So last night a friend of mine came to town and we saw Crash. We saw it at the little theater down the street that recently revamped the seating with 'stadium seats'. Cool, right? Eh. Almost. They're stadium seats but they don't rock. It sort of sucks because they feel so rockable. Anyway, this film starts up and it right away punishes the crowd with a long long stretch of opening credits that were annoying. All slow with the names appearing out of the blur. It was like, 'OK! I got it! They're credits! Funky graphics! Names! People! Great! Computers! Congratulations! Now can we move on already....'

Ok. Crash. For a while at the beginning I was thinking this movie was really good. It was radiating movie heat. It moved fast. Simmery. It had some good funny. It got under my skin and warmed me up. Character after character I was drawn into this movie and digging it. Something about it seemed familiar but different. Felt familiar but different. I was digging it.. Then I started to realize what was so familiar. This movie is Magnolia II!! --but with race and racism as a center theme. Lots of characters lives all crash together and spin off each other etc. Somber sad. A Magnolia ripoff totally --but for the first hour Magnolia was more a floral frame that looked nice around the movie. I was ok with it.

As for the cast, it has Sandra Bullock... who sucks. And Brenden Fraser.... who equally sucks (although they sucked together decently less in this). It also has the Cheadle who is becoming a great comforting anchor in movies. And it's got the underrated Matt Dillon (who by the way grew up two towns over from me in Mamaroneck. The story was he was walking down Boston Post Road in front of Cook's (which later sadly became Nathan's) and some big shot pulled up and picked him off the road to be a movie star. Good deal.) I think Matt Dillon is good. In fact, all the characters in this movie were good. The only laggers were Bullock and Fraser who had the least convincing characters and least interesting plot line.

For the first hour this movie cruised along... Then there was a crash. Fairly hard. I almost could hear it. BRAK! Coincidences started to get real stretchy. Characters started acting out of character. There was a noticeable cooling to the movie and all of a sudden magnolias started popping up everywhere. Growing out of people's shirt pockets. Women were wearing them in their hair. They were in salads. Was that song by Aimee Mann's sister Esmeralda Mann? Magnolias also started creeping in from the side frame like vines. This flick turned cluttered and dopey for like a half-hour.

Then it started to gather itself together and it pulled my head back into the game. I went along reluctantly but decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. It redeemed itself for a while (sort of). But the closing ten minutes lazily let go of the floral reins and they let magnolias finally grow all over the screen. I was allergic to them. They were everywhere. And I decided I would have been much happier if this movie just had the balls to bust out a weedwacker once it saw it was a becoming a problem in the first place.

Three Good Things About This Movie

- The pacing and momentum was solid. I wasn't ever bored or non-entertained. Even when I wasn't liking it.
- I liked looking at and listening to Ludacris.
- Although the whole movie was downer it was refreshingly downery.

Three Bad Things About This Movie

- Sometimes the dialogue and actions around racism was way obvious. A backhanded racist remark hits harder than an overhand smash me thinks.
- It was suspiciously LA hollywood hipster artsy trash.
- The overall idea of the movie, 'People are separated from each other in LA that they crash their cars into each other just to get human or make contact or whatever'... ummm...  is dopey.

All in all, I'd say this movie should be seen. A nice hunk of this movie is actually good stuff. It looked good and smelled fresh. Yeah maybe half the time I could see right through it. I could see what it was doing. I could see its tricky puzzles, sporty spice directing style and emotional games. I could see how it toyed with me the whole time, but without a doubt... I liked playing along.