(Photo by Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection)

All Ben Affleck Movies Ranked

Ben Affleck chose the right friends early on: His first notable appearance was in 1992’s School Ties, which happened to co-star Matt Damon. The two would go on to become household names after co-writing and co-starring in the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting. And a few years after School Ties, Affleck starred in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy, and is now a regular fixture in Smith’s View Askewniverse. Damon, Smith, and Affleck would all work together in 1999’s iconoclastic Dogma.

Later on in his career, Affleck would pal around with Michael Bay, creating two bombastic feasts together: Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. He’s worked with some of the most legendary directors of their time, like John Woo (Paycheck), John Frankenhemier (Reindeer Games), Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused), and David Fincher (Gone Girl) — experiences we’re sure all went into Affleck’s own directing career, which culminated in the Best Picture-winning Argo.

Affleck’s recent stint in the DCEU has left his image relatively unscathed: His Batman was considered among the best things out of Batman v Superman and Justice League. And after some highly public personal issues and with his last directorial effort, Live By Night, a Rotten bomb, Affleck’s now on something of a comeback trail for 2020. The Last Thing He Wanted‘s single-digit Tomatometer was probably the last thing Affleck wanted at this point. But his 2020 sports drama The Way Back transcended the inspirational sports template, giving him a meaty role to sink his teeth into, and it impressed critics along the way. Next, he’ll be directing an adaptation of The Big Goodbye, which details the making of 1974’s Chinatown. Until then, we’re ranking all Ben Affleck movies by Tomatometer!

Adjusted Score: 8080%
Critics Consensus: It'll be the last thing most viewers want, too.
Synopsis: When she helps her father broker an arms deal, a reporter becomes involved in the story she's trying to break.... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees


Gigli (2003)

Adjusted Score: 12382%
Critics Consensus: Bizarre and clumsily plotted, Gigli is a mess. As for its stars, Affleck and Lopez lack chemistry.
Synopsis: Gigli (Ben Affleck) is ordered to kidnap the psychologically challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor. When plans go... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

Adjusted Score: 10795%
Critics Consensus: Surviving Christmas is unpleasant characters attacking each other for 90 minutes before delivering a typical, hollow anti-consumerist message
Synopsis: A wealthy executive, Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) has no close relationships and becomes nostalgic for his childhood home as Christmas... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell


Runner Runner (2013)

Adjusted Score: 11459%
Critics Consensus: It has an impressive cast and an intriguing premise, but Runner Runner wastes them on a bland, haphazardly assembled thriller with very little payoff.
Synopsis: Believing that he has been swindled, Princeton grad student Richie (Justin Timberlake) goes to Costa Rica to confront online-gambling tycoon... [More]
Directed By: Brad Furman


Phantoms (1998)

Adjusted Score: 13070%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The resort town of Snowfield, Colo., is under attack by an evil spirit that almost wipes out the entire population,... [More]
Directed By: Joe Chappelle


Pearl Harbor (2001)

Adjusted Score: 31703%
Critics Consensus: Pearl Harbor tries to be the Titanic of war movies, but it's just a tedious romance filled with laughably bad dialogue. The 40 minute action sequence is spectacular though.
Synopsis: This sweeping drama, based on real historical events, follows American boyhood friends Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay


Reindeer Games (2000)

Adjusted Score: 27988%
Critics Consensus: Despite a decent cast, subpar acting and a contrived plot disappointed reviewers.
Synopsis: Just released from prison, all Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) wants is to start a new life with Ashley (Charlize Theron),... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer


Paycheck (2003)

Adjusted Score: 31165%
Critics Consensus: Though Dick's short story has an intriguing premise, Woo reduces it to a lot of meaningless chases, shoot-outs, and explosions.
Synopsis: Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is a top-notch reverse engineer. Corporations pay him to crack the secrets of their competitors' products.... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

Adjusted Score: 56047%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Synopsis: It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder


200 Cigarettes (1999)

Adjusted Score: 31291%
Critics Consensus: A clumsy and scattered comedy with a poorly executed script.
Synopsis: This ensemble comedy follows an array of young people in New York City on New Year's Eve. Among the numerous... [More]
Directed By: Risa Bramon Garcia


Smokin' Aces (2007)

Adjusted Score: 36605%
Critics Consensus: A violent mess of a movie, Smokin' Aces has some Quentin Tarantino's style but not much of his wit or humor.
Synopsis: Sleazy entertainer Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven) incurs the wrath of crime boss Primo Sparazza when he agrees to testify... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan


The Third Wheel (2002)

Adjusted Score: 7507%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Stanley met Diana, he hadn't been on a date in years. She was easily the most appealing woman he'd... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Brady


Live by Night (2016)

Adjusted Score: 51842%
Critics Consensus: Live by Night boasts visual style and an impressive cast, but they're lost in a would-be crime saga that finds producer, director, and star Ben Affleck revisiting familiar themes to diminishing effect.
Synopsis: It's the Roaring `20s and Prohibition hasn't stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck


Man About Town (2006)

Adjusted Score: 14164%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hollywood agent Jack Giamoro (Ben Affleck) has a ruthless dedication to his work and a tendency to neglect his wife,... [More]
Directed By: Mike Binder


Armageddon (1998)

Adjusted Score: 44954%
Critics Consensus: Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie's antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.
Synopsis: When an asteroid threatens to collide with Earth, NASA honcho Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) determines the only way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay


Justice League (2017)

Adjusted Score: 69874%
Critics Consensus: Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise.
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

Adjusted Score: 47692%
Critics Consensus: Despite the best efforts of a talented cast, He's Just Not That Into You devotes too little time to each of its protagonists, thus reducing them to stereotypes.
Synopsis: Baltimore-based friends and lovers, all in their 20s and 30s, try to navigate their way through the complexities of modern... [More]
Directed By: Ken Kwapis


Jersey Girl (2004)

Adjusted Score: 48317%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly conventional romantic comedy from Kevin Smith, Jersey Girl is warm but often overly sentimental.
Synopsis: Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) is young and at the top of his game as a music promoter. He is both... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Daredevil (2003)

Adjusted Score: 50992%
Critics Consensus: While Ben Affleck fits the role and the story is sporadically interesting, Daredevil is ultimately a dull, brooding origin story that fails to bring anything new to the genre.
Synopsis: Attorney Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is blind, but his other four senses function with superhuman sharpness. By day, Murdock represents... [More]
Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson


