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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Against 'Crash,' not pro-'Brokeback'

From: Ron Lim, San Francisco, CA

I am one of the "Crash"-bashers and guess what? It had nothing to do with "Brokeback Mountain." For the record, I was rooting for "Good Night, and Good Luck." (though I knew it stood no chance). To tell you the truth, aside from the gay thing, I found "Brokeback" to be standard story of forbidden love; a modern day update of "Romeo & Juliet." Of course, this probably comes from my upbringing in San Francisco. Gays and lesbians are accepted here and it's not unusual to see advertising and marketing targeted to that community. Nothing taboo or strange about that lifestyle to us. I bash "Crash" because it has the subtlety of a ten-ton truck smashing into a nursery school. It's over the top, cliched script left me groaning.

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The connections between the characters went beyond mere coincidence; it smacked of lazy convenience for the writer. It was almost as if Paul Haggis took the racial epithet montage from "Do the Right Thing" and expanded it into a two-hour movie.

Honestly, I found it to be the worst among this year's best picture nominees. It lacked grace, realism and plausibility. I find it puzzling that so many critics have embraced it. To me it's not so much as a mirror, but a funhouse mirror, distorting reality and exaggerating the truth.

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