Not only does Matt Damon star in my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF ALL TIME . . .
. . . he’s also one of the most versatile actors out there! The guy’s played everything from a prejudiced high school D-Bag, to a sociopath, to a certified genius, to a kick ass fighting machine, to an Angel of Death, to THIS GUY . . .
And let’s not forget his Oscar-worthy performance as a “differently-abled” puppet in the “riveting” Team America: World Police.
(OK . . . that wasn’t really him. But it was pretty darn amusing, nonetheless . . .)
Let’s take a look at his BODY of work, shall we?
School Ties (1992)
Although his first official role was in the 1988 coming of age tale Mystic Pizza, starring a young Julia Roberts (His SOLE job in the film was to say “MOM, do you want my green stuff?” while eating a lobster), Matt Damon wasn’t truly able to demonstrate his acting chops until four years later. In 1992, he was cast as the conniving, weasely, generally D-baggy, prejudiced preppy cheater, Charlie Dillon, opposite Brendan Fraser in the film School Ties. The film was about a Jewish boy (Fraser) who enrolled in a stuffy Catholic New England prep school on a football scholarship. And while we all HATED Charlie for the senseless torture he inflicted on Fraser’s character, we grudgingly had to admit that the dude looked pretty damn fine without his shirt on . . .
Courage Under Fire (1996)
The only movie poster in this tribute that doesn’t ACTUALLY feature Matt Damon on it. Damn you, Poopyhead Movie Poster Maker!
Damon lost 40 POUNDS (almost an entire Olsen twin!) for his role as the opiate-addicted Gulf War soldier, Specialist Ilario. The transition between his buff bod in School Ties and his frighteningly thin physique in this film was truly shocking.
Watching this, I was truly conflicted. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to give Damon an Oscar for his heartwrenching performance, or buy him a pizza . . .
Good Will Hunting (1997)
My absolute FAVORITE Matt Damon performance remains his dramatic turn as the titular Will Hunting, a Bostonian custodian working at Harvard, who just so happens to be a genius. Matt’s take on Hunting was at times hilarious (“You like apples? I got her number! How do ya like them apples?) . . .
. . . and, at other times, poignant. I cried like a baby during some of those Robin Williams therapy scenes. (And it wasn’t just because William’s insanely hairy arms freaked me out, which they DO, by the way). But what impressed me most about this film, was that Matt Damon not only starred in it, he also wrote the screenplay (which went on to win an Oscar), along with BFF Ben Affleck. The screenplay was based on a short story Damon had penned while he was a student at Harvard.
Hot AND Smart (Me Likey!)
And while I am QUITE certain Matt Damon was shirtless at some point during Good Will Hunting (him and Minnie Driver got it on quite a bit in that film), a picture of said shirtlessness, doesn’t seem to appear in Google Images. Grrrr . . .
The Rainmaker (1997)
That same year, Damon starred, alongside the diminutive, but always adorable, Danny Devito, in the film adaptation of a popular Grisham novel, about an idealistic young lawyer who took on a big bad corporation and won. (Wait. Isn’t that what every Grisham novel is about?) Lack of originality aside, The Rainmaker, thanks largely to Damon’s inherent likeability, was actually a pretty good film. But it would have been MUCH better, if Damon’s character didn’t stay dressed THE WHOLE TIME!
In Rounders, Damon and Ed Norton played two hardcore gamblers, addicted to the seductive world of underground poker. (The film just so happened to be made a year prior to Norton’s SPECTACULAR performance in Primal Fear. If you haven’t seen it yet, rent it NOW!) Again, I DISTINCTLY remember some naked Matt Damon scenes in this film. And AGAIN, my internet search came up empty. What’s the deal, Google Images?
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
That same year, Damon played the titular Private Ryan, a World War II soldier, who THE ENTIRE CAST spent THE ENTIRE FILM trying to save. Wouldn’t you?
Honestly, I’m not even going to bitch about the lack of skin in this film. Because, even a Shirtless Connoisseur like myself can agree that the battlefield is no place for public nudity. Except, of course, if it’s the Battlefield of LOVE!
The Talented Mr. Ripley
In this psychological thriller, Damon once again plays the titular character, a young sociopath con artist who becomes obsessed with inhabiting the life of Jude Law’s character, Dickie Greenleaf (now THAT is a porn name, if I ever heard one). And you know what? Matt is shirtless in this film A LOT! But to be honest, things start out a bit . . . unimpressive.
Banana Hammock, anyone?
Fortunately for us (but unfortunately for Dickie, who Damon’s character promptly murders), as Mr. Ripley becomes further and further enmeshed in Greenleaf’s life, his “body of work” vastly improves . . .
Ahhhh, much better!
In Kevin Smith’s dark comedy, Dogma, Matt played Loki, and Angel of Death eager to get back in the good graces of the Man Upstairs, after having literally fallen from Heaven. At first, the pop culture spewing character was kind of likeable, and then he wasn’t (dude just kept killing people), and then he sort of was again, and then Ben Affleck’s character killed him. Truthfully, there wasn’t a lot of skin in Dogma (Matt Damon’s skin, anyway). However, he did show fans a lot of wing! (And that’s gotta count for something.)
Oceans Eleven (2001) [and 12 . . . and 13 . . .]
Damon held his own as a professional pickpocket in this casino heist caper that will always go down in history for me as having the HOTTEST MALE cast of all time!
Knowing a cash cow when they saw one, the producers of Oceans Eleven (which was a pretty awesome film, by the way), got this group of eyecandy back together for not one, but TWO more sequels! (It’s just too bad, I have to watch both of them on mute, because their scripts were AWFUL!) And again, Matt Damon . . . fully clothed the whole time. WHY?
The Bourne Identity (2002) [and The Bourne Supremacy, AND The Bourne Ultimatum]
To many, Matt Damon initially seemed an unlikely choice to play Jason Bourne – a fictional character from the Robert Ludlum book series, about a man programmed by (the government?) to be a ruthless killing machine. But those “many” were proved wrong, in 2002, when The Bourne Identity hit theaters. Damon’s Bourne was the ultimate action hero! Unlike his other, typically verbose, characters, Bourne was the strong and silent type. He kicked ass first, and took names later! Like Oceans, the Bourne franchise continued with TWO sequels, with another rumored to be on the way.
With those tight black shirts, and tight pants, Matt Damon proved that sometimes WEARING the right clothes can be sexier than wearing none at all. (Rarely, but it happens . . .)
The Departed (2006)
For my final Matt Damon selection of the evening, I chose the fantastic and modern Scorcese mob flick, The Departed, which, like many of Damon’s other films, featured an all-star cast, including the likes of Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Like his role in School Ties, Damon’s character in this film was kind of weasely and D-baggy. As Colin Sullivan, Damon played a Mob Golden Boy working undercover as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police Department. If any other actor played the role, Sullivan would have undoubtedly been so unlikeable, as to be nearly unwatchable. However, Damon lent a vulnerability to the role, that made audiences, if not root for the character, at least sympathize with him somewhat. (AGAIN! GOOGLE! WHERE ARE MY NUDIE PICS?)
Disappointed that I haven’t provided you with more shirtless pics of Matt Damon? As a consulation prize, I leave you with this clip of Matt Damon impersonating Matthew McConaughey TALKING about being shirtless. (McConaughey, now THERE’S a man who could never be accused of wearing too much clothes. I didn’t even have to TYPE “shirtless” next to his name in Google Images, for half the pictures to come out all nudie!)