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October 3, 2008 |

By Ted Boynton | Boozehound Cinephile | October 3, 2008 |

Pop Culture Item Consumed: When Beloved Leader Dustin learned there would be a television program based on the 2005 Best Picture-winning film Crash, there was little doubt around the ‘Jibaverse that the Boozehound would have to follow up the real-time review of that film with a real-time review of the TV show. But if I may lapse into Crash-speak: Peep this, my niggas, they do be a limit down hyeah in da hizzy.

There’s a limit to what I’m willing to do for you, even in a state of numb drunkenness. That limit involves a potato peeler, a goat, three Peruvian midgets (gender irrelevant), and a drum of thirty-weight motor oil, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that, if the Crash real-time review was my magnum opus, then the “Crash” real-time review must be my … um … magnum opie.

Beverage Consumed: After that last time, with Upstanding Negro and the Erudite Carjacking Debate Brothers and the Gun of Indeterminate Ethnicity, I’m going in prepared; I’m knocking back something that renders the brain comatose but still capable of basic autonomic functions, those that require no analytical thought or independent concentration — mocking clumsy, preachy trash from Paul Haggis for example. Mrs. socalled refuses to watch this with me, so I can have whatever I want … hmmm. In the words of Dave Atell: “Jaeger.”

Summary of Action: The actual responsibilities for the writing, directing and producing of the pilot for “Crash” are somewhat shrouded in mystery. As of this writing, the IMDb entry for the program shows a mish-mash of creative types with no particular culprit to hold responsible for the overall product of the pilot. Given the broadly incompetent handling of racial and social issues, however, as well as the near-absolute ignorance of how the American justice system functions, I’m going with Paul Haggis. Sure, Don Cheadle should know better than to get wrapped up in this nonsense, but Haggis’s credentials as an offensively cretinous observer of race relations with a sledgehammer touch for dialogue and narrative leave no doubt that his sticky fingerprints are all over this thing.

So as we go into this, just keep in mind the Haggis credo: It’s no fun unless you’re reinforcing offensive stereotypes while at the same time using ludicrously broad and ineffectual narrative devices to defeat them, like a deranged white knight with your helmet on backwards.

:01 The pilot of “Crash” opens ominously. As Dennis Hopper rides in the back of a limousine driven by an attractive young woman, Hopper angrily mutters what sounds like a surreal poem to himself; that is, until he looks at his lap and addresses something “veiney” and “pathetic.” Alas, it’s not Paul Haggis administering a well-earned jizz-vac; Hopper, speaking to his penis, is apparently “eccentric,” or “odd,” or “quirky,” or one of those other words screenwriters use to describe people that no one would tolerate or have anything to do with in real life, but who are necessary to drive a scene or plot forward.

:02 I’m absolutely phlegmatic to report that we are opening with classic Haggis: a paper-thin, junior-high debate team take on a complex issue. After observing Hopper’s exposed meat puppet, the girl quickly exits the car, yelling threats of litigation at Hopper for sexual harassment. Hopper gets out and delivers a rambling, incoherent speech about how he knows she can only get $6,000 because this isn’t the first time, he knows how much the offense will cost, and his team of lawyers will ensure she never gets anything more for her claim. Only a writer as simplistic and ridiculous as Paul Haggis could come up with such an earnestly ludicrous commentary on how the rich and famous get away with sexual harassment because they can afford high-priced lawyers and nuisance payments for ugly behavior. I remember now, with a gurgle in my stomach, how slight and ephemeral a grasp Haggis has on the concept of the U.S. civil and criminal justice systems.

:03 Tattooed Latino male and a female of indeterminate ancestry are doing the horizontal Lambada; now we’re getting somewhere. This is strangely reminiscent of the film, however, as they turn out to be cops, and an interracial pair of fornicating flatfoots (Don Cheadle, Jennifer Espinoza) was central to the movie as well. Nothing like originality, folks! But this is totally different, because these two aren’t partners. He’s Stud Lieutenant, while she’s Fuck Buddy Cop. (I was going to call her Hot Beat Cop, but there was no hand job in evidence.) He tells her he loves her; she just wants to be friends with benefits. Engorged, surgically enhanced benefits.

