Episode 78 - Argo

Argo [BLEEP] this movie! The only thing funny about Ben Affleck's muddled film "Argo" about the Iran hostage crisis is that it's obviously a thinly disguised C.I.A. propaganda piece. Perhaps the Academy chose it as the 2012 Best Picture winner in the interests of national security.

The story focuses on Tony Mendez, a C.I.A. "exfiltration expert," who's tasked with secretly and safely extracting six Americans who evaded capture during the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. In what is now known as the "Canadian Caper," Mendez helped pull off a covert rescue mission where those six American embassy staffers posed as a Canadian film crew on a location-scouting trip. Canada was integral to this operation, but Ben Affleck would have you believe it was solely the result of good ol'-fashioned American ingenuity. 

The very-non-Mexican Ben Affleck plays Mendez. He barely registers as a human, so you almost don't notice him. That's Affleck's acting we're referring to. His character also seems to have some sappy backstory where he's estranged from his wife and son, and this is supposed to be triumphant at the end, even though it's unexplored, untrue, and ultimately comically unearned.

Bryan Cranston plays Mendez' C.I.A. superior whose entire character is to give the audience expositional information and to scramble around frantically behind the scenes to make stuff more suspenseful.

Alan Arkin plays famed movie producer Lester Siegel (a wholly invented character for no reason), and Arkin somehow got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for playing the 'old man says dirty stuff and it's funny, ain't it?" stock character that’s in a lot of movies. Didn't he already win an Oscar for barely showing up in a movie playing the same character?

John Goodman plays the real-life legendary Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers, who helps Ben Affleck's character whip up this "fake movie" scheme. In real life, his involvement with the plan was much deeper, but in this movie, he seems to only serve the function of "guy who answers the phone later just in case." What a waste of the always underrated Goodman's talents. 

Eventually, everything culminates in a pot-boiler third act that is so laboriously labyrinthine, it instead feels like a watched pot that never boils. 

Join us as we break down all the facts this movie changed for its own benefit, groan at how this movie is yet again Hollywood writing a love letter to itself, and wonder if the Canadian ambassador who helped these Americans was secretly only interested in having an orgy with them.

Tell us what you think by chatting with us (@filmsnuff) on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, or by shooting us an email over at mailbag@filmsnuff.com.

This episode is sponsored by Stuffed Farms

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