Ben Affleck speaks to a career transitioned at Santa Barbara Film Festival tribute
He began developing his style and process. For instance, he's fond of doing a lot of takes, not because he's obsessive about coverage but because he likes to create a sense of relaxation on the set so that "eventually it's not about the slate and 'action,' it's about it feeling the same when the camera's rolling and when it's not." But he also learned about how to deal with other, more experienced personalities who might not share his philosophies, like Morgan Freeman, who's so thorough and precise that he doesn't need a lot of shots at nailing a take -- and he knows it.
With "The Town," things changed a bit because Affleck was directing himself for the first time. He reached out again to his actor/director friends for guidance and was told across the board, "Shoot more coverage of yourself than you think you need. Don't be gallant."
And now "Argo," which Maltin noted had received this year's "Golden Tomato" award for most critically approved film of 2012 from Rotten Tomatoes, and has also gone on to win more Best Picture prizes from critics groups than any other film this year. Talk turned a bit more serious as Affleck noted, "This is the kind of film where I haven't run out of wanting to talk about it." He believes its a crucial conversation, what our relationship with Iran will be going forward and what the role of diplomats really is in this day and age, and he was excited to tackle those ideas as a filmmaker.
At the same time, Affleck is a father now, and he said that has a huge sway over his choices as an artist now. He wants his children to pick up a paper and not read tabloid nonsense about their father, but perhaps read something that makes them proud.
"This last seven years is something new and also incredibly rewarding," he said. "The central challenge of one's lifetime is trying to make good people and having kids makes it profoundly important to me to do work that I'm proud of."
With that, the stage was set for Matt Damon to present this year's Modern Master Award to his friend and collaborator. In a wonderful speech, Damon noted that all those years ago, watching movies at Somerville, he and Affleck and their friends (which included 'Gone Baby Gone' and 'The Town' screenwriter Aaron Stockard) would huddle up after a movie and have a little notes session in the parking lot. It was always immature and not all that enlightening.
"And then we'd get to Ben," Damon said, "who would have been quiet up until that point, uncharacteristically. He would say, 'Well, it didn't quite work for me. But had they done this and this and this at the beginning, what you could have done in the middle was have a scene where you did this, and then you could have had a great scene at the end where you could have done that.'"
It's just a skill that Affleck had, Damon said. Whether he was born with it or not, he had it when he was 14 and they started going to see movies together. "He could lift up the hood and take a look at the engine and get in there and take it apart and put it back together and the whole thing would run smoother," he said. "It's what made him such a great writing partner. He could problem solve. And so much of filmmaking is just that. He's made three fantastic movies, one better than the next. And one thing I've learned is you cannot make a great movie by accident. Anybody who makes a great movie is a great director. Period. He is undeniably two things: my very old friend and a very young master."
It was one of the better tributes I've seen at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, owed largely to the affable Affleck's storytelling panache (impressions of John Frankenheimer, Morgan Freeman and Warren Beatty were littered throughout a number of humorous anecdotes). And it was a positive stop on the circuit. For a few hours, the fact that he was unceremoniously passed over by his fellow directors didn't seem to matter. And at an intimate after-party following the tribute, Affleck seemed as positive as ever that his film has a chance to beat the odds and win Best Picture at the Oscars.
The first potential step on that road comes tonight at the PGA Awards. Whether he pulls it off or not, though, it's clear he's more grateful than anything to have made a tough transition in his career and found his way as an artist behind the camera.
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
Let Streaming Genie help you.