Friday, June 03, 2005

Chinks and Niggers and Spicks, Oh My!

So, we saw CRASH.

It was ballsy but yet another Altman look alike.

The movie has no great story but many little ones, often in cars. Racial awareness is the comic sticking point while the wheels are rolling. The characters are all in need of a breakthrough and most of them do some sort of breaking which is followed by intimacy with someone from another ethnicity. Deep, deep needs are plumbed. With that snarky comment being said, the actors are able to really dig in, much like their counterparts in Short Cuts, Grand Canyon and Magnolia (sans frogs).

I have to be honest, it is hard for me to take existential angst seriously when it is based on race or transportation. (Note from this afternoon's errand: Never drive to Encino, any time of day.)

The movie starts with racial slurs and cars, ends with racial slurs and cars, and has a bunch of racial slurs and car scenes thrown in for further thematic effect. And the whole conceit is that we crash and fall in order to connect with each other. This one helps that one. That one helps this one even though the day before he gave her an overly sexual body search. (Think of Matt Dillon with his hands up your evening wear.) This crashing as the only way to intersect with another human being of some other color is a pretty grim way to look at things and something I imagine teenaged girls from the valley ponder in a moment of original thinking while preparing a paper for their Cal State Northridge class in introduction to sociological creative writing. (Note reminder: Never drive to Encino, any time of day.)

Leaving the valley girls out of it, what I'm trying to say here is the basis for this movie is ridiculous. But what I am also trying to say here while thanking my lucky stars that I don't live in the valley is: This damn movie is highly watchable and somehow poetically entertaining. These are the five reasons why I think this is true:

1) Haggis has written a wide open script with a huge berth for emotional emotive emotion. And these really good actors pull it off. Plus, the nasty racial slurs are quite funny.

2) Fuck me with a speeding bus, but I think Sandra Bullock is really good.

3) In this film you will witness the best acting job ever given by Tony Danza. I think he only has about six lines, but he does them very well. Is he grooming himself for future heavies?

4) Call me a cheese-dog, but the Aimee Mannish/Operatic/World Music score is pretty great. There's something about having your life set to music...who cares what the overwrought scene is...if there's a human doing something "deep" or "dramatic" and the music is actually kind of good, I'm all in. Makes me want to drive around California with my soft hits collection and play them at cinematic volume. (Oh wait, I just did that last week.)

5) Tone. The movie has lots of tone. Sweeping, poetic, overdone yet cool tone.

So, I don't know, why not go see a movie where Don Cheadle makes fun of his Latina, Matt Dillon is still kind of cute, Sandra Bullock falls down the stairs and everyone suffers from racism and auto angst? Plus, it is a very rare event when snow actually falls on Los Angeles. And if you feel like rolling your eyes when you witness this nod to epic cleansing, remember, at least it isn't frogs.

Biblical proportion note: Never, ever drive to Encino.

No Need to Go Here

No comments: