Every Ben Affleck Role, Ranked

Each Ben Affleck Function, Ranked

He’s a number one man, he’s a reluctant superhero, he’s a tabloid fixture, he’s identified for attempting to hold too many Dunkin’ Donuts drinks in a single journey. Ben Affleck is a legit American treasure, a square-jawed, cleft-chinned heartthrob who can actually act (and write, and direct, and smoke dejectedly). Affleck’s performed all of it in his thirty-year profession: taking residence a Greatest Screenplay Oscar in his mid-twenties, occurring to direct a Greatest Image winner, patting J-Lo’s butt within the “Jenny On The Block” video and re-patting for the paparazzi twenty years later. He’s grown up earlier than our eyes, from goateed ‘90s indie-movie boy to the brooding middle-aged cuckold within the just-released Deep Water, and we consider he’s worthy of celebration. So we right here at Esquire have taken it upon ourselves to rank his finest motion pictures. We did it Eurovision-style: everybody assigned factors to the highest ten objects of their Afflecktion, thereby leaving us with a definitive high 36. Right here they’re, plus just a few fast roundups of the flicks that acquired no love from our voters and may due to this fact not be thought-about Affleck Canon.


36. Gigli (2003)

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I don’t know the way Gigli ended up on the backside. Everybody concerned on this record, apart from me, has failed you, the reader. Affleck stars as Larry Gigli, a Los Angeles mobster who’s tasked with kidnapping somebody’s mentally challenged youthful brother. Whose youthful brother? It doesn’t matter. Let the plot take you. Anyway, Gigli’s boss doesn’t think about him, so he sends a backup within the type of Ricki, a lesbian performed by Jennifer Lopez. But additionally, Ricki isn’t a lesbian. She’s the lover of Ben Affleck in actual life, which suggests she should be the lover of Ben Affleck’s character. I’ll be frank with you. I don’t keep in mind how the movie ends. I simply keep in mind the way it made me really feel, and that was as excessive as a kite. Like, think about being in a Okay gap whereas listening to “Love Don’t Value a Factor” backwards. That’s Gigli. This movie has a 6 p.c on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests they had been doing one thing so mistaken that it felt proper. It additionally stars Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. I can’t be elaborating on their roles. —Justin Kirkland

Amazon Hulu

35. “Lifestories: Households In Disaster” A Physique To Die For: The Aaron Henry Story (1994)

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High-quality, it wasn’t launched theatrically. High-quality, it’s not technically a film. High-quality, it’s like thirty minutes lengthy. However this episode of HBO’s entry into the Afterschool Particular house is Ben’s first correct starring function, and it’s due to this fact worthy of appreciation. He stars as a highschool soccer participant beneath stress to carry out, who decides to beef up through the use of steroids, instantly Hulks the fuck out, and is on his bed room ground pleading for God’s mercy–writhing, pounding, performing–faster than you’ll be able to say the undertaking’s full title. It’s a giant alternative for our man, and he eats. (He eats steroids.) It’s tight, its credit score sequence could be very Saturday Morning All-Star Hits, and it has 4 colons in its identify. —Dave Holmes

34. Altering Lanes (2002)

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This stable twist-of-fate thriller was a change-up for each Notting Hill director Roger Michell and for Affleck, who at this level in his profession had hardly ever performed characters who resided within the shades-of-grey ethical center floor. The explanation it really works in addition to it does is as a result of Affleck’s costar, Samuel L. Jackson, appears to problem him to lift his sport. A string of coincidences involving a automotive accident on the way in which to the courthouse pushes the bounds of credulity, nevertheless it works effectively sufficient to pit the 2 actors in opposition to each other in an escalating cat-and-mouse sport of revenge. Affleck cranks his smarm to eleven, but additionally exhibits us a glimmer of humanity beneath his shark’s exterior. Altering Lanes type of got here and went when it was first launched, nevertheless it’s price a revisit to see Affleck and Jackson sq. off. —CN

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max Hulu

33. Forces of Nature (1999)

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For some time there on the tail finish of the ‘90s, it seemed like our man Ben was going to be Hollywood’s subsequent romantic main man. The animal crackers scene with Liv Tyler in Armageddon was the match that lit that exact hearth. However the actual check case got here with this limp screwball comedy through which Affleck was paired with Sandra Bullock as a pair of meet-cutes who meet on his option to get married to Maura Tierney. Affleck + Bullock (in kooky mode, no much less) will need to have seemed like a sure-fire hit within the pitch assembly. However, on celluloid, it didn’t fairly work. The 2 meet-cutes begin to fall for each other throughout rain gales and hail storms as he tries to get to the church on time. Sadly, their chemistry is even worse than the script. This one is waterlogged by and thru. –Chris Nashawaty

Amazon

32. Bounce (2000)

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Coming off his indie triumph The Reverse of Intercourse, Don Roos wrote and directed this romantic…tragedy? Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the finish of their real-life relationship on this one, taking part in a cocky promoting govt and the widow he falls in love with. Oh, however Affleck has a secret: he swapped airplane tickets with Paltrow’s husband, placing him on the flight that crashed and killed him. It’s really much less enjoyable than it sounds, and among the many lesser of Affleck’s many, many cocky on-screen alcoholics. –DH

Amazon AppleTV+ Paramount+

NO VOTES! The Indie Boi Years

For just a few years within the ‘90s and early ‘00s, between College Ties and the second once we got here to a collective understanding that it was AFFleck and never afFLECK, Ben took his probabilities with just a few unbiased movies, and…effectively, not each wager pays off. In 1995’s Glory Daze he performs a misanthropic hipster on the eve of his school commencement and solutions the query “what if there have been a model of Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming through which it was unattainable to love any of the characters?” In 1997’s Going All The Means, which co-stars ‘90s indie uber-boi Jeremy Davies, he goes full matinee idol as a returning Korean Struggle veteran. After which in 2003, he appeared within the Miramax manufacturing The Third Wheel, through which, I don’t know, he has a goatee and owes Harvey Weinstein a favor. We’d say these motion pictures got here and went, however we have now no clear proof that they got here. (The Third Wheel is obtainable for rental on AppleTV+ and Amazon, the opposite two are misplaced endlessly.)

31. Phantoms (1998)

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The yr after Good Will Looking dropped, Burgeoning Ben appeared in three characteristic movies. One was Armageddon, through which he confirmed us his ability mimicking an Australian accent and championing the erotic qualities of animal crackers. One other was a bit half Shakespeare in Love which went on to win finest image on the 1998 Academy Awards. The final was Phantoms, an adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel a couple of small ski resort city terrorized by a murder-ghost. Okay. So. The film was rightly savaged by critics—Roger Ebert gave a one-star score—and comatose performances by Peter O’Toole (wait what?) and Liev Schreiber (natch) don’t do a lot to prop up a script riddled with plot holes. Look I’m not right here to bury Phantoms, however as a substitute to reward a baby-faced Ben who, because the sheriff of Snowfield, Colorado hams his means by the one hour thirty six minute run time alternating between mock seriousness and sporting an unlimited shit consuming grin, elevating it into a movie that’s not fairly lowbrow good but additionally one thing you wouldn’t thoughts being performed at your native bar with the sound turned down. Because it seems Jay and Silent Bob had been certainly proper: Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo. —Daniel Dumas

30. To The Surprise (2013)

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Terrence Malick is one in all American cinema’s nice artists, so Affleck’s want to collaborate with him on To the Surprise–the director’s 2012 follow-up to his critically hailed The Tree of Life–appeared like a surefire wager. What the actor in all probability didn’t notice, nonetheless, is that the acclaimed auteur would ask his headliner to carry out with out dialogue for nearly the whole lot of the 112-minute characteristic, save for voiceover that helps drive this story concerning the up-and-down romance shared by an American traveler and a divorced Ukrainian single mom (Olga Kurylenko), which is difficult by the previous’s relationship with an outdated buddy (Rachel McAdams). Malick’s movie boasts loads of twirling, all of it shot fantastically by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. But no quantity of pretty aesthetics can likelihood the truth that this lyrical endeavor is dramatically inert, and that goes double for Affleck’s flip, which is principally comprised of amorous and forlorn posing that takes minimal benefit of the star’s appeal. –Nick Schager

Amazon AppleTV+

29. Jay And Silent Bob Strike Again (2001)

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The Jay and Silent Bobiverse (identified parochially because the View Askewniverse) is huge and deep, and whereas JASBSB is a basic, it’s no Clerks or Dogma. (You must also watch these, together with Chasing Amy earlier than making an attempt this one.) This film additionally loses factors on this explicit record as a result of Ben Affleck’s inclusion is much less a task to have any enjoyable with than it’s a touch upon his ubiquity. He performs Holden, the creator of the Jay and Silent Bob characters, in addition to a model of himself, Ben Affleck, star of this record. It’s rather a lot to soak up, however in the event you’re a fan of flicks about motion pictures, it’s the proper flick. -Kevin Sintumuang

Amazon AppleTV+ Hulu

28. 200 Cigarettes (1999)

