Tag Archives: Matt Damon

The Set of 400: #186 – My Favorite Heavily Mirrored Berth

Today! Because I always thought it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody –

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Directed by Anthony Minghella

Starring Matt Damon (x4), Gwyneth Paltrow (x3), Jude Law (x2), Cate Blanchett (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x5), James Rebhorn (x2), Philip Baker Hall (x4), Jack Davenport, Sergio Rubini, Celia Weston

Ah, 1999! My fourth and fifth semesters of college really landed a lot of movies on this list – here we are at eleven already! – and I’m also surprised to find 1998 with only six, and none so far. Those are six pretty high ranking films! As I’ve mentioned, I consider the corridor of 1997-1999 as one of the best in film history (this is also possibly due to my finally being able to drive in this time period), and so films from this era keep cropping up.

A wonderfully atmospheric, psychological thriller, The Talented Mr. Ripley takes Patricia Highsmith’s solid murder yarn and elevates it to great cinema through a bevy of sterling performances and Minghella’s solid writing and directing – his best of the ’90s (Yeah, you heard me, English Patient!). Matt Damon was coming off Good Will Hunting, Gwyneth had just won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and Cate Blanchett had just been robbed of that same Oscar for Elizabeth. This film also launched Jude Law – even if his career got way uneven for a long time afterward – snagging the film its only acting Oscar nomination as the object of everyone’s desire, Dickie Greenleaf.

I mean, obviously, right?

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The Set of 400: #195 – My Favorite Alexanderplatz Exposition

Today! Because we don’t have a choice –

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon (x3), Joan Allen (x3), Franka Potente, Brian Cox (x3), Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Marton Csokas, Gabriel Mann, Tom Gallop, Michelle Monaghan

Just so you’re prepared – this is my least favorite of the Bourne trilogy, and even this one cracked the 200. The most recent Damon outing – Jason Bourne, I want to say? – wasn’t eligible, and wasn’t anything special, and that random Jeremy Renner movie was fine, but the first three – man, those are exciting, highly interchangeable films.

Like the Mission: Impossibles, these all take place in random, similar looking foreign cities, which you get to see whip by out the windows of speeding cars. Bourne will get involved in some conspiratorial bullshit in a frowsy apartment or abandoned train station, but then it’s right back to running. The first movie is an all-out chase, as they are coming for Bourne hard, the third movie is when he finally manages to piece the whole puzzle together, leaving the middle chapter – which is a straight revenge film, albeit also chocked full of chases, and an ending that gives some closure, but obviously benefits from the existence of a third film. Second films are hard, you guys.

With the obvious exception of the Breakin‘ franchise

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The Set of 400: #208 – My Favorite Internet Troll Comeuppance

Today! Because Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms 

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Directed by Kevin Smith (x2)

Starring Jason Mewes (x2), Kevin Smith (x2), Ben Affleck (x2), Jason Lee, Matt Damon (x2), Chris Rock (x3), Will Ferrell (x2), Shannon Elizabeth (x2), Eliza Dushku, Jon Stewart, Judd Nelson (x2), Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher (x2), Jamie Kennedy (x2), Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant, Shannen Doherty, James Van Der Beek, Jason Biggs (x2), Jeff Anderson (x2), Brian O’Halloran (x2), Ali Larter, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, George Carlin, Seann William Scott (x5), Tracy Morgan, Diedrich Bader, Joey Lauren Adams, Alanis Morissette, Morris Day and the Time, William B. Davis

Okay, if you are ready to jump down my throat at the inclusion of this film, take a gander at these two list facts: 1) This is the second and final Kevin Smith to make appearance, meaning 2) This is my favorite Kevin Smith movie. SHUT UP! I fully recognize that virtually all of his movies are better than this – Clerks, Mallrats, maybe Chasing Amy, maybe Dogma, Clerks II, Zach and Miri Make a Porno – and like most people I haven’t seen anything he’s made in the last ten years. But none of his movies are funnier than Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I don’t care what you say.

It’s funny, right?

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The Set of 400: #249 – My Favorite Prison Tuxedo

Today! Because you can’t have six cards in a five card game –

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring George Clooney (x2), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia (x2), Elliott Gould (x2), Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner (x3), Bernie Mac, Shaobo Qin, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle (x2), Topher Grace, Joshua Jackson (x2)

A remake so much better than the original that it’s almost unfair to mention its existence, 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven was the movie that I think everyone assumed Steven Soderbergh could make, but never would. Sure, Out of Sight hits largely the same tone, and with Clooney, too, but it isn’t quite the bustling movie star popcorn extravaganza that this film is. But while in some cases I’ve advocated that a filmmaker winning an Oscar was detrimental to society as a whole – Spielberg’s four year hiatus after Schindler’s List, James Cameron’s everything after Titanic, etc. – Soderbergh’s win for Traffic may have actually freed him up to make something more purely fun, purely Hollywood than we would’ve expected.

And boy did it deliver. Yes, the sequels were underwhelming and unnecessary, straight through to last year’s okay-if-beating-a-dead-mare Ocean’s 8, but the first movie is a dazzling gem of subterfuge and sleight of hand. From Danny Ocean’s first appearance, getting out of jail in a full on tuxedo, this movie is chocked full of style, attitude, and more than a little winking-at-itself humor that totally works. Sure, with a cast this large and accomplished, it’s bound to feel like some folks got a little wasted through lack of use, but they do manage to give everybody just enough character bits and snappy lines to satisfy – for the most part. Continue reading

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