I figured I’d kick up this blog in grand fashion and wait for the perfect idea for a blog post to come to me. Well, sitting in English class as I’m coughing my lungs out, dying from tuberculosis, and generally being ignored by my professor I came up with a fitting idea for my first post. Beware. It’s very long….
Matt Damon. To quote the great Frank Costanza “I’ve got a lot of problems with you….”
Let’s start at the beginning. Picture an eleven year old who’s mother is getting her hair done at a salon in a town he doesn’t live in. He has three options: wait in the car, wait in the salon, or go see a movie. He choses to go see a movie since even at a young age he has a love for moving pictures. Sadly there’s only one movie showing at that time. This movie happens to be a little film called SPIRIT: STALLION OF CIMARRON. This eleven year old hasn’t really seen any of the previews for said movie because his mother didn’t let him watch TV. He sees the poster, which harkens back to the old westerns he’d watch every now and then. Except it’s animated.
“What the fuck,” he thinks, purchasing a ticket for one.
He walks into the theater. He walks out, 83 minutes later, traumatized.
“What the fuck?” he shouts at the top of his lungs, looking up and hoping any kind of higher authority will answer. No answer. Just the ringing memory of the shityness that is SPIRIT: STALLION OF CIMARRON.
Now, for anyone who’s never seen Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, I’ll paint you a portrait of my experience. As an eleven year old, I was in that I’m-too-cool-for-this-little-kiddy-shit-I’ve-just-been-through-for-the previous-10-years phase. This didn’t apply to animated movies, however, as in 2002 alone I’d already viewed ICE AGE, a classic, and LILO AND STITCH. I walk in and I’m instantly greeted by a chorus of hectic little kids running, crying, or generally being loud ass pricks. This is the last thing an 11 year old watching a movie alone in a theatre for the first time in his life wants to be surrounded by. The lights dim, the previews go by, and the feature begins to start. The shouts from the little tots, however, did not discontinue. It stayed like this for the rest of the movie. Now, I may have my rose colored glasses on, but I’m pretty sure that, even as a small child, I understood and followed the sanctity of the movie theater by not being loud during movies. These kids, however, did not.
Roger Ebert, the defining movie critic of the last 40 plus years, gave SPIRIT: STALLION OF CIMARRON 3 out of 4 stars. I’d like to know what he was smoking. Seriously, it was probably really good shit. Sour Diesel I’d gander.
Words cannot describe the hatred I have in my heart for this movie. Actually there are words. Four words to be exact: FUCK YOU MATT DAMON.
It would hold the title of worst movie I have ever seen until the end of my nineteenth year when I viewed a movie by name of NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST. (Don’t worry. There’s going to be a whole post, and maybe even a series of posts on the topic of Michael Cera’s magnum opus.)
Thus my feud with Matt Damon would begin. Perhaps I’ve unfairly blamed him for the worst movie experience of my life, but you know what? He deserves it for appearing in that turd of a movie.
Sure, I’d seen GOOD WILL HUNTING at that point. OCEANS ELEVEN too. And TITAN A.E. But I’d never really cared either way about him up until that point.
Starting on that day, a fiery loathing was held in my heart for Matt Damon. I would boycott his films.
STUCK ON YOU.
Sadly, he was not unavoidable. I would watch SAVING PRIVATE RYAN one day at the tender age of thirteen. I like this movie. Admittedly, not as much as Terrence Malick’s criminally underrated THE THIN RED LINE, which was released the same year. Matt Damon. You Motherfucker. I personally hold you responsible for (spoiler alert) the deaths of Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, the uberbadass Tom Sizemore, the even more badass Barry Pepper, and Adam Goldberg, who played my favorite character in this movie. What? Which Jewish kid doesn’t wish he could fight in World War 2 and kill some Nazis in a super-Jewish way like the Hebrew Hammer does in this movie? The only saving grace you have is that it wasn’t just you. It was also that bitch-ass Jeremy Davies. (Who’s fantastic in most things but his character in this one isn’t.) You can have Tom Hanks though. To answer the question at the end of the film though, no. No you are not a good man, and you haven’t lived a good life.
It was around this time period that I was also conned into watching THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE. Halfway through I was hoping that Will Smith would go, “Fuck this shit,” whip out a pistol, and shoot this asshole in the head.
Do it Will. Do it.
Sadly he did not. What Will did was provide me with another hour of mediocrity and Matt Fucking Damon.
Around this time, I watched COURAGE UNDER FIRE, yet another film featuring Matt Damon in it. (I know, I know. This boycott really wasn’t working.) Decent film, with yet another bitch-ass character played by Damon.
