In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

Thumb world 9

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

This is a movie that’s annoying in part because it doesn’t care if you’re annoyed by it. It doesn’t need you, the individual viewer, to…

Thumb tag poster


A lazy, vulgar celebration of White Male American Dumbness.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

The Worst Movie of the Decade Relay


As near as I can tell, this particular discussion got started when Sara Libby wrote a short piece at True/Slant called "Worst Movie of the Decade: 'Crash'." She said:

It's been called a "feel-good" racism movie -- one that leads people to believe they're on the right side of racism, when in fact they're just having their buttons pushed and their preconceived notions re-affirmed. [...]

Bad movies get made all the time. But what infuriated me about "Crash" was that so many people mistook it for something profound when it was truly the opposite. It shouts at the top of its lungs: "I'M SUBTLE! I'M NUANCED!" and so many people somehow agreed.


PostBourgie seconded the nomination, quoting from Libby's piece and adding a few paragraphs of his own, including:

I've complained about this film at length here before, and while I've seen movies that were more poorly made, I've never actively hated a movie as much as "Crash." Its basic premise seems to be that personal animus is the well from which racism springs, and that absolution from racism can be found in being violently forced to relinquish one's bitterness. (Or something.)

Over at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates then quoted PostBourgie and elaborated with his own thoughts:

I don't think there's a single human being in "Crash." Instead you have arguments and propaganda violently bumping into each other, impressed with their own quirkiness. ("Hey look, I'm a black carjacker who resents being stereotyped.") But more than a bad film, "Crash," which won an Oscar (!), is the apotheosis of a kind of unthinking, incurious, nihilistic, multiculturalism. To be blunt, nothing tempers my extremism more than watching a fellow liberal exhort the virtues of "Crash."

If you're angry about race, but not particularly interested in understanding why, you probably like "Crash." If you're black and believe in the curative qualities of yet another "dialogue around race," you probably liked "Crash." If you're white and voted for Barack Obama strictly because he was black, you probably liked "Crash." If you've ever used the term "post-racial" or "post-black" in a serious conversation, without a hint of irony, you probably liked "Crash."

And if you didn't know that Ta-Nehisi Coates is black, you probably liked "Crash." And if you think his blackness adds credence to his argument that it would not otherwise have had, you definitely liked "Crash."

Anyway, from there Coates' fellow Atlantic blogger Jeffrey Goldberg (a Jew!) quoted him, and added:

I know a lot of white people in L.A. who think that "Crash" represents an accurate depiction of the way blacks and whites relate to each other. These are white people who live in the Hancock Park neighborhood, mainly, though not exclusively.


I have nothing to contribute to that anecdotal assertion. But do you think we could go viral with this?

* * * *

UPDATE 12/31/09: Want to refresh your memory about "Crash"? Some links and analyses:

Ebert: In defense of the year's "worst" movie (01/08/06)

Head-on: Crash critic responds to Ebert (01/19/06)

Crash: Overkill Filmmaking 101 (02/20/06)

The Liberal Guilt Awards! (02/27/06)

Why Crash? Some theories. (03/06/06)

Ebert: The fury of the Crash-lash (03/06/06)

Teaching the (Oscar) controversy (03/13/06)

"Crash": Two new eyewitnesses (03/27/06)

Popular Blog Posts

Five Ways to Save Star Wars

The suggestions in this article are worth 10 billion dollars.

Dark Souls Remastered Wants to Make You Cry This Summer

A review of Dark Souls Remastered, a game so good it will make you cry.

Thumbnails Special Edition: Where Are Our Diverse Voices in Film Criticism

A special edition of Thumbnails spotlighting the efforts being made to amplify diverse voices in film criticism follo...

The Real-Life Fictions of The Tale and American Animals

Through their films’ unique narrative and visual styles, Jennifer Fox and Bart Layton expose how fiction is a fundame...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus