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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Monday, April 24, 2006
Movie Review: Crash
Crash is supposed to be a movie about racists in Los Angeles. What it is really about is a bunch of jerks in Los Angeles. This doesn't mean that the jerks aren't racists or that the racists aren't jerks. But, for a movie, there's no there there.

I don't know how many Best Picture films I've seen, but I can't remember any previous Oscar winners that did not have a story. That's right - Crash has no plot. The movie is made up of incidents that happen to some people, but none of the recurring slices of life contain a storyline. It's just a bunch of scenes. Something happens to someone, and then, Hey! - something else happens that makes what happened previously seem somewhat ironic!

So, no, this movie isn't really about anything in the classic sense of story, as in, Little Red Riding hood is about a girls who goes to visit her grandmother and finds that Grandma's been eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. But it strives to be "about" something - the closest I can come to figuring it out is that you might do something wrong that puts you in a bad situation, but that doesn't give someone else the right to something worse to you.

Robert Fulghum, call your office, because we all learned this in kindergarten: Two wrongs don't make a right. Great. Got it.

I'll give it this - the performances are excellent. If you want to see an ensemble acting workshop, rent Crash. If you want to see a deep rumination on race relations in our fair city, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Ahhh... now that this review has been posted, I think I'll have a sip of this latte...


Mustn't... black... out...

[regaining consciousness and struggling back into my chair]

b&c and I haven't seen a movie in the theaters for months. Box office revenues are much lower than last year, and the industry is serving up this dreck. They're so alienated from their audience. I really think they have contempt for me. What will they all do when ticket sales keep circling the drain?
acting was good, but I thought the movie was very "in your face". How could all of those people be so connected in real life? NOT POSSIBLE.
I took myself to the movies one day a few weeks ago to see Failure to Launch...what a piece of dreck! The state of movies is just bad, bad, bad...
AS long as something gets blown up and there is a good car chase and basic plot line, I'm happy. I am not a major intellectual movie-goer; I prefer to use my brain for my family, my job and books. I have enough tzuris (Jewish angst) in my own life that I don't need to experience someone else's (even if not real). I prefer to be simply entertained at the movies. But Mr. EK and I did just rent "A Mighty Wind" over the weekend and laughed ourselves silly. We love those guys (Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman). And they absolutely NAILED the folk-music genre in that movie. IMHO.
E.K.: that movie is hysterical. All of their movies are. Ever see Best In Show?...you will LYAO
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Yeah, Crash came in the mail last month.

Like a long Seinfeld episode -- without the humor.

Oh yeah, everyone is a racist, even the victims of racism.

On a scale of 4, I give it 2 yawns:)

I've spent more productive and enjoyable 2 hour sessions re-arranging my sock drawer:)
Best race movie ever was Gone With the Wind, in which some blacks were good and some were bad, some were intelligent and some stupid, just like regular people.

And that Mammie, boy did she give Scarlett what for! You see the look she gives her when she knows she's up to no good? And did you notice how Rhett Butler respected her opinion and tried to get in her good graces?

I don't know if there's been a genuine black human in a movie since. Everyone is too self-conscious.


Movies nowadays mainly stink, I hardly see any movies anymore and don't even watch the Academy Awards.

A really good movie to see BTW is Ushpizin, light but very charming.
EK: Behind that bag must be my face! Or at least my brain. You have perfectly summed up my perspective on movies. I want to be entertained! For erudition and enlightenment I read the National Review (or this blog). I would like to see a good war movie, however. Will I get one? Of course not. Mark Steyn makes a good point about the current crop of Academy Award nominees and winners. They are supposed to be brave and thought provoking but while they might have provoked thought fifity years ago, they are no longer interesting. He says that the week after Brokeback was nominated, for example, box office receipts actually declined.
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Crash sucked. Brokeback Mountain was clearly the best movie of the years and deserved the Oscar.
B&C: I read the NY Times (you're SHOCKED, I know! :-)), although their lack of standards in the last few years has been supremely disappointing. I don't think I would like to see a good war movie. Don't we have enough of that going on IRL? I am not an "Academy" fan; my taste is rarely theirs. The only movie that got nominated that I thought was really well done was Good Night, and Good Luck. Whatever your political leanings, I thought the movie itself was exceptionally well done. But again, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" is more up my alley. I have no business trying to analyze anything else!
EK: that's where you and I part company. I wouldn't see the Trotsyite propaganda of "Good Night" even if you paid. Bean and I try not to see movies that we politically disagree with or ones that contain actors with whom we politically disagree. As you can imagine, we watch a lot of "Andy Griffith show" reruns.
What puzzled me was this: everyone had some good bones and some bad bones in their body, right? But I couldn't figure out the bad bone in the sweet Hipanic locksmith with the little girl. Any insights?
B&C: that IS where you and I differ. I try to keep my mind open to different ideas, even if I am sure I disagree. For example, you and Bean could produce a movie, about, say, the NRA and Concealed Weapons, and even act in it. Now, I may be ABSOLUTELY SURE that I am going to disagree vehemently with every single thing you say or present, but if I think I might see a different side of an issue that is presented responsibly, I might even pay to see your movie. Because if I respect who I think you are, and I respect what you have to say EVEN IF I think I may disagree strongly, I may still learn something or take something away from that movie that is new or helpful to me. NOW, if I think someone is not a responsible person or I have little respect for them for whatever reason, I probably won't go see their movie, even if there is a really good car chase and they blow up something big. I probably wouldn't read their book, or newspaper article, or their blog. Not to get too deep on you, but IMHO this life is short, and I prefer to see as much of it as I can, whether or not I end up agreeing, or being offended or whatever. It is important to have convictions and beliefs and stand up for them. But by shutting out the rest of the world you have little chance of ever bringing anyone else over to your side (or even close to it). I know I'm gonna get killed for this comment, but I had to write it. Isn't this kind of dialogue what makes the world go around?

Hey, you live in California - You and Bean in the movies. . . think about it . . . I'd even make Randi and Stacey come with me ;-)
WOW. I'm shocked at so many people not liking "Crash". This movie moved me. It made me cringe and cry. I thought it was amazing. Yes, I loved "Brokeback Mountain", and as a gay woman, was proud that so many other people loved it too. But I really thought "Crash" deserved the Best Movie Oscar. But to each their own, right?!
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise. I'd like to introduce you to Val, Trep's sister and a blogger in her own right. You may be seated.

Val! Welcome! I'm delighted to see you here. It's Ralphie's thread, so I'll let him answer your movie comment (I haven't seen either Crash or BBM), but I'm kind of the unoficial greeter here.

Please stay a while. You may not agree with much of what you read, since we're crazy-right-wingers, but we're very polite crazy-right-wingers. Also, all our snacks and coffee have pesticides. Lots of pesticides. I thought you should know.
Wow. Terrible spelling in the last comment. Sorry. I really gotta spell check.
But hey, Bean, look on the bright side: No Malaria.
Ayelet - that's a good point. The Hispanics get off pretty well in the movie. There's the locksmith, as you mentioned; the maid who's Sandra Bullock's "best friend"; and Jennifer Esposito, the female cop, although I admit at the beginning of the movie she makes some anti-Asian cracks at the woman who rear-ended her.

Val - I don't know, I thought Brokeback Mountain was, well, kinda gay. Kidding! I haven't seen it. Mrs. R. wasn't impressed, though. She just thought they were a bunch of losers and is against cheating on one's spouse regardless of the gender of the other, um, partner.

EZ- comments like yours are unlikely to raise hackles 'round here. I haven't seen GN&GL, but I very well may (if only to see the anachronistic shot of a plastic watter bottle on a desk). But I sympathize with B&C - the point is she doesn't respect George Clooney. And it's not just that she doesn't want to expose herself to those ideas, but that she doesn't want to contribute in any way to George's pocketbook. And, to be fair, I can't imagine there'd be anything in there that she hasn't heard before.