:05 A knock at the door; who could it be? Fuck Buddy Cop’s partner, who is in the running for Mr. Smarmy L.A. Guy 2008, is here to pick her up for a court appearance. She answers the door in a gaping silk robe — I know that’s how my old lady does it — in response to which Smarmy White Cop glances down and observes, “I can see your badge.” Ha, rhymes with vag! (Note: “Crash” rhymes with “rash.”)

:06 Groan; more originality as the cops speed toward the courthouse, lights and sirens a-go-go, then run a red light and plow into a car driven by an attractive Hispanic woman who will unfortunately (for her) be known henceforth as Hot Latina Ass. You may recall that Crash the film opened with Cheadle and Esposito rear-ending an Asian driver, leading to racial slur hijinks. At this point, I can’t tell if Haggis is consciously stealing his own material as an homage to his own genius or if his staggeringly inadequate brain actually believes that everyone in L.A. meets either by becoming cop fuck-buddies or via automobile accident. I’ll take “clueless hackery” for $1,000, Alex.

:07 When they ask to see her license and registration, Hot Latina Ass goes ballistic. ‘Cuz that’s what you do when you have a car accident with two uniforms in a black & white — jump out and start yelling at them. Give it a try some time, I hear the food in Sing-Sing is pretty good, though I’m pretty sure they were lying to me about that “flesh tampon” thing. Swear to god, warden, my ass wasn’t bleeding till after.

:08 Anyways, Smarmy White Cop doesn’t like Hot Latina Ass’s spicylicious ‘tude, so he spins her around and slams her against the car — in front of a gathering crowd — rubbing her bare leg under her skirt and leaning into her namesake to frisk her. At this point, the following exchange occurs, and let me preface it by stating, no, I’m not even kidding:

HLA: [angry grimace] That your gun or you just happy to see me?
SWC: [evil whisper] That ain’t my gun, sweetheart.

At this point, I got up to check the calendar to make sure I hadn’t stepped into Groundhog Day by some bizarre chance. One of the major scenes from Crash The Eye-Gouging Movie Experience was a traffic stop where Racist White Cop (Matt Dillon) sexually assaults Wife (Thandie Newton) of Upstanding Negro (Terrance Howard) during a traffic stop. I so wish I were fucking with you right now.

:09 Despite the fifty bystanders and other arriving cops, SWC roughly pushes HLA into a squad car, banging her head against the roof. That’s just how LAPD rolls, man, to hell with you, your camera phone, the hovering news choppers, and the ubiquitous merchant surveillance cameras.

:10 Back to Dennis Hopper, interviewing his next limo driver, who happens to be … wait for it … wait for it … a young black man! Who wants to be a rapper in the music biz! And Dennis Hopper happens to be a famous music producer! [cheers, applause]

Godtopus. Do you realize that Dennis Hopper was in Easy Rider and True Grit in one single, glorious year? His IMDb page reads like the AFI Top 100, before even getting to Blue Velvet. Now he’s the sole headliner in a soiled rag of a derivative TV series on a backwater pay movie channel based on the Official Shittiest Oscar-Winning Film of All Time. Seriously, dude, it’s time to give it up, fer realz.

:13 Ahhh, Korea-Town … always reminds me of barbecued schnauzer. Also, me so horny. Stud Lieutenant (not-so-fresh from banging Fuck Buddy Cop) investigates the murder of a prestigious Korean gangster, while a self-consciously gangster-looking bystander watches nervously. Moments later, Stud Lieutenant and the other guy are in a car talking bribes. Korean Bystander offers “double the last time” if SL will knock off the killer. “Last time I was just planting a little coke,” replies SL. [Note to self: Don’t forget to pick up the coke.]

:15 Okay, now we’re back in flavor country - if there’s one thing you can rely on from Haggis, it’s a laughably broad set-up with a white person unfairly accusing an ethnic minority of stealing. After a woman’s elderly father breaks a rib, they ride together in an ambulance while the Asian EMT provides medical attention. She notices a dragon tatt on his forearm, then immediately — I mean one second later — accuses him of stealing her father’s watch. Because, come on, a young male slant with a tattoo? Asian gang, man. Am I right, or am I right? Or am I right?

[In fairness, Medi-Slope never comes out and proves he didn’t take it. Cripes this is depressing.]

:16 Swear to Godtopus, I couldn’t make this stuff more ridiculous if I just randomly selected words from the Big Book of Unlikely Racial Incidents. Smarmy White Cop and Fuck Buddy Cop are back at the station, conspiring about how to doctor their incident report to implicate Hot Latina Ass, just as HLA makes bail. Because in L.A., you get arrested, you’re back on the street ten minutes later. Sure, it takes a little longer in Mayberry, but SoCal is efficient with its criminal justice.

