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This week:

Filthy says:

I'm beginning to think those grassfuckers in Hollywood aren't paying attention to me. All this time, I thought they gave a shit. Maybe not, though. I can't even count the number of times I've told those assholes that we want to be entertained by movies. Seriously, I can't. Not right now, not since I took those pills I found in my neighbor's trash. They were blue. They make my nipples tingle and me feel braver. I can't remember for sure what comes after fourteen and I'm going to go see if she threw anymore away because Mrs. Filthy isn't here and why is there something growling in the hall closet?

We don't want to be preached to at the movies. Save that for some emasculated man on Sunday morning that we don't pay much attention to anyway. Sometimes, though, those overearnest jackasses we pay to entertain us get confused and decide to send a holy sermon down from Mount Hollywoood.

Crash is a well-made sermon, but it's not entertaining or subtle or particularly thought-provoking. It's a fire-and-brimstone lecture, all sour faces and misery. The last time I was around this many unhappy people was in the audience of my retard cousin Larry's home's production of "The Wiz". I'd say Larry's show felt more real, though. Especially the flying monkeys. The shit-flinging was inspired.

It's an ensemble story--like a Robert Altman movie, even with the same know-it-all pretension--where everyone's lives intersect in unexpected ways. They're especially unexpected for the audience because some feel as contrived as a bad episode of "Three's Company". The Crash of the title is not so subtly both the collisions of cars and lives in Los Angeles. See, everyone has to get around by cars in Hollywood, and maybe being cocooned in their cars prevents them from ever interacting. In the romantic mind of a rich-ass white screenwriter, apparently we'd all be better off if we rode the bus together. Hey, Paul Haggis, you ride the 15 on Colfax at 1 a.m. and then tell us how much better society would be with junkies puking on your shoes.

The cast includes whites, Latinos, Iranians, Asians and blacks, none of whom can think beyond color and stereotyping each other. I won't cover all of them, but the highlights are: Sandra Bullock plays the sort of one-dimensional harpy that I thought Julia Roberts was trying to corner the market on. I guess Ms. Bullock wants everyone to take her seriously, too, because being fucking filthy rich isn't enough for a telentless, sausage-bodied ninny. Jennifer Esposito plays a really hot Puerto Rican detective with nothing to do in the story except briefly expose her tits. Matt Dillon plays a racist cop who molests a black woman (Thandie Newton) and later rescues her from her burning car in a scene whose drama and corniness is worthy of any "ChiPs" episode. "Look out, Ponch! She's gonna blow!" Don Cheadle is a detective who is asked to withhold evidence about a case concerning a white cop shooting a black cop in order to make District Attorney Brendan Fraser look good.

We are given some fairly interesting vignettes, and some very good performances. A lot of them made me think of that scene in Short Cuts where Julianne Moore gives a wordy, angry monologue while naked from the waist down, though. You know, the kind of showy shit that actors eat up. The dialog is generally pretty good. It's direct, intelligent and only occasionally sounds like a white guy pretending a black, Iranian or Latino. And writer-director Haggis does a decent job of making everyone look like assholes. Well, except the women. They are uniformly saints, except Bullock. Who knows, though. Maybe her character was written saintly and her shrewiness took over.

Even with that, Crash is piss-poor entertainment. If they showed it at a drive-in, there'd be a riot because it's so fucking unpleasant and monotonous. Crash wants to be all gritty and genuine, but if these are real people, why is every fucking scene loaded with racial tension, and every conversation about race? Not everyone is a racist, and not every racist spends all his time thinking of ways to insult other people. But this movie never gives us these characters as anything more than walking/talking angry race-baiting assholes. There isn't much beyond Haggis's preoccupation with racial tension to make us feel much for these people. Not everyone sees everything as a race issue, and not all problems are race-based. Some are money, some are drugs, some are that that fucking asshole Worm at the Tavern claims the high score on Deer Hunter II, initials ASS, is his when it's mine. He uses the initials DIK, which I think is just plain crass.

In fact, Crash feels like a trip to the chiropractor: meant to make you feel better without actually helping solve the problem. I guess the point is that the races would all get along better if we got out of our cars and started interacting, but that's just plain horseshit. It doesn't give many characters happy endings, which is fine with me. But it doesn't even make the journey much fun. You know, I don't get along with anyone who doesn't give me money or keep me from sticking dirt in my mouth, regardless of color. I think if everyone had the same skin, we'd find other idiotic reasons to hate each other.

Besides, boiling the problems (overblown as the movie makes them) down to us seeing each other for who we are would make a lot more sense if the story didn't rely so heavily on stereotypes. Haggis's characters all start out as Hollywood archetypes, like the black carjacker, the uptight white housewife and the angry Persian shop owner. They start out in a common place, and I think his intention is to show us that behind these stereotypes are real people. Two problems: first, most people aren't fucking stereotypes, even to start. Second, with so many people in this movie, none are fleshed out.

Overall, Crash is just another joyless example of how Hollywood sees the rest of us: dirty-faced miscreants scrambling around looking for their sense of enlightenment. Our lives have no happiness, just struggle and sorrow, and Goddammit, the screenwriters feel for us, without having to actually feel with us. Two Fingers for the sermonizing Crash. It's got better acting than church, but no free wine and bread.

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Paul Fischer of Dark Horizons

XXX: State of the Union is "The best action film of the year!"

Filthy's Reading
Mike Sager - Scary Monster and Super Freaks

Listening to
Pilot Scott Tracy- Any City


The Muppet Movie