Sunday, March 04, 2007

Can't Get No Respect....Matt Damon

I used to really love watching In The Actor's Studio. I loved actors talking about craft in pretentious and uncomfortable ways -- I loved the way James Lipton would fall to his knees for even the most mediocre movies (ie Ben Affleck in Bounce -- PLEASE??!!!) There are things I learned watching the Mike Meyers episode and the Tom Hanks episode that I still think about -- that I still try to keep in my own process and work life. But now it's turned into this vehicle for movie studios and the guests get shipped off to the James Lipton walk down memory lane just like the do for Lettermen or Leno. Terrible. Just terrible.

But tonight there he was in all his All-American, guy next door who grew up to be smart and sexy and still kind of awkward in a smart and sexy way -- Matt Damon. And as Lipton is going on and on about his life in Cambridge (when in the world did I get the idea that Damon and Affleck really were from the south side of Boston? I like them just slightly less -- Affleck more so -- still not over the Bennifer days and the hours of my life I won't get back from reading US Magazine at the gym). And Damon is being both smart and charming and real. And then he gets to the movies and WOW! this guy has been in some incredible movies. The Talented Mr. Ripley? How scary and creepy and vulnerable and sad was he in that movie (the bath scene when he asks Jude Law if he want's Damon to get in with him?). Courage Under Fire -- he's gone on record to talk about how much it hurt that no one seemed to notice how much weight he lost or how good he was in that movie -- but let me second that. He was really good.

The Rainmaker? Private Ryan? Though for me that movie belongs to Giovanni Ribisi. The unbelievably worrisome Gerry. He's really something to watch in the Departed and he is electric and suprising in the Bourne Movies. To say nothing of Stuck on You and of course - don't get me started on Good Will Hunting.

So? Why can't the guy get an award or at least a nomination? Is it his looks? His relationship to the Black Hole that is Affleck -- though he got a Golden Globe nod this year...

In the Actor's Studio tonight Damon let his resentment show a little regarding awards and his lack of them when he mentioned that over acting and bad acting always gets noticed - people stand up and cheer for it. He then made some kind of weepy hysterical face and then said "who the fuck does that?" I loved it. Anyway -- why not Damon. He was in two big movies this year - Departed and The Good Shepard?

What do you think? And further -- who do you think gets no respect and should...besides Stephen King. He's got all the cold hard, green stacks of respect that anyone really could wish for.

6 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

OMG You stole my post!!!! I almost called you this afternoon after watching that episode! Great minds think alike. (Well, great or not, ours think alike ;-)

Matt Damon is totally underrated. I can't believe he didn't get more noticed this year in two very different roles in The Departed and The Good Shepherd. He was perfect in both and couldn't have been playing a more different character.

I think he's right that sometimes the best actors don't get noticed because they become the characters and it doesn't look like acting. I certainly "noticed" him in Courage Under Fire and Good Will Hunting, but it was The Talented Mr. Ripley that made me realize how talented he is.

I knew he was a bright guy, too... But it was cool to know he did English at Harvard and to hear him talk about writing in such an intelligent way (after all the rumors that he and Affleck didn't have much to do with Good Will Hunting.) I thought it was interesting how he talked about how differently he analyzes a scene as a writer vs as an actor. Interesting...

Christine said...

I think Paul Giamatti is totally underrated. And Vincent D'Onofrio! He can go from playing a crazy killer to the romance lead and no one even remembers that he was in the movie. Don't get me started on Johnny Depp. He needs to be given an oscar.

I think it comes back to the old argument about popular vs. art. Sad but true.

Sinead M said...

Reading your post, I thought about a comment McKee made about Jeff Bridges, and how he walks onto the screen as the character. Seamlessly, almost effortlessly.
I think that understated effort rarely gets noticed, they want big, showy actors, Jack Nickolson, Sean Penn. Not that they're not amazingly talented, but they 'ACTORS', while other actors just become the characters.
Matt Damon is one of those.
For better or worse.
Wish I'd seen that show... but we don't have HBO.. and I don't need to watch any more TV.

kathie said...

Hey Molly, in my praise for this post, I credited Maureen for your post--I don't even know what to blame that on except just assuming it was Maureens because I clicked form her site. Ugh, apologies all around! Great site and great posts--I'm working my way to Sinead--or should I call her Fran or something?

Abby said...

Well, I wrote a similar post about Leonardo DiCaprio the day before he got his Oscar nom. I thought he was amazing in The Aviator and got robbed that year.

Joaquin Phoenix is an astounding actor.

I saw that Ben Affleck episode - Lord, it was embarrassing. They were fawning all over his "great work". This was way before "Hollywoodland", too! (He IS excellent in that film, BTW.)

Maureen McGowan said...

Abby, I totally agree about Affleck in Hollywoodland. Still don't think it was nomination worthy. I think it just surprised so many people because it was different, a bit of a challenge and he didn't totally suck.

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