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June 20, 2008 |

By Ted Boynton | Boozehound Cinephile | June 20, 2008 |

Pop culture item consumed: Pajibans labor under a longstanding grudge match among various factions about the relative putridity of Crash, Paul Haggis’s 2005 Best Picture winner. As a vocal anti-Crasher, but after a semi-moratorium on Crash-bashing the past few months, it occurred to me that I might help resolve the matter. Because, really, who makes a better mediator than a boozy smartass with a mean streak and a strong bias? I decided to re-view the film and provide a real-time analysis. As always, there’s no extra charge for the douchebaggery.

Crash begins with a strong premise: Take a talented, multi-racial ensemble cast and script interactions among them as members of the same community to show the state of modern race relations. The film features Don Cheadle, Terrance Howard, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillippe, Ludacris, and a host of solid character actors including William Fichtner. My recollection is that handing over this nice concept to Paul Haggis turns out to be like giving a fly-fishing rig to a one-eyed raccoon with rabies and lead poisoning. Sure, the animal likes fish, and this well-oiled machine is designed to catch fish. Given the mental acuity of the glorified rodent, however, the fishing rod just ends up wrapped around its neck, fish-hook firmly planted in one asscheek while Rocky shits in the water.

Beverage consumed: Gin and ginger beer, my new favorite drink, at least for this week. Pour half of one 12-oz. bottle of ginger beer over ice in a Collins glass. Add a shot .. um, add gin to taste. Throwing one shot of gin at my mouth is like asking Prisco to hollow out the local bordello: Strap a plank to his ass and go to town.

Kingsley Amis posthumously turned me on to this wonder of wonders. (Pajiba’s review of Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis is coming next week.) I’ve enjoyed many a G&T in my day, but as Amis points out, tonic water is not really suited for gin. Tonic is essentially sparkling sugar water, with the sugar merely dampening the gin’s lovely botanical flavors. Ginger beer, in contrast, has its own set of natural flavors arising from the inclusion of spicy ginger root. While I had previously enjoyed a Gin Chiller (gin mixed with ginger ale), ginger beer has a substantially stronger, spicier flavor than ginger ale and is less sugary. Thus, ginger beer mixes with gin to create a true cocktail of complimentary flavors.

I still need a name for the thing; Google has failed me in turning up an existing claim — for those of you shouting “Gin Mule” at the monitor, that one has mint in it. For now, I’m going with GiGi, for obvious reasons: spicy, slutty, vaguely foreign, and full of zing.

Summary of action: To ensure proper fortification, I chin a GiGi before popping in the DVD. For the faint of heart, a warning: There will be many attempts at absurdist racial humor today.

03:30 Don Cheadle opens the the film with the rambling monologue giving the film its name. He and Jennifer Esposito, detective partners, have just been in a minor car accident. Cheadle, henceforth “Black Detective” for reasons that will become nauseatingly clear, theorizes that people don’t connect anymore. “We miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” Right. Black Detective, meet my attorney, Lionel Hutz.

03:48 The Asian driver who rear-ended them immediately pulls the pin on a racism grenade with Esposito. “Mexicans don’t know how to drive.” Esposito, a detective on a major urban police force, responds by mocking the Asian driver’s accent and stature. I want to fit in, so I yell out the window at my black neighbor, “How’s it hangin’, Watermelon?”

06:20 Cut to gun store; Arab man argues with his daughter about a gun purchase. Gunstore Guy interjects, “Yo, Osama, plan the jihad on your own time,” then mocks his English and throws him out of the store, then makes a leering sexual comment to the daughter about what kind of “load” she wants. Hmmm. I think there’s a pattern here. I’m just not getting it yet.

07:48 Intro obligatory angry young black man (Ludacris!), arguing with his more level-headed friend about racism, in a well-observed scene about the reality of racism versus its perception … until the 09:45 mark, where they pull out pistols and carjack Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock. I’m sure Haggis thought it great irony that he would pull our sympathy into the scene as the young men rationally set forth the debate, only to commit a major felony moments later. In reality, it’s just another stereotype; turns out all young black men really do want to steal your Denali. Important safety tip, thanks Haggis.

