Instead of dropping my own bomb on CRASH--I will simply say that I laughed harder at it than almost every comedy I saw last year and find it absolutely hilarious that anyone on this Earth would take it even somewhat seriously--I'd like to quote my former boss Mark Rifkin, who has built a steady following with his weekly NYC update, www.twi-ny.com. I highly recommend you subscribe to the weekly email, even if you don't live in the metro area...
"Paul Haggis's self-congratulatory directorial debut is a deeply shallow look at race and racism in Los Angeles and, supposedly, America as a whole. Boasting a cast that is sure it is making a really important film (just check out the self-congratulatory behind-the-scenes featurette on the DVD), CRASH is a cliche-ridden story, written by Haggis and Bobby Moresco, that believes it's making a statement by being a cliche-ridden story. All of the characters in the ensemble cast -- which includes Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle (who also is one of the producers), Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, Terrence Howard, Loretta Devine, Marina Sirtis, Ryan Phillippe, Daniel Dae Kim, and, no kidding, Tony Danza -- identify the others, and are identified themselves, through racial profiling, ugly epithets, and stereotypical reactions to everyday situations as well as crises. The story line featuring rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Larenz Tate is the only one with a smidgen of ambiguity and reality to it. How this fraud of a film got nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Original Screenplay is pure Hollywood self-congratulations at its finest."
But as fellow blogger Anthony Kaufman pointed out the other day, to be bothered by CRASH's Oscar buzz is to acknowledge the Academy as a relevant, worthwile institution, and who would be silly enough to do that? The Oscars are fine, I suppose, but have they ever been "correct" (whatever that means)? That isn't their fault, necessarily, it's just the way it is.
Then again, Damian Lewis didn't even get a Spirit Award nomination, so all of these end of the year ceremonies are watered down circle jerks that don't mean donkey.