Thursday, June 5, 2014

Best Picture: "Argo," 2012

Movie Stats:
Released 2012 (USA)
American, in English (some Farsi, both translated and not)
Director - Ben Affleck
Stars - Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and many others you’ll recognize

Plot Summary:
Based on true events. During the Iran Hostage Crisis, CIA officer Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a plot to rescue the six Americans who’ve been hiding out at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran by posing them as a Canadian film crew. Cranston co-stars as Mendez’s boss, Jack O’Donnell; Goodman as legendary Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers, who helps Mendez create the fake movie; and Arkin as Lester Siegel, the producer who also assists in creating the fake movie.

Lots of blue language; violence; brief, drawn female nudity (not full frontal).

Bad Stuff:
It’s so dull that it didn’t hold my attention at all.

On a related note, it’s poorly directed. This whole movie should have been an intense thrill-ride. It’s about a CIA agent using the flimsiest of pretexts to help people escape almost-certain death. I should have been on the edge of my seat, heart pounding. I wasn’t. Not a single second of it felt intense to me. No matter what happened, I never felt that their lives were in danger. If they had been, I wouldn’t have cared because I never got to know any of the characters well enough to care about them.

Sometimes I like Ben Affleck as an actor. This is not one of those times. He came across very flat and emotion-less. I felt no connection to his character.

Good Stuff:
As always, Goodman and Arkin were a delight (on a side note, Goodman was also in our last winner, The Artist).

I loved the costumes & styling.

I liked that it was about a historical event about which most Americans know very little.

The Verdict:
Let me take a moment to plug a fantastic book about the Iran Hostage Crisis, Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden (who is perhaps best known for Black Hawk Down). It’s long but it’s well worth the read. Since it focuses on the hostages that were held in the American Embassy, I don’t think it covers the events portrayed in this movie, or if it does, it does so only briefly (it’s been a few years since I read it). However, it’s still very high on my list of recommendations.

As for this film, I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. It’s one of those films that the longer it went on, the less I enjoyed it. About an hour in, I found myself thinking, “There’s still another hour of this left? Am I supposed to be feeling as bored as those people who were stuck in the same house for over 2 months straight?” Watching my cat chase her own tail is more entertaining. 

I give the film 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

How fascinating. I loved this and thought it was super intense, even the second time I watched it. And I too, find Ben Affleck's acting to be sometimes good, sometimes not. But this movie was the one where I remembered, "oh yeah, he CAN act." I guess were were sitting in opposite land for this viewing.

But John Goodman and Alan Arkin were my favorite parts of the movie. John Goodman always gets the job done. I was looking for a quote of my favorite part, but no dice. It's where he says something like, "so you want to make a fake movie," and goes on from there. His delivery just kills me.

Patricia said...

Also! Are you excited to be almost done? Are you going to watch your A-Z movies in order?

balyien said...

I definitely was NOT in the mood to watch this movie when I watched it (I had to because it was due back at the library), so perhaps that factored heavily into my feelings on it.

I am very, very excited to nearly be done! I'm planning on mostly watching A-Z in order (I've already watched one or two out of order), and I'll definitely be posting them in order. I probably won't start until some time in July though. I need a break from watching movies for a project rather than watching them because I want to.