11:00 Black Detective and Esposito respond to a homicide in which a white, off-duty narc has shot another motorist in self-defense, who turns out to be a black cop. As BD (hmmm, what else might that stand for, jM? Bethy?) sizes up the white, greasy-haired shooter, he mutters to Esposito, apropos of nothing, “Looks like Detective Conklin shot himself the wrong nigger.” Since she’s ethnic, I guess she’s down with that kind of talk.

12:40 My favorite scene of the film so far, in a bad way. After their carjacking, Fraser and his OC bitch wife (Bullock) argue while a young Latino locksmith changes their house’s doorlocks. OC Bitch loudly demands that Fraser get the locks changed again in the morning because she doesn’t want a “gang member [with] a shaved head, baggy pants, and prison tattoos” selling their key to “his gang-banger friends.” This exchange occurs with a horrible but certainly expensive piece of modern art prominently displayed between OC Bitch and Fraser as they argue. Because white people own expensive ugly useless shit and are insensitive to young Latinos after being carjacked by black men. And because bitchy, rich white women are incapable of discerning that youngsters in baggy pants may just be trend-following morons instead of criminals.

14:24 Turns out Fraser is the L.A. District Attorney — he yells this in dialogue, always the mark of a fine script — and he’s meeting with his underlings an hour after the carjacking to discuss damage control. Since D.A. Dudley Do-Right got carjacked by two black men, he’s either “going to lose the black vote or lose the law-and-order vote.” Now, I’m no political scientist, but I don’t think the African-American population of L.A. County will be swayed by the special interest braying of the Negro Carjackers Association. “What we need,” says D.A. Dudley, “is a picture of me, pinning a medal on a black man.” He tells his staffers to get “that black firefighter,” but learns, alas, that darkie is actually an Iraqi. D.A. Dudley’s absolutely non-ironic response? “Well he looks black.” Touche, Haggis!

How did this movie not win Best Screenplay? Oh, wait. It did.

15:34 Intro Matt Dillon as Racist Cop. Some busybody social worker on the phone won’t help him with his ailing father, apparently because her name is “Shaniqua Johnson.” Oh, and she’s black, which causes Dillon to ridicule her name. I swear, if she were white and still named “Shaniqua,” he wouldn’t do that. Stoopid Racist Cop.

16:25 On the upside, RC’s partner is Ryan Phillipe, playing the entirely non-stereotypical role of the young, idealistic rookie struggling to oppose the senior guy’s abuse.

17:15 The infamous sexual assault scene. Racist Cop pulls over sweater-encased television producer Terrance Howard (henceforth known as Upstanding Negro; we know this because he doesn’t talk all ghetto and he wears nice sweaters. Many, many sweaters) and his smoking-hot wife Thandie Newton because they’re driving a Denali, even though RC knows it’s the wrong one. His excuse is a good one though — he saw Newton orally pleasuring Howard. I’d want a closer look, too.

RC proceeds to escalate the situation into a field sobriety test for Howard (on zero evidence, since he knew this wasn’t the stolen car), then slams Upstanding Negro and Wife against the car, after Wife objects to RC’s aggressive demeanor. Peep this, yo: UN and Wife of UN are dressed to the nines, having just left an awards show. They are driving a $60,000 SUV that RC knows is not stolen. They are one block away from their house in a ritzy neighborhood, which RC knows from Howard’s license. The following exchange then occurs:

Wife of UN: You keep your filthy fucking hands off me.

RC: [Pushes her against Denali to “frisk” her] That’s quite a mouth you have. [Looks at UN] But then you already know that.

Wife of UN: That’s what this is all about isn’t it? You thought you saw a white woman blowing a black man, and it just drove your little cracker ass crazy.

RC: [Grope grope grope]

(I can’t help giggling when I hear “little cracker ass,” because it makes me visualize Eminem getting a wedgie from Public Enemy.)

