VIDEO: Crash (2004)

Ryan reviews Crash, one of the worst movies to ever win the Best Picture Oscar. Brought to you by former Facts of Life writer Paul Haggis, Crash is the movie that dares to say racism is bad, while teaching us all to be better people through laughter, tears, and Sandra Bullock. With an all-star cast including Matt Dillon, Brendan Frasier, Terrence Howard, Ryan Philippe, Thandie Newton, Don Cheadle, and Jennifer Esposito, the least cynical explanation for this movie’s Best Picture win is that half the Academy was on a first-name basis with at least somebody in this thing.

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Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

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  • Michael A. Novelli

    Speaking as a member of the LGBTA community, Brokeback Mountain was shit. I’m glad it lost…

    • Patrick

      Speaking as a member of the movie-going community, no, it wasn’t.

    • StevePotter

      Speaking as a member of the LGBTA community who hasn’t seen Brokeback Mountain, I am curious… Why?

    • TheCrazyFish

       Holy crap, I had no idea Novelli was LGBTA. He always seemed like such a ladies’ man…

      • MichaelANovelli

        I am, I’m the B part of the equation!

  • Joelkazoo

    I’m not defending this film, but would people be so pissed off about this winning if Brokeback Mountain hadn’t of been released the same year?

    Besides, the worst film to ever win Best Picture was “American Beauty”. Oh, the suburbs aren’t as wonderful as people think they are? WOW! THAT’S fucking revolutionary!

    • Joelkazoo

      It could also be a case of a lot of great films being nominated that year, the votes being very thinly split, and Crash just coincidentally getting the most votes. Besides Brokeback Mountain, we also had “Capote” and “Good Night, and Good Luck” nominated, both worthy contenders.

      • Tony

        So was Munich, which was the fifth Best Picture nominee that year (Yes, I liked it better than both Crash & Brokeback)

      • Tim Terrell

        Oh, “Good Night” should have definitely won…

    • Tad Whatever

      Never saw Brokeback, didn’t care if it won or not, and I still think Crash sucks balls.

    • Tim Terrell

      American Beauty is by far a worse picture than Crash. Crash may have been a Movie of the Week mixed with an afterschool special, by AB was cloying, dumb, and uninteresting.

  • Zero_miles_per_hour

    The fact that this movie took the name of that David Cronenberg movie is a source of perpetual annoyance for me.

  • Mike

    O.K., I haven’t even finished watching this video, but I have to say your interpretation of the Sandra Bullock storyline is way off. There is no indication she didn’t already have a racist outlook BEFORE the car-jacking, that only seemed to inflame it. Furthermore, admiting to having a based friend of a different race doesn’t meant you’re NOT racist. It’s quite common for many racist to have a friendly relationship with someone of different race who stays “in-there-place.” It’s only the individual who challenges the racist that fuel their hate.
    Now I’m not defending this movie (though I don’t think it’s not nearly as bad as some say it is), but it bothers me that you seem to be talking about the character is if there someone meant to represt everyone of there background! I’d say the same thing about Million Dollor Baby even though I haven’t seen it. Nothing I read about suggest that we were supposed to aprove of what Clint Eastwood did in the end. You want to say these characters are poorly developed or the motives poorly explained well fine, but trying to impose such narrow interpretations seems offbase.

  • loismustdie

    Actually, Brokeback Mountain was just as bad as Crash, if worse, it was boring as all hell and I did not shed any tears when it lost.

    That said, I actually had to watch this movie for one of my classes, including write a paper about it and why racism was bad. Needless to say, very happy you ripped it a new one after that experience.

  • Gasmaskangel

    I love movies that try to pound in lessons every rational person learns when they’re somewhere around age 6. I just feel like there is so much self satisfied masturbation going on in those films, and I always wonder if they really think that, oh let’s say a bunch of klansmen are going to go to the movie and come out going “Holy shit guys! Racism really is wrong! We need to go apologize to black people right away!” or if they just do it to prove how sensitive they are.

    I feel this way especially about movies like Crash which don’t seem to bring anything new to the discussion, and seem mostly founded in making the audience feel as guilty as possible for shit they personally didn’t do.

    Also, the best picture winner I personally hate the most is the Hurt Locker, partially because I was actually in the military around the time frame of that movie, and also because it stole the award from Inglorious Basterds where it belonged.

