Monday, May 16, 2005


Image hosted by So last Thursday, I went to see that new movie Crash. The taglines for the movie said "You think you know who you are. You have no idea." and "Moving at the speed of life, we are bound to collide with each other."

Its a movie about a bunch of incidents where persons of different races and nationalities come together in not so nice situations. Where they actually collide or crash so to speak. Pretty much random incidents that could happen in any North American multicultural city on any given day.

All in all, I'd say its probably one of the best movies I've seen since 2003's House of Sand and Fog which was a rather touching story about a proud Iranian immigrant caught up in a drama over his newly bought house. Go watch that for yourself.

Now Crash explores some of the darker sides of the multicultural interaction namely racism both subliminal and in your face but mainly in your face as is to be expected in the movies. It might actually give one pause to think about any unpleasant interaction one has ever had with someone of another race or nationality. How much of what was said was due to some race issue and how much of what was thought but wasn't said was due to that as well. One can only guess. I personally try to assume its not a racial issue unless most hints point that way because I get annoyed at folks who play the race card on every single issue but sometimes it is a race issue and how you handle it I guess just depends on your personality and your mood.

Still that's a story for another time. The stories in Crash involve carjackers, cops, a locksmith, a small business owner, a District Attorney and some other intriguing characters and it has a pretty nice cast including Don Cheadle, Lorenz Tate, Brandon Fraser, Nona Gaye, Sandra Bullock, Terrence Howard, Thandie Newton, Matt Dillon, Michael Pena, Loretta Devine, Ryan Phillipe, Keith David and Ludacris who was actually pretty good for a rapper in an acting role. Actually one of the more ironic and amusing parts of the movie was Ludacris dissing rap music and its social effects on black folks.

So I'm not going to go into detail and review the movie. You can find that all over the web if you want. Its a good movie, I recommend it to all, go check it out, it'll make you think.

Now onto my rant. Maybe certain friends have rubbed off on me or I was just viewing the movie from a weird perspective but I think there were some underlying issues in this movie whether consciously included or subconsciously that were negative towards the brothers. So let me put on my Conspiracy Brutha (dats word to Dave Chappelle! get well soon son) hat for a minute and deal with some of it.

Well most/all of the characters in the movie were flawed in some way or another but from my perspective all of the brothers were portrayed negatively. Maybe a little too negatively. Ludacris and Lorenz Tate played the stereotypical gangstas, Don Cheadle's character was a policeman but he had some issues too, but the most intriguing black character was Terrence Howard's upper middle class black man role. It was one of those roles that Hollywood always seems to perpetrate which state that any black man who can be deemed successful or is not currently in the hood, selling drugs, unemployed, uneducated or working a blue collar job has somehow lost his black identity.

Its actually one of those annoying fallacies that we probably will be stuck with for a while because the current belief is that one must speak, dress and act a certain way in order to be black.

However on an even deeper note concerning Howard's character the message subconsciously conveyed to us is that black men even if they are successful and rich are unable to protect their black women. What do I mean? Well, in one scene, Howard for all his success was unable to protect his wife when she needed it and when she was in a life or death situation in another scene who attempted to come to her rescue? Nope not Howard but a white man. So maybe I'm sounding racist here but what I read into that storyline was this underlying suggestion that black men are unable to be protectors of their women whilst white men still retain that power. Another attempt to belittle the black man and castrate the black male psyche perhaps?

Ok Conspiracy Brother Hat off now. That's all I had to say on that. Just an alternate view to open up some dialogue and get folks to think.

On another note I also thought that too much was done to explain the racism of Matt Dillon' character and also to redeem Sandra Bullock's character. Lets face it some folks are just racist and that's all there is to it. Ok that's glossing over it since it is deeper than that. But sometimes some folks are just racist and there is no redeeming quality about them or hope for them becoming less racist as the movie would have you believe. But this is Hollywood so of course they tried to explain it all.

Still I'm just nitpicking, its a great movie with a lot more to see than what I just talked about. The scenes with Michael Pena's locksmith character are especially touching. Go check it out.


Mad Bull said...

Matt Dillon is still alive? Wow! Who knew?

This thing re the middleclass black losing his blackness, or however you put it... thats probably an effort to keep blacks from aspiring to become middle class, or indeed anything better, don't you think? Its an attempt to propagate an idea thats already out there, to hold the bruthas down. Thats my take on it anyway...

