Ben Affleck, I consider, one of the finer actor/directors of our generation. This is a hill I’m ready to die on. At the tender age of 25, Affleck won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for writing Good Will Hunting (with his childhood friend, Matt Damon!) and then later directed the Best Picture winner, Argo. But forget all that. This is the man who starred in Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and portrayed Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice! The Batfleck!
I still remember when the casting decision was announced for Snyder’s movie– the internet went positively ballistic hearing the news. People were hysterical and completely beside themselves. I still remember all of the memes which plentifully abounded.
Honestly, I’ve never fully understood all of the Ben Affleck hate. Sure, he was in his fair share of Michael Bay summer blockbusters (two). But is that such a crime? Later in life, he did smaller, more intimate movies like The Town, Triple Frontier, and The Way Back. Moreover, his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone was highly acclaimed and he was also the same guy in Shakespeare in Love which I remember won tons of awards! So this morning, I explored this topic. (Sometimes I’m curious about the grand mysteries; some other days, the more mundane.)
So it turns out, after a two-minute Google investigation, the consensus seems to be that Ben Affleck gets a lot of hate because of his off-screen tabloid life. I don’t remember this, but apparently “Bennifer” was a thing when he dated Jennifer Lopez decades ago and that material became tabloid fodder. Also, he eventually married and divorced Jennifer Garner and people seem upset with that. Again, I obviously know nothing of the details. But as David Plotz remarked on this past week’s SPG episode, “Every couple’s marriage is a foreign country.” We honestly have no idea what is going on there. Zero. It bewilders me and strikes me extremely irresponsible for people to even speculate on the innerworkings of the marriages of others. Totally ridiculous.
Other than cursory searches, I really don’t know anything specific about Ben Affleck– his Wikipedia page does state that he and several family members (two grandparents) have long suffered from a history of addiction problems. Both grandparents died by eventual suicide.
Man, I learned more about Ben Affleck this morning than I ever knew. I simply knew him from his movies; I certainly don’t know him as a person. But I’ve enjoyed much of his work which has brought me great joy in my own life. Ben Affleck, wherever you are, I wish you well and hope you are happy.