Author Topic: CRASH  (Read 41639 times)

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MacGuffin

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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2005, 02:51:39 PM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
Quote from: AwkwardAsIAm


Sounds like a 13 Conversations About One Thing.


Yes! That's exactly what it's like.


I think it sounds more like Grand Canyon.
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Skeleton FilmWorks

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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2005, 03:07:02 PM »
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Ghostboy agrees with me, Roger Ebert agrees with MacGuffin.

Quote from: Roger Ebert
Other cross-cutting Los Angeles stories come to mind, especially Lawrence Kasden's more optimistic "Grand Canyon" and Robert Altman's more humanistic "Short Cuts."


It sounded like 13 Conversations to me because it sounded forced, both in terms of concept and message.

But hell.  I haven't even seen the movie.
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Finn

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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2005, 04:36:02 PM »
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Wooow a lot of Crash hating around here. I saw it today and thought it was absolutely amazing. It was very powerful without being pretentious or self-concious. The performances are terrific and Paul Haggis is obviously a very gifted writer but he's also a very good director. I might be alone here, but I think it's the best film of the year so far.
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Ravi

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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2005, 04:51:32 PM »
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I will probably see this, though the Xixax consensus isn't favorable and the trailer doesn't make it look so great.  Seems like a "love it or hate it" film, so I have a 50-50 shot.

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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2005, 05:40:37 PM »
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a Magnolia/Short Cuts-like ensemble film concerning rascism starring Brenden Fraser, Ludacris and Sandra Bullock? pass.
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MacGuffin

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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2005, 01:47:01 PM »
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FEATURE - Seven Million Dollar Baby
Screenwriter Paul Haggis woke up one morning at 2 a.m. and started writing. By morning, he had the gist of his low-budget directorial debut, Crash. Source: FilmStew.com

Ryan Phillippe is stunned. Though he co-stars in Paul Haggis' feature directorial debut Crash and worked with him briefly a decade ago when he guest-starred on Due South, a series that Haggis created and produced, he never knew that the man had once been a staff writer on the popular '80s sitcom The Facts of Life. When this factoid comes out at the end of a round table interview at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the actor delightedly asks, "You wrote for Tootie?"

"I did," Haggis confirms, adding, "I even wrote the episode “Tootie Drives.””

While it may seem that, with Crash and his Oscar-nominated screenplay for this year's Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby, the 52-year-old London, Ontario native came from out of nowhere to conquer Hollywood, but in fact he is a longtime veteran. It is just that his tour of duty until now mostly took place on the small screen where, in addition, to Due South and The Facts of Life, he wrote for such shows as The Love Boat, L.A. Law, thirtysomething, L.A. Law and The Tracey Ullman Show. He eased action star Chuck Norris' transition to the small screen when he created Walker, Texas Ranger and some credit him for opening the door to series like The Sopranos when he developed EZ Streets, a critically acclaimed but short-lived series drama about the daily lives of cops and criminals.

Among his many awards for his television work are two Emmys, a Humanitas award, and a Viewers for Quality Television prize for EZ Streets. And as all the nominations for Million Dollar Baby suggests, the accolades have continued in his transition into features. The latest is the first annual Kanbar Award, given by the San Francisco International Film Festival for screenwriting excellence, making his reasons for visiting the city threefold: promote the new movie, accept his prize, and following a festival screening of the film, conduct a screenwriting master class.

The last six months or so have been a heady time in Haggis' life, but he remains self-effacing, joking at the master class that prior to breaking into films, "I was failing upward really, really well."

The genesis for Crash actually began during his TV years. In 1991, he and his first wife, Diane, attended the premiere of The Silence of the Lambs, but one movie wasn't enough for them, so they stopped off in their Porsche – Haggis' first ever new car -- at the local Blockbuster to pick up a Nordic art-house video. Outside the store, he found a gun pointed at his face, as a pair of young men jacked his car.

It was in the nervous atmosphere following 9/11 that Crash was born, as Haggis suddenly felt compelled to revisit the carjacking. "I never intended to write this movie; it's something that just crept into my psyche," he insists.

"At two o'clock in the morning one day, I woke up and started writing,” Haggis continues. “By the morning, I had these stories. It wasn't something planned. I never thought, 'Ooh, I'll write a movie about this someday.'"

But when Haggis began writing, it was not from his own viewpoint of what happened to him, it was from the perspective of the carjackers. That fits perfectly with Haggis' philosophy. "You can't write things from your own perspective," he suggests. "If you're going to cast yourself in the film, you have to be the villain."

In the movie, the carjackers played by Larenz Tate and hip hop star Chris "Ludacris" Bridges are among the most likeable characters, in spite of their bad behavior. As they wander around the streets of L.A., plying their trade as if it were any other business, the two engage in lively debates about the film's main subject, which is race.

