Finally, Ben Affleck Is a Movie Star AgainS

He's done it! He's gone and done it. He edged out buzzed-about teen comedy Easy A, and handily trounced the latest project cooked up (in a producing, story-writing sense) by M. Night Shyamalan. The Cambridge boy comes home.

1) The Town — $23.8M
"Did you see that movie The Town this weekend? Oh you should have! It's so good. A really great movie about Boston. We went to go see it at the Dedham De Lux, because Martin just really needs the reserved seating and in-seat service. A pretty sketchy neighborhood, but it's worth it, you know? Hm? Zip Car? No, no, Martin keeps a Passat under the Common. Yeah. Well he'd love to not have to pay for a garage, but you know how impossible Charles St., the whole Hill really, is. Anyway, the movie! It was just so interesting to see such an authentically Boston movie. It felt very realistic. I was at Sonsie with my friend Miriam — do you know her? we were at Nobles together and she's doing curatorial things at the ICA now? no, not Miriam who lived in Mather, this one went to Williams (I know... ha ha) — and she was saying how it's really nice to see a movie about where you live, you know? I couldn't agree more. That Ben Affleck is very talented. I felt really represented. Say, I'm sorry, I have to run. I have to be all the way down Beacon to meet Martin and his parents for dinner at The Fireplace. Just something casual. But it was great to see you. You're on St. Botolph now, yes? Well we're so close, really. We should get together soon. They have great cocktails at Radius. Terrific. And go see The Town! As a Bostonian, it'll really speak to you. I know it did to me."

2) Easy A — $18.2M
Do you know when you see commercials and trailers for a movie and you're like "Well, if that's their A-material, this movie is not going to be very funny and that's too bad"? That happens a lot. Most comedy movies show the big laughs in the ads so you'll go see them for the littler laughs. And if you are not laughing at the commercials, you will not laugh at the actual movie. It's just science. This is how I felt about Easy A's ads — withered Tom Cruise jokes, hokey sex noises scene, that new-ish style of oh-so-casual cool chick/hip nerdy guy banter. Annoying stuff. But this weekend I saw it with friends at Kip's Bay and went in with no expectations and you know what? Guys, it was so good! So fresh and funny and weird and alive. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson must immediately always do movies together. Lisa Kudrow should be knighted. Penn Badgely! Penn, I take back everything I say about you in Gossip Girl recaps (not really). He is pretty cute in an admittedly not-big, unshaded role. And of course Emma Stone is extremely likable in the lead, funny and cool but almost 100% without any uncomfortable effort showing. The script has just enough odd quirks to make it beguilingly original (for a teen comedy) and that fake sex scene? Actually very, very funny when it plays out in full. So. If you are a fan of the teen comedy genre (if you aren't, it's time to go back to your robot planet, robot monster) you must indeed see this extremely charming movie. OK?

3) Devil — $12.5M
From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes... disappointment. Disappointment crawled of his mind, through his left ear and down his body, and then out the door and over to movieplexes across this tattered land of ours, and then it settled like thick, muddy snow on the heads of the few people who still think that the phrase "from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan" means something promising. Ah well. I wonder if anything else will ever come from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan again. Maybe he'll go work in different fields now that movies have started to trot off without him. From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes... the Sauteed Mushroom Meaty Melt for a limited time at Hardee's. (Or Carl's Jr.) You'll never guess the secret sauce! From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes... a pair of ladies day slacks that really work well for the evening too. That's the twist! Available exclusively through the Eileen Fisher for Fashion Bug collection. From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes... an automobile invented as part of a bedtime story told to his kids. Visit your nearest Daewoo dealership for a test drive. Things like that. He could make a lot of money.

5) Alpha and Omega — $9.2M
Is this is a secret Jesus movie? I mean, with the whole Alpha and Omega stuff? I've no plans to ever see the thing, so I'm not too worried about getting surprise Jesus'd, but when that happens it is just the worst! I was in Rhode Island this summer and trying to get WMVY, Martha's Vineyard radio, on the stereo, because it plays mellow, folky easy listening summertime jams, and I went to what I thought was 92.7 and there was a soft guitar song on and I thought "Oh yeah, good, I found it," and listened for a song or too, but then I heard a lyric about "salt and light" and then the DJ came on and was like "Hi, I'm Sue-Linda, and I'll be giving praise with you until 10 o'clock." Secretly Jesus'd! Someone Tweeted a link to me (shoot me) this morning being like "Oh this guy's music is so great," so I went and listened to a song and all of a sudden he's wondering why, Why??, Jesus died on the cross for him. Walked right into that one! So Alpha and Omega makes me suspicious. Not that there's anything wrong with the religious stuff! (Well, that's another conversation at least.) It's just I don't like the sneaky stuff. Be upfront about it, please. Don't write a nice folk song and then quietly put in testimonial lyrics. Movies about cute talking vegetables should only be about cute talking vegetables unless you put a cross on the cover or something. That's just polite.

22) Catfish — $255K
The trailer for this movie makes it look like some eerie, dark thriller, something exciting and new. And I don't know. I don't buy it. Everything you read about it makes it sound, well, fishy. But even if it's real or not, staged or meta-staged or some weird unpackable combination of intended and accidental, the fact remains that is now really the time for movies about how you can't trust people on the internet? I mean now, in 2010? If we didn't learn that lesson...what? Ten years ago? Then we are in serious trouble. It seems odd that we all of a sudden need a Blair Facebook Project. "People on Facebook lie??? That's shocking! I've never heard such a thing. Now, take me to my family. The name's van Winkle and I've just taken a fairly substantial nap."