I watched the movie Argo this past weekend. I didn’t know anything about the film going in except that Ben Affleck starred and directed it. I’ll admit, I’m not a big Affleck fan. However, the older I get, or maybe it’s the older he gets, the more I can tolerate him to the point that I can watch his movies and appreciate them.
The movie is based on a true story of Tony Mendez of the CIA. In 1979 during the Carter administration, protestors stormed and overtook the US Embassy in Iran. However, six Americans snuck out and hid in the home of the Canadian ambassador. All of this because the US government would not hand over the ailing former Shah, whom Iranians wanted to put on trial for his atrocities towards his own people while he was in power and supported by the US and Great Britain. Mr. Mendez was selected to rescue those six Americans.
Affleck, as Tony Mendez, comes up with a plan for him and the six Americans to pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations to shoot a movie. This was “the best bad idea we’ve got” another CIA bigwig confirmed after other plans such as posing as English teachers even though all English schools were closed or having the six Americans flee on a 300-mile bike ride across the closed border were turned down.
Mendez goes to Hollywood to create enough back ground for the plan to make it believable; buy a script (Argo), set up a production office and get publicity. It is here we are introduced to a film producer played by Alan Arkin, who is past his prime in the industry. I really like Mr. A. Arkin (Not to confuse him with his son,
Adam.) almost to the point where if I know he is in a film, I want to watch it. I first saw him in a little movie entitled, Escape from Sobibor. This is a very good film but also very sad as it’s about the escape plan by the inmates of the Sobibor camp during World War II.
My absolute favorite Alan Arkin film is Little Miss Sunshine. In this movie about a little girl named Olive, played by Abigail Breslin, traveling to compete in a beauty pageant. Alan Arkin plays the grandfather; a horny foul mouthed heroin addict that was kicked out of his retirement home so is now living with his son’s family. Five members of the family: Olive, the
grandfather, the gay suicidal uncle (Steve Carell), failed motivational speaker father (Greg Kinnear), teenage brother who is mute by choice (Paul Dano) and Mom (Toni Collette) who is trying to hold the entire family together all pile into a broken VW van on their way to the pageant. What ensues is a well written quirky comedy that is probably on my list of favorite movies. My last comment on this movie is that the grandfather helps little Olive with her routine for the talent portion of the competition. That clip alone is worth watching the movie.
Arkin’s character in Argo reminds me of the type of spin he put on his grandfather role in Little Miss Sunshine. By spin I mean potty mouth. While trying to drum up press for their movie, Arkin as the film producer, is hounded and asked repeatedly by a reporter what the movie is about and in frustration responds “I don’t know. . . Argo f*ck yourself.”
For some reason, Arkin delivering lines like that cracks me up. In Little Miss Sunshine, he’s talking to his grandson about dating and women. His advice, “f*ck a lot of women, I mean a lot of women.” Hilarious! Is it crude, yes. Is it necessary, no. Is it funny, hell yes. If you don’t like it, “Argo f*ck yourself. “