OK, yeah, so I saw Crash
at a special midnight screening at my local art theatre last saturday, and boy did I hate it (I wanted to post this review immediately afterward, but I was tired and had to leave for NYC the next morning).
It made me really, really upset. It was so f**king terrible. I guess I went in already thinking "so this is the movie that might upset Brokeback? Well, then, it'd better be good" so I went in with knives out from the start... which might explain why I had such a terrible visceral reaction against it. Or maybe I was just really tired (it was late) and impatient? But man, it was just BAD. SO BAD. The whole thing basically consists of thinly drawn characters having long discussions about how racist everyone is, and then engaging in implausible actions in order to prove that, YES, racism is EVERYWHERE. It was all long, drawn-out exhibition coupled with cheap melodrama. Really, so many wondrously ridiculous things happened in this movie back-to-back-to-back, it just made my head spin.
For instance, a couple of tough-looking black guys talk very articulately (after Sandra Bullock looks scared of them on the street) about how THEY are the victims in LA and that THEY should be scared, not her, after which they promptly remember that they have guns and then immediately steal her car (not that this kind of criminal psychology is baseless, but the way it plays out here is just laughable). Later, Sandra Bullock falls down a flight of stairs and suddenly becomes a better person for it (that is the crux of her arc, it really is). Also, Don Cheadle, while having sex with his hispanic girlfriend, ANSWERS THE PHONE and, upon discovering that it's his mother calling, explains that he has to go cause he's having sex with a Mexican girl, even though, as she explains afterward, she's not Mexican, her parents are from Puerto Rico and El Salvador, and he should know that, goddammit (you try and figure this scene out... there's so much wrong with it I don't even know where to start). And later, a little girl tragically steps in front of a bullet meant for her father, which would've been gut-wrenching except that she's miraculously OK afterward because it turns out she's his guardian angel or something (just... whatever). Oh yeah, and later, the two black car thieves run over a Chinese man, and one of them exclaims "A Chinaman's under the truck! A Chinaman's under the truck!"
Am I missing something here? Is this really great filmmaking? Is it? Anyway, if you're intrigued by all this, then see Crash
. Cause really, it comes off even worse in the movie than it does in this description. I think here, it doesn't seem all that bad.
So yeah, by the end of this film, I'd basically learned two things:
1) Everyone is racist (yes, EVERYONE).
2) Paul Haggis is not a good filmmaker.
This is a big-fat "Issue Movie" with a capital I, and it never reads as much more than that. Although Terrence Howard was quite good. He was the only one in the cast I found watchable, despite the material (granted, his particular story probably made the most sense). Very talented, that one. I don't get the Dillon love, though. I saw nothing particularly special there. And I felt really bad for Don Cheadle, who I love, but some of the stuff he had to say was just... man... don't get me started.
Really, I'll barely be able to contain my rage when Paul Haggis inevitably takes the screenplay oscar away from Allen, Baumbach, Clooney, and Gaghan, particularly Baumbach, who really deserves this. And if Crash
SOMEHOW manages to actually beat Brokeback
to Best Picture, I will literally throw things at the television until it breaks (and it's not even my own TV on which I'm planning to watch the oscars... that is how much said win would enrage me).
Which brings me back to the title of this post: "Crash into THIS, bitch" (he says as he heaves a large, heavy object at the screen).
Disclamor: I realize that I am not intimately familiar with racism (the way I am with, say, homophobia). I am white. I have never been the target of such prejudice (except of course from "reverse racism" or whatever, but really, it's never been a big issue in my life... though of course, I'd be lying if I said a racist thought had never once crossed my mind). I also don't live in LA (though Miami is quite similar in many ways). So I know I am not predisposed to respond to Crash
. But if I saw a whole movie about straight people all bitching about gay people, and gay people bitching about how much straight people hated them, written by someone who was clearly aiming to yell out, "You! In the audience! You're homophobic! Yeah, that's right, you! You're HOMOPHOBIC, and you don't even know it! But hey, you know what? Nobody's perfect", then I'd have hated that movie, too. Really. Probably moreso.
So, in conclusion:
Grade I want to give this movie based on my immediate, visceral reaction: D
Grade it probably deserves: C+
(generally mediocre, but helped out A LOT by the actors)
What I will do if Crash
wins the best picture oscar: Again, literally throw things at my TV (wait, no, my FRIEND'S TV) until it breaks. I can see it happening now...
"Crash into this, bitch!"