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MTV Productions tried to make a modern-day American Graffiti, and…effectively, they nailed the casting. The film will get early-career Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo and Dave Chappelle, newly-young-adult Christina Ricci and Gaby Hoffman, post-SNL Jay Mohr, pre-LTW Nicole Ari Parker, and a slumming Courtney Love. Ben performs a bartender named “Bartender,” whose entire job is to be sizzling and elusive. He succeeds. It’s a double throwback: a really 1999 film set on New 12 months’s Eve 1981, and only for that, it’s price watching. (Good luck; it’s streaming nowhere.) –DH

27. He is Simply Not That Into You

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Ah, He is Simply Not That Into You. 9 individuals! 4(ish) love tales! One film you’ve in all probability forgotten. Our man Benny performs a dude with dedication points, who realizes that he very a lot must recover from his dedication points if he needs to marry Jennifer Anist—er, Beth. Affleck performs this dude, named Neil, to completely enough A-list-romcom-lead requirements. (I.e. someplace between Timberlake and McConaughey.) “I want you to cease being good to me until you’re going to marry me after, ” Beth says. Aww, how cute. Candy nothings like which can be the inspiration of any love story.—Brady Langmann

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max

NO VOTES! Wait, These Occurred?

We’re going to be trustworthy with you: there are just a few credit on Affleck’s IMDB web page that we’re fairly certain are pretend film posters from the partitions of Tracy Jordan’s dressing room. Daddy and Them is outwardly a Billy Bob Thornton-Laura Dern romantic comedy– you recognize, a type of–that has a theme track by John Prine and Iris DeMent, and we don’t even do not forget that. 2007’s Man About City went direct to DVD, which could disqualify it if we remembered it, however we don’t, in order that undoubtedly disqualifies it. He apparently starred reverse Justin Timberlake in 2013’s Runner Runner; perhaps JT was too busy selling The 20/20 Expertise to inform anybody about it. Affleck is on his go well with and tie shit on the poster for Stay By Evening, however as with co-star Sienna Miller, I’m wanting proper at it and it sparks zero recognition. The Final Factor He Needed is a political thriller primarily based on a Joan Didion guide (!), co-starring Anne Hathaway (!!) and directed by Dee Rees (!!!), nevertheless it was launched in January 2020 and will need to have been washed out of our temporal lobe by Covid panic. There isn’t a disgrace on this. Not each single film goes to stay. Sorry to this man. (Man About City is on Amazon and AppleTV+, The Final Factor He Needed on Netflix, Runner Runner on Amazon, Hulu, HBO Max.)

26. Paycheck (2003)

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Has a film title ever been extra on the nostril? On this soulless sci-fi potboiler, Affleck takes the cash and runs as quick as his toes will take him. Paycheck is a horrible film. It’s nearly unattainable to consider that it was directed by John Woo and primarily based on a Philip Okay. Dick quick story. Nonetheless, even when Paycheck was a masterpiece (which, once more, it most definitely shouldn’t be) it could have arrived with the stink of Gigli connected to it because it was Affleck’s first movie after that infamous trainwreck. Massive Ben does what he can as a hot-shot reverse engineer who’s employed to do some company soiled work after which get his reminiscence of the soiled deed’s particulars erased for a hefty price, however the greatest sin of Paycheck is simply how aggressively bland the entire thing is. After watching it, you’ll in all probability need your reminiscence erased too. –CN

Amazon AppleTV+ Paramount+

25. Dogma (1999)

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What extra fundamental cinematic pleasure is there than watching Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in a film collectively? I’d wager: watching them play two “fallen angels” attempting to make their means again into the large man’s good graces as type of mirror photographs of one in all cinema’s different nice duos, Jay and Silent Bob. In addition, the film is a good primer on faith in the event you grew up exterior the church and a biggest hits record in the event you grew up in it. There’s no level in summarizing the plot; it could be like summarizing the Bible itself. Chaos begets extra chaos, heathens lie with heathens. An ideal film to look at whereas feeling stoned and sacrilegious. —Kelly Stout

24. Triple Frontier (2019)

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Arguably probably the most notable facet of J.C. Chandor’s 2019 action-thriller is that it’s the manufacturing that begat the beach-photo revelation about Affleck’s wonderful rising-phoenix again tattoo. Nonetheless, there’s a bit extra to this Netflix enterprise than simply its star’s notorious ink. Pairing Affleck with Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund, Chandor’s story considerations a gaggle of ex-military buddies who reunite to rob a narcotics kingpin, and whereas most of its characters have been conceived in strictly one dimension, Affleck receives the lion’s share of meaty materials with which to work. As a divorced father satisfied that this job will assist him keep near his child, the actor seems to be the stunning heart of Chandor’s gritty morality play. There isn’t a variety of meat on this typical style effort’s bones, however Affleck invests his protagonist with a sweaty desperation and dogged greed that curdles in surprising vogue. Consequently, he proves to be probably the most partaking aspect of this macho saga. –NS

