Are Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Bradley Cooper Stuck in a Rut?
Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey have more similarities than you might think. They both started off as promising up-and-coming actors (whose first big movie was, coincidentally enough, Dazed and Confused) but, by the end of the 90’s, it was clear that their film choices weren’t the best. This continued in the 2000’s as they kept going from stinker to stinker. However, they both had a career resurgence in the early 2010’s, even garnering some Oscar nominations. Yet recently they seem to have fallen back on old habits, as most of the movies they made in 2016 didn’t get good reviews. This begs the question, are their careers stuck in a rut?
For Ben, it’s a bit of a special case, in that his film choices didn’t really change. In between Argo, The Town, and Gone Girl, he still made films like To the Wonder and Runner Runner. It’s just that these movies were more successful critically and financially while movies like that came and went so it was easier to ignore them and focus on Affleck’s successes at the time. However, the last good movie he was in was Gone Girl, which is 2 1/2 years old. Since then, he’s appeared in stinkers like Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and The Accountant. He was also in Live by Night which, personally, I thought was okay but it did get negative reviews and has been bombing at the box office.
Matthew, from 2011-2013, was more consistent, as The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Magic Mike, Killer Joe, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, and The Wolf of Wall Street all got good reviews and most of them were at least somewhat successful at the box office. Not only that but he was also in HBO’s True Detective, which also garnered critical acclaim. Then he was in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which was a bit divisive among critics and audiences but it was still a box office hit. It got a bit worse when, for some reason, he started doing bizarre Lincoln Commercials.
This year, his career has taken even more of a nosedive, as the only two movies he starred in were flops. Free State of Jones was a critical and commercial flop and The Sea of Trees not only garnered negative reviews but it made only $20,000 dollars at the box office. Gold does not look promising. It’s hard to tell whether or not it’ll be a box office success but the early reviews haven’t been so kind.
However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for McConaughey’s career in 2016. He was in Kubo and The Two Strings, which got great reviews (though bombed at the box office) and he was in Sing, which got mixed to positive reviews and is a box office hit. Yet, at the end of the day, those movies aren’t really going to do that much for his career because animated movies rarely affect the career of an A-list actor like McConaughey.
So are Ben and Matthew in a rut? Well, considering their last successful movie is only a couple of years old it’s hard to tell yet but, if their careers continue their current directions, then things don’t look good for them. For their sake, hopefully they’ll be in a movie that will change things around but, right now, it seems like the 2010-2014 resurgence both actors had is over.
Another actor whose career was at its highest peak in the early 2010’s is Bradley Cooper. Following The Hangover and it’s sequels, Hollywood’s attempt at making him a movie star (Limitless, The Words) didn’t really go anywhere until he starred in Silver Linings Playbook, which garnered critical acclaim and got him nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a multitude of other awards. He then followed it up in 2013 with The Place Beyond the Pines, which was critically acclaimed, and American Hustle, which was both critically acclaimed and got him his second Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. Then he followed that up with Guardians of the Galaxy, another successful entry in the MCU.
He then did American Sniper, which was a little divisive. While he got praised for his performance, and it gave him another Oscar Nomination, some felt that the movie was Islamophobic, which made it rather controversial. Yet, despite the controversy, it got mostly positive reviews from critics, even if audiences were split on it.
But that’s more than can be said for his next movie, Aloha. That movie was a critical and box office disaster. Not only that but it was also convicted of being racist, this time because Emma Stone played an Asian girl.
He had two other movies that year, though. First, there was Burnt, which came and went. However, Joy could’ve turned things around for him. After all, he was reuniting with David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro, who he worked on Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle with. Unfortunately, the movie ended up getting mixed reviews and it was a box office disappointment.
Now it seems like Bradley’s either been taking a break from starring in movies or these past few bombs have effected his career. He only had a supporting role in War Dogs, which came out last year, and the next movie he’s slated to have a starring role in, a remake of A Star is Born, is coming out in 2018, which’ll be 3 years after his last attempt at being the star of the movie, Burnt.
Yet, he does have the MCU to fall back on, as he’s reprising his role as Rocket Raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel and Avengers: Infinity War.
So is his career in a rut? Well, it seems like Aloha, Burnt, and Joy have decreased his star power a bit. They haven’t completely killed his career, as he’s still able to rely on the MCU and nab a supporting role here or there but it’s a bit different from before, when he was in movies that garnered him Oscar noms. But, and maybe I’m just being optimistic here, hopefully something comes around that’ll revitalize his career. In the meantime, though, he can always play Rocket Raccoon.