Friday, May 2, 2014

Best Picture: "Crash," 2005

Movie Stats:
Released 2004 (Canada; 2005 in the USA)
American, in English (some Persian, both translated and not; minimal non-translated other languages)
Director – Paul Haggis
Stars – Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, and many others

Plot Summary:
It’s a bunch of intertwined stories about race relations in Los Angeles. Cheadle stars as Det. Graham Waters; Dillon as Officer John Ryan; Newton as Christine Thayer; and Bullock as Jean Cabot.

Tons of blue language (including practically every racial slur imaginable); violence; heavily implied sexy times; non-consensual sexual touch; and brief female nudity (breasts only).

Bad Stuff:
Watching this movie is like being bludgeoned for two hours. That is to say, it overstates its case. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I dislike movies that lack subtlety. This movie has no subtlety whatsoever. Literally none. Zero. To me, racism is a very serious topic. It requires a serious discussion. I don’t believe that this movie is a part of that discussion. It’s like an afterschool special, trying to show you the evils of racism in the most overblown way possible. It’s ridiculous.

It thinks very highly of itself, like it’s so clever and edgy. “Oh, look at us, nice girl Sandy Bullock plays a mean racist! We say the n-word a lot! We totally deserve an Oscar!” Apparently the Academy agreed.

I don’t like movies that rely too heavily on coincidences. For example, [SPOILER] I simply don’t believe that the cop who molested a lady at a traffic stop would happen to be at the right place at the right time the following day to save her life. I also don’t believe that his partner would happen to be at the right place at the right time in a different situation to save her husband [SPOILER]. I’m not capable of suspending my disbelief that far.

Good Stuff:
I enjoyed the performances of Cheadle, Dillon and Michael Pena (as Daniel Ruiz).

The Verdict:
As most of you know, I loathe this movie. I saw it when it came out in the theater and thought it was dreadful. I was open to changing my mind. Perhaps, I thought, I was in a bad mood the day I saw it.

Nope. This movie is dreadful. It’s two hours of people hurling racial epithets at each other. Nearly everyone in the film is a raging a-hole. (The only likable character is Daniel Ruiz and the movie tries to tug at your heartstrings even more by giving him an adorable daughter, which was unnecessary because the character was plenty likable without her). It’s unpleasant. To me, it feels like a bunch of actors play-acting at being racist in a very obvious bid for an Oscar. Also, the dialogue is terrible (and not just because of all the racial slurs).

The whole thing is a hot mess. I don’t know why you would watch it. I don’t think that you should. Want to see a great Best Picture winner about racism? Try In the Heat of the Night.

I give the movie 1 star.


Patricia said...

I do love to see Matt Dillon though. I guess the bright side of having to watch this movie again is that you can now recommend a better one.

I kind of like obvious movies. And I find ensembles interesting. So I was okay with this.

Was this the one with the scene where the two black guys were talking about the service they received at the restaurant and how the waitress treated them like they were thugs and how wrong that was. And then they carjacked a car? I think that was my favorite moment.

Patricia said...

This was the year Kelly had the Oscar party where the answer to the tiebreaker question was Tawny Kitaen.

balyien said...

That's really funny, re: the carjacking scene because I absolutely hated it! To me, the character (played by Ludacris) had such a great point & I felt the point was completely ruined by the fact that he actually was a thug. I was really disappointed. But I think it's intriguing that you came away from the scene with an entirely different feeling.

Probably my favorite scene is when Sandra Bullock's character finally realizes that she's not angry about the car jacking or anything else that she's been bitching about but that she's angry because her life isn't fulfilling. I thought that was very powerful. Also, I liked that you never see her child. That was probably the only subtle thing in the movie, the way they showed that she had no connection to her child without actually ever saying it.

I remember Kelly's party but I don't remember the Tawny Kitaen aspect.