Monday, March 06, 2006

Against Crash, or why the Oscars are irrelevant

I’m calling bullshit on the Academy giving Crash the Oscar for Best Picture. Crash is an incredible film in the sense that real people don’t have conservations the way Crash has depicted them. Real people have psychological motives and a modicum of manners and better things to do with their time than blurt-out silly and unprovoked racial epithets. Despite its stirring second act, in which deus ex machinas abound to conveniently resolve all of the implausible if otherwise charming narratives, Crash is still a garbage film penned by a sentimentally manipulative hack (see Million Dollar Baby) It was obvious as the err occurred, Jack Nicholson opening the envelope, calling the wrong name: “Crash?”

There was a collective gasp which I’m sure Ang Lee, after receiving the Oscar for Best Director and being quickly shuttled off stage, registered. They didn’t cut to a shot of Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhaal or any one else in building but the cast of Crash and their hack of a director Paul Haggis. Yes, they wanted to capture the winners. But guess what – nobody else was smiling.

And if you think that Crash was some type of commentary on contemporary race relations, and that it somehow addressed our messy polarities – what we say to ourselves and how we act with others – then you are exactly the type of useful idiot who’d bite.

isn’t any of these things and is far less ambitious in its reach than the charlatan down the street or that clown at your office claims. It neither answers questions nor raises them. It’s an awful film. I hate it more now that it has won an Oscar. And this is tokenism of the highest order: to prop up a film as a lode star for a dialogue on race – a film that is criminally inane, a film that is thus charged with negligence for the harm that it will no doubt inflict.

So go forth and talk amongst your friends and family about how Crash changed your life. Tell your children about how Crash dealt with real people talking about race frankly. And it’s surely fitting that Haggis quoted Brecht, saying that “Art isn’t a Mirror, it’s a Hammer” which I guess is supposed to shape society.

Listen to Haggis’s admission: he’s not interested in reflecting society, since he couldn’t care less how real people talk to each other about race. And I’m not understating how he’s shaping it. Bertolt Brecht was overtly political in his drama; Paul Haggis is a hack. For a film purportedly interested in society and race, Crash isn’t political in any regard.


RC said...

Yikes! I think you have some feelings on this.

--RC of

Zuraffo said...

Nice! Paul isn't interested in anything than making moeny and advancing his status...

attmay said...

What do you expect from someone who cut his teeth writing for Norman Lear television sitcoms?