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.  

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Maintaining hope

    Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’

    I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
    I  love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Meeting out in open helps negotiations move ahead

    RALEIGH – State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh on May 14 promising a brief legislative session this summer, but as July moves along they are still in town and tackling big issues.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry's Sketch 7.16.14.tif They don’t give a darn for Duke University

    John “Duke” Wayne’s heirs are suing Duke University over trademark rights.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    WASHINGTON - For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Patrick Gannon Don’t forget the losers in state lottery

    RALEIGH – Behind every state lottery dollar that goes to education is a loser.
    There’s also a winner – the teacher whose salary it pays, the student who gets a scholarship or the district where a new school gets built. But we hear about the winners in advertisements and in press releases.
    This column is about the losers.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hodgepodge Cooling an overheated hedgehog and other summer travel stories

    Anybody with a pet during the summer inevitably finds themselves facing this question: What do I do with my pet on vacation?
    There are kennels for dogs, day cares for cats. Shoot, you can even find a friend to take care of your guinea pig.
    But what do you do with a hedgehog?

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • North Carolina Boasts Top Wildlife Magazine and A Success Story

    The following opinion piece was released by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission:

    RALEIGH  — When Wildlife in North Carolina, the magazine published by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was named recently as the nation’s best in its category, it reflected more than accolades as a quality publication.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    CHICAGO - A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content