Big Brother
 Wine and Spirits
 Keeping it Reel
 White Noise
 Fist Deep
 Bar Crawl


Before viewing the movie “Crash”, I knew very little about it, yet had read decent reviews, and went into it with a positive outlook. I was aware that it was a film that dealt with the severe racial issues effecting today’s society, but nothing prepared me for the overwhelming stereotypes that had been clustered together in a rather amateur, unorganized fashion.

Paul Haggis wrote and directed “Crash”, and has apparently grown into quite a bitter man, since his days of writing for “Love Boat”, “The Facts of Life”, and, yes, even “Different Strokes”. I am not one to downplay somebody’s writing ability, so I will also mention that he created the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby”, which was, of course, a hit. However, one hit movie does not automatically make for a talented screenwriter.

I am aware that racism exists in today’s society, and am fairly sure that the rest of the country can recognize this fact, as well. Apparently, Haggis is unaware that anyone has noticed that racial stereotypes are not a thing of the past, and felt the need to make it known…in a cliché, overly dramatic, much exaggerated fashion. His message is overwhelmingly, painfully obvious…”don’t judge a book by its cover” and “we are all equal”, but the movie is so poorly scripted and predictable, it’s hard to even see who is right or wrong.

The premise for this film is a promising one, but does not come remotely close to what, I believe, the writer wanted to accomplish. Haggis portrays African Americans as misunderstood minorities, and while that may be true, he was also sure to script the two main black men as gun-toting car jackers, oppressed by white America, and seemingly forced into a life of crime. “Ludicrous” was well cast in the role of one of these aforementioned men, but is it really anything different than the issues he raps about?

Matt Dillon plays an absurdly racist Police Officer, offended by everything from black receptionists, to interracial marriage. Although I can admit that there are, indeed, people in society who think within this mind frame; it seemed somewhat ridiculous that his character would call a doctor’s office, seeking help for his ill father, and be offended by the mere mention of the social worker’s name: Laquisha. This is the mere beginning of his hatred towards other races, and although Dillon’s acting is believable…the poorly scripted dialogue is not.
Several different families, of all ethnicities, were captured in this film, but the writer’s over-the-top, ignorant view of discrimination numbed the audience of having a clear perception of whom, if anyone, we should be rooting for. If equality is the overall goal, why then did Haggis choose to script Asians as rude, overbearing foreigners? Why did the Persian father in this film come across as an insane, ignorant madman, willing to kill others based on the fact he was unwilling to learn the English language?

The plots, if one is able to view them as such, were hardly thought out, and these characters seemed to only exist in order to elevate the audiences’ hatred towards a clearly racist America. Unfortunately, the writer’s blatantly biased opinion on the country’s beliefs proved ineffective, due to the implausible nature of each and every event that unfolded. The underlying theme seemed to whisper, “there is racism in us all” when a young, naïve cop (Ryan Phillipe) accidentally shoots a black man out of, what could be considered, self-defense.

Yet, this is not a brave, nor daring movie, due to the fact that there is absolutely no character development whatsoever. Haggis is so desperate to get his point across; he fails to create any depth within the people involved. The brash manner in which the characters are introduced to us is so emotionless, that one is unable to focus on anything but the “public service announcement” of “Racism=Hate”. Had the writer been able to delve even slightly into any of the characters, perhaps the audience would feel sympathetic towards them, rather than wondering why everyone in this movie is a selfish, ignorant bigot.

Basically, what I learned from “Crash” is that prejudice leads to hate, breaking the law, slavery, and murder. Nothing can ever be resolved, human beings are unable to perceive common decency, and there is no hope for the world, as we know it.

C’mon, didn’t we all know that, anyway?

June 23rd, 2005