DOGMA was viewed as well. I stood up in my house and clapped when Ben Affleck shanked this douche bag near the end of the film. I do really enjoy this movie though. Even me at the time admitted that Matt Damon was pretty cool in the golden calf boardroom scene when he reigns vengeance on a group of businessmen ala Sam Jackson. Still hated his dumbass though. Despite his one awesome scene, he pretty much whined his way through the rest of the movie, and it was yet another movie that I liked despite his appearance.
And then the plot thickens.
Fast forward to the eve of the release of THE BOURNE SUPREMACY. My sister declares that we are going to see it. Sighing to myself, I decide I may as well see the first one to know what was going on. As I’ve already said, I missed it in the theaters because it was released at the heels of the aforementioned SPIRIT: STALLION OF CIMARRON and there was no way in hell I was seeing anything with Matt Damon in it at that time, much less pay to watch Matt Damon. Everyone had talked about how awesome this movie was, but they did not share my loathing so I disregarded the praise. Paul Rudd said it best in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN when he described Damon as a bit of a Streisand. I expected to hate the film, because prior to this all the films I’d seen with Matt Damon in them I’d either hated or liked despite hating his presence in them.
I could not have been more wrong.
He really surprised me. Matt Damon owned up to the fact that he’d been full of shit up to this point and decided to grow a set. THE BOURNE IDENTITY has already had enough praise showered on it. I’ll throw on a little more. If you were to say that THE BOURNE IDENTITY was one of the most influential films of the past decade, you would not be wrong. James Bond is trying to be Jason Bourne for fucks sake.
Walking into the BOURNE SUPREMACY, I was unsure of what to expect. Fresh of the previous entry in the series, I wanted to like it, but I was also still reeling from a few years worth of hatred. So I was neutral going into it. Damon again surprised me, as SUPREMACY was perhaps better than IDENTITY. (I won’t get into that debate here.) For the second straight time, I actually like a movie because of, among other things, Matt Damon. I had to give him props. He was, for the first time in my life, in my good graces.
Jump ahead to 2007 and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is released. My weariness for Damon was beginning to creep back, as he’d gone back to playing the same bitch character in four straight movies: THE BROTHERS GRIMM, SYRIANA, THE DEPARTED, and THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Unlike in the other three, I actually like Matty Matt in THE DEPARTED, and I think SYRIANA is a great movie, though, like days of the past, despite his presence. I was one of the only people in the theater not to fall asleep during THE GOOD SHEPHERD, and I remain to this day unsure of my feelings toward that film. (Probably a movie that needs re-watching.)
To be honest, I was expecting ULTIMATUM to be the GODFATHER III of action films. In my mind, there was no possible way it could live up to the standards of the first two and I was just waiting for Damon to let me down and go back into catcher for Ben Affleck’s pitcher mode. I was, again, wrong. It showed me that Damon could continue making exceptional action films.
Though cummon, what the fuck where they thinking with the whole Julia Stiles love interest bullshit? Nothing was even hinted at in the first two, and then I’m supposed to magically believe that there had been a prior relationship. I call B.S. She was always the weak link in the Bourne series, which features an otherwise stellar cast with Franka Potente, Clive Owen, always the man and showing me something slightly different by playing the antagonist in IDENTITY, the awesome Chris Cooper, the always excellent Brian Cox, an unusually solid Karl Urban, a surprising appearance by Albert Finney, Martin Csokas, Scott Glenn, David Strathairn, and the grievously overlooked Joan Allen. Julia Stiles almost ruined this movie for me. (She’s a topic for another day though) Luckily she didn’t, and, with the magic of DVD, I can fast forward through the scenes that feature her without any action and go straight to the unbelievable scene in Tangiers.
Which brings me to today.
I’d actually wanted to see GREEN ZONE and THE INFORMANT!, but just never got around to it. People keep telling me good things about INVICTUS, but the trailer made the movie look so fucking cliche that I really have no interest in seeing it. I’m neutral on HEREAFTER, and I’ll definitely end up seeing TRUE GRIT because it features the Coen brothers and the Dude, possibly my favorite partnership of all time. Not to mention a gruffy, badass looking Josh Brolin.
Despite the fact that my hatred of Damon has cooled down, I still can’t help but feel ambivalent about him, and I haven’t even talked about THE RAINMAKER (eh), ROUNDERS (love it despite it not being that good a movie), THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY(I was too young when I saw it and really need to re-watch it but I remember the film using his sissy personna really well much like in THE DEPARTED), and ALL THE PRETTY HORSES (bwahahahahahaha….. I really should have included this shitacular shitfest into this post)
Today, I’d describe my opinion on Matt Damon currently as one of begrudging respect. He is, however, always one really shitty film away from continuing the feud. Another kick ass action film or maybe showing some dramatic range would perhaps cause me to actually like him. Maybe.