After a painfully predictable, finger-jabbing confrontation in the police hallway — Hot Latina Ass never learns its lesson, despite my constant corporal corrections — HLA stalks out, with SWC remarking to her departing behind, “Tight little jalapeƱo.” In fairness, our housekeeper likes being called that, so I can see where this is headed.

:17 Grotesque Stereotype Alert: Hopper is spouting ur-tard poetry at Black Driver, who looks like someone just gave him a one-way bus ticket to Korea-Town. Hopper tosses a baggie containing what appears to be a leafy green substance at Black Driver, barking, “Now roll us a fucking joint.” Black Driver, doing his best impression of Reefer-Loving Negro, replies, “Now that I understand.” Subtle Sub-Text Alert: Black people love the reefer. Black men from South Central L.A. actually require a daily FDA-recommended amount of reefer or they will die.

:18 Woman and elderly father survived their encounter with Medi-Slope and are now enduring a Pakistani doctor (could be Indian, could be Eskimo; not sure, and neither is Haggis), who diagnoses a heart problem. Miraculously, Dr. Apu escapes without being called a sand-nigger or accused of performing back alley clitorectomies.

:20 Medi-Slope visits his sister (? - hard to tell with these Asians; also: black people), only to learn that she’s involved in the Korea-Town sraying. (not a typo; see what I did there?) The wounded shooter and an accomplice are there with her, and just like any good EMT would do, M-S quickly performs a difficult lung ventilation with a knife and a plastic straw. (Inspired, I try this on Dog No. 1, who quickly retreats upstairs.)

:23 Stud Lieutenant accepts money from Korean Gangster to kill the shooter. This isn’t that ridiculous, you’ll just need this information later.

26: Smarmy White Cop knocks on the door at the home of Hot Latina Ass. (Little known fact: “Home of Hot Latina Ass” was originally the slogan for Casa Bonita.) SWC claims he’s just there to apologize, but I know a Jehovah’s Witness when I see one. Oh, OK, he actually wants to flirt. They exchange insults, then she leans and kisses him.

So, to recap for you lonely beat cops out there: Collide with the chick’s car; harass her at the scene in front of numerous witnesses; feel her up while cuffing her (all the chicks like that!); arrest her on false pretenses (police brutality optional but preferred); insult her with racial slurs when she makes bail; stalk her to her home; collect hotly voluntary sexual favors. If Haggis’s film career doesn’t work out — but how could it not? — I think he has a future running an international bride service for corrupt, racist cops.

:31 Grampa arrives back at the family homestead for his convalescence, home healthcare provider in tow. Ruh-roh — Black Nurse alert! After the daughter’s theft accusation to Medi-Slope, I think it’s only a matter of time before she suspects Black Nurse of pilfering the neighbors’ watermelon and cornbread. Thank god they locked up the fried chicken and chitlins!

:32 Oh my pitiful baby Jeebus. Hot Latina Ass visits Smarmy White Cop at the police station, calling him from outside on her cell phone. The following exchange then occurs:

HLA: Hello, asshole. My husband is asking questions about visit last night.
SWC: Liked that, din’t you?
HLA: Stop putting words in my mouth.
SWC: Sweetheart, if I was going to put anything in your mouth, trust me, it wouldn’t be words. [some retarded shit happens] What the fuck are you doing here?
HLA: I guess I have a problem with authority.

Uuuuurrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh. More witless repartee between SWC and HLA follows, this time a lot of double entendre with him making her put his Breathalyzer in her mouth and blow on it. (“Gently. No teeth.”) The utter non-chemistry between these two, combined with the dumbest dialogue in the history of talking, makes this like watching retarded puppies wrestle over who gets to eat another dog’s turd. You feel marginal pity, but mostly you’re just grossed out and leaning toward euthanasia.

:34 Precinct Encounter Group: Stud Lieutenant says to Fuck Buddy Cop, “Let me hear you say those three little words.” [Ted Boynton: Please, please, please, let them be “Unzip your pants.” The judges will also accept “Huge cock, anyone?”]