Forces of Nature (1999)

Adjusted Score: 47394%
Critics Consensus: A distinct lack of chemistry between Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, coupled with a screwball sensibility that's a touch too screwy, scupper Forces of Nature's modest ambition to serve up romantic charm.
Synopsis: All Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) wants to do is make it from New York to Savannah, Ga., in time for... [More]
Directed By: Bronwen Hughes


To the Wonder (2012)

Adjusted Score: 52925%
Critics Consensus: To the Wonder demonstrates Terrence Malick's gift for beautiful images, but its narrative is overly somber and emotionally unsatisfying.
Synopsis: A man (Ben Affleck) reconnects with a childhood sweetheart (Rachel McAdams) after problems arise in his relationship with the Frenchwoman... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick


Bounce (2000)

Adjusted Score: 55785%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Bounce is more of a thud. Plot turns feel cliched and contrived, and the romance between Paltrow and Affleck fails to engage.
Synopsis: Buddy is fearlessly confident and wildly charming, his clients love him, and thanks to his good looks, so do woman.... [More]
Directed By: Don Roos


The Accountant (2016)

Adjusted Score: 68957%
Critics Consensus: The Accountant writes off a committed performance from Ben Affleck, leaving viewers with a scattershot action thriller beset by an array of ill-advised deductions.
Synopsis: Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Using a small-town CPA office... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

Adjusted Score: 57819%
Critics Consensus: Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though.
Synopsis: When Jay and Silent Bob learn that a "Bluntman and Chronic" movie is being made featuring their comic book counterparts,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Mallrats (1995)

Adjusted Score: 59650%
Critics Consensus: Mallrats colorfully expands the View Askewniverse, even if its snootchie has lost a few of the bootchies boasted by its beloved predecessor.
Synopsis: T.S. (Jeremy London) and his best friend, Brodie (Jason Lee), take a trip to the mall after their girlfriends break... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


School Ties (1992)

Adjusted Score: 62876%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When David Greene (Brendan Fraser) receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s, he feels pressure... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel


Extract (2009)

Adjusted Score: 69602%
Critics Consensus: Extract has some very funny moments and several fine performances, but the film feels slighter and more uneven than Mike Judge's previous work.
Synopsis: The owner of a factory that produces flavor extracts, Joel Reynold (Jason Bateman) seems to have it all, but really... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

Adjusted Score: 67757%
Critics Consensus: Fan-focused to a fault, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot tries to mock the same audience nostalgia it's mining -- and pulls it off often enough to satisfy the faithful.
Synopsis: Jay and Silent Bob embark on a cross-country mission to stop Hollywood from filming a reboot based on them.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Boiler Room (2000)

Adjusted Score: 69564%
Critics Consensus: Its ending is disappointingly tidy, but Boiler Room boasts just enough sharp writing and brisk pacing to make getting there worthwhile.
Synopsis: Welcome to the infamous "boiler room" -- where twenty something millionaires are made overnight. Here, in the inner sanctum of... [More]
Directed By: Ben Younger


Dogma (1999)

Adjusted Score: 72581%
Critics Consensus: Provocative and audacious, Dogma is an uneven but thoughtful religious satire that's both respectful and irreverent.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


The Company Men (2010)

Adjusted Score: 73324%
Critics Consensus: It might be hard for most viewers to identify with The Company Men's well-heeled protagonists, but writer/director John Wells uses their plight to make universally resonant points -- and gets the most out of his excellent cast.
Synopsis: A young executive at a shipping and manufacturing conglomerate, Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is on the fast track to the... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

Adjusted Score: 68645%
Critics Consensus: Its themes may feel overly familiar, but Going All the Way is set apart from other period coming-of-age films by the strength of its performances.
Synopsis: Korean War--era veterans and ex-classmates "Gunner" Casselman (Ben Affleck) and "Sonny" Burns (Jeremy Davies) reunite upon their return home. Gunner,... [More]
Directed By: Mark Pellington


Hollywoodland (2006)

Adjusted Score: 75862%
Critics Consensus: More than a movie star murder mystery, Hollywoodland takes it slow in order to reveal the intriguing details of the rise and fall of superstar fame.
Synopsis: A detective (Adrien Brody) uncovers unexpected links to his own personal life as he probes the mysterious death of "Superman"... [More]
Directed By: Allen Coulter


Triple Frontier (2019)

Adjusted Score: 77992%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding cast and ambitious story help Triple Frontier overcome an uneven narrative -- and elevate the end result above a crowded field of grim and gritty heist thrillers.
Synopsis: Former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. For the... [More]
Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Adjusted Score: 86825%
Critics Consensus: Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision -- and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence.
Synopsis: In ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder


Changing Lanes (2002)

Adjusted Score: 80763%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find its conclusion unsatisfying, Changing Lanes is a tense, well-crafted exploration of meaty ethical dilemmas.
Synopsis: A rush-hour fender-bender on New York City's crowded FDR Drive, under most circumstances, wouldn't set off a chain reaction that... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell


The Way Back (2020)

Adjusted Score: 97953%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor


State of Play (2009)

Adjusted Score: 92861%
Critics Consensus: A taut, well-acted political thriller, State of Play overcomes some unsubtle plot twists with an intelligent script and swift direction.
Synopsis: Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is a rising star in Washington; handsome, unflappable and seemingly honorable, he's seen as his... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald


Daddy and Them (2001)

Adjusted Score: 26692%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Welcome to America's Heartland, home of hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves... and Claude (Billy Bob Thornton) and Ruby (Laura Dern) Montgomery.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Bob Thornton


Chasing Amy (1997)

Adjusted Score: 92430%
Critics Consensus: Although Chasing Amy's depiction of queer sexuality is frustratingly clumsy, it handles an array of thorny themes with a mixture of sensitivity, raw honesty, and writer-director Kevin Smith's signature raunchy humor.
Synopsis: Holden and Banky are best friends and authors of a popular comic book. Holden falls in love with Alyssa, who... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Gone Girl (2014)

Adjusted Score: 103152%
Critics Consensus: Dark, intelligent, and stylish to a fault, Gone Girl plays to director David Fincher's sick strengths while bringing the best out of stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Synopsis: In Carthage, Mo., former New York-based writer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his glamorous wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) present a... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

Adjusted Score: 96009%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

Adjusted Score: 100118%
Critics Consensus: Endlessly witty, visually rapturous, and sweetly romantic, Shakespeare in Love is a delightful romantic comedy that succeeds on nearly every level.
Synopsis: "Shakespeare in Love" is a romantic comedy for the 1990s set in the 1590s. It imaginatively unfolds the witty, sexy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden


The Town (2010)

Adjusted Score: 99975%
Critics Consensus: Tense, smartly written, and wonderfully cast, The Town proves that Ben Affleck has rediscovered his muse -- and that he's a director to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) leads a band of ruthless bank robbers and has no real attachments except for James (Jeremy... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck


Argo (2012)

Adjusted Score: 110942%
Critics Consensus: Tense, exciting, and often darkly comic, Argo recreates a historical event with vivid attention to detail and finely wrought characters.
Synopsis: On Nov. 4, 1979, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, taking 66 American hostages. Amid the chaos, six... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck

Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

Clerks II

(Photo by Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)

All Kevin Smith Movies Ranked

The story of Kevin Smith making his first movie starts out like the story of most indie filmmakers following a dream in the ’80s and ’90s: Maxing out credit cards, risking financial ruin all in sheer tyranny of belief that the majorly groundbreaking screenplay you wrote is your ticket into the business. Smith’s story ends differently than most: He actually made it.

‘Twas the right time, right place (unlike all those contractors on the Death Star) for Smith’s Clerks. Audiences and studios alike were hungry for outsider voices, and the guy from New Jersey holding a scuzzy black-and-white comedy was as outsidery as you can get. Released the same October week in 1994 as Pulp Fiction, Clerks set a new high for those aiming low, and thus the American independent movement of the ’90s was born.

Smith’s next movie, Mallrats, showed he was serious about giving voice to pop culture nerds, slackers, and stoners, throwing more references to movies and more reverence to comic books, to the point of roping in Stan Lee as a sage, secondary character. Smith had his most promising leap forward in writing and direction with Chasing Amy, and then took on a more aggressive front against the status quo with the iconoclastic Dogma. The organized religion send-up featured a growing cadre of stars willing to yuk it up in Smith’s unified Askewniverse (like Matt Damon, Salma Hayek, Alan Rickman, and Chris Rock), with Jason Mewes and Smith himself as Jay and Silent Bob a consistent, comedy presence. (Check out our oral history of Jay and Silent bob with Smith.)

The two characters were upgraded to lead status with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, before Smith returned to his roots in Jersey Girl and Clerks II. With the Judd Apatow style changing the comedy landscape, Smith stuck his own thumb into the pie, mixing extreme raunchiness and sweet sincerity in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

The 2010s began with Cop Out, a failed stab at Hollywood big-budget action filmmaking, and an experience Smith now openly derides. Red State just edged by with enough critics for a Fresh rating, and would begin a 3-movie string operating in horror. Tusk has its defenders. Yoga Hosers definitely does not. For his latest, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Smith hit the streets, doing roadshow screenings with Q&As city by city. Not only did that bring together his fans in community, but also played up Smith’s strengths as a world-class raconteur, whose gift of gab has helped him create an empire of podcasts and review shows, overshadowing his directing career in recent years. His next movie is horror-comedy Killroy Was Here, scheduled for a 2020 Fall release. Before then, take a look back on all Kevin Smith movies ranked by Tomatometer!


Cop Out (2010)

Adjusted Score: 24919%
Critics Consensus: Cop Out is a cliched buddy action/comedy that suffers from stale gags and slack pacing.
Synopsis: Veteran detective Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) needs money to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, so he decides it's time... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Yoga Hosers (2016)

Adjusted Score: 25990%
Critics Consensus: Undisciplined, unfunny, and bereft of evident purpose, Yoga Hosers represents a particularly grating low point in Kevin Smith's once-promising career.
Synopsis: Two teenage yoga enthusiasts team up with a legendary man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence that is threatening... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Jersey Girl (2004)

Adjusted Score: 48317%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly conventional romantic comedy from Kevin Smith, Jersey Girl is warm but often overly sentimental.
Synopsis: Ollie Trinke (Ben Affleck) is young and at the top of his game as a music promoter. He is both... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Tusk (2014)

Adjusted Score: 50248%
Critics Consensus: Tusk is pleasantly ridiculous and charmingly self-deprecating, but that isn't enough to compensate for its thin, overstretched story.
Synopsis: A U.S. podcaster (Justin Long) ventures into the Canadian wilderness to interview an old man (Michael Parks) who has an... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

Adjusted Score: 57819%
Critics Consensus: Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though.
Synopsis: When Jay and Silent Bob learn that a "Bluntman and Chronic" movie is being made featuring their comic book counterparts,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Mallrats (1995)

Adjusted Score: 59650%
Critics Consensus: Mallrats colorfully expands the View Askewniverse, even if its snootchie has lost a few of the bootchies boasted by its beloved predecessor.
Synopsis: T.S. (Jeremy London) and his best friend, Brodie (Jason Lee), take a trip to the mall after their girlfriends break... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Red State (2011)

Adjusted Score: 62963%
Critics Consensus: Red State is an audacious and brash affair that ultimately fails to provide competent scares or thrills.
Synopsis: Three horny teenagers -- Travis (Michael Angarano), Jarod (Kyle Gallner) and Billy-Ray (Nicholas Braun) -- can't believe their luck when... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Clerks II (2006)

Adjusted Score: 69955%
Critics Consensus: Clerks II dishes up much of the graphic humor and some of the insight that made the 1994 original a cult hit.
Synopsis: Now in their 30s, slackers Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) find that they must change their lives and... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

Adjusted Score: 73012%
Critics Consensus: Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a modest success for Kevin Smith, due in large part to the charm of Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.
Synopsis: Lifelong friends and now roommates, Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are buried under a mountain of debt. When... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

Adjusted Score: 67757%
Critics Consensus: Fan-focused to a fault, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot tries to mock the same audience nostalgia it's mining -- and pulls it off often enough to satisfy the faithful.
Synopsis: Jay and Silent Bob embark on a cross-country mission to stop Hollywood from filming a reboot based on them.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Dogma (1999)

Adjusted Score: 72581%
Critics Consensus: Provocative and audacious, Dogma is an uneven but thoughtful religious satire that's both respectful and irreverent.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Chasing Amy (1997)

Adjusted Score: 92430%
Critics Consensus: Although Chasing Amy's depiction of queer sexuality is frustratingly clumsy, it handles an array of thorny themes with a mixture of sensitivity, raw honesty, and writer-director Kevin Smith's signature raunchy humor.
Synopsis: Holden and Banky are best friends and authors of a popular comic book. Holden falls in love with Alyssa, who... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Clerks (1994)

Adjusted Score: 92513%
Critics Consensus: With its quirky characters and clever, quotable dialogue, Clerks is the ultimate clarion call for slackers everywhere to unite and, uh, do something we guess?
Synopsis: Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is called in to cover a shift at his New Jersey convenience store on his day off.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Lopez was just another one of the girls getting her swerve on before commercial breaks on Fox’s In Living Color. Things sure have changed: Today, Lopez is a certified multimedia mogul, with a successful acting career, platinum CDs, a clothing line, fragrances, and a production company to her credit. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen La Lopez in theaters, but she’s back this week with The Boy Next Door; to celebrate her return, we decided to take a look back through her filmography and revisit her best-reviewed starring roles. Let’s go Total Recall, J. Lo style!

10. Maid in Manhattan (2002) 38%

Lopez teamed up with Ralph Fiennes and The Joy Luck Club director Wayne Wang for this 2002 romantic comedy, which told the story of a hotel maid (Lopez) who finds herself swept up in a romance with a politician (Fiennes) even though he — gasp! — doesn’t know she cleans up after people for a living. Based on a John Hughes story, Maid in Manhattan is the sort of sunny, charming, perfectly critic-proof movie that tends to do very well at the box office in December — which is just what happened here. Despite largely negative reviews from critics who carped that its predictable plot was beneath its stars’ talents, Maid cleaned up to the tune of over $150 million in worldwide grosses. Not all the press was bad, though: Rich Cline of Film Threat conceded to the film’s charms when he wrote, “When we catch ourselves sighing at the end, we get mad that we’ve fallen for this same old formula all over again. But mad in a nice way.”

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9. Parker (2013) 40%

Give Jason Statham a shotgun and a few quips and he’s capable of wringing movie magic out of even the most hackneyed script, and Jennifer Lopez has proven her way with a good crime thriller before. Putting them together with Oscar-nominated director Taylor Hackford for an adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s Flashfire, the 19th entry in his bestselling series of novels about the master thief known as Parker, looked like great pulpy fun for genre fans — on paper, anyway. In reality, Parker was neither a critical nor a commercial success, trudging its way to less than $20 million at the box office while enduring a hail of withering scorn from scribes (opined Rex Reed for the New York Observer, “Mr. Statham is to acting what Taco Bell is to nutrition”). A big part of the problem, according to many reviews, was that Lopez’s character was shoehorned in — and subjected to a series of insulting and/or misogynistic plot contrivances. Still, for some, Parker proved a sufficiently entertaining diversion during a dreary era for action fans; as Steven Rea quipped for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Take that, Nicholas Sparks.”

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8. Jersey Girl (2004) 42%

After the complete disaster that was Gigli, nobody was asking for another Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez movie — which probably goes a long way toward explaining why 2004’s Jersey Girl was dead on arrival before anyone had even seen a frame of film. It’s unfortunate, because writer/director Kevin Smith was branching out here, moving outside the “View Askewniverse” for the first time with a sweet story about a single dad (Affleck) and his struggle to square his career ambitions with his obligations to his daughter (Raquel Castro) while falling in love — maybe — with a foxy video store clerk (Liv Tyler). As for Lopez? She really isn’t in much of the movie, but the shadow of Bennifer loomed large over the production anyway, as well as the stony disbelief of critics who refused to accept Smith’s more sentimental side. But for scribes like Jeffrey Overstreet of Looking Closer, the change from Clerks to Jersey Girl was a welcome one: “Even as the critic in me raged against the clichés, I found a big old lump in my throat and blinked back a few tears.”

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7. The Cell (2000) 45%

She’s chiefly known for romantic comedies, but for awhile around the turn of the century, Lopez made a point of branching out into more diverse fare — like 2000’s The Cell. Nominally speaking, this Tarsem Singh-directed thriller starred Lopez as a groundbreaking child psychologist, but that only scratches at the surface of The Cell‘s bizarre, nightmarish second act, which plunges viewers — and Lopez’s character — into the twisted mind of a comatose serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio). In an effort to locate his next victim before the prison he’s left her in fills with water, Lopez enters D’Onofrio’s fractured psyche, where she encounters a surreal landscape filled with intense (and often intensely disturbing) visuals. According to a sizable number of critics, Singh’s fondness for S&M-inspired eye candy overwhelmed the plot — but for others, The Cell was an absorbingly disquieting experience. Film Blather’s Eugene Novikov was one of the movie’s staunchest defenders, calling it “the year’s first masterpiece, an insanely ambitious movie that miraculously fulfills every one of its ambitions.”

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6. Shall We Dance? (2004) 47%

Lopez got one of her early breaks as a “Fly Girl” dancer on Fox’s In Living Color, but few of her films have taken advantage of her dancing ability. A notable exception: 2004’s Shall We Dance?, which pairs her with Richard Gere in a remake of Mayasaki Suo’s Shall We Dansu? Marketed as a romantic comedy, Dance? is really something more — a portrait of an aimlessly dissatisfied man (Gere) who finds friendship with a dance instructor (Lopez) who helps him rekindle the spark that’s been missing from his personal life and his marriage. There’s a love story here, but it’s really between Gere and Susan Sarandon, who plays his wife. This alone makes Dance? a more thoughtful, mature film than much of what passes through theaters, but for a lot of critics, it couldn’t help but compare unfavorably to the original. Still, for others, Dansu‘s Americanization wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; as Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel wrote, “The central idea — that losing yourself in a small, private world can help you to better engage the larger world — isn’t lost in translation.”