B&C - you once posted about the "Somewhere in Time" effect (I'm too lazy to link to it), where you go to movies to escape, but a current-affairs reference pulls you right out of it. I wonder if a war movie would do that to you. More to the point, do you have any plans to see United93? I'm torn - I want to support what (I hope) is a good piece of pro-American, galvanizing-for-the-fight propaganda (regardless of the filmmakers' intentions), but I don't think I'm cowboy enough to handle it. Turns out I'm a big crybaby.
We're definitely going to see United 93. I fully intend to come out sobbing like a baby with snot running down my face. That's OK.
That is hilarious - I didn't notice the water bottle, unlike last week's big gold watch on Charlie H.

BC doesn't have to respect GC. She then doesn't have to go see the movie. But what she said was,

"Bean and I try not to see movies that we politically disagree with or ones that contain actors with whom we politically disagree"

In my mind, disagreeing with someone is not the same thing as not respecting them. There are plenty of people I vehemently disagree with but respect, because they are honest people who come by their beliefs honestly and intelligently. Now, she may not respect GC, then hey, don't pay to see the movie - there are plenty of actors, producers and authors, musicians, etc whose pocketbook I would never fatten. But closing one's self off to everything that you may not agree with, IMHO, is, well, rather closed. I prefer a different way. Unless that is not what BC meant, perhaps she meant that if she and Bean politically disagree with someone they automatically don't respect them - I am guessing both she and Bean are smarter than that. But please, BC, let me know what you meant. do you want the man who wallpapered his cubicle in tin foil representing you? ;-) (that is a joke - ya know i love ya ralphie! and you should see GN&GL the acting I thought was wonderful. But again, I am the same person who thinks Die Hard is entertaining, so take my analysis with a grain of salt)

RE: United 93: I was living in NY on 9/11. don't care to relive it. but the movie looks well done, if creepily accurate. I guess that is the one exception to my rule of "I'll go see anything if something gets blown up". I can't even watch the trailers.
EK - I honestly don' tknow how accurate U93 could be, unless the filmmakers had access to the black box before the Moussaui jury did...

Also, I have a couple of friends who came to visit me in LA during college just so they could go the the correct floor of Nakatomi Plaza (actually a Fox studios office building) and snap a picture at the elevator. They would probably disown me for forgetting the floor number.

By the way, you should definitely see The Transporter (but skip #2).

EK: I did mean that I don't support people for whom I have intense disrespect, not just people whose politics disagree with mine. I read the Huffington Post for crying out loud. I don’t mind disagreement. Thanks for sticking up for me Ralphie. Lately, the people with whom I politically disagree (about Bush and the war) have lost any respect I ever had for them. I don’t want them to use Bean’s hard-earned money to promote their ill-advised agenda. To give you an idea about the distinction, Tom Cruise is an idiot, but I will still see MIIII (unless it sucks). However, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon or Sean Penn (this list gets ever larger) will never get a cent of our money. Regarding Good Night and Good Luck, I don’t believe there is anything in it that is new to me. Joseph McCarthy was a red-baiting dipsomaniac and all the hapless people dragged in front of the HUAC were kind-hearted souls who either supported merely utopian socialism or were entirely innocent of the charges of being communists, right? Would have been better to make a movie about Ann Coulter’s book “Treason.” That would have been different. And brave.
United 93? We’ll buy ten tickets but I don’t know if I can actually stand to watch it
BC: I'm sorry, I don't know what the Huffington Post is, or Ann Coulter so I didn't get those references - sorry!
I agree about our hard-earned dollars - I don't want it going for some ill-advised agenda either; my problem is often this: the people with whom I think I agree politically are often complete loons and untrustworthy; many of the people I respect I disagree with politically. hmmmm.
I can't really speak for either McCarthy or the people that were brought before the HUAC - i wasn't around then and did not experience what was going on. I suspect, as in most things, nothing is 100%. I'm sure there were people on both sides who were shmucks and also people whose intentions were well meaning. But again, I go to movies for the entertainment factor - GN&GL was highly entertaining to me. MI3 is hard - Tom Cruise is not just an idiot. he is an idiot with money and influence. MY $$$ ain't goin' to him, I don't care how many good car chases there are.

