Tommy Lee Jones has a career of crusty and cantankerous curmudgeons stretching back nearly 50 years. From working oil rigs in Texas, Jones ended up at Harvard rooming with eventual US Vice-President Al Gore. Despite some early successes in The Coal Miner’s Daughter and The Executioner’s Song, the veteran career actor really didn’t become a star until the early 1990s: after over 20 years of putting in his dues. Lonesome Dove, JFK, Under Siege, and then his Oscar-winning turn in The Fugitive turned him into one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors. Jones’s Texas roots always give him a grounded authenticity whether he’s playing a Man in Black, an ally of Lincoln, a military man or a grieving father. He is a master of economy with emotional range, allotting just enough for what the scene requires, but always leaving the audience with a feeling that there’s more going on behind his steely gaze. Quite simply, if you see Tommy Lee Jones is in a movie, you have to pay attention to it. Continue reading Tommy Lee Jones’s 10 Best Movies→
Ben Affleck has had a number of phases to his career in the 25 years plus he’s been in Hollywood. Starting out, Affleck and a number of young actors first gained notoriety in a number of Kevin Smith’s films (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, etc.) back when Kevin Smith actually made movies. Then he and his best friend Matt Damon had their Hollywood dream come true when their indie film, Good Will Hunting, in which they both wrote and starred, became one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of 1997 and the duo’s Oscar acceptance is one of the best of all-time. From there, Affleck entered a blockbuster phase that didn’t take. The scripts kept getting worse until he hit rock-bottom with Gigli, one of the most mocked films in recent memory.
Affleck, though, didn’t burn out. He started out as a writer, and he started picking quality scripts again. He also began directing, and he showed tremendous talent with Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo. Currently, his career is intertwined with being the current Batman (at least for the moment), and while I may not be a huge fan of any of the films he’s been Batman in (funnily enough he played Superman first in 2006’s Hollywoodland), I like his take on the character, but I’m not certain where the DCEU goes with a Batman in his mid-to-late 40s. Whatever’s next, I think Affleck should get back behind the camera, pick projects that highlight his strengths as an actor (he’s not the strongest, but his overall knowledge of the process gives him an edge), and make the movies he wants to make. Getting sucked into commercial Hollywood blockbusters is what broke his career the first time; I’d hate to see it happen again.
With Ben Affleck appointed as the new Batman, it’s appropriate to take a look back at his career as an actor and highlight his top 5 films. What you’ve got here is the Kevin Smith films and Good Will Hunting, then ten years of Affleck as a celebrity punchline and now Affleck the actor/director. It’s been a twisty road for him, but he has turned in some great performances. In addition to Batman/Superman, he’s also set to star in Gone Girl, the adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s novel directed by David Fincher. Good Affleck on the horizon. Here are my five favorite performances by Bfleck (I’m putting that out there as a new nickname).
2. Hollywoodland (where he plays, ironically, Superman…first to play both?) 3. Good Will Hunting (remember HIS performance, not the movie itself)