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5. An Unfinished Life (2005) 52%

Mark Spragg’s novel got the Lasse Hallström treatment in this 2005 adaptation, which stars Lopez as a widowed single mother who tries to escape an abusive relationship by fleeing to the Wyoming ranch of her estranged father-in-law (Robert Redford). Co-starring Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas, and one very threatening bear, An Unfinished Life shuffled around Miramax’s release schedule for years, and when it finally reached theaters in September 2005, neither its reviews nor its box office totals reflected the high-priced talent assembled to bring it to the screen. Though filmgoers were indifferent and many critics felt it was too sentimental and predictable, for some scribes, An Unfinished Life was a movie rich with quiet pleasures. Wrote Will Harris of Bullz-Eye, “This is a phenomenal character study of the grief of a father and the guilt of a friend. If you find it’s unfolding too slowly for you, just focus on the wonderful performances by Redford and Freeman, and they’ll pull you through.”

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4. U-Turn (1997) 61%

Oliver Stone took a noir detour with this twisty thriller, which embroiled Lopez in a sweaty imbroglio involving her psycho husband (Nick Nolte), an eight-fingered drifter (Sean Penn), a violent maniac (Joaquin Phoenix) and his girlfriend (Claire Danes), an unscrupulous mechanic (Billy Bob Thornton), and the town sheriff (Powers Boothe). As you might guess given all the players, U-Turn is a story cluttered with sex, thievery, and double crosses — and one as luridly violent as Natural Born Killers — and all that plotting left some critics pining for the days when Stone was more interested in the lives and deaths of American presidents. For others, though, it was a straight-ahead treat: In the words of Time Out’s Geoff Andrew, “Penn turns in a crisp, unfussy comic performance, Lopez vamps like a scorpion in heat, Nolte sustains a pretty good John Huston impression, and Thornton is mighty peculiar as the mechanic from hell.”

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3. Blood and Wine (1997) 61%

A year before her breakout with Selena, Lopez scored one of her earliest film roles in Bob Rafelson’s Blood and Wine, the third leg of the loose trilogy he and Jack Nicholson started with Five Easy Pieces. A noir thriller about an adulterous jewel thief (Nicholson) and his duplicitous partner (Michael Caine), Blood and Wine didn’t ask Lopez to do much besides add the storyline’s requisite erotic heat; fortunately, she was more than up to the task, playing Nicholson’s Cuban mistress-cum-accomplice with the same sort of smoldering verve she’d bring to the screen in Out of Sight two years later. Though it didn’t enjoy much commercial success, or the same sort of critical status afforded Five Easy Pieces, Blood wasn’t without its fans. Applauded Nick Davis of Nick’s Flick Picks, “Bob Rafelson sends this movie out like a hissing flare from the island of the nearly-forgotten, and if justice had prevailed, moviegoers would have answered the call.”

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2. Selena (1997) 67%

The shocking murder of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez had barely faded from the headlines when this Gregory Nava-directed biopic reached theaters in 1997, and sensationalism aside, it isn’t hard to see what drew Hollywood to the story — during her brief career, Selena showed all the makings of a huge star, and her death only intensified the devotion of her fans. For Lopez, the opportunity to portray Selena was the chance of a lifetime — a bittersweet reunion with Nava, who gave her a small part in 1995’s My Family, for a starring role in the most high-profile production of her career. Though Selena was rightly criticized for taking a reverential approach to its subject, even its harshest critics were quick to praise Lopez for her glowingly confident performance. As Jean Oppenheimer wrote in her review for Boxoffice Magazine, “Jennifer Lopez is sensational. She not only looks remarkably like the real star, but she radiates the same incredible energy, warmth, style and magnetism for which the young pop singer was known.”

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1. Out of Sight (1998) 93%

When Jennifer Lopez wore a barely-there dress at the Grammy Awards in February 2000, she dropped jaws around the world — but for anyone who’d had the pleasure of seeing her with George Clooney in 1998’s Out of Sight, a skimpy Versace gown and some double-sided tape couldn’t compare to the way Lopez had burned up the screen as U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco. There’s a reason Entertainment Weekly voted this the sexiest movie of all time, and it boils down to the ingredient Roger Ebert identified in his review: “At the center of the film is the repartee between Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, and these two have the kind of unforced fun in their scenes together that reminds you of Bogart and Bacall.” With his adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel, director Steven Soderbergh could have created just another heist flick, but Lopez and Clooney’s chemistry, along with Scott Frank’s razor-sharp screenplay, takes it to another level. As Sisco, Lopez gets to alternate between tough and vulnerable, all while being lovingly lit by Soderbergh and cinematographer Elliot Davis; meanwhile, Clooney’s screen presence had evolved from “moonlighting TV star” to “certified leading man.” As Radheyan Simonpillai noted in his review for AskMen.com, “Soderbergh finds the perfect equilibrium between mainstream entertainment and arty panache, lacing this heist movie/romantic comedy with character-motivated time shifting, prominent freeze-frames, a funky soundtrack and an all-around hip vibe.”

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Finally, here’s Lopez warning us, the general public, not to be duped by her (admittedly impressive) collection of bling, as she remains essentially unchanged in the years since her meteoric rise from humble origins:



Kevin SmithComing off his most accessible comedy (Jersey Girl) and his most
vulgar (Clerks 2), writer-director Kevin Smith concocts a mixture of
the two styles for his latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, opening
this Friday. In a film by turns thoughtful and juvenile, Seth Rogen and
Elizabeth Banks star as two roommates who embark on a porno shoot to pay off
debts, while slowly realizing the possibility they could be more than just
friends, roommates, and on-screen amateurs.

RT spoke to Smith for his five
favorite films ever, and followed up with an interview about the process of
creating the Zack and Miri universe.

Jaws (1975, 100% Tomatometer)

on, it’s common sense. Jaws is a fantastic film. Maybe the second film I
saw in my life — I saw The Gumball Rally prior to Jaws — but
Jaws is the first one that made a deep, deep impression. I saw it a drive-in
with my parents when I was five, which is kinda weird in retrospective. It was
PG at the time.

My kid’s nine and my wife still won’t let me show her Jaws.
I made the mistake of showing my kid Gremlins when she was six and I have
heard no end of it from my old lady. She’s all, “She’s still afraid of
Gremlins.” Gremlins is a harmless f–king movie.

JFK (1991, 84% Tomatometer)


Brilliant writing. Brilliant performances. Fantastic editing. That is
the most well-edited film I have ever seen in my life. I like a lot of Oliver
Stone stuff in general.

