Ben Affleck‘s latest onscreen effort is buzzing this awards season, proving he’s still a Hollywood powerhouse. Remember when he and buddy Matt Damon won those Oscars for Good Will Hunting back in 1998? Since then, Affleck has won other major accolades, proved his skill as a director, and starred in countless films, from the flops to the box office hits and critical successes.
Affleck began his career as a child when he starred in a PBS educational series in the ’80s. In addition to his acting, producing, writing and directing credits, he is also the co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grant-making and advocacy-based nonprofit. He has also been a stalwart supporter of the Democratic Party over the years.
Meanwhile, Affleck remains a fixture among the tabloids, even to this day. In addition to his on-again off-again relationship with J-Lo, Affleck’s romantic involvement with other A-listers (including a publicized divorce from Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three kids) has been covered by entertainment news outlets without fail.
Let’s not forget, however, that Affleck is still a versatile actor, as proven in his latest collaboration with George Clooney. A Kevin Smith regular, he also recently appeared in a “crazy” scene-stealing role for Ridley Scott’s film The Last Duel, as detailed in MovieWeb’s review. As we await Affleck’s next Hollywood project, here’s a closer look at his top five films to date.
5 The Tender Bar (2021)
Speaking of Affleck’s Clooney collaboration, The Tender Bar (now streaming on Amazon Prime Video) follows a boy named Jr. (played mostly by Tye Sheridan) who seeks a replacement for his father who disappeared shortly after his birth. Jr. finds himself bonding with his uncle Charlie and the patrons at a bar in Long Island. Uncle Charlie is a charismatic individual and all of his friends are eager to initiate Jr. into their rituals. Jr. listens closely to the stories of these men and relies on these stories for guidance on how to live.
William Monahan’s moving screenplay here is an adaptation of the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer, where he recounts life growing up on Long Island. Clooney’s laugh-out-loud film also stars familiar faces Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe and Christopher Lloyd in juicy supporting roles. Overall, the small film received mixed reviews from critics, though Affleck was nominated for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for his performance. It’s a scene-stealing character that earns a spot on our top-five list.
4 Hollywoodland (2006)
Superman has been all over DC Comics’ recent feature films, but the beloved superhero also had his own television show back in the 1950s, Adventures of Superman, and was played by George Reeves. The actor mysteriously died in 1959 from a single gunshot wound. In the fictional plot of Hollywoodland, a private investigation is launched.
Affleck is dynamite as Reeves in a film that primarily features Adrien Body as the detective. The neo-noir also explores the lives of Toni Mannix (played Diane Lane), who was involved in a long romantic relationship with Reeves and was the wife of MGM studio executive Eddie Mannix (played Bob Hoskins). Reeves had ended the affair and become engaged to a younger woman, aspiring actress Leonore Lemmon (played by Robin Tunney). Lots of intriguing, real-life plot elements here make for a captivating film that received generally positive reviews.
Where does the film’s title come from? Well, development for Hollywoodland began in 2001 when Focus Features purchased Bernbaum’s script — which was actually titled Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Due to copyright issues with DC Comics, however, the film was retitled Hollywoodland.
3 Gone Girl (2014)
On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife? Such is the postmodern-marriage premise of Gone Girl.
The 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher was written by Gillian Flynn, based on her 2012 novel of the same title. It also stars Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry, both in uniquely dramatic turns. The end result was a critical and commercial success, grossing $369 million on a budget of $61 million, becoming Fincher’s highest-grossing film.
Pike’s performance was widely acclaimed by critics, but Affleck certainly holds his own as the mixed-bag protagonist. “Performance-wise, it wasn’t something that I’ve had to do, I don’t think ever, as an actor,” Affleck told NPR upon the film’s release. “I haven’t done many movies where there was a sort of thriller component like this.”
2 The Town (2010)
The Charlestown neighborhood of Boston is renowned for churning out a high number of armed robbers, generation after generation. These robbers never leave their Charlestown life on their own volition, the neighborhood where there is an unwritten code to protect that lifestyle. The Town follows a foursome carrying out a mostly successful bank robbery, but due to circumstances take the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) hostage for a short period before releasing her physically unharmed. They find out that she lives in Charlestown, so they want to ensure that she did not see anything that could incriminate them. As such, the foursome’s leader (played by a never-better Affleck) begins a personal relationship with her…
This 2010 American crime thriller from Chuck Hogan’s 2004 novel Prince of Thieves is based on actual events, believe it or not. It features an all-star cast that also includes Jon Hamm, Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper and Slaine. It received praise from critics across the board was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2010.
1 Argo (2012)
In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage. However, six managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, a CIA operative named Tony Mendez devised a daring plan: Create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew.
Screenwriter Chris Terrio adapted the screenplay for Argo from the 1999 book by Mendez, The Master of Disguise, and the 2007 Wired article by Joshuah Bearman. The film, starring Affleck as Mendez along with Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman in supporting roles, was produced by Grant Heslov, Affleck and George Clooney. Despite the fact that the lack of historical accuracy was criticized, the finished product was praised overall, particularly for the acting and Affleck’s direction. He rightfully took home the Best Picture Oscar at that year’s ceremony.
Blumhouse’s Jason Blum would love to make a Nightare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th movie but has a reason why he hasn’t done one yet.
About The Author