    • FullofQuestions1

      Well, repeatedly pounding a moral isn’t always bad;the Millennium Trilogy is pretty relentless- this just in: misogynists and Nazis are bad- as are Dickens novels- did you know that being a rich snob who is mean to lower class people is a bad person?

      But I do agree with you- it’s fine as long as that is not all that the book, movie, TV show, etc. has to offer.

      And you are right, Crash will never be successful in converting Klansmen. Personal anecdote: I went on Stormfront about a year ago to see what exactly Neo-Nazis could possibly have against black people, Jews, Hispanics, etc. The people on there DO watch movies like this, but these are psychos that make jokes about Schindler’s List.

      And thank-you, Ryan for showing me what this is. I always comforted myself in thinking that it was an adaptation of the Spinelli novel. Too bad I was wrong, especially since an adaptation of the Spinelli novel seems like it would be a good movie.

    • Tim Terrell

      Inglorious Basterds deserved the best picture about as much as Crash did. IB was average at best.

  • Cristiona

    Brandon Lee disapproves of this depiction of blanks.

    • Tim Terrell

      I shouldn’t be amused at that. But I am.

    • So does Jon Erik Hexum

    • Jackie

      DARKEST SKETCH! DARKEST SKETCH!

  • Tim Terrell

    Uh, mister movie critic guy? Why, in your little skit between Cheadle and Howard, did you say Cheadle took over the role of Rjodey just when Iron Man was “getting good”? On what Earth of the multi universe do you live on that Iron Man 2 was a better movie than the first one?

    Also, when I saw that you were gonna rip this movie, I was hoping you would rip one of the most disgusting scenes in the movie. But you praised it: When Dillon rescued Newton from the exploding car, it did not absolve his character of being a power abusing psycho. And then her character hugged him? I don’t care how grateful she was to have been rescued. He sexually assaulted her, she would not have hugged him. Actually, he MADE her hug him. More assault. At this point, the film expects us to see this character as good because he actually did his job for once and saved someone… Who knows what he would have done to her had it been nighttime and only his cop partner was there. Would he have assaulted her again, this time raping her?

    • Mike

      Not if he realized that what he’d done before always cost this women her life and judging from the look is his fact at one point I think he did! No this does not expect us to see his character as “good,” only that he isn’t all bad. That he doesn’t like black people as a general role, but he would save one if her had to. It’s not meant to absolve him of anything!

  • The Man

    Solid job as always Ryan. But, damn it, we need more “Saturday Morning Glory” soon!

  • Anonymous

    Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

    Gladiator may not have deserved Best Picture, but it’s hardly a low-quality movie.

    • Mike

      Since you went there I will too. Even though I orginially wanted to limit myself on a video I couldn’t finishied watching for reasons I mentioned earlier.
      Of all the movie that were scorned for winning best picture over supposedly more worothy nominees, “How Green Was My Valley,” is easily the most unfairly abused. It was simply put, one of the best family dramas of the 1940s and if it hadn’t come out the same year is Citizen Kane there would be no controversy.  In fact Orson Wells would long after describe John Ford as one his favoriate directions and supposedly watch his Stagecoach (1939) multiple times while filming Kane. 

  • TheCrazyFish

    On the topic of the “winning Best Picture isn’t a sign of quality” I didn’t see most of those movies but I did see Gladiator and Titanic. They might not have been the best movies ever made, but it’s kind of a huge stretch to call either one shitty, and Titanic at least probably did deserve it for being well made, enormously popular, and a technical marvel.

    That said, you are absolutely right about the basic premise, though: winning an oscar is only barely a measure of quality, if at all. Heck, Armageddon was nominated for four of them. Then, of course, there’s all the amazing movies that didn’t win Best Picture when they totally should have, like Citizen Kane, Saving Private Ryan, Star Wars, Do The Right Thing, Raiders of the Lost Ark and I’m just going to randomly stop there.

  • Ghost of Ravenstar

    I agree with the below posters, Gladiator was a really good movie. It did get a lot of historical things very wrong, but it was still a good movie with beautiful sets and excellent performances all round.

  • Egil Hellá

    Nice review you made some good points with this review and just further prowe your points with the academy just reed this headline and cry for humanity http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/donkey-sex-gets-thumbsup-from-censors-20120914-25×24.html