Lately Ben Affleck is in the media spotlight for all the right reasons, thanks to the critical and commercial success of his second directorial effort, 'The Town,' and his starring role in the sobering, timely drama 'The Company Men,' opening this Friday. But there was a time not so long ago, when his name was practically a punch line, especially when combined with that of his former flame, Jennifer Lopez (Affleck's pal Kevin Smith has been credited for coining "Bennifer").
The backlash to Affleck's formerly stellar career happened in the early to mid-2000s, after a string of unfortunate movies ('Daredevil,' 'Jersey Girl, 'Surviving Christmas,' 'Man About Town,') including the legendarily maligned romcom 'Gigli.' His much-hyped relationship with J-Lo only fueled the gleeful put-downs.
But in 2006, just when he most needed it, Affleck co-starred in 'Hollywoodland,' a noir-ish drama about a shady private investigator (Adrien Brody) who tries to prove that the presumed suicide of actor George Reeves was actually a murder. Playing the ambitious yet vulnerable Reeves, Affleck is poignant and a bit pathetic (a quality he hasn't often been called upon to portray) as an actor frustrated by the limitations of his career. Whether or not it reflected his own emotions at the time, the performance was a reminder of what he's capable of in the right role.