Untimely Reviews – Crash

It is Oscar time again. Tonight we find out which movie was the best of 2006. Although I haven't seen any movies nominated this year, last night my wife and I did finally see last year's winner, "Crash". Was "Crash" the best picture of 2005? That's tough to for me to say because I have not seen all of the movies nominated. For reference, the nominees for best picture of 2005 were "Crash", "Brokeback Mountain", "Capote", "Good Night and Good Luck", and "Munich". I still haven't seen "Capote" and "Munich", but I assume they are at least O.K.

So, as tough as it is to judge "Crash", I can say that it is not the best movie of 2005. It is a great movie and watching is  definitely a good if not intense experience. The movie is about racism and the theme is implemented via multiple interconnected stories with many characters of different ethnicities and levels of racism. There is no pro-racism movie, but some movies about racism draw stronger reactions than others. Some of the scenes in "Crash" were shocking, others just plain made me angry, but many were ambiguous as to the message and left me with a lot to think about.  The best movies give me an experience that lasts well after the movie has ended. "Crash" is one of those rare movies that I think about for years to come.

But as I said, "Crash" is not the best movie of 2005. Why? Because it is just too Hollywood. First, "Crash" takes place in Los Angeles, California, home of over half of all movie locations. Second, one of the characters in "Crash" is a television director and we all know how underrepresented the media is in movies. Third, when a character in "Crash" shops, he or she shops at Whole Foods market, a store that is quite excellent but not the standard fare of the average person. Fourth, a character in "Crash" smells a jug of milk to check its freshness and then quickly draws back to indicate the milk is sour. How come no one in movies reads the expiration date? When the date is due I just toss the milk. No smelling is necessary. Also, sniffing expired milk isn't like sniffing ammonia; it won't give you a chemical burn. When a movie leaves me thinking more about expired milk than its message of racism and community, I cannot call it out as the best movie of the year.

Perhaps someday I will get around to seeing the remaining movies nominated for the best of 2005. Of course, it will be way to late for anyone care, as is any untimely review. Enjoy the Oscars. Maybe next year I'll see tonight's winner.

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