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April 12, 2006

Comments

Ian Brill

I saw P.T. Anderson speak and a lot of members of the audience were decrying Crash as a rip-off of Magnolia. Anderson didn't see the film so he offered no comment.

I liked your comparison to Michael Scott's tolerance excersise. I think a lot of artists let their smugness and arrogance get the best of them.

Marc

Ian once again wins the prize for quickest commenter on the draw!

Thanks, Ian.

Chuck T.

Y'know, upon initial viewing, I was more cheesed about calling the bullets the shopkeeper's daughter (or whoever) bought as blanks. (My wife asks if I always count bullets as well, but that's a separate problem.)

Chad

Full disclosure before my comment: because I don't go to theatres, I have seen neither Crash or Brokeback Mountain.

I read in several sources that, despite the awards it did receive, Brokeback Mountain not getting Best Picture was a sign of institutionalized homophobia. I was not at all convinced. But the more I read about how poor Crash is, or at least how much of a standard Hollywood genericum opus it is, I start to wonder...

Marc

I try not to read too much significance into the Oscars; being admitted into any club that would have Dances With Wolves and American Beauty simply can't be that much of an honor. But the one thing they are good for is reading the tastes of the movie industry, and I have to admit I had exactly the same reaction you did. I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain either, but I'm sure it can't be any worse than Crash.

Hollywood was clearly in a mood to reward itself for making serious pictures about serious social ills this year. (Then again, it's in that mood most years, except for when it wants to reward itself for making lavish, big-budget productions that rake in money hand over fist to show it hasn't lost its touch with the common man.) The odd thing is, voters had no shortage of choices that fit that bill among the nominees. Crash's victory probably indicates the Academy wanted to see itself as hip as well as socially conscious; this is probably the same reason, the only reason that an utterly generic hip-hop song about how hard it is to be a pimp won for best song. (Against some pretty scant competition. Didn't Randy Newman crap out anything about singing dolls last year?)

And homophobia? More likely an overcompensating desire not to be seen as too gay-friendly... which functionally works out to the same thing.

For all I know, Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck split the Earnest Socially Conscious vote leaving Crash to slip in with solid support from traditionally the strongest constituency, Fifty-Year-Old White Guys Trying to Speak Jive. But I'm thinking many of those voters were looking to plant the Martin Luther King card on their own foreheads. That Crash should also be Not Gay--guess which major Los Angeles demographic is conspicuously absent from the movie?--well, that couldn't have hurt either.

Chad

Against some pretty scant competition. Didn't Randy Newman crap out anything about singing dolls last year?

Ha! Probably.

And homophobia? More likely an overcompensating desire not to be seen as too gay-friendly... which functionally works out to the same thing.

Exactly. And honestly I don't see from what I've read and heard about the film what was so revolutionary about it, apart from having attractive, star du jour actors play gay/bisexual men. They've been making films with Brokeback Mountain's plot for decades, although I guess I should be thankful that they're not really churning out insanely anti-gay films like Waiting for Mr. Goodbar, The Fan, and Cruising anymore (although maybe once again I'm speaking too soon).

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