Saturday, December 29, 2012

ARGO with Ben Affleck: one of this year's best films

I went to see Argo this week. It is at this point the best film I've seen this year, however, I have yet to have see some of the other front-runner, like Lincoln or Les Miserables.

This film is not the type of film I usually go to or enjoy, because these films can be very intense and nerve-wracking. I don't mind sadness, I don't mind dark or esoteric films. I want to be transported out of my own dreary existence when I watch a movie.But being nervous isn't my idea of an alternative state. Thus, I typically shun testosterone films.

But Argo is just so damned good, in every way that I have to rave about it (good script, good directing, good performances, good casting, fascinating and riveting story) because it transcended my usual dislike for "thrillers". I hate to even use that term because it really is so much more than the typical thriller. So much more and so much better.
If you didn't already know it, the movie was produced by (along with George Clooney), directed by, and stars Ben Affleck. It is a complete virtosity of multi-tasking and talent.

The movie also includes an all-star cast including: John Goodman, Tate Donovan, Victor Garber, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston and the most ubiquitous actor of the year, Alan Arkin.

The movie is loosely based on the true story about six staff members who escape the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 when the compound was stormed by Iranians and the 54 staff members were taken and held hostage for 444 days. These lucky staff members who escaped capture were working in the embassy's visa applications offices which opened directly onto a street. They were able to escape easily, unlike the hostages who were in more remote locations on the embassy compound. They find refuge at the Canadian Ambassador to Iran's private residence.

Ben Affleck portrays Tony Mendes the CIA agent who was assigned to devise and execute the harrowing responsibility of rescuing the six staff member from the Canadian Ambassador's residence and then getting them out of the country. This story is so extraordinary.

Affleck delivers a performance that is as masterful and nuanced, similar to George Clooney's performance in last year's The Descendants. Affleck certainly deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and Best Director and the film will most assuredly be nominated for Best Picture, at the very least (although I suspect Affleck will be nominated only for Best Director). It currently has four Golden Globe nominations (Best Picture - Drama, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Arkin).

This is such an entertaining and intelligent film. Don't miss it. I also should say that another of my favorite movies this year, surprisingly, was Skyfall. Two non-chick flick favorites in one year for me....that's unprecedented.

Oh, and "Argo Fuck Yourself" (see the's utterly charming in this movie the use of my favorite work "fuck").  Best line of the decade!

As an aside, I should mention how fantastically good-looking Affleck is in this film. He has a shirtless scene which displays what is one of the best hairy chests in Hollywood (and under seen), in my opinion. He is simply magnificent looking in this movie, especially his full, dark beard. He is complete eye-candy every moment he is on screen, despite that his character smokes (which true for the time--I did the same thing in the late 70s). Sorry for gushing. But he deserves it.

Affleck in his younger days. Age has definitely been kind to him.

Watch the trailer below

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