I hadn’t visited the “Grin” site in several months when, just clicking around, I stumbled on your review of Crash. Until reading it, I thought I was the only one who felt as you do. In fact, after seeing it, I couldn’t get the little person in my head to stop screaming “CONTRIVED!” Nevertheless, at that moment I knew it would win the Oscar. Let me explain.
I grew up in Santa Monica, California. I still visit often and have many friends and family “in the business.” The L.A./Hollywood crowd is more myopic and enamored of itself than any group outside of — well, Manhattan, and when I saw Crash, I knew this was their kind of movie. It takes place in L.A., it deals with a “controversial” subject that while important hasn’t really been controversial since it was tackled by Archie Bunker, and of course, all the characters are beautiful. Everyone’s a little right, everyone’s a little wrong, and nothing is really anyone’s fault. Moreover, I was left with the sense that everything was subordinate to the big payoff. Gee! All these peoples’ lives are intertwined. It’s a metaphor for our society! It couldn’t have been more preachy if they’d started playing “It’s a Small World” in the background.
Don’t get me wrong. My wife and I both enjoyed the movie for all the reasons you mention. I just didn’t think that despite competing in a rather weak field it was Oscar material. (Some of the acting may have been, but not the picture overall.) Brokeback Mountain’s heretofore awards sweep notwithstanding, I told my wife during the closing credits that Crash would win the Oscar from the overwhelmingly L.A.-centric Academy. My suspicions were confirmed a few days later when I read that Oprah had proclaimed Crash the “most important movie of the decade.”
I don’t mean to sound bitter regarding the Academy. Actually, I’m practically a movie junkie, and there are many, many pictures far less accomplished than Crash that I count among my guilty pleasures. It’s just that I seem to remember a time — and I may be dating myself, or just being delusional — when the Academy Awards were more about recognizing accomplishment in the fields of motion picture production than voting for the most politically correct theme.