Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crash into mediocrity: all the Oscar nominees blew it

Wow, a great LA Times piece! "Giving the lie to five Oscar pics" reveals the factual errors involved in each best picture nominee (well, four factual errors and one error of sucking):
Munich: Mossad agents weren't so perfectly effective in their (morally conflicted) reprisal attacks--they fucked up at least one royally.

Capote: Capote wasn't anywhere near as manipulative of the legal case of the killers as the movie makes out, though he did pretend to be their friend and pay bribes to get the story. No responsibility for their deaths, no guilt about it to haunt him evermore in cinematic fashion.

Brokeback Mountain: "Del Mar" does sound Spanish, doesn't it? Annie Proulx wrote him as a Chicano. I'm glad Heath got the part, but I sure wish they'd made the other guy not Jake Gyllenhaal Chicano instead.

Good Night and Good Luck: Murrow didn't go after McCarthly quite so bravely. He thought their piece on him really was an unfair hatchet job. And the sponsors and CBS didn't pull the show until a year after all this, for reasons that had nothing to do with the McCarthy coverage.

Crash: It sucked. Furthermore, David Denby loved it. Really, that's all the expose the LA Times needs.

Did I mention that David Denby wrote that "Crash is hyper-articulate and often breathtakingly intelligent and always brazenly alive"? Or that he called Crash "easily the strongest American film since Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River"?

There's just too many choice quotes to go on like this. Here is a collection of quotes from David Denby's review of Crash (emphasis added but probably unnecessary):

"We’re always behind this metal and glass... It’s the sense of touch. I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something." That's right, he quotes the film's cringe-worthy opening monologue almost in its entirety. Only Denby could out-cringe Crash.

"This may seem a fancy conceit until one realizes that Haggis is pushing the word 'crash' beyond the literal: he means any kind of rough contact between folks from different ethnic groups." Thanks a lot, horse whisperer.

"In the first twenty minutes or so, the racial comments are so blunt and the dialogue so incisive that you may want to shield yourself from the daggers flying across the screen by getting up and leaving. That would be a mistake." David Denby: one-man vanguard of harsh truths!

"Crash begins with out-of-focus lights, moving in the dark, as if a stunned post-collision consciousness were slowly coming back into focus." It's almost as if a central character's stunned post-collision consciousness were slowly coming back into focus...

"Apart from a few brave scenes in Spike Lee’s work, Crash is the first movie I know of to acknowledge not only that the intolerant are also human but, further, that something like white fear of black street crime, or black fear of white cops, isn’t always irrational." Danny Aiello and Savion Glover just killed themselves so they could roll over in their graves.

"Paul Haggis, who is fifty-two, was born in Canada; he crossed the border into the land of dreams and folly in his early twenties." These don't really need explanation, do they?

"Haggis sustains the temporal fiction—a long day’s journey into night, then day, and then back to the film’s opening moment at night—with shrewdly timed cutting among the stories and with many silent moments in which a single character, staring at the city’s moving lights, falls into a brooding funk similar to Cheadle’s melancholy in the first scene. The moments of rest, deepened and prolonged by Mark Isham’s gentle electronic score, serve as caesuras between the high-tension scenes."

"Haggis’s complex take on each furious encounter makes previous movie treatments of prejudice seem like easy and self-congratulatory liberalizing."

And the coup de grace:

"The heart-swelling resolutions of the different stories will, I know, strike some viewers as overwrought."

How did David Remnick not make firing this Tina Brown-era embarassment his first act of office?