Argo (F@*% Yourself)

argo

Two days out from watching Argo. Great cast of men. I know some of the hostages were women, but I definitely don’t think I could name one of the actresses, or their characters.  I loved all the Alan Arkin/John Goodman scenes. I could watch those actors perform in anything, and it would be gold. Ben Affleck is not aging. He seems like a decent guy, in this movie, and in real life. Bryan Cranston is fantastic, and could carry any movie. His scenes were the most engaging in the entire film. He can do anything. I hope he gets another series that uses him appropriately. Fantastic actor. Is there anything he can’t do? He has an incredible presence.

I miss Breaking Bad. There are many shows that have sucked me in since it ended, but I don’t believe there has ever been a show that consistently followed through on the promise delivered in the first season. And it didn’t overstay its welcome. I think one of the main problems with American television is that we just can’t stop beating a dying horse. We are definitely not a “Right to Die” country, when it comes to our popular shows. When I remember the arc of Breaking Bad, or, another favorite, The Wire, they are plotted out so perfectly. They come, they know what they want to say, they shock and entertain, and they wrap up the stories in a completely natural way. The writers aren’t waiting around to see if they get picked up for another season to determine how they are going to write the end of this season. They already know because they have the whole arc planned out. Nothing is rushed or overstretched. When I heard that another favorite show, The Americans, is coming back for only two more seasons, I rejoiced. That means they have a plan. They know what they want to say, and once they say it, they will be done. I expect that kind of planning with something British or Canadianlike Orphan Black, but for an American show to have that kind of planning pleasantly surprises me. I have some programs that I watch, strictly out of habit, that refuse to die. It’s like the networks are challenging us to stop watching so they can finally take the show out to pasture. It seems such a frustratingly American idea. Just keep driving until we run out of gas, and abandon the car on the side of the road to rust.

None of this has to do with Argo, of course. What can I say about Argo? A few months ago, we went to see a movie without actually researching what we would see beforehand. We decided to see something whose name I can’t recall, but it starred John Krasinski. His parents were played by Richard Jenkins (the amazing father from Six Feet Under—another show that didn’t keep going past its expiration date), and Margo Martindale (also from The Americans. Damn. That is a great show). After watching the nameless movie, we went to talk about it over dessert. It was forgettable, with the exception of the “serenading our mom as she goes into surgery” scene that would have been so much more effective if they hadn’t crammed every moment before it, and after it, with extraneous music cues. I am surprised I still remember seeing it, but that one scene, and my feelings of frustration that they robbed it of the intended punch it could/should have had by forcing all the scenes around it to be filled with folksy guitar songs, has stayed with me. Other than that, it was a totally forgettable movie.

Again, the preceding paragraph had nothing to do with Argo. Except to say that while watching Argo, I was acutely aware of the fact that I would quickly forget that I had seen it. By this time next month, I will most likely be confusing it with Syriana, which was a totally memorable film. They will probably blur together, and Brian will have to remind me that Syriana starred George Clooney, not Ben Affleck.

I was seven years old when the events surround Argo transpired. I am certain that I was too busy listening to Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing, and riding my bike around my neighborhood to notice that there was a hostage crisis. And since I am a graduate of the American public school system, I am also quite certain that I never learned about the hostage crisis in any of my history classes. Since this movie is “based” on true events, my understanding of what really unfolded would have to come from things I could read online. I am posting an article below that appears to be a good synopsis of what actually transpired. However, basing my understanding of the hostage crisis on the movie alone, my review should be, “America, Good. Iran, Bad.” Or, like every war movie, every space exploration film, and most of the epics about good men triumphing over evil, “America saves the day…Again! Go, Team America!”

Ultimately, and with several days to consider, I guess my final review of Argo would have be “It made me think of better things.”