Saturday, January 2, 2010

If Crash really is the worst film you saw in the last 10 years, then I envy you.

I'm not the first person to notice this, but there seems to be a chorus brewing calling Paul Haggis's Crash the 'worst film of the decade'. Really? Worst film in all of the 2000s? Worse than Catwoman or One Missed Call? It seems like this is a case of several film bloggers saying 'look at me... I picked an Oscar-winning movie as the worst picture of the decade!' But let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's an honest choice on their part. Heck, my pick for the worst movie of the decade (Enchanted) is one that is generally popular but whose philosophies I find abhorrent. The articles linked to basically condemn the movie because it's not an accurate reflection of all race relations in all of Los Angeles. But that's not necessarily a fair comparison to make.

If the film is to be viewed as a general 'this is how the races interact with each other',then it is a failure, just as Closer didn't represent every male/female interaction of every relationship ever. It may be that Paul Haggis and Mike Nichols intended their respective films to be all-encompassing portraits of the issues they chose to deal with. And if so, that would be a foolish attempt on their part and they should be criticized for thinking they could generalize the battle of the sexes or race relations using such specific characters and situations. BUT, taken as an individual character study of individuals making specific choices, both films are entertaining, thoughtful, well-acted, and more than worthy of recommendation. The main reason people pick on Crash now is because it had the 'gall' to defeat Brokeback Mountain at the 2005 Oscars. My favorite films of 2005, Munich and Revenge of the Sith, didn't stand a chance. Just as people still bash Dances With Wolves purely because it beat out Goodfellas at the 1990 Oscars. I think it's time to forgive both films of their alleged crimes (and it's also time to forgive George Lucas for the fact that the awfully good Star Wars prequels didn't supplant the original trilogy as the greatest movies ever in our nostalgia-driven minds).

Crash may not be a great film, but we don't have to hate it because it's merely a good film. If you honestly can't think of a worse film than Crash over the entire last decade, then you had a pretty great moviegoing decade.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

I don't think CRASH was the worst film of the decade either, but I do find the undertones of the film totally abhorrent.

for me, the biggest picks for "worst film(s)" of the decade are based on how crappy the storyline, acting, and direction are-- yet still managed to make money.

That includes Transformers 1 and 2. I'm really shocked and disturbed that these crappy films were huge hits.


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