My only point above is that I prefer to leave open the posibility for expansion of my mind - I come here, don't I? I prefer good, intelligent, interesting, respectful conversation even if there is vehement disagreement, to mindless chatter (most of the time - sometimes a girls' margarita night is necessary! :-)
I don't know who you're hanging with if you find that many people you agree with are shmucks and many people you disagree with you respect. I no longer respect people I disagree with (mostly, but this would take a looong time to dissect). However, I believe that we are doomed and that people who disagree with me politically are hastening the arrival of the doom, so now isn't a good time for me to think about respectful disagreement. I wouldn't worry about MIIII, though. It will almost certainly suck
Um, are you serious? You believe we are all doomed?
If you are actually being facetious, um, hahaha.

If not, and you are serious, I am so sorry that you are so unhappy. It is difficult to see what life has to offer with such a worldview - I hope your children bring you joy and your life with Bean is fulfilling.

AS for me, I "hang" with many interesting people, and because of the nature of Mr. EK's job, and the role I have chosen, I have met many different kinds of people, from all walks of life. These experiences have humbled me; I have gotten from them as much if not more than what I have given.

The people to whom I was referreing above are politicians and "policy"makers. I have not met many I respect or trust, even if they profess to believe in the same things as myself. I mostly feel that these people want votes, not change or improvement. There are a few that I think are decent people with our country's best interests in mind, and they span the spectrum of political beliefs. It is within me to disagree with someone on a particular topic that I think is central to our lives as free Americans and still respect them as human beings. But clearly, I do not fall into that category in your 'spectrum', and as I cannot honestly dialouge with people who are unable to respect me, I must bid you Adieu!

It is a shame, actually, I was beginning to like it here. I don't often meet women who really use their brains.
I sincerly wish both of you good luck.

Ralphie: you crack me up, dude. keep on laughing. you lighten up the joint.
EK: Yes, we are doomed. No joke. I find that, surprisingly, this doesn't depress me. The clarity of the current position of the world simply makes me realize that the simple things in life should not be taken for granted. I enjoy Bean and the kids tremendously, more so than when I thought this relative peace would last forever. As for disagreement and disrespect, I think perhaps you misunderstand me. I certainly wasn't referring to you or to anyone else on this blog. The people here broadly agree on the problem (but may not share my pessimism) and have slight disagreements on the solution. I assume you are included in this camp. This is a "big picture" blog (with jokes). Support for Israel. Support for the United States and her values. Belief that Islamofascism is a dangerous threat. We have some differences of opinion on how to support these countries and fight the threat (read my discussion with Wanderer) but we agree on the problem. Within these parameters I have tons of respect, outside of them, I don't have time to waste. With regards to politicians you are right, it is hard to know what they really believe.

You said "It is within me to disagree with someone on a particular topic that I think is central to our lives as free Americans and still respect them as human beings." There you and I disagree. I can disagree about affirmative action, or tax cuts but I cannot disagree with someone on topics "central" to our lives as free Americans and respect them. Respect their value as a human, sure. Respect their ideas enough to value conversation and friendship, no way.
I hope this clarifies but perhaps just muddied the waters.
I appreciate what you have to say, but I don't think we even agree on the problems. Of course we all support Israel, the US, etc. and think any kind of fascism is bad. But I do not think we agree on the problems that face our society and those of the world around us. I also suspect that what we both think are "central" values or topics as free Americans are going to differ. Which probably means it will be difficult for us to even agree to disagree.

Again, no offense meant and none taken.
We don't get to see much either, these days. Mrs. Balabusta only likes two kinds of movies: Mindless action films (like The Transporter), and Mindless Superhero films (like X-Men). I like Sci-Fi films, but I can't remember the last time a decent Sci-fi film has hit the theaters, and even my kids won't go with me to see them.

Social Message films? Never.
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