Let me back up a tad because the title to this post may be misleading. After watching our friend Ben in Extract (2009) this weekend past, something dawned on me. Affleck is a tremendously huge douche. However, his doucheyness worked very well for the story of that movie. This got me thinking, and I believe I've come to the conclusion that the measure of an Affleck movie may be tested through the level of douche that he exudes. Let me go a little deeper and explain:
I enjoyed Extract. In fact, when looking back at it, I enjoy a lot of Ben Affleck movies. The films I enjoy the most, however, are films where he is at his douchiest. That is, when his character is a douche, it tends to serve the story as some form of heavy, which ends up being pretty entertaining. Thus, we have my list of Biggest Affleck Positive Douche Movies (Ranked in Consummate Douche Factor), all of which I thoroughly enjoy:
1. Dazed and Confused (1993) - 70s Hazing Douche
2. Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Prima Donna Acting Douche
3. Mallrats (1995) - Anal Sexing Douche
4. Dogma (1999) - Vengeful Angel Douche
5. Good Will Hunting (1997) - Boston Douche
6. Extract (2009) - Bearded Horse Tranquilizer Douche
7. Hollywoodland (2006) - Bitter Hollywood Douche
He also does well when he douches on himself, which indicates to me that he has a good knowledge or is at least self-aware of his public douche perception. You can see this self-douching best in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) in both his scenes as Holden McNeil dissing the actor Ben Affleck and as a fictional version of himself later on.
"No, bullshit, because I wasn't with a hooker today, haha!"The whole "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" escapade on Jimmy Kimmel Live also tends to back up this weird self-awareness of his doucheocity.
So beside all this, he has quite a number of serious roles in incredibly awful films, which I now attribute to his enormous inner-douche inevitably shining through his attempt at doing a non-douche role, which of course just douches up the whole movie. He is so good at playing douches that whenever he has to play a non-douche, he fucks it all up and we have this prickly little super-douche on our hands, which is messy and sticky for everybody. Take a look at his Shittiest Inadvertent Affleck Douche Movies ranked upon relative Douche Levels:
1. Changing Lanes (2002) - Lawyer Douche
2. Surviving Christmas (2004) - A Douche for the Holidays
3. Gigli (2003) - J. Lo Humping Douche
4. Reindeer Games (2000) - Officer Douche
5. Paycheck (2003) - Bourne-Wannabe Douche
6. State of Play (2009) - Congressional Douche
7. Pearl Harbor (2001) - Missing the Point Douche
8. The Sum of All Fears (2002) - Not Harrison Ford Douche
9. Armageddon (1998) - Douche in Space
10. Daredevil (2003) - Blind Douche
This Douche Compendium is arguably far from complete, but clearly, the douche-streak is highly evident. I'm going on a limb and saying that Changing Lanes has him at his douchiest point, but this is also debatable. You can also judge very easily how Michael Bay treats Afflecks douche-levels as compared to someone like Kevin Smith. Bay easily goes for a wide mainstream douching while Smith knows to keep that douche on the fringe or at least in a heavy where it should be. Of course like any rules, however, there are two major exceptions to Affleck's douching.
These are Smokin' Aces (2006) and Chasing Amy (1997). There is very little douche involved in these two flicks, probably less in Aces than Amy, where he is surprisingly mild and controlled in a huge room full of excessive douchebaggery. Chasing Amy is kind of a weird turn, it's a fantastic movie that works mostly based on Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams' chemistry and believability as a lesbian/friend item turned lovers. Not so much a douche, but suggesting a threesome between your lesbian girlfriend and slacker best friend could arguably be considered a douche move. All in all, though, the douche is not heavily present in this good Affleck film.
Thus I have concluded that when Affleck is meant to be a douche on film, he pulls it off and proves decently entertaining. Many of his purposeful turns as a huge douche resulted in some of my favourite films of all time (Read: Mallrats). His chronic inability, however, to channel or control this great douche, not unlike the Ghost Rider, can get far out of hand and end up hurting people. Thus we get things like douche-tastic Gigli. Two sides of a very sinister douchey coin, my friends.
Plus he was the bomb in Phantoms (1998).