Is There a Good Will Hunting Curse? Yes. Yes There Is.

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 14 2013 12:58 PM

Is There a Good Will Hunting Curse?

51639735
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon hold up their Oscars after winning in the Original Screenplay category for Good Will Hunting.

Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Is there a Good Will Hunting curse? Are Damon and Affleck stuck in a zero-sum game? Are they doomed to forever see-saw, with their careers trading off in fame and glory?

Our highly scientific analysis says yes. Rarely since their 1997 hit have they succeeded at the same time, and as soon as one star begins his ascent, the other comes hurtling back to Earth.

130813_affleckDamonChart

First Affleck prospered in blockbusters like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor while Damon’s more critically acclaimed efforts culminated in the mostly forgotten All the Pretty Horses. (Horses got widely panned while Armageddon sailed into the Criterion Collection.) Then Damon struck gold with the Ocean’s and Bourne series while Affleck moved on to a historic series of flops. (In the days of Paycheck and Surviving Christmas, Gigli was only the beginning.) Then Affleck rebounded as a director, leading to his self-directed star turn in Argo, which brought home big bucks and a Best Picture Oscar. Damon bought a zoo.

Advertisement

How can they end the curse? Clearly they must reunite and rekindle the magic of their 1997 classic. In the meantime, Damon needn’t worry too much about Elysium, which has been a disappointment both with critics and at the box office. If Affleck’s next movie, Runner Runner, is half as bad as it looks, Damon’s star will shortly be back on the rise.

Sharan Shetty is a writer for Brow Beat. You can follow him on Twitter

Holly Allen is a Slate Web designer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Education
Sept. 18 2014 12:30 PM “Alt-Ac” to the Rescue? Humanities Ph.D.s are daring to enjoy their “regular” jobs, and the definition of academic success is changing. Sort of.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 11:48 AM Watch the Hilarious First Sketch From Season 4 of Key & Peele
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.