:35 If it’s an unlikely coincidence, it’s got to be Haggis. Stud Lieutenant tracks down Medi-Slope, correctly believing, but for completely unexplained reasons, that M-S knows something about the Korea-Town murder. Wow, it’s as if the same person wrote both Crash and “Crash,” as uber-tard Lieutenant threatens M-S with legal consequences a third grader would know are complete and utter bullshit. Stud Lieutenant advises M-S that helping the wounded shooter makes him “an accessory to murder.” Based on “your priors, gang affiliation, the judge will give you a dime apiece.”

Is there a more bastardized, abused concept in cinematic history than the criminal “accessory”? Who are the brain-dead criminals who believe this shit? Have they not seen “NYPD Blue”? Medi-Slope would have to subsist on a diet of lead paint chips for several years to think for one second that he could be in trouble for providing medical assistance to someone after they committed a crime. The only logical conclusion is that Paul Haggis has never met or spoken with a policeman, attorney, judge, meter maid, bailiff, court reporter, parolee, or probation officer, nor has he met or spoken with anyone who knows any of these people. As a depressingly informed insider, I have yet to see Paul Haggis ever get the slightest thing right about the actual mechanics of the justice system. He is to law-speak what the ImPalinator is to teen abstinence.

:39 Stud Lieutenant ends his Emmy plea with a warning to Medi-Slope that his Korean parents didn’t leave their “rice-picking” to see him end up in prison.

:41 After an unfortunate knife-brandishing incident by Hopper toward another elderly whitey in the back of the limo, Black Driver delivers this gem to his peeps on the set of Barber Shop: “Man, I had to pull over and save this motherfucker, ‘cuz they ain’t no way the po-po’s gonna buy a white dude stabbin’ another white dude with a nigger in the car, y’know what I’m sayin’?”

“Po-po”? For serious, Notorious OBGYN? Look, “Homes,” I’m a 41-year-old “white dude,” and even I know that “po-po” is what smartass white people say ironically to indicate that they have no idea how “urban youth” (psssst, “black kids”) refer to police officers.

:43 Pity Party: I knew that the husband of the woman whose father had the heart problem looked really familiar, but I can’t … quite … no fucking way. It’s D.B. Sweeney. One year you’re staring at Carla Gugino’s luscious rump on “Karen Cisco,” next thing you know you’re getting upstaged by Hot Latina Ass on possibly the worst dramatic series on pay cable.

:46 **Spoiler** (as if you give a leprechaun three-roper): OK, they saved the one cool bit for the end. Medi-Slope goes back to confront the killers, and Stud Lieutenant follows him and ices both of the killers before fighting with M-S, who escapes. I totally did not see that coming. Even a castrated bull occasionally busts a nut on a passing cow, however, and Haggis can’t even get success right, as evidenced by the following explanation from Studboy: “You Asians drive so fucking slow, Stevie Wonder could tail you.”

[/sigh] First of all, please understand that I titled this piece before I knew that Haggis would shamelessly steal lines from Die Hard. In fairness to me, I’m not paid to plagiarize like he is, so I lacked motivation. Second, even when accurately capturing a broad racial stereotype, Haggis can’t get it right. Sure, Asians are terrible drivers, but it’s because they meander from lane to lane, have no idea where they are going, and don’t know that the turn signal has been invented. They’re not slow so much as utterly lacking a sense that other cars are in the world. Christ. Er, Christ-san.

Alas, since it’s a TV series, and a cheaply shot one at that, it ends at :47. I have no idea what happens next. I do know that Captain Fierro, whoever that was, was played by “Charlie Brown.” Since it was a tiny role, I’m assuming that’s not a jokey stage name. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that next week’s lesbian sex interest for Hot Latina Ass will be played by Peppermint Patty. She loves the cunnilingus, baby. Also, Opus and Bill the Cat seize control of the Polish mafia.

How the Pairing Held Up: Jaeger and “Crash” have roughly the same IQ appeal. If you are a fucking retard, you will enjoy them both, preferably together.

Tastes Like: The leavings in Hot Latina Ass’s unsavory Ross Dress-for-Less thongs. I’m sorry to share that with you, but that’s what we’re dealing with here. I love stinky panties as much as the next man, but there’s a place I won’t go.

Overall Rating: Three Medi-Slope karate kicks to the crotch. Wait, karate isn’t Korean, is it?

Ted Boynton is a dedicated sot who plans to leave his barstool to stalk Whit Stillman, now that someone has found 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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