The Pursuit of Happyness!
This according to the American Film Renaissance, a non-profit group with a mission to “spearhead a revival of timeless American values in film and to serve as a forum for voices and ideas often marginalized by the contemporary artistic community.”
AFR has just released its fourth annual awards (list here), in which its voters name The Pursuit of Happyness as best movie of the year. As cultural critic Peter Suderman writes in a sharp-edged column that eviscerates Hollywood’s narcissism,
AFR’s website states that its founders “love the movies, but [are] not so fond of films that wallow in victimhood and self-pity or that portray America, business and religion as the roots of all evil.” “Happyness,” which received generally favorable reviews but only one Oscar nomination (Best Actor for Smith), is a big-screen rarity: a slickly produced Hollywood film with a major star that places high regard on values like fatherhood, individual achievement, and capitalism. Captivating and finely acted, it eschews the sentimentality of most movies that get labeled “inspirational,” instead choosing to remain hopeful while recognizing the harsh realities of life.
Yesterday, suffering from an L&O hangover, we bemoaned the lack of any television series that portrayed businessmen and women in any kind of positive light. It’s reassuring to know that there are at least some movies out there that veer toward a fair depiction of business.
Funny thing is, cinematic fairness to business makes for good business. It’s profitable to produce movies that are respectful of religion, market freedoms and cultural traditions. As the president and founder of American Film Renaissance, Jim Hubard observes, AFR’s top five films earned approximately $150,000,000 more at the box office than the five Oscar nominees for Best Picture.
You can read AFR’s complete awards list for 2006 in the extended entry section of this post.
The Pursuit of Happyness
3rd: United 93
4th: The Queen
5th: The Departed
Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration
2nd: Islam: What the West Needs to Know
3rd: Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story
4th: 49 Up
5th: This Film Not Yet Rated
1st: Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in The Pursuit of Happyness
2nd: Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) in Apocalypto
3rd: The Passengers in United 93
4th: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in Pirates of the Caribbean 2
5th: Joseph (Oscar Isaac ) in The Nativity Story
Best Time at the Movies
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan
3rd: Little Miss Sunshine
4th: Thank You for Smoking
5th: Casino Royale
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