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Friday, April 12, 2013

MooPig Movie Reviews :: "ARGO"

Dedicated to Jonathon Winters*
Treatment by Pat Darnell and Belinda Bingemeister  | Apr 12, 2013 | Bryan TX

Are you a Wheel Watcher? You know, when the contestant spins the Wheel of Fortune and has some good luck, and then spins and lands on Bankrupt? That is a good metaphor for the lack of credibility in ARGO, the movie. Since the debut, actual participant former Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor, has come out with the real story.

However, if wheel watching makes you tense, you will probably experience fibrillation during ARGO, the movie. In real life and in the movie the solution to rescuing six of would be hostages throws out Occam's Razor that says the simplest answer is often correct. As one skeptic derisively observes, "Mendez’s plan comes from the long-standing 'so crazy it just might work' school of problem-solving."

[Picture above LINK] These are the real persons who were rescued, meeting with Jimmy Carter.

[Picture below LINK] "When the movie was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the former ambassador, Ken Taylor, wasn't invited, even though he was in Toronto at the time."
" ... Ken Taylor, still fit, fashionable and unflappable at 77, understands full well that Argo is Hollywood, not history. (Jim Coyle Feature Writer, Published on Sun Oct 07 2012. LINK) ... "
'Argo': Former ambassador Ken Taylor sets the record straight | Toronto Star: "In Tehran, moreover, Mendez “was totally in our hands,” Taylor said. His involvement over his weekend in Tehran was “not much . . . just some visa stamps. Ottawa had provided everything else.” In fact, the CIA almost scuppered the plan by making passport notations that used the wrong Iranian calendar and would have essentially had the Americans leaving the country before they arrived. Canadian official Roger Lucy, who spoke Farsi, spotted the error. Otherwise, Taylor said, “that would have been game over.”"

'via Blog this'

Confused yet? We are. How does a well documented, November 4, 1979, Iranian revolution reaching its boiling point, militants storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage, become a thriller with Ben Affleck, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin?

That is easy: it's not the story, it's how you tell the story that counts. "ARGO is a rollicking yarn, easily the most cohesive and technically accomplished of Affleck's three films so far, but a part of me wishes the director hadn't cast himself in the lead role ..." says Dana Stevens from Slate.

Which brings us to John Goodman playing comic relief. John Goodman's character teams up with Alan Arkin's character, to shamooz Hollywood movie establishment with a bogus movie project. As if it were business as usual, all the pieces fall into place, and ARGO is born.

Belinda Bingemeister, our Editor of MooPig Movie Reviews and Tubes, told us her purged view of the flick. "You see, guys, we never get to know the real characters -- the hostages. We forget them as soon as the last frame blips out."

That brings to mind several issues in today's movie making by actor/directors. First, as much as we can't name the hostages, we know all about Ben Affleck's character, Tony Mendez. We can still see his face when we close our eyes. John Goodman and Alan Arkin are pretty steadfast in our cerebrals too. There is almost no mention of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor, the real life headpin of the operation. But sure enough we have plenty of silhouette close ups of Ben Affleck, and repeatable one liners he so cutely delivers.

Second, this is opposed to the character Affleck is supposed to play. Tony Mendez is a CIA shadow person, best known for his anonymity, and ability to blend in. Instead we get the heavy hand of the actor/director throwing himself in every scene, like the egomaniac millionaire celebrity we suspect Affleck to be. Whoops.

And third, think about this: how many movies today are based on the movie industry, show business, or writing? Are they real industries, or just make believe like cinema itself? That brings us to our synopsis ten words or less, of Affleck's ARGO:
A group of veteran actors satirize the movie industry.

... So, it is a Mad Mad Mad Mad world after all.

*Jonathan Winters, Unpredictable Comic and Master of Improvisation, Dies at 87.
Jonathan Winters on the set of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in 1962.

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