Netflix

23. State of Play (2009)

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A political thriller that’s additionally a journalistic whodunit is the last word Hollywood twofer, however not since All The King’s Males has a film efficiently pulled one off. State of Play comes shut due to Affleck’s portrayal as Stephen Collins —a rising star politician with one too many secrets and techniques to maintain. Performing alongside Russell Crowe (in peak scruffy type as an ageing newspaper reporter), Affleck doesn’t miss a beat, whilst all of the lies start to undo his character’s profession. There could be one too many sensational plot twists in State of Play, however due to Affleck’s understated efficiency, the movie nonetheless goes down simple. –Abigail Covington

Amazon AppleTV+ Hulu

22. Hollywoodland (2006)

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After his lengthy season in hell as a tabloid casualty, it was getting troublesome to take any new Affleck film critically. He had change into a punchline. The one means again, it appeared, was to stroll the stations of the cross, take his lumps, and someway remind everybody that he was a reasonably first rate actor. Properly, that likelihood for redemption lastly got here with this juicy thriller concerning the life and dying of George Reeves, the B-movie actor who performed Superman on tv within the ‘50s. A shroud of doubt has at all times swirled round Reeves’ dying—did he commit suicide or was he murdered? And Affleck juices that outdated Tinseltown whodunit with simply the correct quantity of hysteria, self-loathing, and pale glamor. Hollywoodland couldn’t have come at a greater second in Affleck’s EKG-like profession arc. It was precisely the reminder everybody (and doubtless most of all, himself) wanted to show as soon as and for all that he was an actor first and a Nationwide Enquirer punching bag second. –CN

Amazon AppleTV+

21. The Sum of All Fears (2002)

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In school I had this schtick the place my dirtbag mates and I’d sneak a thermos crammed with 151 rum into the theater and play drunk film bingo. At some point we went to see The Sum of All Fears and I needed to take a pull each time Ben seemed confused by fundamental plot factors within the movie. (Let’s simply say I wasn’t in a position to stroll out beneath my very own energy.) Twenty years therefore that is what I recall from that Tuesday morning matinee. Ben performs CIA analyst-nerd Jack Ryan who’s dispatched by Morgan Freeman—portraying both the director of the CIA or perhaps the president of the US—to assist cease a nuclear weapons deal between some very dangerous dudes and the newly elected president of Russia who shouldn’t be Vladimir Putin however can also be kinda Vladimir Putin. Issues go completely loco when the dangerous dudes steal a nuclear bomb and—I’m not kidding—use it to fully destroy Baltimore. I assumed this was an enormous enchancment for the town however many characters within the film (together with Ben) didn’t. Anyway! Issues get actual fuzzy for me after this however I’m fairly certain Ben makes use of his analyst-nerd expertise to save lots of the day and forestall World Struggle III. This brings me to the next conclusions: 1. Tom Clancy variations are finest loved with a big format container of excessive proof liquor. 2. In gentle of present occasions I hope the US authorities employs a whole military of Ben Affleck-like analysts-nerds. —DD

Amazon AppleTV+ Netflix

20. The Accountant (2016)

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A mere seven months after debuting as Hollywood’s latest and nastiest Batman, Affleck once more switched into dual-identity crime-fighting mode with The Accountant, director Gavin O’Connor’s thriller about an knowledgeable forensic accountant named Chris who spends his days exposing felony monetary malfeasance, and his nights executing the worst of the worst as a employed murderer. Mainly, he’s the Darkish Knight if the superhero was a geek whose biggest weapon was his autistic thoughts. This performs as ridiculously because it sounds, partly as a result of Affleck takes his function very critically, imbuing Chris with ruthless mental and bodily precision. Educated in martial arts, an admirer of basic artwork, and bestowed with a Robin Hood-ish want to take from the wealthy and provides again to the poor, he’s an amalgam of quite a few characters audiences have seen earlier than. Although Affleck’s stoic flip contributes to the fabric’s cartoonishness, there’s additionally appreciable pleasure available from his no-nonsense routine as a butt-kicking number-cruncher. –NS

Amazon AppleTV+

NO VOTES! The Lesser Superheroes

Our Ben by no means did appear snug behind a masks, and with that face, neither would you. 2003’s Daredevil made $180 million globally, not sufficient to persuade him to do a sequel. “Carrying a dressing up was a supply of humiliation for me,” Affleck mentioned on the London premiere of Hollywoodland, “and one thing I would not wish to do once more quickly.” He did it once more, as Batman in 2016’s 2.5 hour endurance occasion Batman v Superman (which made the record), then adopted up a Suicide Squad cameo with Justice League (which didn’t, a minimum of in its authentic type), after which he acquired fed up and give up The Batman. I assume the excellent news is that he cleared the way in which for Robert Pattinson?

