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David Poland

By David Poland

Has Anyone Ever…

… had as high a profile as John Cameron Mitchell after making one film in his life, which grossed less than $4 million worldwide and couldn’t win one Indie Spirit Award with five nominations?

The guy is still a major face in indies over three and a half years later… and I hope he’s a great talent… but even his one film was based on an established theatrical success that was worked to perfection over years of work… and he did sign on to Tarnation… but geez… his follow-up film started casting two years ago… and I’m sure he’s a great guy… but Kevin Smith made two films in the three years after Clerks and six in the decade since… time to put some new chum in the water if this shark is supposed to keep swimming near that boat…

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17 Responses to “Has Anyone Ever…”

  1. Blue Stealer says:

    Smith has made six movies and promptly ruined the career of his buddy, Ben. He has that going for him at least.

  2. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Kev did nothing but give his friend a career, helped
    him get an Oscar, and continues to get the best
    performances out of Affleck then any other director
    Affleck has worked with. Oh the critics did not
    like Jersey Girl but critics have shown this holiday
    season that they seem to enjoy some of the fakest
    films ever made that do not have a lick of CGI
    in them.
    Smith shows the world that Affleck has talent. Now
    if only Affleck would take care of his woman, his
    possibly forth coming child, and maybe pick better\
    films. He will be all rosey.

  3. JT says:

    I think Roger Mitchell got Affleck’s best performance out of him. “Changing Lanes” is far superior to anything else he has done, before or since it.

  4. PeppersDad says:

    In my opinion, Affleck is a perfectly OK actor. I think his problem is that he never surpasses his material. So in quality films like Shakespeare in Love, Changing Lanes, Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting he gets the job done with a lot of charisma. But in Daredevil, Gigli, Surviving Christmas, etc., he sinks like a stone. Unlike a lot of people, I haven’t written him off yet. But after all this time in the public eye, throughout which he has displayed an especially keen intellect, he still hasn’t convinced me that he has a lot more innate talent than someone like Brad Pitt.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    I know I’m going to catch grief for saying this, but I’ve always thought Ben Affleck’s performance in “Bounce” was very under-rated. The arc he made from cocksure bravado through drunken guilt to desperate lunge at redemption — that really impressed me. No joke. Maybe he’s one of those impossibly handsome guys who are most impressive when they work AGAINST their good looks, to reveal weakness, uncertainty and self-loathing beneath the slick veneer. Kinda sorta like he did in “Changing Lanes.”

  6. Mark says:

    You’re right. Bounce was god awful. His career peaked with Dazed and Confused. He’s a character actor.

  7. PeppersDad says:

    Mark –
    You just used some jargon that some people here might not be familiar with. As someone in the industry, as you profess to be, please provide us with your experienced, learned definition of a character actor and how Affleck meets that definition.

  8. JT says:

    I too have not written off Affleck yet. He is capavle of good things and has done them before and will, no doubt, find something really worth doing again. Perhaps he should look for those directors who can reign his talents in. when he has been good in a film (SIL, GWH, CL, and, yes, even in the mostly forgettable “Bounce”), he seems to shut off that thing that drags his performances down. He would do better to stop working with the Michael Bays and work more with the likes of guys like Paul Greenglass, who got a great performance of minimilism from his friend Matt. maybe go lower budget (no Kevin Smith movies ever again…PLEASE!!!!) and do some independent work. After all, its not like he doesnt have the bank to sit in for the rest of his life.

  9. Mark says:

    Look at Ben’s best roles. Dazed and Confused. Good Will Hunting. Boiler Room. Shakespeare in Love. Mallrats. What do they all have in common? He was a supporting player and a character actor. His worst roles and movies? He was the lead. You follow me, Peppa? The guy needs to go back to his roots and stop going for the leads and crappy movies. He needs to take good roles and forget about his price tag. He needs to get back to doing the work.

  10. Joe S. says:

    Affleck is decent. His problem: People tried to make him a superstar, and that just didn’t work. He couldn’t suck up the pressure, he didn’t have the appeal, and worst of all, he just didn’t have the talent for it. He has about 8 facial expressions that offer little or no subtlety when it comes to his emotions. Oh, and the fact that many people in Hollywood tried to force his stardom didn’t help. I agree with Mark; he should be limited to just supporting roles.
    But forgive me for not jumping on the Kevin Smith bashing bandwagon that seems to be popular these days. I liked all of his films (including Jersey Girl), loved a couple of them.

  11. PeppersDad says:

    I follow you here, Mark. Yes, I tend to agree with you about Affleck. His career arc seems to be running parallel to that of Alec Baldwin: handsome, leading-man type; stands out in early supporting roles; keeps winding up on the gossip pages for his romantic involvements with starlets; politically active, liberal and articulate; can’t carry a movie on his own; particularly disappoints when trying to establish himself as an action hero; will likely find renewed appreciation when he returns to smaller roles.

  12. tylerfile says:

    Yes, Hedwig was a very fine movie, but it’s not exactly fair to say it got to be so good because the material was well-honed by being a long-running stage hit. On stage it was raw and immediate and real and very much meant for the theater, and on film it was a fresh newly-minted movie musical, very much for the cinema, kind of groundbreaking in the ways it told its story in musical cinema forms.

  13. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    If we are going to call Affleck a character actor.
    Then we all should be on agreement that Jude Law’s
    one as well. Yet, no film in which Law has ever
    been the MAIN STAR has ever made as much as any
    film in which Affleck has been the lead. So if
    Affleck gets pegged with that label, then Law
    should have it tattooed to his ass.
    And if Mark is in the industry. I have all
    sorts of sympathy for the industry.

  14. joe says:

    I am just gonna say one thing about Ben affleck…………Who is he?

  15. bicycle bob says:

    some guys are better off not being the main guy star. law and affleck are two of em

  16. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Look at that solid comment from bob. Good show
    there bob.

  17. bicycle bob says:

    when u pay attention and listen instead of sprouting off insults, u learn something Life guy. A good lesson for u this christmas season.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

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My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

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