20:43 As Upstanding Negro and Wife begin to crack under RC’s abuse of authority, with Phillippe looking on, RC threatens them with “reckless endangerment” charges for engaging in oral sex while driving. If they’ll just go home, however, RC will exercise his discretion to forget about the whole thing. Except rubbing Newton’s ass and cooch, which he and Upstanding Negro (and I, regrettably) will remember forever. Upstanding Negro, voice cracking, apologizes and asks to be let go with a warning.

Where to begin with how fucking stupid this scene is? I have not the slightest doubt that many white police engage in unjustified intimidation and oppression of black motorists every day. It is a testament to the shallow intellect of Haggis, however, that he expects the viewer to believe that this cop would be so fucking dumb as to sexually assault a wealthy woman and manhandle her husband in an upscale L.A. neighborhood where he knows they live, after pulling them over on what would easily be proven an unlawful pretext by any competent civil rights attorney.

Then there’s Upstanding Negro and Wife, who slink away into the night to avoid trouble over a relatively innocent freeway BJ. Again, Haggis’s grasp of the actuality of race relations is so broad and immature that he apparently has never heard of a civil suit for police brutality. A wealthy black television producer probably did not succeed in life by being railroaded by stupid white people, even policemen. Surely, an intelligent African-American man, plugged into the influential L.A. entertainment industry, cannot be intimidated into silence by an empty threat after watching his wife get felt up by a mouth-breathing cracker. After a lifetime of presumably fighting twice as hard to get half as much, however, Haggis’s Upstanding Negro begs for a warning instead of telling RC, “Please arrest us so that I can have your badge swinging from my big black cock by tomorrow morning.” Even after they get home, he doesn’t file a complaint or take any other action.

This scene is what actually killed Johnnie Cochran.

Twenty minutes into Crash, one of the primary fatal flaws of the film is already glaring at me: These have to be the dumbest racists and the stupidest victims in all of history.

25:09 Finally, a gentle, relatively subtle scene, where Latino Locksmith comes home to find his young daughter sleeping under her bed because she’s afraid of neighborhood gunfire. Their tender interactions provide a meaningful indictment of the powerlessness of working class minorities to protect their families from the violence of neighborhoods dictated to them by economics. Someone other than Haggis must have written this. Let’s see how long this subtle streak las—

29:00 Rrrrriiiip! To comfort his daughter, LL takes off his imaginary bulletproof cloak and ties it around her. If we were in the hands of a ham-handed hack screenplay writer, I’d be worried that this might foreshadow some threat to LL or his daughter.

30:00 The carjackers are enjoying some rap music in the stolen car and arguing over whether the music is racist because it reinforces stereotypes. These must be the famed Cambridge Debate Team Carjackers, known not only for their dope exposition but also for their “Bitches and Hoes” tartans and Wellesley-trained Flygirls. Engrossed in their debate, they run over an elderly Asian getting into a van, the keys left dangling from its door.

35:20 It’s just impossible. I tried to go to the kitchen for my third gin & ginger, but something utterly ridiculous happens every 10 seconds in this movie. Latino Locksmith does a lock replacement for Arab Gunowner but warns him he really needs a new door. AG accuses LL of trying to cheat him, calling LL a “cheetah.” I’m pretty sure he’s not referring to lovable Chester of cheesy puffs fame. LL, who we already know is a nice guy, tries to give AG a break on the price, which simply enrages AG more. LL inexplicably does not rip AG’s face off.

38:18 In a scene I would find arousing in any other movie, Cheadle is just giving the business to Esposito, who may need a nickname now: Sexy Chili Pepper Police Partner? Too ethnic. Sex-Tousled Detective? Yes. For the first time in this movie I envy someone, by which I mean both Black Detective and STD. The phone rings, and BD delivers the best line so far: “Mom, I can’t talk right now, I’m having sex with a white woman.” That never shuts my mom up, but whatever. Of course, the fun can’t last long — BD refers to STD as “Mexican,” when in fact she is Puerto Rican and El Salvadoran (in real life, Esposito is Texizuelan), prompting BD to deliver this gem: “Who gathered all those remarkably different cultures together and taught them how to park their cars on their lawn?” Checkmate, Sex-Tousled Detective!

