by Eddie Winkle (NWM Staff Writer)
The other day I was walking (in the sweltering heat mind you) down some nameless street in New York. Since summer is starting to wind down there are movie posters a plenty. One that caught my eye was for a Mike Judge film, Extract. It’s being billed as the next Office Space. Of course just like any movie with a decent marketing budget, I see a series of signs. One with just the title, and the tagline that reads – This Labor Day, the creator of OFFICE SPACE heads back to work. Then I see one with Jason Bateman’s head. And still another poster with Mila Kunis (the 70s show chick). My interest was piqued. So IMDB’d it at work, and low and behold I see that Ben Affleck’s also in it. This is what? The like, umpteenth movie where Ben has dropped down in title star status. In Hollwoodland he had an “also starring” role, but at least he was on the poster. Granted his image was a bit smaller than Adrian Brody, but still. On the He’s Just Not That In To You poster, he was relegated to some “Love Boat” type guest star, circular thing at the bottom. And now, 2009, he didn’t even make the paper cut (well, if you don’t count the bottom teeny tiny credits).
I’m not about to pull a Mr. Crocker’s LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE / bro-mance routine. I’m just a simple New Yorker, baffled by Hollywood. I mean a decade (and change) ago this guy was on the stage receiving Oscar gold. Now, he barely makes film credits?
Look, we are more than a forgiving nation. Granting people (that fall from grace) one, two, three, even four chances at a comeback. Case in point, Mr. Vick had dogs fighting to the death. Puppies dying! Yet he did his time. And now he’s out, and an Eagle. So what did Ben do that was so bad? Bennifer 1? 2? As far as I can tell, his only real crime was poor movie judgment. And for that, we sentence him to eternal damnation. Just cause he decided to do Forces of Nature, Bounce, Jersey Girl and Reindeer Games (which admittedly, I happened to like). Even hits like Armageddon did nothing for him. Tinsel town forgives lots of things, but NOT an actor that makes 6 or more duds.
The way I see it, Ben has pretty much two choices. Stick to his lot in “non-movie poster-credit” life, OR try and beat the slump. If it was me, I’d do the following to kick the curse. Slum in TV-land. Get a role on some edgy, FX drama (with curse words), and shoot for an Emmy or Globe nod. OR, I’d go really, really indie, and play some daring “non-good looking” role – like some Hungarian, mute, leper artist or something. He does that, and I’m pretty sure he’ll escape Gigli 2.