In an effort to catch up on Oscar movies before the big show, I watched ARGO on Friday night. After which I engaged in a twenty minute fantasy, that somehow you and your wife and kids ended up at my house for dinner. It was awkward at first, Adam burned the steaks, I spilled wine all over your kids - but then because in this fantasy you are so normal so like us but with more money and an extra kid - we became fast friends. You invited the Damon's over and we all played Trivia Pursuit. It was a good fantasy - I might have even acted some of it out.
I am not even embarrassed about this. I'm not.
I wish I could say it was all ARGO's fault. ARGO is a great movie, you managed to go from small scale picture, to big scale picture without missing a beat. It was deft and nuanced. You made cohesive, tension-mounting plot points out of small moments, tiny details. You didn't spoon feed us, or pander. I really liked it. The world-building and your commitment to it, just like those movies set in Boston - it's fantastic. And your casting was perfection. As the captain of the ARGO ship - you absolutely nailed it.
And you! In the last letter I wrote, I gave you such a hard time for casting yourself as the lead in your own movie. Because you were the weakest link in The Town. But in ARGO, you seem to have found your niche - very few lines. In the vein of Bruce Willis, you shouldn't talk too much. You managed to be more real, the less you said. The scene at the end, when your character asked his wife if he could come in - I believed it. It was the same sort of moment you perfected in Good Will Hunting, when Will wasn't at his house, and you knew what that meant.
That said - stop casting yourself. Really. You are Ben Affleck and you just aren't good enough to make people forget that you are Ben Affleck. There aren't many actors who can - in fact the few that exist were all nominated last night. You weren't. And I think the fact that you weren't nominated for Best Director, is probably because you cast yourself in that role. You manage to get amazing actors to support yourself with - actors I imagine who don't need a lot of help from you in terms of character choices or motivations. I want to see how you do with someone like you - but not you.
The reason why I unabashedly have the friendship fantasy was brought home last night during your acceptance speech. While so many others are emotionless robots, or incredibly smooth and gracious practiced winners - you were so real. You were red-faced and emotional. You made bad jokes and might have offended your wife - though I doubt it. You revealed a little too much, swerved off topic and managed to be so totally real, through out it all.
The Oscar show was a poorly directed, weird hodge-podge last night and we almost gave up to watch the Saturday Night Live we had taped - but I'm glad we didn't. You were worth it, Ben. You've been worth it all along.
PS Your wife's dress was one of my favorites.