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2006 was a great year for movies. I'm not sure who is going to win the academy award for best picture, but here are my personal favorites of the year. 5) The Pursuit of Happyness I'm usually not a huge fan of the "inspirational" movie genre. This one however seemed more genuine and honest than most. Both Will Smith and his son, Jaden, were excellent. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner an incredibly intelligent medical supply salesmen who has fallen on hard times in both his career and marriage. In an attempt to live up to his full potential Chris tries to get a very exclusive job at a brokerage firm, even though it means he and his son must live on the streets. The real father/son chemistry between Will and Jaden adds a ton of realism to the film. While the uphill struggle is inspiring I was left wondering how someone as intelligent as Chris Gardner was forced into such a bad situation. It really makes you think about the struggles economically challenged families have, and how many more Chris Gardners are out there who don't make it. 4) Thank you for smoking Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, a tobacco industry spokesman. Naylor is very good and his impossibly difficult job. In a wonderfully done satire the movie takes shots at both the anti smoking lobby and big tobacco. It doesn't take sides with either party, pointing out how absurd people can be when they aren't flexible in their arguments. Most people see the Naylor as having no morals; I see it as him having such a desire to do what he's good at that the challenge of representing a tobacco company out ways any evil they might do. I was very worried that his relationship with his son would cause him to "reexamine his life" in a cliché way, but Naylor kept true to himself in such a way that still taught his son a valuable lesson. Even if you could care less about the tobacco war this movie is a must see. 3) V For Vendetta "V for Vendetta" is the story of Evey Hammond who plays an unlikely role in bringing down an oppressive government after meeting a masked revolutionary terrorist who calls himself V. Based on Allan Moore's graphic novel this movie offers a incredibly complex and visually stunning portrayal of one man's quest to bring the power back to the people. While the actions scenes are amazing they don't feel forced or cheesy as the story is the main focus of the film. Natalie Portman gives her best performance to date, and the chemistry between her character and V is amazing. There are so many nuances to this excellent film that I had to go see it multiple times to grasp it all. 2) Borat Anyone who has seen the Ali-G show knows how amazing a character actor Sacha Baron Cohen is. His ability to stay in character in the most ridiculous situations leaves the audience gasping for
air. This big screen adaptation of his Borat character may be the funniest movie ever made. The movie follows Borat as he journeys across America filming a documentary for Kazakh TV. I won't ruin any of the surprises, as that is what makes the movie so funny, but when viewing prepare yourself to laugh harder than you ever have before. I literally have never seen an audience laugh so hard at the movies. It got to the point where you had trouble hearing the movie because the crowd was laughing so loud. If laughter truly is the best medicine this movie will definitely cure what ails you. 1)The Departed I have not heard one person who has seen this movie not say it was the best film they have seen in years. This movie had it all; amazing acting, great direction, and a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Not only is the cast packed full of huge names, but each give one of the best performances of their career. The characters and story suck you in that by the time the 151 minute long film is over you are asking yourself "Is it over already?" DiCaprio haters will be silenced after seeing The Departed, and Nicholson plays Frank Costello who you will love to hate. In most years movies nominated for best picture seem forced, as if they were made solely to win the award. This movie should run away with the award, and it will be a breath of fresh air to see such a brilliant and enjoyable movie win.
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