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Ross: Argo not best film of the year

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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I normally don’t watch the Oscars. Though I consider myself a movie buff and incredibly amateur film critic, I have never really taken much to award shows in which the first question asked to its participants is: Who are you wearing? But sitting in the DI newsroom Sunday night practically forced me to pay attention to the awards that only mothers care about. (I will say, though, that Seth MacFarlane was rather entertaining as a host, and I don’t understand why he took so much flak for doing a poor job. His only task was to entertain, after all). 

I was delighted to see Christoph Waltz earn another Oscar for his performance in Django Unchained, and it’s hard to argue with Jennifer Lawrence’s winning, as well as Daniel-Day Lewis’ performance in Lincoln — this was a rare film in which I actually had to remind myself that Lewis was in fact acting, playing the role of Honest Abe exactly as I imagined the 16th president acted.

In all, I was thoroughly entertained by the Academy Awards this year. Aside from a lot of singing (Les Mis was enough, dammit) I have but one bone to pick with this year’s awards. 

Argo.

This was not the best movie of the year. This was not the second-best movie of the year. It was not the third-, fourth-, or even fifth-best movie I saw this year. That Ben Affleck, the once-lovable screw up from Dazed and Confused got to stroll on stage with his pseudo-intellectual facial hair and accept the Oscar for best film made me swell deep in the wallows of my gut. 

That’s not to say Argo wasn’t good. It was entertaining, and I actually didn’t mind the work of Affleck until two nights ago. But I just don’t see how a movie, where the most exciting part came in the opening 10 minutes (that’s a fact, not opinion) can beat out a wild ride of a film such as Django or an emotional historical flick such as Lincoln, or an über-patriotic piece such as Zero Dark Thirty

I made the joke that Argo was the most predictable film I have seen since Miracle on my Facebook Sunday night, and was quickly torn to shreds by my “friends.”

The joke being that both films are based on true(ish) stories, so the conclusion is known when entering the theater. But I wasn’t really kidding. In Miracle, people still had that small feeling of doubt; that the Russians might just trounce the spunky American hockey team. With Argo, there was never question that Affleck would parade around the streets of Tehran, a lamb among lions, retrieve the American nationals, and get back on the freedom plane without a hitch, just as the Iranians were in hot pursuit of the jumbo jet on the tarmac. 

I just don’t understand how a movie, where the climax is literally minutes just after the exposition and followed by 110 minutes of falling action, was seen as the best movie of the year. Moonrise Kingdom was better than Argo. So was Skyfall, The Hobbit, Django, and Lincoln

I enjoyed myself more watching the Oscars than I did watching Argo.


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