39:54 We learn that Racist Cop is actually not a 100% bad guy — he’s just frustrated because his father is quite ill and needs constant care, interrupting RC’s sleep. Also, much of Hitler’s animosity was aggravated by Mussolini’s incessant cheating at canasta.

42:41 The Erudite Carjacking Debate Brothers appear again, arguing about whether they’re superior to hoodlums who steal from black people because they only carjack whites. Angry Carjacker tells Pondering Carjacker that they can’t ride buses because the big windows on buses are designed to humiliate people of color who have to ride them. I predict a long prison sentence for Angry Carjacker, primarily because he probably thinks hiding from the police after committing several gun felonies is “demeaning.”

44:50 TV exec Tony Danza — they spared no expense! — confronts Upstanding Negro because a black actor in their show is “talking less black than before.” UN starts a slow burn, but you fuck with The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon at your own peril, my friend.

(Fun side note: On IMDb Tony Danza comes up as “Actor, Crash”; not “Actor, Going Ape!,” not “Host, Failed Talk Show,” and not “Dumbass Mook, Life.” As long as we’re going with our most recent accomplishment and not our myriad failures, I want my IMDb entry to read “Inducer, Recent Orgasm (with a woman this time).”)

46:30 [sigh] Racist Cop visits Shaniqua Johnson (no, I’m not kidding), Licensed Social Worker and failed “Saturday Night Live” character, about his father’s illness. RC tries to appeal to Shaniqua by accusing her of being an affirmative action layabout while also telling her that his father owned a janitorial company that “paid blacks equal wages” until the stoopid city council started giving preferences to minority-owned businesses, which somehow led to daddy “losing his business, his home, his wife, everything.” I’m pretty sure losing a government contract doesn’t make your wife leave you, though being a racist lout with a good-for-nothing son could be a divorce-level event. In any event, Pops is a good guy, and “not once does he blame you people,” meaning, of course, “affirmative action lovin’, cotton-pickin’ negras.” Shaniqua is mysteriously unmoved. I bet she’s white on the inside.

49:10 Back at Arabs-R-Us. Oh crap, the store has been broken into and vandalized. Even worse, according to his wife Arab Gunowner is actually Persian. So it turns out I’m the problem. Thanks, Haggis, you bog-trotter Mick fuck. (Wait, is Haggis Scottish?) Thanks, Haggis, you penny-squeezing Sawney Jock drunkard. (Wait, I’m Scottish too. Wow, racism is insidious in this country.) Anyway, going forward, we’ll refer to Towelhead McGunski as Persian Gunowner.

55:40 Ruh-roh! PG’s insurance won’t cover the loss because Latino Locksmith warned him about the door.

57:30 Phillippe, sadly lacking a nickname right now, has successfully obtained a solo assignment to get away from Racist Cop, who confronts him. Says RC, “Wait till you’ve been on the job a few years. You think you know who you are. You have no idea.” Responds a puzzled Phillippe, “I’m pretty sure I’m the guy fucking Abbie Cornish who hasn’t been caught yet.”

1:00:09 The notorious scene where RC redeems hate-mongering racists everywhere by performing the work he gets paid to do and rescuing the black woman he finger-raped the night before, pulling her out of a burning car. I hope that, unlike Shaniqua, Wife of Upstanding Negro doesn’t disappoint the men of RC’s family by being ungrateful. RC and his new partner come upon a serious auto accident, where Wife of UN is trapped in a car leaking gas, with a fire looming close at hand.

1:03:11 How sweet; RC pulls Newton’s skirt into place before reaching across her lap to undo her seatbelt. See, it’s that sass-mouth that gets you molested, Ladies of Color. When you play Damsel in Distress, we’ll show you respect. Fo’ shizzle.

1:04:55 RC’s partner pulls him from the car as the fire engulfs it, but RC has nerves of steel and a strong appreciation of life — or, perhaps, a reverse serial killer psychosis where he must prevent his victims from dying. He dives right back into the car and pulls Wife of Upstanding Negro out, just ahead of the inevitable (yet incredibly unlikely) explosion.

