It has occurred to me that I have been writing this blog for a few months now, and with every entry I have yet to mention a very important part of my life, and that is my ongoing love and fan-ship for Ben Affleck.
I have been obsessed with Ben Affleck since I was ten years old. An odd choice, I know. An easy phase, perhaps. For I also recall a time when I had JTT posters plastered on my wall and Spice Girls blaring from my boom box. Ben Affleck could have shuffled in and out with those said fads, but, alas, he stuck. And through the years I have dealt with giggles, outrageous gasps, criticism, and skepticism with my feelings toward the Boston actor, so I thought I would take this time now to tell the story of Alison and Ben Affleck. A saga that has lasted over 13 years.
The Ben Affleck Obsession has many origin stories. Some have been word of mouth from friends and family, some have been radically embelished by me, others changed so I sound cooler, however many are not entirely truthful. Through the years there have been so many thoughts on the subject that I can’t really remember the true beginnings. But I will do my best to relay what I can piece together to you. 13 years of Ben Affleck story telling does that to ya.
If I can recall Ben Affleck was already a hottie hearthrob by the time I became aware of him. He was in Armageddon, and I believe that was the first film I saw of him when I was in fifth grade. At the time I was obsessed with Titanic, and the Oscar’s that year had both Good Will Hunting and Titanic in big running spots. When Ben Affleck and Matt Damon cheerfully won for best original screenplay, my crush on the tall dark handsome boy was solidified.
Reasons why I chose him over Matt Damon:
– tall dark handome = my ten year olds (and 23 year olds) type
– Matt Damon was not in Armageddon
– I also had a crush on Matt Damon, just not as big
It was also during that year that I stayed home sick and stuck in the video cassette of my brother’s copy of Mallrats. Upon seeing that movie, I believed that Kevin Smith was the coolest man ever, and that it was very noble of Ben to take the bad guy part in this film. The View Askew films were my first experiences in film knowledge nerdiness. I wanted to know everything about Kevin Smith and his Jersey Clan. At the top of sixth grade went on IMDB.com and spent hours printing off movie quotes and learning about how Kevin Smith has buddies that he does films with and how nice Ben Affleck was. Matt Damon, again, was nowhere to be seen in the early View Askew world. Only later cameos and finally a major (but not as good as Ben’s) role in Dogma.
As my knowledge for Kevin Smith grew, so did my vast picture collection of Mr. Affleck. As any normal 11 year old girl would, I took a hobby to buying teeny bopper magazines and cutting out the faces of hunks. This hunk collection was largely over populated with Ben Affleck pictures and soon became part of my now infamous ceiling that I titled “The Hot Guy Ceiling.” My room’s ceiling, wall to wall, was thumb tacked with men and boys from all across the spectrum. NSYNC to Ewan McGregor to Shane West to the Roswell cast… and at the very center of each collage sat the smiling grin of Ben Affleck.
By this point I had managed to see Good Will Hunting and Chasing Amy. I had also learned that as a child he was in a PBS series called “Voyage of the Mimi.” I then lied to people, who knew at that point I was striving to be Ben Affleck’s number one fan, and said I had seen “Mimi” in the fourth grade and knew then I was in love. That is a false origin story I created I am feel much better coming clean of that. I have never seen “Voyage of the Mimi” starring a young Ben Affleck. I have seen pictures though, and even as a boy Ben Affleck was cute.
Now it is at this point when I wonder the “why” part of my fan-ship. What was it about Ben Affleck that I loved so dearly? Why was he in my sixth grade locker and why was I stoked to hear about his new movie Forces of Nature?
In all honesty, I think I was just 11 and horny. Over time I will say my reasons have changed in being a fan, but at that point in the saga I thought he was cute. I liked that he was tall and had a freckle under his left eye. I liked his hunky voice and his chizzled abs. He was everywhere at the time! And I was hooked.
Not only did I think he was cute, his presence kinda became my “thing.” In hindsight, I realize Ben Affleck was my first comedy bit. My references to him in common conversation made people smile. It all came back to Ben Affleck, making hard times light, and girl nights giggle fests. People didn’t know me as a pretty girl, or a girl who was smart, but rather that funny girl who liked Ben Affleck. The joke inside the obsession made me unique. And I really used him to push boundaries in education and fun.
Case in point – 7th grade. It was nearing the end of the year and our teacher asked us to do a big final report and presentation on anything we wanted to. We had to submit an idea, find credited sources, and learn how to write a paper and give a speech on the topic. Some kids did dolphins and marine biology, others did race cars and baseball players, and I submitted Ben Affleck.
My teacher said no. It was too slim of a topic and not nearly enough credited sources in this young actors name. I fought for it in principle. If a teacher said I could do anything I wanted, I didn’t want to waste time on a non fun topic. I was up for the challenge and after one final push my teacher gave in. I had my work cut out for me. Eventually I found some cheesy books written about Ben, as well as really interesting bios on View Askew and Miramax (the compay that produced Good Will Hunting.) I boomed out a good (and comically golden, if I do say so myself) paper as well as a hilarious speech featuring poster boards of Ben and a pointer stick. And guess what? What was once a no submission landed me an A. Bitches.
At that point it wasn’t about Ben, it was about enjoying what I was learning and getting the freedom to do what I wanted. And that in itself was satisfying.
Through the research I also shifted my views on Mr. Affleck. Now he wasn’t just a hot dude, but he was someone I wanted to be like. Here he was, a smart guy who made it big with writing a script with a friend. And not only did he make big awesome movies, but he was also loyal to View Askew and folks who helped him along the way. His father was an alcoholic and he brought his mom to the Oscar’s with him. He was living the dream that came from hard work. That was what I wanted. What I’ve always wanted. To make it big and bring my friends along with me.
My ideas involving Ben Affleck became laughable from here on out.
Things I Have Done In the Name of Ben Affleck
– His birthday was in August, and since I always wanted to throw an end of the summer party at my place, I would send out invites exclaiming “Come Celebrate Ben Affleck’s Birthday.”
– One time at said summer party, I even had a friend whose parents were in the biz of turning photos into cake toppers get an edible picture of Ben onto a cake. Thanks, Emmie.
-When I started writing, I decided to slip Ben’s name in every thing I had. My little Carol Bernette ear tug, if you will.
– The first film that John and I made in high school had my love interest named Benjamin Geza (Ben’s middle name.)
– I have had a poster of Ben Affleck in Armageddon (complete with my handwriting on the back saying “To Alison. I love you. Love Ben.”) since fifth grade and it is still framed in my Chicago Schoolhouse bedroom.
– He’s in my interests on Facebook.
– He’s my hero on myspace.
– In high school when we had standarized testing I used him for my essay topic prompt “tell us about someone who inspires you.”
– don’t even get me started on code words for secret clubs back in the day
– And I tell everyone the weird coincidence that his first daughter has the same birthday as me. I mean, how random right?
But I am skipping ahead here. Because from 7th grade on Ben Affleck and my devotion to him had some rough times.
He had the ultimate actors fate, a stint in rehab.
And, I have to say, instead of rolling my eyes at it all, I commended him for it. I am a true uber dork fan for having this next rant, but here it goes. Ben Affleck was a great person for getting himself help. Ben had alcoholism in his family, and he entered into rehab without having a huge scandal forcing him to do it. Nowadays people really fuck up and apologize and go into whatever sort of rehab there is to compensate. As if those few days would wipe the slate clean. For Ben Affleck, back in the day when he did it, he had clean slate already (no more girl, no more movies lined up) and he chose to help himself respectfully and privately.
Alas, Ben had harder roads to travel. Namely, the Bennifer Era. Okay, phew, that was a hard time. I got so much crap when the man I idolized was failing, but I held true to him, because the truth of the matter was, his failures were not as huge as the media made it out to be. I’ll admit, he’s done some crap but it’s also part of the harsh cycle of Hollywood. They all probably seemed like good ideas at the time.
