Would I steer you wrong, HollywoodLifers? I’m telling you, grab your best movie mate and get prepared for a gripping, suspense-filled two-hour flick about a real story that’s stranger than fiction.
If you’ve been let down in a major way by most recent films, then get ready for Ben Affleck in a 1979 long, long shaggy haircut to transport you into the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis, that rocks the American nation, before many of you were born.
The times are incredibly tense as the Iranians revolt against the American propped-up Shah (King) of Iran, and Iranians storm the American Embassy, taking 52 American employees hostage.
Just as the tear gas is flying and rioters run rampant through the embassy, six terrified and mostly young staffers escape out the back door and eventually make it into the brave arms of the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), who hides them with his wife in his personal residence.
The terrifying problem is that if they are discovered, the six, plus Ken and his wife, will no doubt be executed as “spies” by the zealous Iranians.
Guess what? No one in the top American government echelon and CIA has any idea of how to get the six hiding employees out safely…and days are ticking away. The Iranians are figuring out that six employees are missing and they are on the hunt.
Enter hero and brillant real-life CIA extraction expert, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), who comes up with the best “idea” to rescue the six. His idea is so completely wacky that the only hope is that the Iranians will never figure it out.
Mendez concocts a plan where he and the six pose as a Canadian film director and crew, planning to start and shoot a Star Wars knockoff, fan fiction film in Iran, called Argo.
He recruits an Oscar-winning makeup artist (John Goodman) and big time hollywood producer (Alan Arkin), and together the three hilariously hold an Argo casting call, create storyboards, get press and notoriety, open an LA office, create buzz in Hollywood and produce phoney posters and business cards.
Affleck effectively cuts between the trio’s ludicrous preparations and the real life terror that the American hostages are undergoing at the American Embassy — including mock executions — and the desperation that the six are feeling as they realize, they may never escape Iran alive.
You can imagine that their fears aren’t exactly calmed when Tony Mendez arrives at Ken Taylor’s house one day and explains his cooky plan to get them out. From there on, it’s an incredibly nail-biting, suspense-filled hour, as the steely Mendez forces them to execute his plan step by step.
Of course, there are plenty of unforeseen complications standing in the way between Mendez and the six escaping alive on a Swiss air commercial flight — which is the plan.
It’s film and storytelling at its best. And just remember that this all REALLY happened.
I myself have even met him, Taylor, several times (he was rewarded for his courage by being subsequently named Canadian Ambassador to the US) in the ensuing years. But I never realized the extent of how he and his wife risked their lives to save six Americans.
Do go to see Argo as soon as you can, HollywoodLifers! There’s even a quick peek at Affleck’s impressive abs, so the film truly has it all!
— Bonnie Fuller
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- Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner — Fight Over Fourth Kid