Abeni said...

Heard a bit about this movie.Will check it out.Ahh well some stereotypes hard to live down.

Campfyah said...

Well Hollywood, will be Hollywood no matter what. Sounds like a good movie. Since I'll beon the mainland soon, I'll be able to check it out.

BTW..seems like Blogger lift muh eviction notice

Nikki said...

Crash was pretty much on point on the racial prejudices that exist amongst various groups.

Slow Metamorphosis said...

I saw Crash last week myself and I loved it. I thought it was brilliant the way all the characters intersected. But I did pick up on the black man not being able to protect his woman, to me it was just the classic portrayal of the slavery know the slave master raping a slaves wife in front of him and him not being able to do anything about it. But more than that I thought that its a clear depiction that that STILL happens today, the question is what are we going to do about it??

courtneyelizabeth said...

I guess i'll have to go see it.....thanks for the rundown....

Don Tate II said...

Wow, theres been so much talk about this movie, we'll have to go check it out. Not a wait-till-DVD flick?

Amadeo said...

I want to check this out but I feel you. Even when they show a dude that's successful, if he does show strength it's usually like a "Don't bring the hood up out me" thing. I can forgive it because white people don't know what to do with us character wise or in the real world.

Radmila said...

Interesting take on Howards character.
I saw him as someone who was powerless and frightened in one scene and then pushed into being valiant in a later scene because of his lack of action the first time around. At the same time a gross over-reaction. His parting shot to Ludacris was (in my opinion)what propelled him to do a wonderful thing for those people in the van, but even he couldn't stop himself from seeing the stereotype, even as he was doing good for them.
I don't think there was one character in that movie who wasn't terribly flawed.
Don Cheadles character was especially sad. To be the "good son", and to be blamed and less favoured than the straying son is a painful thing to watch.
I think for me, the most wonderful thing about this movie was the contradiction and parallel that are such human traits.
Kind and good in one situation, mean and spiteful in the next.
It's about who has the power.
Used their power for spite.

o said...

"Ludacris dissing rap music and its social effects on black folks."

He shoulda said in the movie "and I especially hate that nigga Ludacris, always talking bad 'bout women" LOL that would have been GOLD.

Pot calling kettle black.

Conspiracy Brother was Dave Chappelle's BEST character, EVER. Hope he gets well soon. Chuh man. Need some jokes.

Nat said...

just got back from watching the movie... and "WOW" .. its up there in my favourites for sure and its going into my dvd collection the day it comes out..

Anonymous said...

i'm gonna have to check it out.
re: your comment about "any black man who can be deemed successful ... has somehow lost his black identity."
I think that is definetly true and protrayed as such in most hollywood films. when 'successful' is designed as having 'climbed' up the corporate ladder.

Sunshine said...

Hi Jdid-A freind just told me aboutCrash yesterday and recommends it highly. So I'm goig to watch it. Have a great day.

Shana said...

I was debating whether or not I wanted to see this movie. . . your take on it has sparked my interst. . .thanks!!

blackgirliniowa said...


I agree with you on the attempt to clean up the characters, especially Matt Dillon and Sandra Bullock. Do you think they were trying to say that people's unhappiness in life is a reason (maybe not justifiable) for their racism. I think we were supposed to believe that Sandra B. is really a nice lady, she is just lonely and that is why she strikes out.

Jdid said...

@mad bull - I think you're right. Its sort of this idea that if you progress you have to somehow give up some element of blackness

@abeni - yes some are
@camp - yep check it out
@nikki - in terms of the prejudice yes it was on point
@slow met - does it still happen today that much though?
@courtney - yep check it out
@don tate - yep let me know what you think when you see it
@amadeo - exactly! thats basically sort of what happened this movie. so the myth is weak = non-ghetto
@radmila - ye his parting shot to luda was deep
@k.johnson - lol, yea it woulda been funny if he was dissing himself
@nat - mine too
@purfiktgurl - so can anyone climb the corporate ladder without "selling out"
@sunshine - let me know what you think
@shana - go watch it
@blackgirliniowa - yes that was exactly the point. they were giving excuses for racism like we're acting racist here but we have good reasons for it.