I Expected Less From “Argo” & More From “12 Years A Slave”

Argo & 12 Years A Slave - Posters

Ahh nothing like a BRAND NEW link-up to get me over my blog slump. And by BRAND NEW, I mean “barely launched” because this shindig was just announced a few hours ago on The Better Blogger Network Blog. (So go do it!)

As my BBFFL (that’s Blog Best Friend For Life, btw) Amy told me, “everyone gets a blogging slump” but “you should try to keep your blog updated constantly.” And for that sign of tough love and many other things she’s really more my friend at this point. >> Just a little aside :).

If you must know, these three(?) weeks might be the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging, which is OK because it’s been way nice to dedicate my time to other kick-a$$ projects and ideas and not worry about what others might say about my not being in blogland.* I mean I’ve been known to have weeks‘ worth of posts scheduled way ahead of time (#foreal), so this not-blogging-thing-for-a-while thing feels a tad weird.

But given that I’m planning on blogging til I’m an old lady (hmm won’t my grandkids love that?), what’s the hurry?

*Amy did say it seemed as though I dropped off the face of the planet, though. Whoops :)!

But enough about this slump talk. Let’s get right on this link up, because priorities! This weekend’s prompt is…………………

What movie did you watch recently, and how was it? What movies was it similar to? What could have made it better?

We recently watched Argo and 12 Years A Slave. While I liked them both, my non-movie-expert brain does have a few opinions it’d like to share about each. 


I actually had low hopes for Argo, a movie about the Iranian Hostage Crisis. I mean a Hollywood movie about Hollywood–or more specifically, about how great Hollywood is–seemed not just meta, but also a little conceited. However, I was mainly interested in the historical aspect behind it because frankly, aside from it being about Hollywood, hostages, and Iran, I didn’t know anything per se about the actual events. (What, at least I admit it!)

After watching it, though, holy cow was I pleasantly surprised! My fave part was the epilogue at the end, obviously, and how real pictures from the era were put up on screen to allow viewers to see how similar the movie versions were to them. I also loved how well the team was able to fool the Iranians and how the latter only found out when they couldn’t do anything about it. My dad had read stories and seen pictures of the time and even he was impressed at how accurately they had been represented and how much the sets resembled the real-life rooms from that era.

Lastly, thank you, Canada!


See, unlike with Argo, I had higher expectations for this movie but somehow it felt a bit flat for me. HOWEVER, I get why it got an Oscar and I’m thankful American Hustle didn’t get any because that was a bad movie. In fact, thirty minutes in, we started wondering whether we should eject the DVD because maybe it wasn’t going to be so good. But we stuck it out for another thirty minutes to see if my high hopes would come true–and much to my dismay they did not.

The actors were great (though not Oscar great); the writing, the plot, and everything else were not.

But back to 12YAS: Idk if it’s because I had been sensitized to these stories of torture and/or injustice (thank you, Homeland, 24, Prison Break, and almost every other show out there), but the movie, while good and deep and tragic and hopeful, didn’t move me. Sure, I was appalled at the hypocrisy of the slave owners and at times even wanted to smack the guy portrayed by Paul Dano (from Ruby Sparks) because he was SUCH. A. JERK, but its ending wasn’t surprising or suspenseful. In fact, something told me Brad Pitt was the good guy and even after we thought that he probably would betray Solomon/Platt, when he didn’t, I thought, “Well, I knew he wouldn’t.”

Despite all of the above, of course, the epilogue told a beautiful story and I was happy to find out they all turned out (relatively) all right. Sometimes I’m amazed at what this country used to be like just <100 years ago.


I was overwhelmed by Argo (in a good way) but underwhelmed by 12 Years A Slave.

BTW: Now ^that^ movie’s perfect.

Although I could suggest changes, instead I’ll throw it back at you: Is there anything you’d change about either of those two movies–or any other you’ve watched recently?

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  1. Al Robinson says

    Annie, one other thing,

    I don’t blame you in the least for not getting through Inception. It is a challenging movie, if not THE most challenging movie of the new millennium. There was a lot of plot going on. I’ve seen it 3 times all the way through, and I STILL get a little confused with all of the interweaving plots. Picture if Magnolia was a sci-fi movie. He he he. :-)

    • says

      Don’t worry; you didn’t spoil it whatsoever; in fact, I’m still looking forward to watching it, so thanks for clarifying!

      That’s what I *didn’t* do with Hustle: the whole time I was like, “WHY did this get nominated?” and in looking for those reasons, I became distracted and stopped liking what I was watching, which was too bad b/c it at least seemed good :/…

      I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on Speech and Hustle, haha. (And Inception!)

      Thanks for replying!!

  2. Al Robinson says

    I think for me, I will prefer Argo to 12 Years a Slave because I like the subject matter more. I have seen both films a few times, and Argo is definitely the more entertaining film. Plus, my heart gets a little jacked when I see them taking off in the plane, as the guards are pulling up to that wall.

    • says

      Perfect way to put it, Al!

      I, too, got to the edge of my seat when the plane was about to take off even though I already knew they’d be OK. The way they carried that through was so suspenseful and great. But with 12YAS, although I also knew he’d be ultimately “saved” (and, like Argo’s crew, be relatively well), I couldn’t wait for it to end. Not having enjoyed 12YAS makes me kind of feel bad–considering its context–but I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that thought like that.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      • Al Robinson says

        You’re welcome Annie!

