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On 'Crash': The Most Loathsome Best Picture Of Them All

@ericdeamer I do want to add context and state that the film was an independent in the true sense of the word (As opposed to simply being made by and for H'wood liberals). Shot for only 6.5 million, by a first time director (who leveraged and shot in his own house) and featuring a cast of actors who were not only not popular at the time, but in many cases seemed to have had their best days behind them (including Sandra Bullock and especially Matt Dillon, Brenden Fraser, and Ryan Philippe). I agree with you that this is a story for a particular audience, but the fact that it even reached that set is a feat in itself, given the realities of production and distribution. In all likelihood, all of those factors, as much as the film's message, and its underdog story, played into the Academy's sensibilities. These are voters who are not necessarily ever voting for a best picture, but only for whose professional story (ie, Crash was a little picture that could...) is the most compelling.

Posted on February 23, 2013 at 12:22 am 0

On 'Crash': The Most Loathsome Best Picture Of Them All

@emberglance An aside is that Cronenberg actually took out a public letter in one of Toronto's papers (and signed by other Canadian filmmakers) specifically telling him that it was bad form to use the same name, especially for the other, uh, more audacious, film...

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm 1

On 'Crash': The Most Loathsome Best Picture Of Them All

While I don't want to defend the film too much, I do think that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of Crash's version of liberalism. To me, the film has a "Canadian-white-liberal-guilt-problem" rather than a straightforward one. As Haggis was a Canadian-white-ex-pat, is think that part of the film's problem is a naivite and fundamental misunderstanding about the problems of race in America, and an earnest (and also equally naive) attempt to solve the problems. To me - as a white Canadian ex-pat living in America, this is a position that I relate to, as well Haggis' naivite (and various misunderstandings) which I know that I share., but that I think is very important to understanding the film, Haggis' position, as well as the film's version "white guilt." In other words, it's impossible to separate the fact that the film was a little movie that could (a story that Oscar voters love, regardless of the subject matter - see Leaving Las Vegas) as well as an outsider-looking-in piece which presents a very different tradition of liberalism which is more idealistic (and perhaps less realistic) than what is compatible with the American version. At the very least the film acknowledges that racism (whether structural, personal or institutional) actually exists, which is more than I can say for almost every other film or cultural work emerging from Hollywood does...
(Thanks for the provocation - and Lionel - the Valley of Elah is a really good film!)

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm 2