In conjunction with Film Fun’s historic screening of Gigli (2003) at the Roxy cinema, the Gigli hoodie is now available to own.
The perfect choice for cooler summer nights on the beach or warm winter nights by the fire, The Gigli hoodie commemorates Bennifer’s reunion and the film’s ever-evolving legacy (more on that below).
Los Angeles, CA
Marty wasn’t expecting to spend his Sunday in the Palisades, but he hadn’t seen this particular old friend in awhile, and he was starting to feel like it might be for the last time.
So he finds himself turning down an espresso from the overly friendly house staff and exiting the side door onto the familiar, secluded property, its yard sloping down to a barricade of cedars, planted as if in preparation for war. At the edge of the yard there was the same iron patio table with two chairs—painted white and rusting badly from some long forgotten rainfall.
Victor, the producer, is wearing his usual cowboy apparel—not the hip stuff from Iguana on Hollywood Blvd., but more like he’d come straight from wrangling horses at Spahn Ranch. That’s how you knew his old time industry connections were deep, and abiding.
“Howdy,” Marty greets him.
“Look at that.” Victor gestures vaguely beyond the property line: below them winds the Pacific Coast Highway, and beyond that, sandy beach and sparkling ocean. The cars and people are ants ferreting scripts and agendas around from one hub of Los Angeles to another. “There’s a storm coming.”
Marty settles into the chair opposite him, relaxing. “I suppose you’ve heard by now.”
Victor slides today’s copy of USA Today across the table, paged open to the weekend box office chart that arrives each Sunday. “I’m nothing if not well read. Listen—you can let it get you down, but don’t let it keep you down. You’ve got to adapt. Things are changing around here.”
Things were changing. The twentieth century had lingered for a moment after it passed, but it was 2003, and a page was finally turning. In March, the troops had invaded Iraq despite millions showing up worldwide to protest. And while The Matrix Reloaded shattered box office records, it failed to live up to its 1999 predecessor’s legacy. Y2K hysteria had abated; iPhones and the Kardashians were just around the corner. And the union of Ben Affleck and Jennfer Lopez had ushered in a new era of the celebrity mega-couple. “Bennifer” was the first couple of its kind in the internet era. And the fated film collaboration that was meant to sacralize that fact, Gigli, had opened in theaters that previous Friday. Marty was the director.
“There’s going to be a meeting at Warner Brothers this week,” Victor continues. “They’re deciding who’s going to rejuvenate the Batman franchise.”
“Batman? Jesus,” sighs Marty. “Haven’t we been down that road already? The public doesn’t care.”
“They care. The studio tells them they care, and they care. And I’m pretty close to this thing. I think I can get you a meeting. They’ve already met with the Chris guy, you know, he directed the other Pacino movie last year, what was it…”
“Chris Nolan?” Marty says. “He’s never worked on a studio picture that size.”
Victor shrugs vaguely. “It’s the new way. You make expensive dramas, right? Try thinking of Bat-guy as a drama. Now, about Gigli…”
Marty blushed. He knew what was coming. Gigli was more than a failure—it was one of the most disastrous movies in the history of movies. It debuted on August 1, 2003 to a catastrophically low $3.7 million opening weekend, just north of Ben and Jen’s 6.1 carat engagement ring price tag. It was immediately pulled from theaters, dropping 82% and 97% on its second and third weekends. One critic mused of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s then-nascent romance, “How any relationship could be expected to survive after Gigli is a mystery.” Accordingly, the couple broke up soon after.
But Victor said, simply: “I thought it was quite good.” He went on: “To me—not to everyone, mind you—it’s a comedy of sexual manners… mature. Progressive even. An interrogation of machismo. An interesting sidestep for you. A damn good time. That’s how we’re going to bill it when I go shove you up those Batman people’s sphincter, anyway. Will you take the meeting?”
In the distance, across the highway, Marty can see a young man in an oversized leather jacket strolling barefoot along the beach. A volleyball game is winding down, shirtless players seeming to move in slow motion as they hug and chase each other in the sand. To the young man’s left, the sun is slipping behind the horizon. Little does Marty know, that same young man had attended a matinee screening of Gigli earlier that afternoon—the last showtime in the entire city—at a brand new outdoor mall complex called The Grove.
“Hello? Earth to Marty? Will you take the meeting?”
Marty snaps to, slapping his palm down on the newspaper. “I’ll think about it.”
Afterwards, he drives aimlessly west until he hits the ocean. He needs the sublime, something beyond comprehension; the ocean’s beauty is no more explainable than Gigli’s critical and commercial failure. It’s a good movie, he reminds himself. Maybe even a great one. On the beach, a wave creeps in around his feet. The volleyball players speed away in their entourage of land rovers. While no one is looking, the sun disappears.
Traffic is heavy on the canals today. The Venice Film Festival is coming to a close and its higher-profile attendees, freed from their press obligations, have taken over the city, meandering about like kids in a corn maze.
