The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

November 19, 2012

Is ‘Argo’ as good as they say?

Monday, November 19, 2012 — Pretty early on, I was reading that “Argo” was a strong Oscar contender. This was the film to beat. Movie critics, who often get to see the films long before the rest of us, before even the prestigious film critic of the SNAP, were all abuzz about this funny, suspenseful, highly political, true drama about the attempted rescue of six Americans trapped in Iran after the fall of the United States Embassy in late 1979. But I have been disappointed before. There have been many films touted as Oscar-bait through the years that I ultimately found lacking. But the good words continued to build, so I went into the theater very hopeful.

Before I tell you what I thought about the film, let me take a moment to write about the director and star Ben Affleck. Back in 1997, Affleck won his first Oscar for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with his long time friend Matt Damon (They had a great acceptance speech that night). In 2007, he directed his first film which I think is nearly a masterpiece, “Gone Baby Gone.” It is a story of kidnapping which earns its R-rating and asks some deep moral questions. Two years later he directed “The Town”, which received a great deal of praise and was a satisfying film but in my opinion a lesser film than Affleck’s first effort. Flash forward two more years to the present and Affleck has delivered “Argo,” his best film and the best film of 2012 thus far.

Where to begin? This is a very serious film about a very serious time in our nation’s history. I was in high school when these events took place and so many images in the film brings back memories of that very uncertain era. Though the story at the center of this film was not public knowledge at the time, all Americans were aware of the hostages who spent over a year in the embassy. The film is history and drama. And in many moments the tension is as great as any horror movie; Affleck’s direction creates this suspense.

On the other hand, there is a great deal of humor in the film and almost all of it works extremely well. There are moments that are reminiscent of that great political comedy “Wag the Dog.” John Goodman and Alan Arkin are primarily responsible for most of the best laughs, but one has to give credit to director Affleck who balances all of this perfectly, the suspense, the drama and the comedy.

With the recent tragic events of Libya still so fresh on all of our minds no matter what our political flavor, watching “Argo” is a poignant reminder that there are those in the past and present around the world who risk their lives serving in our embassies for the good of our nation and our planet. Lest we ever forget, the events of 2012 and 1979-80 are two reminders of the great sacrifices of many. Beyond the tension and the laughs, “Argo” is about service, serving one’s nation in spite of risk, often with great sacrifice and very little or no recognition. We should all say a prayer daily for all those who serve.

Will “Argo” win best picture? It is way too early to tell. If I were a voting member of the Academy and I had to vote today, it would get my vote, but we have two months or more before all the films are released. But for now I will state, “Argo” is even better than they say.

One final note: stay through the credits (something I always do unless my children insist on leaving). There are some interesting facts and a touching speech from former President Jimmy Carter that end the film on just the right note. Good choice director Affleck, I can hardly wait for your next film.  


Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Fake news or sign of some more trouble?

    RALEIGH – Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third – involving a group of charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina – is playing out right now.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content