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February 25, 2013

"Just Like Argo:" Harvey Weinstein and Michelle Obama Undertook Secret Operation to Get on TV

Harvey Weinstein -- who hired Stephanie Cutter to promote his own film, pushing a fake political angle -- arranged it.

According to Academy president Hawk Koch, the plan came from Weinstein and his daughter, Lily. Koch and Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron loved the idea. And when it was pitched to the first lady, Zadan told The Hollywood Reporter that her response was, "Yes, I think it's a great idea. We watch movies all the time at the White House. Let's do it."

So, two weeks ago, Koch and the producers borrowed Disney's jet for a flight to D.C. They told their colleagues, though, that they had to go to New York for the day. "The planning of it was like Argo -- it was a C.I.A. mission, it was so complicated. We didn't even want anyone to know where we were going," Zadan said.

Yes just like Argo, which itself was just like a movie, which it was, as the movie that won Best Picture was also fake.

Going through those historical inaccuracies there -- I didn't mind the fake climax.* Never for one moment when I was watching it did I imagine the plane was actually chased by Iranian police cars on the runway. That was just an eye-roll to me.

I also never bought the other complication -- that they didn't have plane tickets because you can't buy plane tickets without the President's approval.

Wait, what? The big scare at the end is that you might not have plane tickets, because Jimmy Carter didn't approve them? You buy plane tickets for a covert exfiltration day-of? Yeah, did not buy that at all. Just seemed made up for tension. (Turns out the Canadians had, of course, bought the tickets weeks before.)

The operative involved, Tony Mendez, wrote that the airport phase of the operation went "smooth as silk."

I'm more annoyed at other faked bits, like faking what Argo really was (it was the retitled Roger Zelazny book "Lord of Light," it turns out) and making the other Hollywood guy involved -- also a make-up artist -- a producer, in order, I guess, to draw votes from the producer wing of the Academy.

* The Fake Climax nearly announces itself as a Fake Climax when they get into the microbus that will take them to the airport and... the engine won't turn over on the first try.

This is such a hoary cliche I should have realized it was their attempt to cover themselves by signaling, "Okay, from this point on it's all fakery."

I don't know if the first Hollywood Car Won't Start moment was in Double Indemnity, but there's a somewhat interesting story to that-- they made that up minutes before filming it. They thought they needed a little more tension, and so had Fred MacMurray pretend to try to start the car and fail multiple times. (As they were on a tight Murder Schedule in which every minute away was a minute they could be caught, this was a big thing.) They added all the Car Won't Start Engine Failure Noise in post-production.

Groans from the Press: Even the press is a little tired of Les Obama.

When Michelle Obama was introduced by Jack Nicholson most of the reporters in the media room groaned....loudly

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posted by Ace at 01:06 PM

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