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Does “Crash” deserve to be re-evaluated?

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  • Daniel Montgomery
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    #191776

    Everyone loves to hate “Crash” as a Best Picture winner. Personally, I liked it a lot, and actually prefer it to several of the Best Pictures that have come since. It’s true that its win was tarnished by the circumstances under which it won (homophobic backlash against “Brokeback Mountain”), but as a film itself, I thought it was excelllent. (Ducks to avoid the chair thrown at my head.)

    I know a lot of people HATE the film. HATE HATE HATE it. I know a lot of the criticisms that I heard were that it was heavy-handed, but 10 years later, after Trayvon, after Eric Garner, after Ferguson, in the current Black Lives Matter movement, I wonder if it’s time to re-evaluate the film. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen it. I might like to see it again to see how my feelings about it change, if at all.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191778

    Hey Daniel, have you read this Hitfix interview with Paul Haggis where he says that even he wouldn’t have voted for ‘Crash’ to win Best Picture? He does a great job of explaining his thought process when writing the film (which he’s still very proud of, for the record). You should give it a look, it’s an interesting read: http://m.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/even-the-director-of-crash-wouldnt-have-voted-for-it-for-best-picture

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    Daniel Montgomery
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    #191779

    Hey Daniel, have you read this Hitfix interview with Paul Haggis where he says that even he wouldn’t have voted for ‘Crash’ to win Best Picture? He does a great job of explaining his thought process when writing the film (which he’s still very proud of, for the record). You should give it a look, it’s an interesting read: http://m.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/even-the-director-of-crash-wouldnt-have-voted-for-it-for-best-picture

    I’d seen it posted in a couple of placed but hadn’t read it until now. Of course, some people posting it are framing it as, “See, even Haggis knows it sucked!” which is of course not what he’s saying. Talking about his deliberate use of stereotypes in the film, that’s something I’d have to take a look at next time I get around to watching it.

    I like that he’s not defensive about the backlash, and though he says he wouldn’t have voted for his own film, I wonder how many people, if asked, would actually say, “Yeah, I totally was the best!” Not that I’m saying he’s being falsely modest. I think he’s being genuinely modest, and acknowledging the level of competition that year.

    That was probably one of the best years for Best Picture for me. At the time, three of the Best Picture nominees made my personal top ten list (“Munich” at #2, “Good Night and Good Luck” at #5, “Crash” at #10), and the other two (“Brokeback” and “Capote”) were very close runners-up.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #191780

    I actually found it compelling. So sue me. I actually think it was a pretty weak year as far as Best Picture line-ups go, and I agree with the consensus that Brokeback Mountain would have made a more worthy winner, but I don’t think so because Crash is undeserving, but BM is just extremely well done. I will often be dissapointed by the choice of Best Picture (The few times I actually fully agreed with the choice in recent years was 12 Years a Slave, The Departed and LOTR), but in general I can see why each film won in their year. There are some excellent aspects of Crash that are often overlooked. The cinematography is actually exceptional, (though it was ironically snubbed in that race), the Editing is top-notch, and the acting is for the most part quite solid. Does it feel slightly heavy handed? Maybe. But it is effective in conveying its message, even if it’s pretty in your face about it. Now I’m not going to get into films that I feel were wholly undeserving of their BP title because that’s a whole other discussion, but I’ll simply say that at least it wasn’t directed by Mel Gibson and rhymed with slave Blart.

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    Anonymous
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    #191781

    Well actually “Crash” is a much better film than “Brokeback Mountain” (wonderful performances, boring film). The reason people are upset about the win is that the “it film” (about the big issue) lost and this one won over it. If “Munich” or  “Good Night, and Good Luck” would be our winner in that certain year, people would be hateful with those.

    All I think about this is that just because we have some worldwide issues, the Academy should still reward the best film among the nominees, and not the issues (see no one will ever put “12 Years a Slave” for the all-time best list, but they will surely mention “Gravity” or “The Wolf of Wall Street” as amazing achievements in 2013…).