Man for All Seasons
(1966, 85% Tomatometer)

A Man for All Seasons

A Man For All Seasons is basically porn for people who love dialogue.
Paul Scofield’s brilliant performance. Robert Shaw’s equally brilliant performance
as Henry the VII. It’s always appealed to me. I was 13 years old the first time
I saw it. Absolutely fell in love with it because it’s wall-to-wall language
with compelling performances. And [it’s] about something to me, in terms that I
was raised Catholic. So Thomas Moore’s decision to not sign the oath of
succession appealed to me as I was growing up because this is a dude who’s
martyred for his beliefs and whatnot.

And people will always compare that movie
to The Crucible for some reason. But I never felt the same connection to The
because in that instance John Procter is just going to great
lengths to try to keep his name. Whereas Thomas Moore went to great lengths to
keep, what he felt was his soul, intact. By taking that oath it would’ve been
selling out on his soul, it would’ve been lying. He couldn’t do it and I always
found that insanely admirable and the life one wants to emulate to some degree,
without being crazy Catholic at the same time.

Do the
Right Thing
(1989, 100% Tomatometer)

Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee’s finest movie. One of the movies that made me want to get
into the movies as well. I knew I was never going to make Do the Right Thing, to
do what he did with cinema and tell a story comedically but also dramatically.
Very intense. That movie goes from a fun comedy — I don’t know if you can
say fun comedy, but it’s a funny comedy — to a dramatic shift in tone. It’s a
slow burn. You don’t notice it when it happens. It comes out of left field but
it’s keeping in what has come before. You realize how masterfully it’s put

That movie informed Clerks to a large degree: it takes place all in
one day, in one particular block, in one very specific city. So that was the
model I used for Clerks. So much so that the original version of Clerks Dante
gets killed because I was like, “I want to do something like that.” Then I
realized I’m not Spike Lee.

The Last
Temptation of Christ
(1988, 81% Tomatometer)

The Last Temptation of Christ

I was raised Catholic and I still consider myself a fairly spiritual
person even though I have a hard time identifying with most Christians in this
country. But I still maintain a belief in God and in Jesus, and that gets tried
on a daily basis. The older I get, the wiser I get, the tougher it is to believe
in a divine power or whatnot. So that movie appeals to me on that level alone.

To take it beyond, it’s just a fantastic Martin Scorsese picture. Great
performances in it. The first portrayal of Christ where I was, “Wow, this might
be what it was like.” He wasn’t a guy of all beatitude and perfection. He was a
man, first and foremost, who just happened to be the son of God.

Our interview with
Kevin Smith continues as we discuss the MPAA, the process of movie appeals, and
making comedies during a Judd Apatow era.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a really sweet movie.

KS: Thank you.

Jersey Girl is also a really sweet movie, but the reaction wasn’t

KS: [Laughs.] No, not nearly as good.

With Judd Apatow’s productions currently the standard bearers
of American comedy, do you think people are now more receptive to this mix of
vulgarity and sweetness?

KS: Absolutely. It felt like once 40 Year Old
did over $100 million, suddenly it made the type of movie that I
make, the kind that mixes vulgar stuff with sentimental stuff, or raunchy stuff
with sweet stuff, viable. Economically viable. For years, I felt any movie that
mixed raunch and sweetness couldn’t make more than $30 million. It was the best
we’ve ever done.

It was a niche thing.

KS: Totally. Absolute niche. Judd blows the ceiling out,
crashes through the glass ceiling, makes over $100 million with 40 Year Old
, Knocked Up, and Superbad, and suddenly it proves that
genre viable. So, that to me was a blessing. I’m like, “Right on.” Now I can
totally make Zack and Miri Make a Porno without having it on a $200,000
budget on a 50 screen release.

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

Has Zack and Miri‘s MPAA process given you a new
enthusiasm to do [upcoming horror project] Red State?

KS: [Laughs.] I don’t take as much umbrage with the
MPAA fiasco, if you will, as everyone else. Like everyone else wants to scream
“censorship” the minute it happens. I don’t feel that way because they’re not
saying, “Cut it or it don’t go out.” They’re saying, “If you want your rating,
the rating you want, you’re gonna have to make some changes.” So I would
much rather deal with one governing body than deal with it on a state-by-state
basis, which is what it was before the creation of the MPAA. A movie that
played in New York might not play in Texas, because that state’s censors could
shoot it down. And I assure you, if we were going state by state, I don’t think
any of my movies would have played in Texas at this point.

So I’m glad there’s only one body you have to deal with
that governs the entire country and how we view movies, as opposed to 50.
They’re also fairly generous, and as much as it’s a pain in the ass, they do
give you the option to appeal. Like, you know, they’ll tell you what your
rating is, and they’ll tell you what you need to look at if you want to reach
the rating you want via cuts.

Or they give you this last bite at the apple, which they
really don’t have to do. Like, if I was in charge of the MPAA, I’d be like “F–k
you, the rating is the rating. Either cut or accept that rating.” But they give
you this alternative, where you can actually go and flip it. Go above their
heads to a third party altogether, and I think that’s kinda generous, man. The
fact that they do that at all.

I mean, to me, it is what it is. At the end of the day,
it’s part of the business. If you want to be in this business, you have to be
willing to play that game. And you know, the key is finding a way to play the
game where it works in your favor. And so far we’ve gotten lucky. Three times
I’ve gone to the appeals process; three times we’ve flipped it without having to
make any cuts.

Clerks for one.

KS: Clerks. Jersey Girl they gave an
R rating initially. I had to flip it to a PG-13. Clerks 2, first time we
submitted it: R. That’s why I never thought we’d have problems on Zack and
because I’m like, “Nothing in this movie is nearly as outrageous as the
donkey show in Clerks 2. If they let that pass, this should be fine.” I
was wrong.

How does the appeals process work?

KS: There’s a bunch of people that work on the
ratings board. I don’t know if they all watch every single movie or if they
just use this many people and they rotate it or something.

First, you go before the ratings board. They watch the
movie, they give you your rating. Then you could either choose to work with the
ratings board, try to cut it to get to your rating, or you go to the appeals
process. The appeals process is made up of an audience that has no ratings
board members on it. There are MPAA members in the audience, people who work in
the studio system or whatnot, members of the Motion Picture Association, but
they’re not ratings board members. The other half of the audience is made up of
members of NATO, the National Association of Theater Owners. I’ve always felt
that those members of NATO should be what the ratings board is made up of.

