The 2013 Academy Awards named “Argo” the 2012’s best picture. But if your taste for international political intrigue, edge-of-your-seat escapes, and Ben Affleck is still unsatisfied, spring’s box office has little to offer you. Instead grab some microwave popcorn and click over to Netflix Instant for some Argo-esque classics.
“Escape from Alcatraz”
Like “Argo,” “Escape from Alcatraz” is the true story of a daring, high stakes escape. The film dramatizes the story of Frank Morris (here portrayed by Clint Eastwood). He, along with accomplices John and Clarence Anglin, were the only men ever to escape from Alcatraz, the famous island prison in San Francisco Bay (50 Years Later, Mystery of Alcatraz Escape Endures). Much of “Escape” was filmed on location at the prison, which was closed and abandoned by the time of the 1979 production (Film Locations for Escape From Alcatraz). The site lends an extraordinary level of visual authenticity that was one of the most delightful traits of “Argo.”
“Argo’s” potrayal of Iranian firing squads and men hanging from construction cranes immediately recalled the atrocities of another cinematically rendered violent tragedy. The events of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, as dramatized in “Hotel Rwanda,” are even more gripping and disturbing than those seen in “Argo.” Like Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle portrays a man hoping to shelter and protect the lives of others at great personal risk. The difference– if you can believe it– is that the stakes are even higher and Cheadle is even better. “Hotel Rwanda” is “can’t miss” Netflix fare for lovers of international drama.
“Ronin” is an under-appreciated, character-driven thriller with a great cast. Robert DeNiro plays a hired ex-intelligence type chasing a briefcase with vaguely explained but important contents. Take a trip through the Paris underworld, and hang onto your seat through two of most extraordinary car chases in movie history (get a taste in the trailer). A great find if you’re looking for a movie that’s half international thriller, half adrenaline rush.
“Good Will Hunting”
What project transported Affleck from starring roles in the likes of Glory Daze to Oscar relevancy? The answer is “Good Will Hunting,” a 1997 drama about a janitor at MIT (Matt Damon) with a troubled life and an extraordinary talent for mathematics. Affleck wrote the screenplay with Damon and plays a critical supporting role. If you loved Affleck in Argo and haven’t seen “Good Will Hunting,” this Oscar hit is a can’t-miss Netflix Instant selection.
Which one is your favorite? And how do they stack up to “Argo?” Share your thoughts @Ethan_Wellin