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Thursday, December 21, 2006

GREENLIGHT #100: The Pursuit of Happyness ("Glengarry Glenross" and "Kramer v. Kramer")

Ann and Les very much enjoyed The Pursuit of Happyness (2006.) They don't think anyone can watch Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith play father and son and not be touched. Basically, Chris Gardner's (Smith) wife, played by Thandie Newton, leaves him and his son after he fails to sell any of his bone density measuring machines. Gardner goes on to try to tackle Wall Street while scraping by a life for him and his son. There's a lot more to the story but that's what will really get you. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film about desperate salesmen, Glengary Glen Ross (1992) but it's the opposite of heartwarming. The films stars Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, andAlan Arkin, among many others and includes a chillingly good five minutes from Alec Baldwin. Ann recommends a film that also celebrates the joys (after much struggles) of father love. Director Robert Benton won many Oscars telling the tale of a painful custody battle between a mother, played by Meryl Streep, who leaves her husband and son to "find herself." Her hapless-at-first husband, played by Dustin Hoffman, learns to care for and really love his son played by Justin Henry. And though they don't mention it, this is the movie in which JoBeth Williams turns fried chicken into a late night treat. It's called Kramer vs. Kramer (1979.)

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