(The DC motion pictures are on HBO Max, Daredevil is on Hulu)

19. Reindeer Video games (2000)

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Few administrators have boasted a extra strikingly muscular visible model than John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, The Practice, Seconds, Ronin), and that remained true together with his cinematic swan track, 2000’s Reindeer Video games, which additionally includes a compellingly gung-ho efficiency from Affleck as an ex-con who assumes his useless cell mate’s identification with a purpose to get together with his woman (Charlize Theron), solely to wind up embroiled in a harmful on line casino heist. That is brazen B-movie territory, dealt with with all of the insane plot twists and over-the-top scenery-chewing that one may count on. The pulp is thick, and Affleck appears completely snug wallowing in it, radiating a cocky tough-guy charisma that’s constantly successful even when the story threatens to drive off a cliff (each figuratively and, in the end, actually). Nobody will ever give the actor an award for indulging in such down-and-dirty style fare, however there are few early Affleck efforts that stay as amusingly entertaining as this one. –NS

Amazon Showtime

18. Shakespeare In Love (1998)

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Perhaps this one can be greater up if there had been extra Ben. Gwyneth Paltrow has claimed that Harvey Weinstein needed Affleck to play William Shakespeare on this one, to which she insisted they get a correct Brit. As a substitute, he will get an prolonged cameo as Ned Alleyn, the best actor of his era, and the accent doesn’t precisely work, however the swagger completely does. This movie received Greatest Image, however extra importantly it launched him to Paltrow, whom he dated for 3 years, thereby kicking off the Tabloid Period of Ben Affleck. –DH

Amazon AppleTV+

17. College Ties (1992)

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Affleck’s correct film debut, alongside a veritable Abercrombie & Fitch catalog of fellow newcomers: Chris O’Donnell, Brendan Fraser, Cole Hauser, Randall Batinkoff, and future collaborator Matt Damon. It performs like a Very Particular Episode of Useless Poets Society, specializing in anti-semitism among the many younger American elite. Affleck doesn’t have a lot to do right here past being good-looking and vaguely menacing, however he’s good at that. Enjoyable truth: the screenplay was written by Dick Wolf, who was then within the early seasons of a struggling NBC police procedural referred to as Legislation & Order. –DH

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max Hulu

16. Mallrats (1995)

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Ben Affleck has performed a variety of sleazy guys over the course of his profession, however none of them maintain a candle to the O.G. of sleaze—Mallrats’ villain Shannon Hamilton. What a d-bag. Affleck aces the function of Hamilton, outfitting the supervisor of the famed Eden Prairie Mall’s Modern Male clothes retailer in an infuriating sense of entitlement that makes the character’s inevitable downfall all of the extra rewarding. Mallrats marks Affleck’s first collaboration with Kevin Smith, who himself was simply getting began on constructing out the View Askewniverse when Mallrats was launched (and went straight to video) in 1995. Since then, each gents have gone on to extend and extra necessary movies, however Mallrats nonetheless reigns as probably the most enjoyable. —AC

Amazon AppleTV+

15. Zach Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

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Affleck’s flip as a jaded, middle-aged Batman is oddly spot on in a life-imitating artwork sort of means—it’s Sadfleck as Bruce Wayne. Zach Snyder’s Justice League offers Batfleck further broodiness, overshadowing the zingers of the Joss Whedon model of the movie. Appropriately, Affleck retired from the function for very Sadfleck causes, calling it a “nadir” expertise and saying “I didn’t like being there.” However he did return to shoot one final scene with Jared Leto’s Joker. It didn’t take a lot for Affleck to don the cowl once more. Snyder referred to as him and mentioned “Pay attention, bro…I believe it’d be cool to see” and Affleck was like, “Yeah bud. For you, I’ll do it.” —KS

AppleTV+ HBO Max

14. Deep Water (2022)

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Ben’s newest is a difficult one to rank. Why? As a result of it falls squarely into that responsible pleasure gray space, the place the road between ridiculousness and greatness will get mighty blurry. Primarily based on a kinky Patricia Highsmith story, Adrian Lyne’s throwback to his ’80s erotic thriller heyday (9 1/2 Weeks, Deadly Attraction) stars Affleck as a super-rich, morally shady brainiac with two apparent weaknesses: his fondness for amassing snails (metaphor alert…or simply plain eccentricity for eccentricity’s sake?) and his unusual devotion to his red-hot, overtly philandering spouse (Ana de Armas). Lyne toggles between steamy intercourse scenes and jealous rage like a attractive virtuoso whereas we’re left to guess if Massive Ben, beneath his seemingly placid demeanor, is man sufficient to own a vengeful, murderous darkish aspect (take a wild guess). By any commonplace metric, Deep Water is trash. However it’s the sort of trash that is aware of precisely what it is doing and succeeds by itself ludicrously tawdry phrases. —CN

Hulu

13. Batman v Superman: Daybreak of Justice (2016)

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Many males have donned the cape and cowl as Gotham’s nocturnal vigilante, and whereas Affleck’s maiden outing because the crime-fighter wasn’t significantly well-received by critics or audiences, Batman v Superman: Daybreak of Justice’s underwhelming displaying in the end had little to do together with his efficiency. Taking part in an older, grimmer Batman–so offended he really manufacturers his victims!–Affleck exudes a measure of gravity and fury that’s in tune with the dour environment of Zack Snyder’s would-be DC Comics epic. Pitted in opposition to Henry Cavill’s Man of Metal, this Batman is as bodily stout as he’s obsessively decided, pushed by resentment over the Kryptonian interloper’s god-like energy, and rage at his obvious indifference to humanity’s plight. There isn’t a variety of humor to this portrayal of the enduring crusader; as a substitute, Affleck infuses the character with a bone-deep weariness over misplaced lives and seemingly unwinnable wars. He’s the glue that holds Snyder’s sprawling, uneven movie collectively–a borderline-heroic job itself. –NS

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max

12. Pearl Harbor (2001)

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During which Michael Bay throws a pair hundred million {dollars} on the display screen in an try to inform his model of America’s day that may stay in infamy. That is an epic that encapsulates every thing that was mistaken with Hollywood in 2001. The Japanese bombing of Hawaii is handled as little greater than an unique backdrop for a love-triangle cleaning soap opera involving Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, and Massive Ben. Solemn historical past and Bay’s sizzle-reel method to filmmaking become predictably unusual bedfellows, whereas Affleck’s Tennessee flyboy simply will get misplaced amidst all the big-budget shock and awe folly of all of it. Pearl Harbor is proof that the highway to cinematic hell is paved with good intentions. –CN

Amazon AppleTV+

NO VOTES! The Sub-Smiths

On the danger of alienating the View Askew-niverse, Kevin Smith’s artistic output is uneven in high quality, even when Ben Affleck is concerned. Generally they make what for Smith is a mass-appeal film, like Dogma, typically they provide the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot no person requested for. Unhealthy Gigli press and end-of-Bennifer buzz doomed Jersey Lady on the field workplace, and eighteen years later no person right here included it amongst their favorites. And at last, whereas Smith made his identify with Clerks, Clerks II didn’t join with our tradition crew, and our analysis signifies a Clerks III is on the way in which. Most tragically, any discuss of Kevin Smith reminds us of that tweet– YOU KNOW THE ONE– so let’s change the topic. After this…

(Reboot is on Amazon and AppleTV+, Jersey Lady on Amazon, AppleTV+, and HBO Max, Clerks II is on Amazon)

11. Chasing Amy (1997)

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25 years later, and Chasing Amy nonetheless bamboozles the queer neighborhood. Is it an ahead-of-its-time and provocative portrait of bisexuality? Or a tonedeaf movie that each invalidates and overtly sexualizes the lesbian expertise? It’s each and neither. Largely, it’s a movie a couple of geeky dude named Holden, performed by a younger goateed Ben Affleck, who lets his insecurities wreck a relationship with a reasonably rad comedian guide author, performed by ‘90s various it woman, Joey Laurence Adams. For all of its problematic optics, Chasing Amy will at all times be proper about one factor: proposing a threesome is not going to assist you to win again your ex—sorry Holden. —AC