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191782

    I quite liked ‘Crash’, and I still do. I don’t hate it’s win at all, and at the time I was happy for it’s win. That year, I was team ‘Brokeback Mountain’ all the way, and my second choice of the nominees was the unfairly underrated ‘Munich’, but ‘Crash’ was a strong 3rd. All three of those were in my personal Top 10. If given the choice, I would’ve given Spielberg Best Director, ‘Brokeback’ Best Picture, and I would’ve given ‘Crash’ Original Screenplay (which it did win). Recently I watched the Emmy nominated miniseries ‘American Crime’ by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) which I liked quite a bit, and it reminded me a lot of ‘Crash’. It too seems to be divisive.

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    Emmys2011
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    #191783

    I think people hate it because it won instead, not because they hate the film. Let the haters speak, cause everyone commenting here is in crash´s corner. I always liked it btw.

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    CanadianFan
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    #191784

    ‘Crash’ isn’t terrible, but it is agressively mediocre, especially next to a classic like ‘Brokeback Mountain’.

    When I watched the movie last, I was struck by how the theme of the movie is underlined over and over. As an audience member, it’s kind of insulting to sit through.

    Interesting that you list that year as one of your favs for BP nominees, as I thought it was one of the worst, at least as far as my top ten goes. Only ‘Brokeback Mountain’ makes the list, with ‘Capote’ probably being in that 10-20 range. Everything else? Meh. 

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    Kahoko
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    #191785

    “When I watched the movie last, I was struck by how the theme of the movie is underlined over and over. As an audience member, it’s kind of insulting to sit through.”

    THIS! The movie was way too on the nose. The screenplay would work better for a play (I wouldn’t be surprised if Haggis got his start in theater), not a film. It felt like a college course on racism.

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    AviChristiaans
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    #191786

    I think people hate it because it won instead, not because they hate the film. Let the haters speak, cause everyone commenting here is in crash´s corner. I always liked it btw.

    My thoughts exactly. The hate is because it won instead of Brokeback Mountain,  not because they hate the film itself. Generally speaking of course. I know there are quite a few people who believe the film deserved individual acting nominations as well.

    Haggis made a very good point. Crash was the ensemble film voters identified with.  There will always be those films that don’t scream Best Picture, that don’t stand out in the realm of things, yet overpowers and touch people in a passionate way.

    “Crash” for some reason affected people, it touched people.  And you can’t judge these films like that.  I’m very glad to have those Oscars.  They’re lovely things.  But you shouldn’t ask me what the best film of the year was because I wouldn’t be voting for “Crash,” only because I saw the artistry that was in the other films.  Now however, for some reason that’s the film that touched people the most that year.  So I guess that’s what they voted for, something that really touched them.  And I’m very proud of the fact that “Crash” does touch you.  People still come up to me more than any of my films and say, “That film just changed my life.”  I’ve heard that dozens and dozens and dozens of times.  So it did its job there.”

     
    I think the film’s rellevance is evident today. If it was released today, it would have been an even bigger Oscar player, and a huge draw for audiences.

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    Baby Clyde
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    #191787

    I love Crash. Easily my favourite Best Picture winner of the decade (Unless you count TLOTR:ROTK as being for all 3 films in which case they win by a mile).

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    FilmGuy619
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    #191788

    I still think Brokeback Mountain got robbed. Normally, I always hope for an upset in the major categories (i.e., Even as Argo won everything, I was still rooting for Silver Linings Playbook to win on Oscar night), but not an upset like this one because Crash wasn’t even that good. Even films that weren’t even nominated, like the 40 Year Old Virgin and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were more worthy of Best Picture than Crash of all movies.

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    Anonymous
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    #191789

    @filmguy Well, in this case I do believe that most Harry Potter Films were much better than half of the actually Oscar contenders…haha! 🙂

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    Sowsyalite
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    #191790

    Crash won for its overwhelmingly powerful ending. Michael Pena’s scream when her daughter jumps right at him when he’s about to get shot is still etched on my mind.Sometimes it all boils down to a good ending.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191791

    ^That’s not the ending though… It’s the ending of Pena’s storyline pretty much, but the other threads aren’t tied up by that point. That image of Pena was pretty prevalent in the promotion though, even being used on some of the DVD box art, and I saw plenty of FYC’s using that image of Pena’s face in agony.

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