OPEN ACADEMY AWARD THREAD….Of the five nominees for Best Picture, my favorite is Crash. A friend of mine thinks this is crazy, because (and I’m paraphrasing here), Crash is one of those irritatingly pseudo-profound movies that thinks it’s saying something deep and thoughful when in reality it’s just saying something banal and clich?d. Racism is everywhere, we’re all racists, even blacks can be racists, yada yada yada. Got it.

Oddly enough, I sympathize with that response. The movie worked for me, but it’s balanced on a pretty thin knife edge, and I can easily see how it falls on the other side of the knife for some people. Matt Welch’s complaint, however, I don’t get:

The conceit of “Crash” and the Oscar-nominated L.A.-bashing movies it borrows liberally from (“Magnolia,” “Short Cuts,” “Grand Canyon”) is that they have the guts to portray the real Los Angeles. In truth, they tell us far more about the neuroses of their directors ? and the prejudices of academy voters ? than about our actual city.

Matt seems to think that Crash was designed to show Los Angeles as a uniquely steaming hellbroth of racism and intolerance, whereas I saw Los Angeles as just a convenient backdrop. The movie could just as easily have been set in Detroit or New York or any other big American city. It wasn’t really meant as a specific message about LA.

Anybody else feel the same way as Matt? Just curious. And just so everyone can have fun in comments mocking my taste in movies, here’s my personal ranking of the five Best Movie nominees:

  1. Crash

  2. Capote

  3. Good Night, and Good Luck

  4. Brokeback Mountain

  5. Munich