Really Liked Argo… And Other Thoughts

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I went to the movies this weekend! This might not be a big deal to most but it marks my first visit to a movie theater in four months. Yes, you read that right, FOUR MONTHS! No, I’m not boycotting to make a political statement about Hollywood, nor have I recently started buying $2 bootlegged movies on Canal Street… I have a newborn. And as any new parent can tell you, movie going is just not going to be in the cards for a while. But I was lucky enough to get grandma and grandpa to baby-sit so my husband and I could take in a flick on my birthday. It was wonderful. I felt so free, so alive! What did we see? Argo. Did we love it? Absolutely.

Considering I was already tense from a long crying session, courtesy of my daughter, when the movie started I joked to my husband that we should have opted for a comedy since the movie had me on the edge of my seat with clenched fists from the opening scene. I remembered from my history classes that the American diplomatic personnel *spoiler alert* make it out OK, but Ben directed one heck of a movie and the suspense was tangible. I wasn’t blown away by his acting necessarily, as his character didn’t provide much opportunity for range, but I will be pulling for him in the director category. If I had to question one part of the movie, it was the Indiana-Jones-like chase scene on the runway, which for me, broke the sense of reality that the rest of the movie provided. Well, as much reality as a movie about a CIA mission to produce a fake movie to save hostages from Iran can provide. But, good for Ben for taking creative liberties and making a real Hollywood ending for audiences to cheer for. And, I really love any movie that John Goodman is in. 

It seems to be all the rage right now to depict real CIA missions on the big screen. Kathryn Bigelow’s new Zero Dark Thirty tells the tale of the decade long hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the operation that eventually led to his demise. The movie was officially released yesterday but it has already generated a ton of attention. I’m a big fan of Bigelow as I thought her Oscar winning movie The Hurt Locker was superb. But I am really unsure of how I feel about a movie on this topic. At the time of its release, I refused to see, nor will I ever see United 93, the story of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11. For me, a movie on that topic will always be ‘too soon.’ For that same reason, I didn’t see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close even though it came out over ten years after the 9/11 attacks. While Thirty doesn’t focus on the attacks, I question Bigelow’s right to publicize some very classified information which brings to life a very violent event in our nation’s history. Does it hurt us and make us vulnerable in the eyes of our enemies? Does it educate us about our government’s capabilities, whether they be good or bad? And the most important question of all, if it does serve to educate us, what do we do with this knowledge about our very own government? From what I understand, the movie clearly depicts the US government as using torture devices to obtain information on Osama’s whereabouts. This is juxtaposed against an interview where President Obama swears that torture is not a tactic used by the US government. Is he lying? Do we have the right to know? Was killing Osama worth what had to be done to find him?

Boy, I have a lot of thoughts about a movie I haven’t seen yet, and per my opening paragraph, I probably won’t get the chance to see Thirty until 2022. But I think it is important we take this movie, and all movies that portray the secrets of our government very seriously. That all said, let’s end this Thursday’s post on a less serious note. On the heel of Argo’s success, tell us which Ben Affleck directed film is your favorite.

Gone Baby Gone
The Town

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