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[In theaters, part the first]

I was stoked to get passes to a free screening of The Pursuit of Happyness because I am huge Will Smith fan. I can't help it. And the film in particular had me all sniffly in trailers alone. He was great, and his son was fantastic and adorable as well. It's interesting -- the film has pacing issues and some meandering in the narrative drive, as it were, but I respect that the filmmakers didn't change the particulars of Chris's life to make for an artificially more compelling story, and, rather, let it be compelling in its truth. It's the second most American film I saw this year (after Little Miss Sunshine) for its honesty -- while not being preachy -- regarding class in America.

Next up... I had been hesitant to see The Departed, not because I don't like Scorsese.... or the cast, really... but because I was such a huge fan of the original. This definitely held up, though. I was completely invested in the fate of the characters and pulled in to the drama of it all, even though I knew how it would play out. Great script with very snappy dialogue, and good use of several bits and tells from Infernal Affairs. I've heard a lot of buzz around Leonardo, and it's well-deserved, but he suffers in comparison to Tony Leung. Nicholson eats all the scenery, but that's what he does, Mark Wahlberg got all the best lines, and I've always loved Matt Damon. All in all, pretty darn great.

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