Haggis insists that writing about such a frightening incident and humanizing the perps was not a particularly tough assignment. "I think the fact that I was viewing it through their eyes really helped and creating those characters as full and wonderful people,” he suggests. “They're sort of like my Rosencrantz and Gildenstern. I think the whole experience was liberating."

The carjackers, who choose Rick (Brendan Fraser), the Los Angeles district attorney, and his high-strung wife, Jean (Sandra Bullock), as their victims are only the starting point. There is Daniel (Michael Pena), the Latino locksmith Rick hires to change the locks in his house in the wake of the theft, a working class husband and father who's just moved his family into a neighborhood where random bullets won't fly through his daughter's window.

There are two sets of cops, homicide detectives Graham (Don Cheadle) and Ria (Jennifer Esposito), who are investigating the shooting of a black police officer by a white one, and two patrolmen, idealistic Hanson (Phillippe) and his racist partner Ryan (Matt Dillon), who African-American TV producer Cameron (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) have the misfortune of meeting at a traffic stop.

All of these characters and more touch on one another in unexpected ways, with nearly all finding a reason to take a good look at themselves and what lurks within their souls. Some characters find a touch of grace, while others are left poised over a spiritual abyss. Ultimately, Haggis believes, Crash is a hopeful movie, and for someone so used toiling under the strictures of television, the script, co-written with Robert Moresco, was a revelation.

"It really was just a matter of following the characters,” he explains. “Usually I plan things out; I structure things. I had no idea and I still have no idea what the structure of this film is. It was a point where I wanted to put all the characters under pressure immediately and see what happened to them and then I just wanted to follow them."

In this instance, Haggis believes the dual nature of his citizenship served him well. He spent the first 22 years of his life in Canada, until his father gently suggested that he didn't have a future in construction and should perhaps follow his dream of writing scripts in Hollywood. He has lived in the States ever since.

"Having lived in both communities for so long, I now feel comfortable enough to be an outsider in both places," he says. "That's a great place to be, just a little bit back, just a half-step behind everyone else. You can view them and yourself from a perspective that maybe you can't if you're so close to it."

With a script so rich in characterization, it is no wonder that Haggis was able to attract such a high-profile cast to a low budget ($7 million) movie by a new director. Cheadle was the first actor to sign on, suffering an embarrassment of riches when Haggis gave him the opportunity to choose whether he wanted to play the homicide detective or the television producer. Cheadle also was instrumental in recruiting other talent, personally calling actor friends to chat up the project.

Taking the role of Hanson, the liberal cop who discovers to his horror the true import of his cynical partner's warning that he doesn't know himself as well as he thinks, was a no-brainer for Phillippe. "Everyone in this is three-dimensional and everyone in this you believe and is depicted fairly, across social and ethnic lines," he raves.

"Also, when actors get a chance to be part of a movie like this, the passion is genuine and everybody comes together for the right reasons,” he adds. “It's for the greater good. It's not about self-serving, 'I'm the star.' There were no egos; everyone came ready to work and believed in what we were making."

Haggis says he finally made the leap into movies because he was increasingly frustrated by his work in television. "I personally wasn't doing good work. I was continually compromising myself. It wasn't feeding my soul," he told the crowd at his writing seminar.

But as accomplished as these first two forays into feature films have been, he seems surprised at his success. He describes Million Dollar Baby as "like Leaving Las Vegas, only depressing." On Crash, he recalls shooting the most difficult scene, the confrontation between Ryan and Christine. It was difficult even to witness Dillon and Newton act out the highly charged scene and Haggis remembers thinking, "I know I wrote that, but do they have to do that?" And now that the film is completed, he says he finds it difficult to watch, because all he sees are what he perceives as its flaws.

One thing he is confident of, though, is that Crash has a lot to say to anyone willing to invest in a movie ticket. The characters, the crises they face, and the biases that come spilling out, he believes, are universal. "We all contain those extremes and we all think we're so all well-evolved, and we have our opinions based on logic,” says Haggis. “But these things come from odd places and they come up at strange times. I think anyone from any political perspective can watch this and can find things to identify [with]."

Certainly, Haggis has made a true believer in the movie out of Phillippe, who admits that he normally dislikes the promotional portion of moviemaking. He avers, "Most of the time it is a chore to promote a movie. Most of the time you don't want to do it, like, 'I got paid. I'm done.' With this, I want to be here. I want to talk about it. I want to people to see it."