Amazon AppleTV+ Hulu

10. Boiler Room (2000)

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A not-bad cautionary story launched on the heels of the bursting of the dot.com bubble, novice writer-director Ben Youthful’s morality play stars Giovanni Ribisi as a gullible, formidable younger turk who fleeces people by pitching them junk shares from a testosterone-drenched Lengthy Island chop-shop brokerage filled with macho banter and musky pheromones. Like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, Affleck will get the flashiest function because the alpha-recruiter who initiates new salesmen by questioning their manhood and barking Mametian arias of motivational snake oil. For sure, the function matches him as completely as a bespoke Armani go well with. He steals every thing that’s price stealing within the film. –CN

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9. The Means Again (2019)

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The Means Again drew the quick stick. Ben Affleck’s startlingly private basketball movie, the place he performs a highschool coach combating alcoholism, debuted on March 1, 2020. It’s the final movie I noticed in theaters, you recognize, at the start. I believe, clearly, a hell of much more individuals would’ve seen The Means Again if it premiered in 2019, or 2023, as a result of it’s one in all Affleck’s finest movies. He pulls off the ache of a burnout who retains getting in his personal means. Greater than that, The Means Again is a throwback to a misplaced period of sports activities film—the Bear in mind the Titans days of the ’90s and ’00s, the place filmmakers weren’t afraid to be shamelessly inspirational. Perhaps it’s the movie we would have liked in the course of the pandemic. As a substitute, we acquired it two weeks early.—BL

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8. The Tender Bar (2021)

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All the weather that make Ben Affleck Ben Affleck– the sleepy-eyed appeal, the self-conscious swagger, the chin– come collectively on this adaptation of JR Moehringer’s 2005 memoir, and serve his character completely. As Uncle Charlie, the book-reading, bartending, typically blunt father determine in JR’s life, Affleck offers a lived-in, relaxed efficiency and makes you thirsty for a whiskey on the rocks. You won’t take his recommendation, however you’ll be able to’t take your eyes off him. It’s a testomony to his efficiency right here that I don’t keep in mind a lot else concerning the film. –DH

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7. The Final Duel (2021)

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There comes some extent in an A-list actor’s profession the place their fame eclipses their abilities, which means that regardless of how wonderful their performances could also be, it’s unattainable to see something however the man from the tabloids. For me, Affleck crossed that threshold a very long time in the past, however in The Final Duel, he redeemed himself. Affleck is the most effective he’s been in years as Rely Pierre d’Alençon, a bawdy, boorish medieval nobleman hellbent on destroying Matt Damon’s life (the Rely gleefully dismisses Damon’s character as “fucking boring”). Sporting a bleach-blonde bowl reduce and a goatee to match, Affleck is unrecognizable, nevertheless it’s not simply the get-up permitting him to soften into the function; it’s the way in which he fully offers himself over to this venal, imperious asshole, and steals each scene alongside the way in which. —Adrienne Westenfeld

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6. Armageddon (1998)

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I can’t make this complete entry concerning the scene the place Ben Affleck walks an animal cracker, seductively, up Liv Tyler’s torso whereas talking in an Australian accent. I ought to, however I received’t. I’ll nonetheless embrace a hyperlink to the video as a result of it’s cinema at its peak. Armageddon is an ideal movie, in a variety of methods. Not excellent within the sense that it was robbed of Oscars, however excellent in that while you’re hungover at 2pm on a Saturday, discovering Armageddon taking part in on TBS feels such as you’ve hit the lottery. Armageddon is the height of catastrophe movies. Starring Affleck, Tyler, Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Steve Buscemi (??), a group of ragtag drillers and consultants should intercept an asteroid, blow it up, and save the world. It’s fairly easy, however while you fold within the melodrama and the proper film track from Aerosmith, what you’ve got here’s a kind of movie that they merely don’t make anymore: good, pulpy, finish occasions enjoyable that’s meant to entertain the pants off of you. —JK

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NO VOTES! The Merely Unloved

Jason Bateman ketamine comedy Extract did not excite our judges the way in which the phrases “Jason Bateman ketamine comedy” excited you simply now. 2004’s Surviving Christmas was nominated for the Worst Image Razzie Gigli had received the yr earlier than, however even the very wholesome urge to wedgie these Razzies assholes wasn’t sufficient to get it on the record. (It misplaced to Catwoman, clearly.) In 2010, The Firm Males introduced Affleck again to his native Boston, acquired a restricted theatrical launch for Oscar qualification, acquired no nominations, and acquired one fewer vote from our tradition group than Gigli did, which is to say none. Nonetheless a wonderful profession, Ben. Please don’t smoke dejectedly over this.

(Extract is on Amazon, AppleTV+, HBO Max, and Hulu, Surviving Christmas didn’t survive to the streaming age nevertheless it and The Firm Males can be found for lease on AppleTV+.)

5. Dazed and Confused (1993)

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Richard Linklater’s Foghat-fueled ode to being a Texas teen on the eve of the American Bicentennial is likely one of the biggest coming-of-age tales ever made. The casting is prescient lightning in a bottle, the characters are absolutely realized reasonably than two-dimensional cartoons, and the time and place are so vivid you’ll be able to nearly style the stale beer and scent the skunk weed. Because the movie’s resident upperclassman bully O’Bannion, Affleck delights in beating on pipsqueak freshmen as a result of…effectively, as a result of he can. Affleck exhibits the viewers the glint of sadistic glee in his character’s eyes, however in the event you squint laborious sufficient, you may also be capable to make out the sweaty insecurity of somebody who’s attempting to compensate for some unstated psychological wound. Both means, he’s a complete asshole—a sort Affleck can play in his sleep. Like Matthew McConaughey’s scene-stealing Wooderson, Affleck is hardly the movie’s principal character, however he is aware of precisely what to do with each second of display screen time he’s given. –CN

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4. The City (2010)

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Ben Affleck’s second-most Boston movie. (Scroll to No.1 to see his biggest homage to the Athens of America.) Besides this one options gruffer accents, a excessive stakes heist, and, within the case of Blake Vigorous, thicker eyeliner. As director, Affleck reached for a heady meditation on the tradition of crime. It’s not completely unappreciated however that’s not precisely what makes this movie good. Nah, right here, it’s all concerning the stakes. Will Claire uncover Doug’s previous—or worse, his current? Can Doug out-run his life? How the hell are they gonna shoot their means out of Fenway?? —Madison Useless

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3. Argo (2012)

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At first the main points of this story sound too insane to be true. Throughout the 1979 Iran hostage disaster a gaggle of American diplomats managed to slide out of the US Embassy and discover cowl on the Canadian Ambassador’s residence. They will’t stick round in Iran—in the event that they’re captured it’ll imply blindfolds, beatings, and bullets. The CIA hatches a scheme: have the diplomats pose as a pretend Canadian movie crew for a good faker low finances sci-fi film, head to the airport, and catch the primary flight out of city. To finish the ruse, the CIA units up a mock manufacturing workplace, writes a characteristic size script, and even enlists famed comedian guide artist Jack Kirby for instance the storyboards. Affleck pulls a double shift as director and as Tony Mendez, the profession covert operative charged with main the diplomats in a foreign country. Behind the digital camera Ben by no means lets his foot off the fuel, ratcheting up the strain with a mixture of harrowing motion sequences and excessive stress set items that make it really feel like the whole factor may unravel in probably the most catastrophic means doable. Affleck portrays Mendez with quiet targeted depth, all too conscious of what may occur ought to his mission fail. Whereas there are some scenes that had been invented for the sake of dramatic impact—good day tarmac chase—the 2 hour run time rips by so breathlessly it’s simple to see why Argo is the explanation Ben has twice the variety of Oscars than Matt. —DD

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2. Gone Lady (2014)

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As somebody who hails from Missouri, I cherish this chance to have my residence state be the setting of such a extremely regarded movie. Sadly, that sick home surrounding Lake Ozark, belonging to the character Desi—which we solely see for just a few moments earlier than effectively, you recognize—is the one factor that appears good on this darkish thriller. Everybody else is a liar, a cheater, or completely psychopathic. However boy is Ben good at this lane of man! He performs a louche with such weight—such an intoxicating mix of defensiveness, remorse, and whoopsie-daisy that, when you by no means can fairly resolve in the event you’ll root for him, you can’t look away. —MV

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1. Good Will Looking (1997)

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Affleck has had fairly a profession, however while you put collectively a listing of his finest movies, how can Good Will Looking not be on the high? Penned with Hollywood finest buddy Matt Damon, it scratches all of the itches of an Affleck basic: Boston-set, scrappiness as an endearing high quality, and a sensible older determine who is ready to information a younger man out of a troublesome state of affairs. (Thought: Armageddon ought to have been set in Boston.) With all the important thing elements in place, all that’s left is to fill this good screenplay with coronary heart. For many who have someway not seen the movie, Good Will Looking follows Will Looking, an excellent self-taught genius who’s a janitor at Boston’s MIT. Naturally, after a great ol’ Boston brawl, Looking can escape jail if he applies his savant-like arithmetic ability and attends court-mandated remedy. Via each, he reveals his true potential. And within the course of, Affleck, Damon, and Robin Williams give the performances of their careers. —JK

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