Out of a movie full of criminal acts on the part of the screenwriters, this one takes the cake. It’s hard to beat the earlier Dillon-Newton scene for sheer implausibility, but Haggis is the master of baking a bigger shit lasagne than the last one. It’s one thing to expect audiences to tolerate fantastical coincidences and inexplicable behavior in a comic book movie or slasher film. In terms of straight dramas, however, the combination of nonsensically unlikely coincidence and ludicrous, hackneyed characters has to be one of the most grotesque slaps in the face in cinematic history. Never mind that cars almost never explode following car accidents, how the fuck did it happen that RC happened by at just the moment Wife of UN was about to get blowed up?

1:08:20 Intro William Fichtner, usually a welcome addition, as an underling of D.A. Dudley looking for a way to turn the cop-on-cop shooting into the solution to the D.A.’s carjacking quandary. Fichtner advises Black Detective that the D.A. and Internal Affairs want to hang the white cop for a race-motivated shooting. This somehow will help D.A. Dudley’s suspiciously silly political problem, in which the black community supposedly will blame him for getting carjacked by two black guys. BD informs Fichtner that the black cop apparently was involved with cocaine trafficking, which casts doubt on the frame job.

This exchange leads to an incredibly convoluted plan by Fichtner to get BD to go along with covering up the evidence and hanging the shooting on the white cop, in exchange for getting BD’s (so far unseen) brother out of a three-strikes life sentence. Never mind that five other people know about the cocaine evidence and that the coroner is almost certainly going to find cocaine in the black cop’s blood or that the white cop’s lawyer will have a field day with this whole stupid mess. So we’re supposed to believe that the D.A. and his staffers are willing to expose themselves to losing their jobs, not to mention indictments and prison time, for framing a white cop, all because the D.A. and his wife were carjacked at gunpoint.

This storyline is so fucking dumb it’s hard to put into words, as Haggis takes yet another inadvertent slap at black people.D.A. Dudley has to take political cover because black voters are so dumb and reactionary that they won’t understand a random event like the D.A. pursuing two black youths who carjacked him and pointed a gun at his wife. Then he has to engage in some high-level police corruption because of a potential newspaper article, all the while hoping the fifty other people that know about all of this don’t blab to anyone.

1:12:50 Ruh-roh! After getting Latino Locksmith’s name off a receipt, Persian Gunowner pulls up outside LL’s house, Persian gun on seat.

1:13:38 A brooding Upstanding Negro, sitting in his Denali. Perhaps it will not surprise you to learn that UN gets carjacked by … the same thugs who carjacked D.A. Dudley and OC Bitch. What an ironic coincidence. UN is so enraged that he fights them. Pondering Carjacker tries to break up the fight but runs away when a police car passes. UN and Angry Carjacker jump in the SUV and continue fighting as the police pursue, sirens blaring.

Jesus tag-teaming Christ, this shit could not get more stu — Oh, fuck me gently with a football team.

1:14:44 One of the pursuing officers is none other than Phillippe, bringing the gag-inducing storyline into full symmetry and giving Boozehound what feels like an aneurysm. Wait, which one makes blood come out of your eyes?

1:15:00 Let’s see. Last night Upstanding Negro was pulled over because he’s black, even though the police knew he was not the car thief. Now he’s driving his own carjacked car with the carjacker’s gun … what’s going to happen here? Ooh ooh, I know! UN will be tried for carjacking! He’s black, with a gun, and driving his own carjacked car — open and shut case! Given that the local D.A. has a chronic case of shit-for-brains, that seems to be plenty for a good frame-job.

1:15:35 UN stops and gets out, police shotguns a-quiver. Phillippe has already recognized the Denali — he’s the one cop in all of SoCal who knows Howard is Upstanding Negro, not Angry Carjacker. The other cops do not know, plus they’re white, so UN is fucked. UN walks menacingly toward them, arguing and insulting them. He looks a lot like Angry Carjacker, but that’s how it is for black people.