        I love questions like that. So much fun to think about.

        A little extra for you:

        I just rated each of the 37 Best Picture nominees of the new decade. No half stars, just full 1 – 5. A 0 means I haven’t seen it.

        12 Years a Slave – 5
        127 Hours – 5
        Argo – 5
        Captain Phillips – 5
        Django Unchained – 5
        Gravity – 5
        Her – 5
        Hugo – 5
        Inception – 5
        Life of Pi – 5
        Midnight in Paris – 5
        Nebraska – 5
        The Descendants – 5
        The Social Network – 5
        The Wolf of Wall Street – 5
        Toy Story 3 – 5
        True Grit – 5
        Zero Dark Thirty – 5
        American Hustle – 4
        Black Swan – 4
        Dallas Buyers Club – 4
        Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – 4
        Lincoln – 4
        Moneyball – 4
        Silver Linings Playbook – 4
        The Artist – 4
        The Fighter – 4
        The Help – 4
        War Horse – 4
        Beasts of the Southern Wild – 3
        Les Misérables – 3
        The Kids Are All Right – 3
        The King’s Speech – 3
        The Tree of Life – 1
        Winter’s Bone – 1
        Amour – 0
        Philomena – 0

        • says

          :O That’s way impressive! I’ve only watched 8.5 of those movies but now I want to watch at least all your 5s + some of your 4s (except for Inception b/c I think I only survived through the first few mins and I don’t want to finish it).

          One thing: I can’t believe you gave The King’s Speech just 3 stars b/c it was so good! I even teared up towards the end, ha… As for Silver Linings, I haven’t seen it but I wonder why you gave it 4 instead of 5 (no big spoilers, please!). Is it really not 5-star-worthy? (And I’d give Hustle just 2-3 vs. your 4 b/c although the cast was good, I couldn’t stand it and felt like the plot wasn’t going *anywhere* :/.)

          Thanks for the follow-up comment, Al!

          • Al Robinson says

            You’re welcome.

            I appreciate the excitement.

            I gave The King’s Speech only 3 stars because of two main reasons. The first one is that it beat The Social Network at the Oscars for Best Picture. Oooh!! That one hurt. Second is that when we got to the end part of the movie, it seemed like a letdown, because all he had to do was talk into the microphone from a seperate room, and not get in front of a crowd like he did at the start of the movie. Plus, I wish that it felt more important for what he overcame in the end, and I guess I just didn’t feel that.

            I give Silver Linings Playbook 4 stars and not 5 because the last third of the movie (little spoiler, but nothing major), became less about Pat’s issues, and more about his connection to Tiffany. It’s like they just suddenly ignored his issues, and it became a little formulaic. I hope that doesn’t ruin the movie for you. It’s still a very very enjoyable movie, much like Argo was. It wraps itself up nicely, leaving the audience feeling good. But, sometimes I prefer movies that leave issues on the table, with no real resolution. A movie that makes us ask questions. For instance, have you seen The Master?

            “And I’d give Hustle just 2-3 vs. your 4 b/c although the cast was good, I couldn’t stand it and felt like the plot wasn’t going *anywhere*”
            I think there were a lot of other people who felt the same way. I think the reason I do like it so much is because, once I realized that it was not the Best Picture winner type of movie, I relaxed a little on the movie, especially the plot, and just enjoyed it for what it was, people conning other people.


  3. says

    OMG I completely agree with you. I remember watching Ben Affleck and everyone go to accept the award when Argo won Best Picture. So they won January 2013 and I didn’t get around seeing it until December 2013 or January of this year. A whole year later. We just weren’t ready or interested. And I’m not a huge Ben Affleck fan. In fact, I was the one to be like it won Best Picture, we have to give it a chance. It was SO good. Definitely deserved a win. I love historical depictions, especially when they are done well.

    So this year I was a little quicker on the uptake. 12YAS won, we much rent and watch it (plus we love Benedict Cumberbatch and I thought Lupita N’yongo was totally adorable during the award shows). It was SO slow. It was good…. but I even was a little annoyed by Lupita and I was so excited to see her. It just didn’t blow me away and I was ready for it to end.

    I liked American Hustle. Not a lot. I probably wouldn’t watch it again. But I did like it. I was so scared to watch The Wolf of Wall Street because, though I have a bad cursing habit, I was not wanting to listen to all the profanity and see all the drugs and nudity. And my mother who is much more comfortable with all that said it was too much for her so I was like well, I will hate it. But as much as I didn’t like it, I definitely thought they did a decent job. There was a lot of cursing, drugs, and nudity, but I really was surprised by how much I didn’t actually notice it because everyone did good. Again, probably wouldn’t watch it again, but oh well. Husband has Man Crush Monday everyday on Leo DiCaprio so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter of watching it.

    Anyways, longgg comment. I could talk about movies all day! Love yoU !xo

    • says

      What a GREAT comment, lovely Amy!! You did a great job describing exactly how I felt, and now thanks to that great job, I’ll admit I’ll also happily stay away from WoWS.

      I was excited to see “Sherlock” :P in 12YAS, too! I liked how his role wasn’t as a**-hole-ish; that was a pleasant surprise.

      XO & thanks for stopping by!