Timothee Chalamet pokes his seaweed-strewn head out of the canal, hoisting up a lifetime achievement Golden Lion statuette as Jamie Lee Curtis and Zendaya look on, cheering. “You found it!” beams Jamie Lee. Zendaya crosses her arms, shaking her head in admiration as her phone lights up with an incoming text from Tom Holland: “Venice can’t be the same without me 🙃”
Nearby, beneath an Aperol-branded cafe umbrella, Jane Campion picks at tapas with last year’s winner and this year’s jury member, Chloe Zhao. Jane asks what inspired Chloe to move so suddenly from Nomadland into the superhero genre. Chloe wipes some burrata from her face and claims she sometimes likes to think of Nomadland as a superhero movie and Eternals as an indie drama. “Dramas are getting expensive again,” Jane jokes.
Far from the commotion, anchored lazily to a dock, floats a motor boat, its pristine wood gleaming in the dying summer light. Inside, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez relax beneath the protection of a tinted windshield. They watch the stars begin to poke through the sky, unsure whether they’re peering into the past or the future. Jennifer’s halfway through an Aperol spritz; he’s polishing off an acqua frizzante.
“I wanna show you something,” Jen says to her new-again boyfriend. She sets her drink aside and fishes a small diary out of her purse, leafing through to the last page.
“This isn’t that Sun Tzu guy again, is it?”
“Not exactly,” she answers. “May I?”
“You may,” he says, attempting a faux-Shakespearean wave of the hand.
“November 13, 2002, 6:42am,” she begins to read from the diary. She smiles, settling into a bashful speaking rhythm. “I had that dream again. The one where I lose the ring. This time we were back on set, but it was a little different, the way dreams always are. Justin was goofing off for the crew in another room while we were shooting our big yoga scene. Each time I switched positions on the mat, I could feel that the ring wasn’t on my finger. I panicked a little every time. I kept asking where it was, and you said, “They have it in the other room, it’s safe…” I woke up from the dream and my finger never felt so naked. But my ring was right where I always leave it, next to our bed.
You were gone this morning. If you were around, I’d probably be telling you about my dream instead of writing in my diary. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up and tried to do some yoga. Stay in character, you know?
While I was moving around on the floor, I imagined you there, hovering above me. I kept my eyes closed tight and prayed for it to be true. Your dark, tall figure… my Daredevil. My Gigli. I started running my lines from the scene the way we used to do. I miss that, my Gigli. Sometimes, random days here and there, I picture us running lines again like it’s the first time. But we go off script. We leap off the pages and run as far as we can without ever turning back. Marty, the crew, everyone behind us. They’re not mad though. They just wave. Oh Ben. Come back to me, my Gigli. My Gigli, my Gigli. I love you.”
Ben stares at Jen with bloodshot, watery eyes, reminded of days when he’d probably be drinking a vodka martini instead of an acqua frizzante. He wipes his cheek with his sleeve and stiffens up. “It’s getting dark out, honey. Let’s explore the city a little bit. I hear it’s beautiful.”
“Look,” Jen starts. “If it’s design you’re concerned with—hidden meaning, symbolism, power—forget the top of Mount Everest, forget the bottom of the sea, the moon, the stars. There is no place that has been the object of more ambitions, more battles than the sweet sacred mystery—”
Ben shuts her up with a kiss and then pulls back. “Are you driving or are you quoting Gigli again?”
Jen grins and starts up the boat. “I’m driving.”
New York, NY
Autumn in New York came late this year, and hardly at all. Life comes at you fast; summer and winter run hot and cold straight through each other, like a love that burns bright, then not at all—then again, brighter than before. Tonight the air is crisp and wintry; Ben and Jen hold each other especially close as they stroll through Tribeca. He always references the iconic Hustlers scene in which she cradles Constance Wu in a fur coat: “Do that!” he pleads.
As they cross an intersection, The Roxy Hotel’s marquee catches Jen’s eye. “Wait,” she says quickly, tugging on Ben’s hand and bringing their stroll to a halt. He follows her gaze and finds a word amongst many on the marquee—one word they thought they’d never read again, at least outside of a secret diary. “Gigli.”
“What the…” Ben begins. “Who the…” He looks around in apparent wonder. Is he on Punk’d? The streets, too, seem to have instantly emptied of pedestrians and traffic. Tribeca has gone silent, so silent they can hear their own breath, deepening as the stillness persists.
Ben takes three steps forward, head down like he’s examining the cobblestone for clues. Jen hangs back, looking around the block, vacant like an empty backlot, and then back at Ben. He returns her stare. Just as a question forms on his tongue, every light inside the Roxy flickers off. He breaks the silence:
“What year is it?”
On Saturday, November 13th, Film Fun will present Gigli in 35mm at the Roxy Theater in Tribeca. Tickets are available here.
Gigli is also available to stream for free with an HBO Max subscription. If you own a DVD player and live in New York City, you may even arrange to borrow either Mike or Keaton’s DVD copy of the film.
In commemoration of Gigli’s return, we are releasing a limited edition Gigli hoodie. Get your Gigli while supply lasts.