Craig Robinson and Seth Rogen.

Because they’re the ones who exhibit the movie.

KS: They are the last line of defense. They’re the
ones that deal with the public on a regular basis. So a guy who owns a movie
theater, an exhibitor, can tell you precisely what will get a person on their
feet, out of the theater, asking for a refund. And that’s an opinion I trust
more than some nebulous body with people who may or may not be parents of
children who are of a young age.

Anyways, the appeals screening is made up of those members
of the audience. What you do is you screen the movie for them, and then you as
the filmmaker get up and you get 15 minutes to make an argument for why you feel
the movie should be rated R as opposed to NC-17. Then Joan Graves, who is the
head of the ratings board, gets up and she does 15 minutes as to why she feels
the movie is NC-17. Then you get 10 minutes to rebut her, and she gets
10 minutes to rebut you. Then you two leave the room, and people take a secret
ballot. That’s how it all works. And you have to win by 2/3 majority. You
can’t win by one vote. So we had 14 people in our screening. If eight of them
had voted for us, we would have lost. We had to have 2/3, so we wound up
winning 10-4.

Zack and Miri’s film crew.

Now after getting the R rating, people are taking
issue with the posters.

KS: It’s weird. After we won the appeal, it felt
like the MPAA got a little more stringent with our marketing materials. Like,
they started kicking back our posters and potential trailers. We had done a
bunch of behind-the-scenes shorts on Clerks 2 and put them up on the
Internet and ran them for almost 6 months in advance of the movie. Never once
had to approve them through anybody. We do what we want, because it’s the
Internet, and who governs the Internet?

We were gonna do [the shorts] again [for Zack and Miri,
and] this time around, the MPAA told us that we couldn’t run without getting
them approved by the MPAA first. The MPAA’s manifest is they have approval over
all movies and of signatory members of the MPAA. A studio has to be a signatory
MPAA member [and] most studios are. All of them are, as a matter of fact. But
[the MPAA] also governs the marketing material. So in the same way that they’re
like, “We can tell you what can go in a trailer that plays on TV, we can also
tell you these can or cannot be played on the Internet.” And that’s the first
time I’ve ever encountered that.

Suddenly, after years of ignoring the Internet, they’re now
paying attention. So all those [shorts] had to get rated through them as well,
and that was kind of weird. They were insisting that we install an age gate on
the site. An age gate is ridiculous. Anybody can beat an age gate. You don’t
even have to be Einstein to beat an age gate. You’re just f–king picking a
date that makes you 18 or older. And in a world where you can jump to a porno
site and watch a 15-second mpeg of people f–king without clicking an age gate,
how are you protecting people from anything, you know? It’s like, this movie is
a comedy. It’s not true porn, you know. All the f–king is fake, and silly at
that. What about the real porn over here? But they’re like, “We’re not in
charge of that. We’re only in charge of movies.” Because no parent calls up the MPAA to say, like, “My kid saw something weird on largelabia.com.”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m shocked they’ve let it go as
long as they have. The one thing I’m really terrified about is when they start
rating the extras on a DVD. So far, people have left that alone. Jersey Girl
was a PG-13 movie. Those two commentary tracks are R, if not worse. And some of
the features we had on it were definitely not PG-13-friendly. So for years
you’ve been able to do that. I’m scared that one day those cats are gonna start
turning on home video as well and being like, “We have to rate all the extras on
the disc.” So you could conceivably have a PG movie with R-rated extras. So as
long as they leave that alone, I’m fine.

Largely, I don’t make PG-13 movies, so it doesn’t matter.
If most of my [DVD extra] content was rated R, the movies are usually rated R,
so I’m okay with it. But, you know, [a potential MPAA crackdown] will prevent
things like that Jersey Girl commentary track from happening. Which, you
know, let’s be honest, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It wouldn’t be
the collapse of the American infrastructure. But it is kinda vexing.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opens in theaters this Friday.

Want more 5 Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Chuck Palahniuk, Dane Cook, Eva Mendes, and Judd Apatow.

As much as I love Jennifer Connelly (and boy do I), it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that she wouldn’t be returning to play Betty Ross in "The Incredible Hulk." But at least the producers made a really good choice for the sequel…

Fanboy-friendly Liv Tyler has been signed to play opposite Edward Norton (and a whole lot of CGI) in Louis Leterrier‘s "The Incredible Hulk," which promises a lot more action than the previous entry — and a lot less poodles.

Souces indicate that Bruce Banner and Betty Ross will be sort of estranged at the beginning of the movie, but get back together when all the chases and explosions and giant green transformations become a factor.

You’ll no doubt remember Liv Tyler from her lovely presence in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. (She was the hot elf. Not the blonde one.) Ms. Tyler is also well-known for her work in "Jersey Girl," "Empire Records," and "Armageddon," in which she co-starred alongside several animal crackers and her own bellybutton.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

This week we’ve got some magic in ordinary dwellings (M. Night Shyamalan‘s "Lady in the Water" and "Monster House") and some funny couples ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend," with Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson, and Kevin Smith‘s "Clerks II," featuring Jay and Silent Bob). What do the critics have to say?

For a moment, it appeared that M. Night Shyamalan would join the top tier of contemporary directors. "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" were commercial and critical hits, establishing a winning combination of spooky, twisty plots and spiritual quests. But now, after the lukewarm critical reaction to "The Village," and the absolute drubbing that his latest, "Lady in the Water," is taking, it’s looking like Shyamalan may be adrift. (The fact that "Water" star Bryce Dallas Howard‘s dad was piloting the craft when Fonzie jumped the shark is purely coincidental.) The film tells the story of a super (Paul Giamatti) at a drab apartment complex who discovers a mythical creature (Howard) living beneath the swimming pool. Though its description makes "Lady" sound like a simple fairy tale, critics say the film is needlessly complex, ponderous, and pretentious. At 22 percent on the Tomatometer, "Lady in the Water" is out to sea.

Ignoring the sound advice of his co-stars, Paul Giamatti’s characters continue to drink and dial.

