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If you have the choice, and why wouldn't you, make sure that one of your best friends marries a movie critic who gets all the Oscar screener DVDs, because then you can watch all the cool 2007 movies all in one day :>!!!

I saw "Waitress"--which actually he didn't like--and then saw "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" and finished up with "Once." Very cool movie day :>!

I really liked what Keri Russell was able to accomplish with "Waitress." If she'd been just a hair cutesy in any way, it wouldn't have worked (and I thought it worked). So many heroines in romance novel-type movies just blithely have the female in an unhappy relationship until some shining knight looks at her, shows her some attention, loves her like she's never been loved--! Keri's performance never let you forget that step one--She is miserable. She's not in love with her husband. She is miserable because she's not in love with her husband, and worse, he's too thick to notice! Good lord, he really doesn't know or have a clue."--and you really felt the weight of that in every scene, even in scenes where she was happy, or happily... um, kissing.

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" was a documentary about old arcade games, high scores, and middle-aged men measuring the lengths between them. And yes, I know how that sounds, but trust me, it's accurate enough. When I heard and read about the film this summer, I'd thought maybe the conflict between the two top players had probably been played up for effect in the film. Yeah, dead wrong on that assessment. The movie's black hat deserves the ensuing scorn--ohhh, does he deserve the ensuing scorn!

And what can be said about "Once" that everyone who's seen it hasn't already said? It's a film that doesn't do what you expect. Its magic is pure. It's pure because it comes out of sheer human effort and you can see the work involved. You see the sweat. You see the anger. You see the sadness. You see the sacrifice.