I like Ben Affleck. Always have. I don’t know why. I’m not even that into Good Will Hunting. It probably all goes back to Dazed And Confused. I have always loved Affleck in that movie. Wooderson may have stolen the show in the minds of most*, but to me Affleck’s loser bully back for a second senior year was way funnier. That character combined with a particularly endearing job hosting SNL right after he got famous was enough to get me in his camp early.
*Wooderson was, admittedly, hilarious. I actually still don’t really hate McConaughey. I feel like he reaps what he sows.
After a while, it became funny to like Affleck. Whenever anybody brings up Mattt Damon I always say “I prefer Affleck”. Great bit. Doesn’t get a lot of laughs.
Virtually all his movies are bad. And he went from J-Lo and her fat butt to the surprisingly average looking Jennifer Garner. Maybe she’s cool. If so, respect. If not….whatever. I don’t really care who these people date or get married to. I’m just saying his taste in women is weird and his movies are bad. He became a joke.
Then he directed Gone, Baby Gone. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. One of the best movies of the decade. It was difficult to tell if the credit should go to Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, or the material they were given by made-for-the-silver-screen author Dennis Lehane. His books are good movies every time (e.g. Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island). Regardless, the fact is Ben Affleck directed an awesome movie, and I vowed to see his next.
I can’t really tell you whether The Town was good or not. Judging the particulars of the movie would be like trying to judge a football team with a bad quarterback. Maybe “bad” isn’t the right word. Let’s say funny quarterback. A guy you root for but laugh at. Think Jason “Cam” Campbell. Can you really judge an offense with Cam Campbell at quarterback?
That analogy sucked. What I’m trying to say is its extremely difficult for me to render an accurate opinion about this film. Affleck is front and center in basically every scene. He’s wearing track suits and speaking with a heavy Boston accent. He’s jacked out of his mind. He has that huge head and perfectly manicured stubble. It’s impossible to take him seriously, and this is supposed to be a serious movie.
So whenever anyone asks me how it was I’m not sure what to say. I mean, it was Affleck, you know? Was a movie good if you were you had to suppress chuckles during dramatic scenes?
My boy Benny really did himself a disservice by taking the lead role. I know it’s a Boston movie, and I don’t begrudge that crew their Boston movies. If I could ever write my own ticket I’d be making KC movies all over the place, you best balee ‘dat. There’d be a dramatic scene with me and my boy Young drinking whiskey straight from the bottle at the rose garden in Loose Park. We’d be bearing our souls after just having killed a man for money. So yeah, I can understand the allure of playing roles in your home town. If he wasn’t also the director I’d have been all for him headlining this movie (although I wouldn’t have seen it). But he was the director. A little restraint would’ve gone a long way. If he’d cast his younger brother again, everyone would probably be singing his praises.
It’s not that he did a bad job. He was actually legitimately funny at times. Mentioned the show Bones at one point and got a legit lol. You all know what I’m saying about Affleck at this point. A lot of you probably dislike him, come to think of it. Cowards.
The rest of the casting was excellent. They had the good sense to borrow from some awesome stuff. A couple of guys from Gone, Baby Gone, the chick who played Bale’s wife in The Prestige. Jeremy Renner, from Jesse James, was maybe the highlight. He’s got a long career of gettin’ ugly and playing the heel ahead of him. My boy Sweetums’ boy Pete Posthelwait is in da how as a crime boss who fronts as a florist. He was very good, as always (except Clash of the Titans). When talking to Affleck he hacks away at roses with a small knife in a pretty convincing manner. I thought that was a nice touch. I bet he summered somewhere to learn that. What, he thinks he’s better than me?
Blake Lively was scintillating as a slutty, white trash Boston chick. Matty likey that archetype. In the movies, anyway. In real life people from Boston make me want to barf blood (what-up, Boston!).
The only unfortunate casting was Jon Hamm. This was a bad career move for Hamm. When trying to distinguish yourself as a legit actor, don’t take the head FBI agent role in a caper movie. That should be Career Building 101. There is no fresh spin to put on that role. Hamm was force to swagger and quip and act way too into the case just like that character always does. He was also holding his mouth a funny way, but thats neither here nor there. I brought it up afterwards* and didn’t get a lot of traction.
*I almost always go to movies by myself. But this was saturday night on opening weekend, so I needed some company. The solution? Third wheel hang with a friend and his girlfriend. Afterwards they went to dinner, I went home and blogged about MMA. City that never sleeps baby!
In the end, I can’t help but wonder what might’ve been. With Casey in the lead role this would’ve been a legitimately awesome cast. Ben just changed the game too much. It’s as simple as that. Is he a potentially great director? The Town gets us no closer to the truth.