Movieline Magazine March 1999 Party of Five Article
Ben Affleck radtiates a charming, make it look easy, smart alecky screen quality that allows him to play tyhe sort of "average guy" who isn't really very average at all. The role he cowrote and chose for himself in Good Will Hunting is the perfect example: as a construction worker who knows his blue collar limitations without necessarily having made peace with them, he pulled off the high wire act of playing abrasive yet likable, ingenuous yet claculating, resigned yet roiling with discontent. Affleck is also aces at projecting the kind of funny, hip, mordant and self deprecating presence Hollywood thrives on. Like Steve McQueen before him, he exudes a big galoot cool that efforlessly takes the curse off gimmicky actino scenes. Like McQueen,too, he has looks that offer a fresh alternative to the standard fare of even featured actor guys and he makes a natural offbeat screen lover. If he has yet to deomstrate he's got anything like the actor insensity of DiCaprio Edward Norton or his buddy, Matt Damon, neithe rhas he shown any limits to his possible range.
Affleck was stellar as the cocky Texas high school badass and freshman basher in Dazed and Confused; there hadn't been a small town teen character so simultaneously winning, ridiculous and hateful since Harrison Ford's i American graffiti. In Chasing Amy, he turned a heartbreaking outburst of yearning for an unattainable lesbian in to a staple for acting classes and audtitions all around town. In Armageddon, his offhanded, self mocking heroics melted the cheese right of the script. While his part in Shakespeare in Love seemed designed to keep him near off screen romantic partner Gwyneth Paltrow more than anything else, he was an unmistakably welcome presence whever the camer found him literaly waiting in the wings Ultimately, he possesses the resources to become one of our more indispensable all purpose leading men.
But despite success in mainstream Hollywood fare, Affleck is likely to stay close to the indie world. Upcoming, there's Kevin Smith's in your face Dogma, in which and Matt Damon will play angels booted out of heaven. There's also the comedic 200 Cigarettes in which a bunch of screwed up, angst-ridden teens and twenty somethings collide on New Year's Eve. In the big studio comedy/romance-cum-disaster movie Forces of Nature, though he'll have the chance to become the first make costar since Keanu Reeves and Bill Pullman to light Sandra Bullock's fire and a major success there would have career-revving implications. Among the follow up big studio projects he's rumored to be considering is another pairing with Bruce Willis in the next Die Hard.
Clearly Affleck gets off on variety. Perhaps before toolong he'll pump the pissed off, wild hare quality he possesses and play the spectacular bad guy he's got in him. Imagine him as a coolly amoral type like Rich Gere's villion in Internal Affairs. In the meantime, on the evidence of thier chemistry in Good Will Hunting, it would be worth it for Affleck and Damon to test Hollywood's good will and brave the sophomore curse to collaborate on either Halfway House, thier project about workers in a Boston home for the mentally impaired, or Like a Rock, their buddy project. These two ought to be paired on screen as often as they've got material to run with. Together they could be a Paul Newman and Robert Redford for our scrappier, dressed down, ironly drenched era."