November 2, 2012

Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck, Alan Arken, John Goodman


Confession: my favorite part about watching movies in the theater is the previews. By judging the previews, you can really get a sense of the movie you're about to watch - whether it's good or not, what's the target demographic, etc. So you can imagine my dismay when the first preview was for some movie that seemed to cast Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as love interests. I mean, I know Hollywood seems to have blinders when it comes to pairing couples based on age (hello, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery in Entrapment!), but honestly! Jennifer Lawrence (apparently riding high off her recent Hunger Games fame) was born in 1990. Go ahead and let that sink in. 1990! Anyway, that preview made me wonder if my luxurious afternoon at the movies was suddenly a waste of time.

Luckily, the rest of the previews assured me the main attraction would be a quality movie. But even that was an understatement. The movie was... fantastic. And the timing of the release really couldn't have been more effective. With the recent tragedy in Libya, I couldn't help but think of the consulate workers there and whether they felt something similar to the characters in the movie when they see their building about to be overrun by rioters. It's moving--it really is. I am a little behind on recent movies (wasting the majority of my time watching horrible movies I can mock here on my blog), but if Argo isn't nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, I might need to boycott watching them altogether. No kidding. I mean, I spent the entire movie looking for something snarky to say about it and the only thing I came up with was the fact that I didn't like the thick gold chain Ben Affleck wore throughout the movie. But hey, it was the 70's, so even that comment doesn't really stick.

Speaking of Ben Affleck... I like him. Sure, sure, he lost some credibility points with the whole Bennifer thing (and er, Daredevil, but that hurts to even think about), but can't we move past that? Both those atrocities ended aalmost  decade ago! This is the guy who co-wrote Good Will Hunting, for God's sake! Remember how awesome he was in that? In fact, I like him enough to overlook he fact that he was the only character in the movie that didn't really resemble his real-life counterpart. (The guy's real name is Mendez and we know Hollywood only has a rotation of like, 4 Hispanic actors - this guy from Stand and Deliver, this guy who always plays a rapist or gangbanger or something mean, and these two young guys who are always the filler cast in movies with teenagers.)

The reason people love fictional movies is because you don't know how the story ends. But watching a movie based on actual events where you don't know what happened is just as good! (I do want to point out, though, my overall skepticism of "inspired by true events" movies, since this is what they claim for pretty much every movie involving ghosts or paranormal whatever. This is totally different than movies that are "based on true events." Just saying.) Of course, I spent the whole movie wondering exactly which parts were dramatized for effect, but it's still a pretty remarkable story. My favorite part might be the credits, in which they show side-by-side comparisons of photos from the event and era against the movie's portrayal of the same events and people. It reminded me a little of the credits in Miracle where they do the same thing, which of course, brought me full circle to 1980 and the events, since they mention the Iranian hostage situation in that movie as well. So there you go - learning my history from a movie.

Final word: The best movie I've seen all year. In several years.

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