It's kind of silly but I pride myself in "discovering" underrated and/or overlooked talent. Ryan and I were lobbying for Obama when he was still just a senator in Illinois before the presidential race began. I recognized Heath Ledger's acting ability in "Monster's Ball" before anyone else took him seriously (RIP Heath, I still love you). And I remained steadfast in my love for Leonardo DiCaprio while the rest of the world mocked him for his performances in "Romeo + Juliet" and "Titanic."
I wasn't like the other 8th grade girls. While they were swooning after Leo, printing pictures of him off of our school computers and covering their binders with his black and white face. They fell in love with Romeo, his sensitivity, his squinty-eyed good looks. I fell in love with his acting chops. Though I didn't mind the looks.
Leo had been on my radar since joining the "Growing Pains" cast. I thought he was super cute and such a contrast to Kirk Cameron's curly-haired goody-two-shoes Christian exterior. Luke had a bad streak that I found quite attractive.
After graduating from television, Leo moved on to movies such as "This Boy's Life," "The Basketball Diaries," and his Oscar-nominated "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Despite critically acclaimed performances in all three of these, Leo didn't make an impression to the American public until "Romeo + Juliet" in 1996.
While girls everywhere gave their heart to Leo, the media made fun of his new heartthrob persona. It got even worse when he came out with "Titanic" a year later. Despite winning an Oscar for Best Picture, people still call it the most overrated movie of all-time. I agree that not every Oscar winner is fully deserving (come on, "Shakespeare in Love" over "Saving Private Ryan?" Or worse, "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain?" What???) but "Titanic" still has its merits and Leo deserved more recognition than what he received.
Thankfully his movie choices lately have completely redeemed himself reaffirmed my support for him as an actor. And who am I kidding, he's so cute!
Now I am using my ability of seeking out mainstream actors and seeing their potential to promote Ben Affleck and his, hopefully, rising career.
I've loved Ben since the very beginning, when he was prancing around in Kevin Smith movies like "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy." Then he and best friend Matt Damon wrote and starred in "Good Will Hunting" and exploded into stardom. After a string of bad movie choices ("Pearl Harbor" and "Gigli" nearly destroying his career), Ben became the joke of Hollywood.
But lately he's been picking his career back up. It all started with "Hollywoodland." His performance as the tragically fated George Reeves pricked the interest of critics and garnered some award show buzz (no Oscar nomination but he did get a nod for a Golden Globe Award). He then made his directing debut with "Gone Baby Gone" (starring his younger brother Casey, whom I am also quite fond of) and received a handful of directing awards. Though not blockbusters, Ben took roles in some fairly critically favorable films such as "State of Play" and "The Company Men." But I believe it is "The Town" that is marking his turnaround.
Following the steps of Orson Welles, Ben wrote (with assistance), directed, and starred in "The Town" and I think the end product was a winner. He was able to pull some beautiful performances out of Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, and Jon Hamm (though many people would say that isn't so hard considering the caliber of the actors' talents), wrote a decent screenplay, and delivered a believable and heartfelt performance.
He's been accused of being a wooden actor before but I would like to refer those same accusers to movies such as "The Town," "Hollywoodland," and my all-time favorite Ben Affleck film "Chasing Amy." But perhaps I'm biased since I still enjoy his performance in well-pandered films such as "Armageddon" and "Jersey Girl." It really wasn't that bad, people!
Maybe he'll never reach the acting capacity that Leo has (and he truly is amazing, his performance in "The Basketball Diaries" was heartbreaking, I don't know why it took me so long to finally see it), but Ben deserves that second chance. He's not Matt Damon's dopey best friend who tacked on his own name to an award-winning script, Ben Affleck is a writer of his own accord. He's not just a pretty face with a chiseled chin and dreamy eyes, he can deliver a line. I have faith in Ben and someday he'll reaffirm my love for him, just like Leo did.
I love you Ben Affleck!
By the way, have you ever seen my "Hennifer" Lopez hand puppet imitation? I stole it from "South Park" but I think I managed to make it mine.