229 – Crash (zero stars)

Crash is about thirty-six hours in the lives of various, disparate people in Los Angeles, told as a series of interconnecting vignettes. Some of the people are good, hardworking souls just trying to scrape by, and others are bad people bent on destruction and menacing. By the end, though, some of the good people have done bad things, and some of the bad people have done good things. And they all grew as people as a result.

This wasn’t an easy movie to get through. To begin with, nearly every character is despicable in his or her own way. Not so much that one can easily classify them as Bad, no – it’s more as if each was being presented as a Good person with Flaws. The downside to that, though, is that it makes rooting for any of the characters is nearly impossible.

Another problem is the writing. Everything is film with such a heavy, hamfisted attitude! Person A has something happen to them, so of COURSE they’re going to emerge as a better person as a result. I mean, I’m glad that things don’t always turn out like rainbows and unicorns and happy crap like that for our brave characters, but does their redemption (or fall from grace) have to happen so obviously? It’s as if the viewer has been hit over the head with a frying pan – BAM! THIS PERSON DID A BAD THING. THEY ARE NOW NOT AS GOOD AS YOU THOUGHT. And then BAM! you get hit again, because the same knucklehead did something else.

I didn’t like anybody, and I had a strong sense that if I ran into any of them, anywhere, they sure as heck wouldn’t like me, either. What a bunch of miserable, whiny, self-obsessed, self-absorbed twits these people are. Convinced they are right, they haphazardly stomp about the movie, glaring menacingly at people who are different from them, which naturally is supposed to teach us, the unwashed audience, that Different Is Good, and these people Just Don’t Get It (Yet).

Paul Haggis wrote, directed, coproduced, and wrote some of the music for the movie. Interestingly enough, the Scottish dish haggis smells just as bad as this movie. What should have been melodramatic was instead uproariously funny; it helps when you’ve actively decided to dislike the characters. I wished for their deaths, and I bet some of you will, too.

Don Cheadle continues to prove he’s a great actor, and Ludacris was surprisingly convincing, walking away with most of his scenes. But the rest of the gang was dull and trite, doing little with the admittedly awful material with which they had to work. But don’t feel too bad for them, folks, because at least they didn’t have to listen to the soundtrack, which seemed to consist of one long Enya-like tribute. I suspect it was actually several songs, but it seemed like a continuous stream of overemoting – and inappropriately, at that. You know how in horror films there’s this music that’ll play that lets the audience know Something Bad Is Gonna Happen? That’s what the music here was, only it never stopped.

Crash: BOMB

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