Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Ben Affleck, Jimmy Kimmel
Ben Affleck, Jimmy Kimmel
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Ben Affleck’s 30-plus years in show business has seen more than the average share of highs and lows. For every Oscar (he’s got two, don’t forget), there’s a tabloid-besmirched heartbreak, for every Argo a Gigli, and for every mediocre, ill-conceived superhero movie, well, another mediocre, ill-conceived superhero movie. Still, the Boston-born bro’s a trouper, something he no doubt drew on to portray the down-and-out former hight school hoops star who finds redemption by coaching up his old school’s rag-tag basketball team in new film The Way Back. And while the towering, glowering, heart-tugging ghost of Gene Hackman in Hoosiers looms in stern, manly judgement over all such tales, both Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel agreed on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live that Affleck’s performance in the film is the best of his career.

So, with his Batsuit now filled out with the requisite younger, sleeker replacement, Affleck told Kimmel about how the filming of yet another new movie is keeping him busy—sort of too busy. In the kind of anecdote that makes you love the big lug no matter how many Surviving Christmases he makes, Affleck told Kimmel about how filming on The Last Duel in Paris (complete with lifelong pal and Kimmel nemesis Matt Damon and a very questionable blond haircut) meant a series of airport-sprints and international shipping complications in order to get back to Los Angeles in time for his 8-year-old son’s surprise birthday party. (The Ridley Scott-directed The Last Duel is the first co-screenwriting project by Affleck and Damon—alongside Walking And Talking’s Nicole Holofcener—since they won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting, just as a by the way.) With a combination of sincere performance and storytelling skill that reminds us that, yes, Ben Affleck’s got two Oscars, the actor feelingly spun a tale of hurtling to his home to pick up the carefully selected gifts for his son (with whom he shares custody with ex-wife Jennifer Garner), only to be greeted with the dad-shattering news that, unlike him, the presents hadn’t arrived.

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Still, there’s a hero to the story, and it’s not who you’d think, considering the dark side and planet-destroying and so forth. That’s because Affleck’s The Last Duel other co-star Adam Driver just happens to be Affleck’s son’s Star Wars idol, and, while Affleck had already secured a generous cellphone video of the big screen Kylo Ren wishing the boy a happy birthday, Affleck had no idea that Driver had also sent along a big pile of Kylo Ren merch and signed stuff for the Star Wars fanatic little Affleck. (Which, perhaps through dark and devious means, arrived before Affleck’s carefully shipped presents.) Tearing up and with a genuine little hitch in his voice, Affleck concluded the tale by telling Kimmel, “Adam made me a hero to my kid, and I will never, ever, ever forget it.” Excuse us—getting a little dusty in here.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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