Gigli (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The last few months haven't been great for Ben Affleck. First he made the "worst movie of all time" and was ridiculed non-stop by every radio DJ and TV talk show host in America, then he earned the general contempt of the world by announcing that he'd remake Casablanca in the Bogart role, then the tabloids had a field day with his stripper adventures, then his relationship with J-Lo suffered a very public break-up on their wedding day. Couple that with the fact that he always has a bad hair day, and you have what must have been a disappointing quarter for the big fella.

There is a scene in Good Will Hunting in which the Affleck character explains to the boy genius from his 'hood that it is not betrayal for the smart guy to leave his friends in order to develop his unique talent. Affleck-dumb-guy explains that Damon-smart-guy needs to succeed for all of them because the true betrayal would be not to follow his talent out of the 'hood. All of his friends wish they had that chance, and since they can't do it, ol' Will Hunting has to do it for all of them.

Ironically, Affleck has never been able to take the advice his character dispensed so wisely, because Big Ben is, after all, one of us, a regular guy succeeding for all of us. He didn't start out with any inside showbiz connections, or a fancy education at Oxford, or an internship with The Royal Shakespeare Company. He doesn't have the raw talent of Kenneth Branagh or Johnny Depp or Sam Rockwell or Robert Downey, Jr. He's just a regular Boston guy who played Little League and Ms Pac-Man, and somehow made good by working hard, plugging away, and making the best use of his good looks and swagger.

Underneath it all, he manages to give off the feeling that he's probably a decent guy, like the basketball star in college who had enough brains and humor to see the world in perspective, and didn't set himself apart from the geeks and loners, but always had fun with everyone. You get the feeling that if Ben showed up in your restaurant, he'd order from the menu, and draw as little attention to himself as possible. If he came to a party at your beach house, I'm pretty sure he'd be out there drinkin' too much beer and playin' volleyball with the rest of your friends. Hell, he'd probably fly coach if he could do it unnoticed. He once summed it up beautifully: "I feel like fame is wasted on me."

Because he's one of us, and has been out there succeeding for the rest of us normal guys, I have always wanted him to enjoy his life, because he's doin' that for me, and for the rest of us as well. I have always felt bad about his drinking problem and that J-Lo thing. J-Lo is obviously a person who wants all the trappings of stardom. She wants the entourage, she wants special favors and treatment, she wants the spotlight. She doesn't order from the menu. If she came to your beach party, she would not be out there making digs out of the sand and throwing up on your dad's shoes. She would demand the position of designated cynosure for your gathering, and she'd probably be accompanied by a dozen sycophants, including a stylist to keep an eye on loose strands and other hair emergencies. Not only would she not fit in, but she'd probably get pissed off at her entourage if they did try to fit in.

Ben never belonged in her controlling, high-maintenance world.

So I don't know if either of their hearts are really breaking about the dissolution of their union, but I'm glad for Ben. He's a simple guy of moderate talent who got lucky enough to become just about the biggest deal in the most visible profession in the world. He should get a chance to celebrate that. He's supposed to be out there having fun.

Not just for himself, but for all of us.


none, except for the top of Lainie Kazan's massive, ancient tuchus.


Oh, yeah, the movie. Well, for one thing, it's pronounced ZHEE-lee. Rhymes with really.

What more can I add that hasn't already been said? Worst movie of all time at IMDb, but that just ain't fair. People dumped on it so hard because people love to see stars shot down from the sky, especially if the stars seem to possess undue admiration for their own magnitude of brilliance. Bennifer did indeed make a sub-standard movie with plenty of unintentional laughs, and a whole passel of corn. Lopez plays a lesbian contract killer and Affleck, for the second time in his cinema career, converts a lesbian from the carpet eating event to the pole vaulting, just in time for the Olympics.

In the course of their careers, Affleck and J-Lo are generally considered to have achieved far more than they have deserved, and J-Lo was especially ripe for a fall because she has combined her unlikely success with difficult behavior. Couple the comeuppance motive with the fact that the studio spent $54 million dollars on the film, and a shitstorm was forming before the film was ever seen. The film did die, and it did stink, so the vultures swooped in to pick that carcass apart. The respected critics with big audiences, Ebert and Glieberman, two men who try as hard as they can to remain fair and objective, both thought it was in the C+ range. I don't mean to be migli-mouthed and praise it, because it doesn't deserve praise, but neither should it be the worst movie of all time at IMDb - nowhere near.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic, good transfer

  • no features.

On the other hand, it should not have been greenlighted for fifty million bucks, because it is rigli uninspiring, and the Bennifer scenes are way too touchy-figli.

That is all. 10-4 over and out.

The Critics Vote

  • General panel consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 2/4, Owen Glieberman C+

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 1.5/10. As of this publication date, it is the lowest score of any movie in the database. Yahoo voters score it a D+, which is the lowest I have seen from that group.
  • Box Office Mojo. A monstrous disaster. The production budget was about $54 million, and the studio pumped about another $20 million into advertising before pulling all the ads after week 1. The film grossed six million dollars, despite a 2200 screen distribution. In its legendary second weekend, it grossed $305 per screen, and was outgrossed by a French import (Swimming Pool), which was on a mere 259 screens.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D+. A sub-par Hollywood formula picture, to be sure, but not the disaster implied by the box office, the minor critics, and the IMDb score. Just a poor movie, and perhaps a very poor movie relative to the amount of money spent on it and the talent involved (Al Pacino and Christopher Walken), but not a godawful one in the "Manos" category.

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