City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Michael J. Totten
Ben Affleck’s Masterwork « Back to Story

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Argo is nothing but anti-Iranian propaganda. It is an average film that has more in common with a zombie thriller than anything approaching a historical piece, and -that- it exists -only- to serve a political agenda betrays any qualities it might have enjoyed were it genuinely looking to recreate a piece of the past.
"Griffith’s appallingly racist Birth of a Nation" - No, it was truthful, enacted under the great director as close to reality as he could get. If that is Mr Toten’s judgment on a piece of timeless film history, I should seriously doubt his capability to judge the current dross. "Racist" does not belong to the vocabulary of a man with common sense.
I was already familiar with the heroic effort by the Canadians to spirit Americans out of Iran.

But I will never, ever pay to see a movie starring, or written by, or directed by, or produced by, Ben Affleck. And that goes for Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Benicio del Toro, Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Morgan Freeman, and Leonardo DiCaprio. (An American named "Leonardo"? Are we to compare him to another Leonardo from Toscania?)

Same goes double for Jane Fonda, Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Martin Sheen, Stephen Spielberg, Michael Moore, Ivan Reitman, and others too numerous to mention.

I leave it to the reader to figure out what these luminaries have in common. Shouldn't take more than thirty seconds.
Mossadegh was elected with something over 99% of the vote -I will leave it up to you to contemplate the validity.
"For the most part, he succeeded"

Fabulous film. If he can be criticized by both sides then he did a good job. I perceived liberal bias in the film by having Pres Carter or someone sounding like him, saying the words at the end about how the hostages got released due to non-violence, which was nonsense. The Iranians held the hostages while there was a weak president of the US and they released them when Reagan took office. They made a hero of Pres Carter when they they didn't have to, and they glossed over the attempted rescue undertook by Pres Carter and at which he failed.
Slobyskya Rochikokov November 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM
It is perhaps disingenuous to say that it is non-partisan when the implication is that Carter's regime was moderate and benevolent in this area, which ignores or overlooks the facts that under Carter, our own CIA ops were funneling support to the Ayatollah Khomeini, hoping to curry favor with the new power structure, and that the pending presidency of Reagan was the factor which forced the Ayatollah to back down, since he would have been facing a man prepared to wage war for just cause, rather than facing an incompetent weakling like Carter.
A scintillating review. I'm telling everyone.
vincenzo Fiorentini November 13, 2012 at 4:10 AM
Great review, mr. Totten.

"conservative liberal propaganda created by Hollywood to support the Obama administration’s conservative liberal politics", "insidious anti-Iran agenda": ha ha ! This is beyond ludicrous. Is Counterpunch the media outlet of the Revolutionary Guard ?
I'm just an ordinary moveigoer. Argo is one of the best. It's a white-knuckle ride almost from the beginning. Affleck keeps the tension high from start to finish.

The supporting cast - led by Alan Arkin and John Goodman (larger than life) - was excellent. Arkin and Goodman led a few pointed barbs at Hollywood. A few other scenes criticized Carter's role - but not with a heavy hand.

It's a "Mission Impossible" (TV series, of course), without all those extra team players.

Tony Mendez needs to have a monument to courage erected in his honor.
Critics writing at 'Counterpunch' and 'Slant' didn't like the movie?

I'm fairly literate across the political spectrum, but frankly, I've never heard of them.
I enjoyed "Argo:" it is a compelling tale well told. Michael Totten, however, goes slightly off the rails in defending it against all criticism. The prologue does in fact go overboard about Mossadegh. He was in fact a troubling figure, autocratic in temperament and given to anti-democratic executive actions. Mossadegh descended from a princely family as did Pahlavi (the Shah), so in some ways their conflict can be viewed as a princely rivalry rather than a clash between democracy and imperialism. I am not justifying the coup we sponsored, aka Operation Ajax, but rather supporting the criticisms of the prologue which Totten dismisses. As for the rest of the movie: it does distort the important role of the French, British and other allies and greatly diminishes the operational role of the Canadians in the rescue operation. "Argo" would have us believe that one determined CIA agent pulled off the hostage rescue essentially as a lone ranger and that the belated help he received came only via CIA colleagues. Affleck himself has issued an apology to the Canadians. None of this makes "Argo" a bad film. In fact it is a good one, especially for Hollywood, but neither a masterpiece nor a reliable source of historical information.
Very good film. Would have been even better without the fictional chase elements.
Michael...still upset about the missing WMDs, I guess...Just keeping looking. I am sure they are somewhere...
I'm not interested in anything put out by Hollywood, anyone associated with Hollywood or anyone has ever even been affiliated with Hollywood - no matter that the film is "unbiased" or if the film is "good." The people who make these films are from a culture that is hostile to the culture with which I am affiliated, and we want nothing to do with them. Movies are definitely out until someone from my culture starts making them.

Let these people make money from someone else. I have no wish to contribute even indirectly. Let them sell the films to other Democrats or their cousins, the Europeans.