Have you ever seen a movie where you walk out saying, “That was just a great fucking movie”? That’s Ben Affleck’s Argo. Inexplicably, a film that draws its strength from humor and suspense, winds up being more moving the second time through. Perhaps because once you have been through the suspense part of it you get to know the characters better and therefore care about their outcomes more.
My second viewing of Argo came last night at the glorious Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire in Beverly Hills, otherwise known as the Academy theater. I was kindly invited to go to the most swanky of all screenings with celebrities in attendance and everything. There was even an after party — which my friend Craig Kennedy and I skipped. Not to humble brag but I will never turn down an invite to the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Cushy seats, big wide screen, mostly quiet audience — it’s nothing short of cinema heaven. But you are never going to get an impartial crowd, particularly, at premieres, not with stars in attendance. Once you file in with the party-goers you pass various checkpoints where you can oggle celebrities, if you are inclined towards that sort of thing. The first checkpoint is past the lights and press tables at the edge of the photography corridor. Standing there last night, you would have seen George Clooney, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck take their pub walk to the theater’s entrance. At the bottom of the stairs is another gathering spot for celebrity watchers. Then you head up Gone with the Wind-esque red carpeted stairs to a mirrored wall, which I swear is a flattering skinny-mirror, in dim lighting for the badly aging and vain among us, and then up another flight of stairs.
At the top of the stairs is where you really get a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the famous. I once saw George Clooney exiting the john and it reminded me of that line from Annie Hall, “look, there’s God coming out of the men’s room.”