On every street, there’s one house that’s just a little creepy, a place that inspires trepidation and even fear among the neighborhood kids. In "Monster House," there’s a residence that actually attacks people. The critics say this CG film, featuring the voices of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nick Cannon, and Steve Buscemi, is technically excellent and effective as a funny, scary funhouse ride of a movie. But perhaps it’s a little too effective; more than a few of the scribes say the movie may be way too scary for younger viewers. Still, at 66 percent on the Tomatometer, this "House" may be a prime piece of real estate.

Yes, children…. mortgage payments are scary.

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend" has a pretty amusing premise: A guy is on the outs with his girlfriend, but she’s a superhero, and uses her powers to thwart his budding romance with a coworker. Plus, director Ivan Reitman and stars Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson are pretty adept at light comedy. So what’s the problem? Well, the critics say the movie never quite transcends its premise. While the scribes say the leads are solid and the script does a decent job of poking fun at the superhero genre, the execution is ultimately too flat to make this material soar. "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" is at 45 percent on the Tomatometer.

It appears Uma has seen "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" one too many times.

If it wasn’t for Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Smith would likely be the voice of New Jersey. His "Clerks" changed the landscape of indie cinema in the 1990s; its DIY aesthetic inspired hundreds of other kids in the suburbs with demented minds and big dreams to pick up a camera and document their existential crises. In "Clerks II," he revisits Dante and Randal, those lovable, potty-mouthed slackers, who’ve barely changed a lick in a decade (aside from the release of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the presence of Rosario Dawson, which at least gives them something new to talk about). The critics say that while "Clerks II" will not break any new ground, it will please the legions of Kevin Smith acolytes with its witty, ribald humor. At 70 percent on the Tomatometer, "Clerks II" may be worth a stop, though it’s still a cut below the original, at 85 percent.

Buncha savages in this town.

Also in theaters this week in limited release: Ryuhei Kitamura‘s "Azumi" is at 57 percent on the Tomatometer; "Shadowboxer," starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren, is at 44 percent; and the bloody indie "Mad Cowgirl" is at 17 percent.

Recent M. Night Shyamalan Movies:
43% — The Village (2004)
75% — Signs (2002)
67% — Unbreakable (2000)
83% — The Sixth Sense (1999)
38% — Wide Awake (1998)

Recent Kevin Smith Movies:
41% — Jersey Girl (2004)
51% — Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
68% — Dogma (1999)
93% — Chasing Amy (1997)
49% — Mallrats (1996)

After screening at Cannes to an eight-minute standing ovation, "Clerks II" is beginning to garner precious positive reviews from print and online critics, who have given Kevin Smith‘s latest film an 88% Unofficial Tomatometer rating.

The MGM release isn’t due in theaters until July 21, but early reviews from the pic’s Cannes debut and other sneak screenings are already trickling in. Among 8 early reviews, 7 are positive critiques that applaud Smith’s return to his raunchy roots, while the lone negative review (written by Kevin Smith enthusiast Phil Villareal) declares "Clerks II" an eagerly anticipated disappointment.

The raves:

"After Jersey Girl, some felt that Smith had spunked his mojo, and heading back to Clerksworld could so easily have been a mad dash back to the comfort zone. It’s good to report, then, that Clerks II is what Smith does so well; it’s a tender, scabrous and very, very funny comedy that picks up 12 years after the original."

Damon Wise, Empire Online

"What Kevin has slyly done in his own ass-to-mouth, donkey show kinda way – has crafted his own modern mid-thirties geek retelling of AMERICAN GRAFFITTI."

Harry Knowles, Ain’t It Cool Movie Reviews

The OKs:

"Filled with tart dialogue and the kind of pop culture diatribes that propelled the original Clerks, this is a return to both the form and the substance that brought Smith to public attention in the first place."

Pop Syndicate

"If ‘Clerks II’ doesn’t have quite the scabrous kick of its predecessor, the chance to revisit a classic premise must have renewed the writer in Smith, whose banter here often achieves a sharpness and quality that haven’t been in evidence since 1999’s ‘Dogma.’"

Justin Chang, Variety

The pan:

"The film’s problems are myriad. The new clerk, an ultraconservative Christian 19-year-old ‘Transformers’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ geek played by Trevor Fehrman, is a sloppy caricature that strives and fails for the bizarro elegance of a Screech or an Urkel."

"The original was gleefully nasty for the sake of ingenious pop culture jabs, while the sequel, sadly, is raunchy for the sake of gag-inducing obscenity alone. The same is true about Smith’s trademark consumer satire."

"Sadly, ‘Clerks II’ was so bad that it actually had me pining for ‘Jersey Girl.’"

Phil Villareal, Scripps News

The sequel to Smith’s indie breakout "Clerks" (85% on the Tomatometer) has the potential to bring up the cult fave director’s own Tomatometer ranking, which started out strong with 1994’s "Clerks," dipped with 1995’s "Mallrats" (58%), peaked with 1997’s "Chasing Amy" (93% Tomatometer), and subsequently declined following 1999’s "Dogma" (67%), 2001’s "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (53%), and 2004’s "Jersey Girl" (41%).

SNL funnygal Molly Shannon has signed on to star in the directorial debut of screenwriter Mike White, says Variety. "Year of the Dog" is a comedy about a dog lover who’s forced to deal with the untimely demise of a beloved canine.

"Paramount Classics has tapped Molly Shannon to star in "Year of the Dog," scribe MMike White’s feature directing debut.

Shannon, who’s in final negotiations, will portray a happy-go-lucky secretary who lives alone with her pooch and must deal with the pet’s unexpected death."

Mike White’s screenplays include "Chuck & Buck," "The Good Girl," "School of Rock," and the upcoming "Nacho Libre."

Variety reports that old buddies Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will reunite to star in a Disney-backed "based on actual events" legal drama. And it’s not a Kevin Smith flick!

"Disney’s Touchstone has made a deal for a pic based on a true story that will star Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as lawyers who spent 15 years overturning a murder conviction.

Affleck will play Michael Banks and Damon will be J. Gordon Cooney, two lawyers at a Philadelphia firm that took on a pro bono appeal that turned into a 15-year crusade. The lawyers won nine stays of execution for death-row inmate John Thompson and finally got him exonerated of all charges."

Films that have included both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon include "School Ties," "Good Will Hunting," "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," and "Jersey Girl," if we’re including jokey cameo appearances.

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