Friday, April 5, 2013

Life of Pi and Argo

Quentin: Today we’re playing catch up on two movies that got past us last year: Life of Pi and Argo.

Jason: The Place Beyond the Pines has still not opened in Austin.

Jake: What’s that all about?

Quentin: Failure. And we have two movies next week we want to see, so things may be a little off-cycle this month.

Jason: We want to see Disconnect, but Travis and Cade want us to review 42, because it’s about Jackie Robinson.

Quentin: So we’re going to try and please everyone. Both of these films are available now on DVD or streaming rental. We watched Life of Pi last night and Argo today after school. Interesting double feature, wouldn’t you say, Jake?

Jake: Very. On the surface, the two films couldn’t be more different. But they are both about experiences at the extreme edges of the human condition. Let’s face it, most of us will never be the sole survivor of a ship wreck on the Pacific Ocean any more than we’re going to be in a hostage crisis in Iran.

Quentin: That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Jake: I didn’t say it was. I was pointing out that the success of each film begins with a great story, not to mention stakes that are life and death. And before you jump down my throat…

Quentin: That’s not what I was doing.

Jake: “Argo fuck yourself.”

Quentin: “Argo fuck yourself.”

Jason: Don’t tell me this is going to be my life for the next three months.

Quentin: Should we start out with an up or down? Let’s say you can only recommend one of these movies to a friend. Which one would it be?

Jason: Argo.

Jake: Definitely Argo.

Quentin: And why do you think that is? Life of Pi is an amazing movie. It’s beautiful to look at, emotional without being sentimental. I really dug the framing device with a storyteller.

Jason: Straight from Titanic. Also a ship-wreck movie.

Quentin: Well, I hadn’t thought of that. 

Jason: Just saying.

Quentin: Okay, still. It’s about a boy who loses his parents and then finds himself on a journey of self-discovery. Should be hard for me to resist, right?

Jake: So why did you resist?

Quentin: I thought about it all last night. Ang Lee is a master, no question. There was no reason this movie should have come up short with me, except it promises to make me believe in God. That’s fair to say, right?

Jason: Yes. One of the characters says it. The old man told the writer guy that the story would make him believe in God. I rolled my eyes as soon as I heard that.

Quentin: That’s my point. I don’t believe in God any more or less than I did before I saw the movie. I think it’s a very bad idea to set the expectations so high. There’s no reason a setup needs to include a “proof that God exists” angle. Argo, on the other hand, focused on what it could deliver: a thrilling escape movie.

Jake: I don’t know why we never got around to seeing it.

Jason: Something about the title. And the look of the trailer.

Quentin: There’s nothing sexy about it.

Jason: Nothing at all. But it is one of the great untold stories.

Jake: A classic Mission: Impossible. You got six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy in Iran, during the revolution, with no visible means of escape. How will Ben Affleck rescue them?

Quentin: It’s no secret we think Armageddon is one of the greatest movies of all time. And yes, we are aware of the critical consensus, but in this case the critical consensus is wrong and we’re right. So seeing Affleck in full-on hero mode again was very cool. We love him and he’s basically playing the same role in both films.

Jason: Full circle.

Jake: I wish I had seen this movie earlier, because I would’ve been way more outraged during the Oscars. I had no idea the extent to which he was robbed.

Quentin: It’s really a perfect film. The degree of difficulty is so high. The canvas of the story is huge and Affleck never loses control of the narrative. He maintains tension in every frame. He knows how to cast and use actors. It’s like he lives inside a movie. There are no mistakes here.

Jason: Well, I wish he would have showed just a little restraint on the strings at the end.

Quentin: Okay, maybe.

Jake: Are we recommending both movies?

Quentin: Life of Pi with reservations. It doesn’t deliver on its promise, but if you’re okay with that, then it’s a great movie. No reservations on Argo. If you’re like us and it slipped under your radar, this is your wake-up call. It’s that good.

Jake: Can I say it again?

Quentin: Go for it, dude.

Jason: This is what happens when teenage boys get ahold of a new catch phrase.

Jake: “Argo fuck yourself.”

Quentin: I can’t wait to use that at school next week.


  1. Loved Argo. Great job, guys :)

  2. I saw Argo in the theatre when it came out. I'm so glad you gave it a good review because I really liked the movie. Ditto on the great job and I'm anxiously awaiting The Place Beyond the Pines also. Which one of you came up with the catch phrase??

  3. Hey, Betty! The catch phrase is a line from the movie, remember? The producer guy comes up with it and then he and Affleck say it to each other over the phone, then again at the end. -Jason

  4. Duh, ok, I'm an idiot. Been awhile since I saw it. I am glad you decided to put some reviews up this weekend. You guys have become my Friday fix. Of course I would have been here to look at the counter anyway. Laaaaaaaa...