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I watched "The Departed" today, and while I loved the film, I'm a little surprised it won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Picture. It was an excellent, thrilling, double-twisting, head-scratching, mess-with-your-mind, crime thriller involving mirror-image good-and-evil juxtapositions that make you thankful you're watching it on video, since you're camped on the rewind button for half the movie.

A great picture with mega, mega-stars? Yes! Best Picture of the year? Boy this must have been a very lean year, not that the Academy Awards are any arbiter of truth; still, I just don't see this as even being in the running, although the Academy has shocked me in the past with its mediocre winners.

Don't get me wrong: It's an outstanding crime thriller which I really enjoyed; I'm just surprised so many critics thought so highly of it.

How many films have you seen lately where Matt Damon is arguably the third-biggest draw, and where Alec Baldwin is perhaps the sixth-biggest? How much did they spend on salaries?

I am very much in the minority in that I find Quentin Tarantino terribly overrated, and someone who relies far too much on excessive violence; this film clearly had a Tarantino-like influence over the far-superior Scorsese. Did he really need to make this such a bloodbath? Well, it added something, I suppose, and also like most audience members, I'm starting to become numb to gratuitous splatter films, so as long as movies aren't torture porn (and this didn't go that far) they've become socially accepted, and not even all that shocking which I think is a real shame.

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Weak competition that year and a sort of lifetime achievement award for Scorsese. While entertaining it is nowhere near his best work.

Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York, Good Fellas, The Aviator.

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*** SPOILERS FOLLOW ***

Martin Scorsese paid homage to Howard Hawks' 1932 film "Scarface" by putting an "X" near characters that were going to be, shall we say, "rubbed out."

I recently walked through the moving walkway in Terminal 2 at SFO, and thought it was *so cool* that I had "discovered" the place where Colin Sullivan's death was foreshadowed in the movie - I snapped this picture:

post-2-0-26164600-1425521611_thumb.jpg

But you know what? I was wrong - look at the 4th picture down in the "putting an 'X'" link. I was close, but wrong.

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