February 23, 2007

Film Critic Quote of the Week

"I found Crash simplistic and pedantic. I worried it might give out at any moment under the weight of its own contrivances. (Really. I thought the screen was going to fall down off the wall of the theater.) By the end of the film I thought it worked better as a drinking game than a feature: Be the first to guess the ironic twist in each scene and watch your friends do a jello shot. Actually, it would be more in line with the spirit of Crash if your Mexican friends drank martinis, your black friends drank Jose Cuervo, and your white friends drank malt liquor..."
-Noam Scheiber, on TNR's excellent Oscar Wild! blog, which every American should read in full before Oscar night.

Tonight, I finally saw this year's "Crash"- "Babel." It's not quite a bad movie, just one that's ridiculously undeserving of the accolades it's gotten. It's just one long parade of misery and tragedy, with nothing but its one, very obvious idea ("we'll all connected- so why can't understand each other?!?") holding it all together. I didn't care for Iñárritu's trademark tragedy-as-pornography gimmick much more in either "Amores Perros" or "21 Grams."

How a film like that is any way deserving of being the Best Picture frontrunner is beyond me; I can think of about 30 other movies from '06 that deserve it more. But the kicker is, you can't even call "Babel" overrated, because it seems like half the people who've seen it absolutely hated it.

UPDATE: Some appreciated thoughts on "Flags of Our Fathers" as well, from Harry Chotiner.

UPDATE II: And speaking of TNR... it's going biweekly! I'll reserve comment until I actually see the new edition.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 23, 2007 10:53 PM

I watched "Flags of Our Fathers" last night and wasn't too impressed. Yeah, yeah, yeah...Ira can't take being called a hero, Ira saw some really bad stuff. I'm sure you could make an interesting movie on Ira Hayes without playing the same note again and again.

I heard one reviewer say that Eastwood took one chapter of Bradley's book and expanded it into the entire movie.

Posted by: Tainted Bill at February 24, 2007 10:39 AM

"shallow and pedantic" - was this review written by Peter Griffin?

Posted by: LilB at February 24, 2007 11:00 AM

Babel had two GREAT parts (the Japan segment, and the Mexico/housekeeper segment) that could have stood on their own as tragic stories. But the part that was sold (at least around here) as the "main story" pretty much ruined the film for me. If you want a depressing view of the world, go see Pan's Labyrinth or Children of Men, both FAR superior films to Babel.

Posted by: Dan at February 25, 2007 04:22 PM
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