I remember seeing Pearl Harbor and thinking it was the next Titanic for me, and it totally wasn’t. It was too long too epic and bad. But then again, I hated Transformers and other later films Brockheimer made, and blamed it on him not really Ben. Then there was Reindeer Games, Bounce, The Sum of All Fears… and all of these movies I convinced myself to like. To say that his performance was good just the film was bad. And I stand by that thought. But a good actor can only do bad films for so long before he becomes the butt of a joke. Thank God he also did Shakespeare in Love, Boiler Room, and Changing Lanes. They were smaller films but really really fucking good. And my love kept true.
Even dating JLo, my love kept true. I was never so obsessed that I was jealous of celebrities. Crazy I am, Misery I am not. I figured he had a good reason to like who he liked. I liked Gwenyth Paltrow before that, and it was cool that JLo was super out of left field for him. But then the Gigli crap happened. That movie was pretty bad, but I felt frustrated when people were calling it the worst movie ever. Considering how huge Twilight is today, I get peeved with people shout out a thumbs down to something as lame as Gigli. Bad movie, yes, but worst? I mean, did anyone really see Twilight? Yes many did. And yes many loved it. Public opinion fails me time and time again. Gigli should not have that reigning title. Just sayinh.
So, even after Gigli, I kept true.
It was no surprise that the media phenom of Bennifer killed the relationship. And I felt bad when Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl tanked because of it. It was like that fat ass killed two of my men.
Now it was only a matter of time for a come back.
Cut to now, and he has directed a kick ass movie (Gone Baby Gone) , made fun of himself on SNL and Jimmy Kimmel, gotten married to a girl next door, and took a supporting role as a funny man in Extract.
And as for where I stand with my Ben Affleck Fan-ness, I am proud to say it is still alive and well. The obsession has matured as I have. No longer do I have rows and rows of pictures lining my walls or the immature parties thrown in his name, those are the things in my past. But now I do get excited to hear of his next endeavor and still use him as punchlines and way to define me. (When asked to draw a picture of me for a gag gift, I gave myself blonde hair, blue eyes, and a green shirt with the words “I Heart Ben Affleck” on it. Make no mistake, everyone knew it was me.)
I think a reason I keep the love alive is because I always want the little girl inside of me to live somewhere in my heart. I had big dreams back then, and only now am I getting the chance to fulfill them. I still want to write and perform something with my friends and become successful through it. I want to be a nice person to those I meet along the way, and I never want to get to a point where I am still not in awe in the world of showbiz. I still dream, just like I did when I was ten. And I am never letting that go.
So in all of my fantastic fantasies I have today about the big times with the famous folk, I do feel like I am cool enough to be among the bigger names and still be pretty smooth about it all.
But if I ever met Ben Affleck in person, I may in fact crap myself. I mean, did you see him in Armageddon?
– One L
“They are cute chipmunks in hoodies who sing and make puns. How does the world not love this movie?” “Alison it’s too much for me but just enough for you.” “Right.”
One thought on “Ben Affleck”
Just for the record, he went to rehab in 2001 and broke up with Jennifer Lopez in 2004 – the way you put it made it seem like he went to rehab after the whole bennifer hoopla. Not that I would argue the facts with his biggest fan 😉 He has a great future ahead of him, btw. His two movies that are coming out this year are going to kiss ass (I watched The Company Men at sundance and The Town in a trial screening). While The Company Men is more of an adult, serious fare, I think The Town is going to be a big blockbuster (it is a romantic action drama – sort of a mix of everything), which of course 70% of the media is going to hate because they love to bash Affleck. It is easy to like Affleck because he is handsome and attractive, but I think what makes him appealing is that he is a very smart and complex person unlike most celebrities who sort of have a simple public persona and are even more boring in private. Affleck always comes across as an interesting, three-dimensional human being.