1:16:18 Phillippe runs between the cops and Upstanding Negro. After a tense standoff that would be pretty good filmmaking if it weren’t in such a shitty film, UN reluctantly lets Phillippe save his life and is allowed to leave. I’m pretty sure that any time guns are drawn on a citizen after a car chase, a report has to be made, especially when two suspects are unaccounted-for, but these cops all disappear like someone ate the last doughnut.

Racist Update: Racist Cop and Phillippe have both cleared their consciences. Upstanding Negro is a psycho basket case and Wife of Upstanding Negro was in a severe car wreck, but when you look at it from far away — like Assholeville — we’re all winners.

1:19:47 Upstanding Negro drops off Angry Carjacker with the admonishment, “You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself.” I’m pretty sure he means because Angry Carjacker broke the code that black carjackers should only carjack white people, but I’m pounding GiGi pretty hard ever since that Arab-Persian incident.

1:20:20 Latino Locksmith returns home, where Persian Gunowner is waiting, Persian gun in hand.

(I actually have no idea where the gun is from. On one hand, it’s black and violent, so it might be Black gun. On the other hand, it’s pretty lazy and has not fired one bullet, so it might be Mexican gun. I mean, Puerto Rican/Salvadoran gun. In either case, I doubt it will willingly shoot LL.)

1:20:59 PG confronts LL. Those of you keeping score at home will remember that LL gave his invisible cloak of bulletproofness to his incredibly gullible daughter the night before. Like many women I have given imaginary things to in the middle of the night, she didn’t return the favor. LL might as well be made of bull’s-eye sandwiches right now.

1:21:42 LL’s daughter remembers that she has the magic cloak, runs into the yard, and leaps into LL’s arms just as PG fires. That’s Clint Eastwood’s move from In the Line of Fire, but LL’s daughter does it pretty well. Method Acting, I imagine. Seriously, though, if she’s going to keep showing up like this, LL’s daughter is going to need a nickname. At this point, Harmonica Guts may be appropriate.

1:22:18 Oh, crap. Harmonica Guts is miraculously not all bullet-hole-y. In fact, no one is hit, and we need a new nickname. Everyone is mystified, except PG, who knows his people have managed to lose two consecutive wars to the U.S. because their guns never work right. (Wait, is Persia in Iraq?) PG pockets the gun and walks away. LL, who we know to be a gangbanger because OC Bitch said so, does not “pop a cap in PG’s ass” or any equivalent thereof.

1:23:10 We learn that Whole Foods’ marketing strategy has failed utterly, as Don Cheadle brings grocery bags from there to his mother’s crack den. I’m shocked Haggis didn’t show him at the store tenaciously trying to buy white-people food. “Um, look Mr. Black Detective, could you just watch the parking lot, please, and leave the shopping to the Caucasians?”

1:26:35 Off-duty Phillippe drives home in his civilian car, audibly humming “It’s a Small World After All.” He stops to give a lift to hitchhiking Pondering Carjacker, even though McGruff always says that white people shouldn’t pick up black hitchhikers, since they’re probably carjackers. Fucking racist Mick crime dog.

1:29:33 Ah, here’s the message: It’s okay to pick up black hitchers if you’re a cop and feel like shooting someone. After a silly argument about porking Abbie Cornish, Phillippe mistakenly believes Pondering Carjacker is reaching for a gun and shoots him dead on the type of deserted highway so common in L.A. While horrified, Phillippe is not so guilt-stricken that he can’t kick the body out of the car and drive away. The lesson, as always: Shoot your black hitchhiker well outside city limits.

1:32:15 Angry Carjacker, reduced to riding the bus, spots the van where they ran over the Chinese guy 24 hours earlier — keys still in door, just like real life. Once again, the Princess of Coincidences lifts her skirt for a squirrel shot: Somehow a city bus is driving down the dark alley where the carjackers ran over the guy in complete isolation the night before, and somehow Angry Carjacker happens to be looking out the window at just the right moment to see that somehow the keys happen not to have been taken during the day on this well-traveled bus route. Ay fucking Carumba.

