So far, the year’s most Oscar-baity of all Oscar-baity films. So far.

24 10 2012

By Kleinz 57

So it’s late October which means it’s almost November which means it’s almost election day which means the Mime’s getting political. I’ll save the Gary Johnson shtuffs for an Overreaction Wednesday, but you already know what we’re here for: The Baffleck. Sure, I sorta just slapped that on the page there but it’s probably also some horrid nickname the New York Post concocted to shorthand the actor’s successful rebirth as a director.

Baffleck’s latest is Argo, a political thriller as much about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and as it is about sweet facial hair, in which the director gets REAL cocky and headlines as CIA Specialist Tony Mendez. Amidst a number of really terrible, probably fake rescue plans, Mendez develops a half-baked idea to smuggle six American hostages out of hostile, molotov-chucking Iran under the guise of a Canadian film crew. In retrospect, it was the one cool thing that happened under Jimmy Carter.

Argo is subtle, man. One very important, very scary thing happens, a bunch of jocky bureacrassholes sit around arguing and then something less important and less scary happens. And Affleck downplays a lot of the drama, likely because he respects this as a thing that actually happened one time. When characters aren’t hatching plans, we’re privy to the more global situation at hand, and thankfully, Affleck presents the Iranian perspective as more nuanced than HOLY SHIT MUSLIMS. In the case of Argo’s final thirty minutes, matter-of-fact photography and forthright editing add to an extremely intense final escape. But Affleck’s same straightforward style occasionally flirts with boredom, like anytime Alan Arkin’s overly-jewy producer yacks it up with John Goodman, here as legendary makeup artist (and possible Bigfoot conspirator) John Chambers.

And Goodman and Arkin are simply greyer, rounder standouts of an impressive ensemble cast featuring the likes of Walter White, Coach Taylor, and Supportive Husband from Julie & Julia. I half expected Kid Rock to spring from behind the water cooler and wrangle an a cappella version of “Rebel Soul” out of the CIA break room. Seriously, it’s like Cracked’s 20 Best ‘That Guys’ in Movies only with 5 more guys. Couple that with a feel-good true story and a promising director, and baby, you got a stew goin.’ You’ve also got one of fall’s better releases and probably a Best Picture shoo-in at the Oscars. Until Lincoln. Because you know a Steven Spielberg slavery movie is going to just butt fuck everything in its path.

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