Films (Not) Based on a True Story – The Pursuit of Happyness
The Pursuit of Happyness is a wonderfully uplifting story about a down-on-his-luck man working his ass off in order to give the best life possible to his son. Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) undergoes many terrible hardships such as being homeless, being poor, and being hit by a car. Let’s be honest, if we did a Top 5 Series about ‘Things You Don’t Want To Be”, those three things in the previous statement would probably make the cut.
Chris basically combines his go-getter attitude with his incredible smartz to turn his life around and eventually secures a job as a stockbroker. This leads to an ending that is more saccharine than artificial sweetener, and leaves Chris feeling Fresher than the Prince himself.
But did all this really happen? The answer is pretty much a resounding ‘yes’, but there’s still a truckload of other stuff that the film neglected to mention..
You remember those portable X-rays Chris was trying to flog that played a pretty integral part in the movie? Well, they never really existed. It turns out the screen writer decided that the addition of bone density scanning units was going to be beneficial to your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned for The Pursuit of Happyness 2, which is all about motorised ice cream cones.
In terms of Chris’ love life, the film leads us to believe that Chris was mistreated by his wife who in plain terms, was a bit of a bitch. But in reality, it played out a little more like this: After his wife suffered a miscarriage, Chris decided the best thing to do would be to cheat on his wife with a self-proclaimed ‘expert of fellatio’. He then engaged in a 30-day drug-induced sexual marathon with yet another woman. From here though, the only way is up, and this woman soon (well, 9 months later) gave birth to Chris’ son, inconveniently also named Chris. The cloud to this silver lining however, is that Little Chris (as he will hereby be known) is an actual bastard.
And don’t think Chris managed to rise to the top without a little help along the way. When Chris asked the man in the red ferrari “What do you do, and how do you do it?”, he just so happened to be talking to San Francisco’s most successful stockbroker, Bob Bridges, who was earning well over $80 000 a month. Bob admired Chris’ enthusiasm and they went to lunch together a few weeks later. He offered to introduce Chris to brokerage firm managers around town and set up many meetings for him.
Chris was also partial to a few illegal drugs every now and again including, but probably not limited to, cocaine, PCP, and marijuana. He also sold drugs too, but stopped after he owed some people some money, and they weren’t very happy about it. To be fair to him, these drugs probably helped take the edge off for him, given the fact he didn’t even know where Little Chris was for four months when he first started working.
Chris did really get arrested by two police officers as seen in the film, but it wasn’t for something as trivial as parking tickets. He was accused of domestic abuse by his partner after he grabbed her and pushed her into a rose bush. I know roses pretty much epitomise love and all that, but Chris has definitely misconstrued something here.
So according to the film, in order for Chris to secure a job at Dean Witter, he had to impress a guy with insane Rubik’s Cube skills, own every interview he ever went to, work long days for months on end for no pay, and outwit all other applicants on the trainee program. In reality however, Bob Bridges helped him on the program, where he immediately started earning $1000 a month, and pretty much everyone on the scheme was subsequently given a job, no puzzle games required.
And you know what? He never even made that hilarious ‘pants’ joke from the film. This makes me sad.
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