1:33:48 In trying to fence the van at a chop shop, Angry Carjacker is surprised to learn that there are Thai immigrants locked inside, destined to be sold into slavery in the U.S. In a shocking development, Boozehound withholds comment.

1:34:36 The morgue. Black Detective’s mother cries as she identifies Pondering Carjacker, who apparently was BD’s brother with the pending third strike felony. So BD sold out for nothing. I hope he kept his receipt.

On the coincidencimeter: D.A. Dudley’s carjacker was the brother of Black Detective, whom D.A. Dudley blackmailed into helping extricate D.A. Dudley from the non-existent political problem caused by the carjacker. Oh, and there’s more: The morgue doctor? None other than Persian Gunowner’s daughter, whose father tried to shoot Latino Locksmith, who replaced the locks at the home of D.A. Dudley after the carjacking. Fucking hell.

1:39:03 Back at Persian Gunowner’s shop, his daughter has come back to find him musing absently about attempted murder and, frankly, really being OK with it. As she puts the gun away, we see the box of bullets she bought from Gunstore Guy - “blanks,” it reads. The lesson? When life gives you blanks instead of bullets, get an L.A. cop to shoot your black hitchhiker.

1:40:40 In a paean to bitchy white housewives everywhere — well, actually just in Orange County — we learn that OC Bitch, who earlier fell down the stairs, couldn’t get any of her white friends to come help her to the hospital. D.A. Dudley’s Latina Housekeeper took her and brought her home. OC Bitch hugs Latina Housekeeper and whispers, “You want to hear something funny? You’re the best friend I’ve got.” Well, that is a knee-slapper. The idea that a bored, spoiled, Posh-Spice wannabe would be able to rely more on a 50-year-old Mexican immigrant than her superficial, bratty neighbors is peculiar, I tell you.

1:41:00 Cue closing montage. As Upstanding Negro drives home, it begins to snow. UN bemusedly watches kids throwing wood into a burning car in a field. You won’t believe this — well, yes you will. It’s Phillippe’s car, which he just torched to destroy the evidence that he offed Pondering Carjacker.

Wow, this is some intense symbolism, man. The unintentional evil deed and the intentional good deed never seem to be that far from each other. It’s like they’re competing inside the same person! Pass the toke, spare the smoke.

1:45:50 Angry Carjacker releases the illegal immigrants on a crummy L.A. street corner at night. I’m sure his heart is in the right place, but Angry Carjacker might as well be releasing laboratory bunnies into a barrel full of wolves. Angry Carjacker smiles as he drives away, as if his heart grew three sizes that day.

1:47:05 As credits music begins, Shaniqua Johnson, Licensed Social Worker, starts the circle of life all over by getting rear-ended by a Latino driver (no, not in a good way). She immediately tells him not to talk to her unless he “speaks American.” I knew that bitch was a no-good racist, acting all high and mighty with Matt Dillon.

1:48:38 Incredibly, the credits demonstrate that I blindly spelled “Shaniqua” correctly.

How well the pairing held up: The GiGi is delicious. Crash is, without doubt, not only the worst Best Picture ever (by a wide margin), it also has to be one of the worst films of 2005. The idea that Crash has something relevant to say is laughable.

What’s more remarkable, however, is that you can practically feel Haggis patting himself on the back for challenging long-held prejudices with this film. Yet the same film where Haggis casts two young black men as a carjackers’ Greek chorus also posits that the virulent racist has his own Disney-quality backstory. What a steaming pile.

Tastes like: A shit-stained Oscar. Oh, the booze was good, actually.

Overall rating: No Oscar for you!

Ted Boynton is a dedicated sot who would leave his barstool only to stalk Whit Stillman, if anyone could find Whit Stillman. Ted also manages to hold down a job and a wife, three hours each per day, whether they need it or not. Readers may scold, hector, admonish or taunt Ted by e-mailing him at [email protected]

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Real-Time Review of Crash: The Boozehound Cinephile / Ted Boynton

Boozehound Cinephile | June 20, 2008 |

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