The Film Crash
Crash in the Drama Genre
“Look around! You couldn’t find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gang-bangers? Huh? No. Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared around here, it’s us: We’re the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So you tell me, why aren’t we scared” (“Memorable quotes…”)? This is a quote that was made by actor Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges in the 2004 Oscar winning drama film Crash. Right after he said this though he jumped a white couple and stole their car. This film along with many other drama films has had significant impact on many people. The drama film Crash is the best film in the genre because it has been awarded and nominated for many different awards; the cast is made up of very famous and influential actors, and it has taught the public about many issues that people face everyday.
Many films in the drama genre have been granted and nominated for many different awards such as Oscars, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The movie Crash alone won 3 Oscars, along with 38 other wins and 64 nominations. It won Oscars at the 2005 Academy Awards ceremony for “Best Motion Picture of the Year,” “Best Achievement in Editing,” and “Best Writing, Original Screenplay.” It was also nominated at the same award ceremony for “Best Achievement in Directing,” “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures,” and “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting role” for Matt Dillon (“Crash 2004”). In the running for “Best Motion Picture of the Year” Oscar were films such as Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night, and Good Luck, and Munich (“78th Academy Awards”). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that presents the Oscar award which began in 1927. The Academy Awards is the most prestigious award that a film can receive, and to have been granted with “Best Motion Picture of the Year” shows how much this film really touched people’s lives. The final vote of nominations is done by only active and life Academy members (“78th Academy Awards Rules…”). Some may think that because the film only grossed $54,557 and was the 49th top grossing movie in 2005, compared to Star Wars: Episode III at the number one spot grossing $380,176, that it must not have been that good. However, even though it was in the 49th spot, there were a total of 338 films in 2005, that makes Crash in the top 15th percentile. It was also higher than Munich, Capote, and Good Night, and Good Luck, which were all in the running for “Best Motion Picture of the Year,” which Crash won (“The Movie Times”).
Not only did the film itself blow people and critics away, the cast was also phenomenal. The cast includes many high profile actors, such as Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Tony Danza, Matt Dillon, Brendan Frasier, Terrence Howard, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, and Ryan Phillipe (“Crash 2004”). Sandra Bullock has won 29 awards for roles in her films, including “Favorite Female Movie Star” in 2006 at the People’s Choice Awards and was nominated in 2007, and 2008. She also has been nominated for three Golden Globes and 23 other awards and appeared on Forbes 20 Richest Women in Entertainment (“Sandra Bullock”). Another influential actor in the movie is Matt Dillon. Dillon was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Crash. In total he has won and been nominated for 25 awards, only nine of them not being for his role as LAPD Officer John Ryan in Crash (“Matt Dillon”). All together the cast ensemble won six different awards including a Critics Choice Award for “Best Acting Ensemble” and “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (“Crash 2004”). Not only was the cast made up of exceptional actors/actresses who gave a brilliant performance, the director and also writer was Paul Haggis (“Crash 2004”). Paul Haggis has written other films such as Casino Royale, Flags of Our Fathers, The Last Kiss, Million Dollar Baby, and Letters from Iwo Jima. It was stated in Haggis’ mini biography, “On March 5, 2006, Paul became the first person in the history of the Academy Awards to write two back-to-back Best Picture Winners, for Crash and the previous year’s winner, Million Dollar Baby.” He is also a “co-founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a member of the Board of Directors of The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project; For the Arts – For Every Child; the Environmental Media Association; and a founding board member of ECO, the Earth Communications Office” (“Paul Haggis”).
One of the main reasons that drama films, including Crash, win so many awards is because they teach the public about many issues that people are facing everyday. There are films out there about racism, alcoholism, different classes of people, social problems, mental illnesses, politics, etc. (Dirks). Crash follows the lives of many different people coming from all types of backgrounds. It explores the way that their lives are all intertwined and how they all affect each other. In the plot synopsis it says, “People are born with good hearts, but they grow up and learn prejudices. Crash is a movie that brings out bigotry and racial stereotypes. . . Many of the characters switch from being bad-person-to-hero in ways that may surprise you.” The film includes a plethora of issues in the plot, only a handful of which are: police corruption, interracial marriage, revenge, drug addiction, prejudice, loss of a family member, and racism (“Crash 2004”). Many people’s lives can be dramatically changed by watching a movie. A film can use many different ways to gain viewers interest, whether it is comedy, action, or dramatic events. The best way to tap into people’s emotions is by showing them a drama film, such as Crash. It’s hard to really make a point without giving the whole movie away, but throughout the movie Crash, there are striking scenes that touch people’s emotions and that many viewers can relate to. Lee Hobbs, an American Literature professor with his PH.D., said of Crash, “It’s certainly violent, graphic and has something to offend almost everyone. But, at the same time, some really important social issues are first toyed with and then brought to the surface. The narrative results in an amazing chain-reaction of hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Does hate fuel the uninformed and misguided opinions or do uninformed and misguided opinions inform the hate” (Hobbs)?
Crash is the best film in the drama genre because it has won many different awards, has a cast that is made up of some of Hollywood’s best actors, and opens people’s eyes to the issues that are faced everyday by many Americans. Just because the film has won and been nominated for many awards, the ultimate goal of the film industry is to please the viewer. In order to make the correct judgment about the film Crash, one must follow one of the arguments that the film is trying to get across about not prejudging, and see the movie.
“78th Academy Awards.” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 30 May 2008
“78th Academy Awards Rules for Distinguished Achievements During 2005.” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 30 May 2008
“Crash 2004.” The Internet Movie Database. 25 May 2008
Dirks, Tim. “Drama Films.” The Greatest Films. 25 May 2008
Hobbs, Lee. “Collisions Over Social Issues in the Film “Crash”” 20 Mar. 2006. [the] ENGLISH-BLOG [.Com].
“Matt Dillion.” The Internet Movie Database. 30 May 2008
“Memorable Quotes for Crash.” The Internet Movie Database. 28 May 2008
“Paul Haggis.” The Internet Movie Database. 30 May 2008
“Sandra Bullock.” The Internet Movie Database. 30 May 2008
“The Movie Times.” Underground Online. 27 May 2008