Could've Ben Better

Ben Affleck has been disappointing.

I look at Affleck, who has a new film coming out soon---a movie that he directed, wrote, and stars in---and I can't help but think that he could have been so much more.

It's been 13 years, believe it or not, since the 38-year-old Affleck burst onto the scene in Good Will Hunting, a film he co-wrote and co-starred in with Matt Damon about a math wiz who needs guidance.

The movie introduced us to Affleck, a nice-looking, well-spoken young man who looked to be the next big box office male lead. Co-star Damon seemed a tad too nerdy looking to assume that mantle.

But something happened on the way to stardom for Affleck. He made a lot of so-so movies; some were downright awful.

He could have been so much more.

There were some decent flicks: Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love, Boiler Room. But they weren't blockbusters, and they weren't yesterday. We're talking about a decade ago.

Instead, there's been Changing Lanes, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Surviving Christmas, and it hasn't been so much what Affleck has done, it's been what he hasn't --- which has become the matinee idol that so many of us thought he was destined to be.

He's done "Saturday Night Live" many times and he's poked fun at his failed relationship with Jennifer Lopez and he's not had a bad career---just not one that reached its potential. My opinion.

So here comes The Town, slated for a September 17 release, in which Affleck plays a career bank robber who starts to grow a conscience, while at the same time trying to elude the FBI.

Affleck is the biggest name in the cast, though fellow players like Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm are probably recognizable by face.

A movie star's career---and it's often different than an actor's, because there can be a distinct difference between actor and star---is at the mercy of variables outside the control of the player.
Script selection, though, is where the player has to be accountable. No one held a gun to Affleck's head and ordered him to do Surviving Christmas.

But Affleck is only 38. He can still turn things around. Maybe The Town is the vehicle that will help him to do that. We'll see.

I look at Ben Affleck and I don't see failure. I just don't see what I thought I'd be seeing, when he arrived on the scene in the late-1990s.

It's been an uneven career, where I thought he was destined for Burt Reynolds or Chevy Chase or George Clooney-like box office power.

But he's only 38. It's far from over.


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