friendly jabs here and there.

4. THE TOWN (2010)
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall

The true mark of Affleck's return was his second attempt at directing. The Town was one of 2010's best and made many people's list of movies that should've have at least made the Best Picture cut. Affleck proved himself as a capable auteur behind the camera by bringing a harrowing thriller set in Boston to amazing results. The cast assembled was one of the year's best, with Renner earning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Many people threw Affleck's name amongst other actors-turned-directors like Clint Eastwood. He could be the next perhaps.

3. DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Starring Jason London, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich

A true 90's classic, Linklater's first masterpiece is everything. It's set during a single day in 1976 Texas as a group of high school seniors prepare to embark on the new chapters of their lives. The film is completely unabashed and never backing down from being honest, while also hilarious. The world officially met McConaughey here (and gave him the catchphrase "Alright, alright, alright."). Affleck is memorable for his role as a hazing senior having a little fun with a paddle. As a coming-of-age tale, Dazed and Confused is exactly what it sets out to be, with Linklater's genius behind every moment.

2. GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck

1997 was a good year for Affleck. He was on the brink of being considered a serious and, with Good Will Hunting, he was now a well-rounded talent. The film co-starred his best friend and the two found Oscar success with their script. In fact, their story of success is one of Hollywood's greatest. The film is a massive treat mostly in the form of the late Robin Williams' Oscar-winning performance. It's completely vulnerable and honest, while still keeping Williams' trademark wit. Everything about the story is empowering and understated, in the best way. If you haven't seen this, do it now.

1. ARGO (2012)
Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman

It was tough to decide between Argo and Good Will Hunting for first place, but Affleck's Best Picture Oscar winner is true cinema at its best. The film follows the true story of a secret CIA mission to rescue six Americans who are hiding in Iran. The mission is code-named Argo for the fake sci-fi movie the CIA concocts as the story behind the reason the Americans (disguised as Canadians) are there. The final act is nothing short of brilliance. The only thing crazier that the story is the fact that it's based on an actual mission. Affleck missed out on being nominated as one of the year's best directors at the Academy Awards, but the film's success in the Best Picture race more than made up for it.

Did I miss any? Which one is your favorite? 

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