"This movie is not cute," he insists. "It will punch you in the mouth, wake you up, it will make you think, it will encourage maybe an argument, some kind of dialogue. That's exciting to me. There's substance. That's worth my $10."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


Skeleton FilmWorks

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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2005, 09:08:26 PM »
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Quote from: MacGuffin


"This movie is not cute," he insists. "It will punch you in the mouth, wake you up, it will make you think, it will encourage maybe an argument, some kind of dialogue. That's exciting to me. There's substance. That's worth my $10."


Spoilers.

Hmm.  That's odd, because it doesn't really raise any issues.  It's more like "be careful about the black woman you molest because you might save her from a car fire one day" and "buying blanks for you father's gun might mean that one day the little girl he accidentally shoots won't die" and other such circumstancial nonsense.  Now, hell, I like circumstance, I think we all like circumstance, but the time to bring them up is not while attacking societal stereotypes and hyprocracies.  Especially if you're trying to make the audience think.

I admit:  I went and saw the film last Friday.  I was ready to like it because of the critics, I was ready to hate it because of you guys.  Just to be sure, I brought along the old parental unit (impervious to artfilm snobbery and a glutton of hype) for a second, more neutral opinion of the film.  When the gun shot blanks, my mom was asking if it'd be alright if she went and watched Hidalgo instead.

It was pure rubbish, the kind of film that is literally insulting to people with real problems, the kind of problems that don't rap up tidy.  It was an episode of a 50's sitcom disguised as a portrait of the human spirit - which makes it all the more insulting.  There were tense moments, for sure; several sequences were just undeniably well written, acted, and shot.  But I couldn't help feeling that Haggis always cared more about servicing himself and setting up these situations than paying attention to the characters and what was happening to them.

That, simply, is the fatal error as far as I'm concerned.
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meatball

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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2005, 09:16:39 PM »
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Quote from: AwkwardAsIAm
my mom was asking if it'd be alright if she went and watched Hidalgo instead.


 :shock:

Pozer

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« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2005, 09:32:12 PM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
I saw it last week - I hated it too. All the criticism that Million Dollar Baby received, and that I uderstood but didn't necessarily agree with, is amplified ten fold here. It's all about white man's piety. Blechh.

Really? I'm gonna see this this weekend and your reviews usually get me pumped up for the flicks, now I'm a bit bummed.
Why am I hearing such good things elsewhere?

Ghostboy

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« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2005, 10:08:35 PM »
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I honestly don't know - I had no idea critics were still such softies on such a large scale. Seriously, though, since it's so polarizing, I'd suggest going and forming your own opinion. At the best, you'll love it. At the worst - well, as AwkwardAsIAm suggested, there are some scenes that, in their own context, are undeniably good.

SiliasRuby

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« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2005, 10:43:28 PM »
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I'm a total sucker for ensemble films of any kind. So, I am hoping to see this this weekend and I'll give you my report.
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Pubrick

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« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2005, 02:52:25 AM »
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Quote from: SiliasRuby
I'm a total sucker for ensemble films of any kind. So, I am hoping to see this this weekend and I'll give you my report.

yep. we'll all be anxiously awaiting ur latest one-sentence, empty blurb.

anyway, this is the worst kind of movie, it just pretends to be good and is infuriating cos the silias's and small town loners of the world, who can't tell the difference, won't shut up about its "brilliance". shoot me if this gets any award recognition.

all haggis has to do is work with halle berry next to solidify his phony agenda.
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SHAFTR

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« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2005, 10:04:04 AM »
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Quote from: Pubrick


anyway, this is the worst kind of movie, it just pretends to be good and is infuriating cos the silias's and small town loners of the world, who can't tell the difference, won't shut up about its "brilliance". shoot me if this gets any award recognition.



Pubrick and SHAFTR unite in agreement.
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meatball

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« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2005, 12:37:41 PM »
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Quote from: SHAFTR
Quote from: Pubrick


anyway, this is the worst kind of movie, it just pretends to be good and is infuriating cos the silias's and small town loners of the world, who can't tell the difference, won't shut up about its "brilliance". shoot me if this gets any award recognition.



Pubrick and SHAFTR unite in agreement.


Who else would like to join in the circle jerk?

w/o horse

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« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2005, 03:47:39 PM »
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I think the members of the, um, circle jerk, are being a little presumptuous.  It's getting great reviews for no apparent reason, but I hardly hear anyone calling it brilliant, even Small Town Loner, who was referenced, only called it amazing.  I'd say amazing is a far more general term.

Anyway.  My guess is that it'll disappear relatively soon and slip into obscurity due to a lack of presence, force, and feeling.

But yeah, if for some reason it explodes I'll be startled.
Raven haired Linda and her school mate Linnea are studying after school, when their desires take over and they kiss and strip off their clothes. They take turns fingering and licking one another's trimmed pussies on the desks, then fuck each other to intense orgasms with colorful vibrators.

 

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