The Crash Hump

I gave myself a lot of movie-related goals this year. Some involved classic movies on the big screen, some revolved around great directors, still another was all about watching films from a certain era. They were a loose confederation of resolutions but the overarching idea was to stop being closed-minded about film. Generally speaking, I think I’ve done a respectable job of learning to like new things and appreciate why OTHERS appreciate certain films. But there’s still a certain level I can’t get past. Call it the Crash hump.

The name, of course, is derived from my feelings about Crash (2005). My feelings about that movie are generally well-known. Succinctly, I thought it was a pile of trite garbage that approached a very serious topic ripe for honest discussion- race relations- and turned it into a Magical Realist nightmare drowning in stereotypes. I could continue but I won’t.

At this point, I honestly envied the dying passengers because they’d never hear “JAAAACK!!!!” or “ROOOOOSE” again.

And I call this phenomenon the Crash hump because there are certain things I haven’t been able to get past, no matter how much I try. I caused a little bit of a stir in my comments section several months ago when I confessed that I thought Titanic and Avatar were horrible films hiding behind spectacular effects, shining proof that you can let a 12-year old write your screenplay if you have the cash to compensate with effects. The action genre is another hump of sorts. I really enjoy well-done action films but most of the average or worse action films make me roll my eyes. Even some that are allegedly good make me roll my eyes.

Other films fall into this category. I’m not sure I’ll ever get beyond making fun of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As much as I love horror, you’ll be shocked to know that my first instinct about slashers- especially the classic slashers- is to wince a little (more on this in a second). I made a little headway with Brian DePalma this summer when I greatly enjoyed The Phantom of the Paradise, but I still have very strong anti-DePalma feelings.

Regardless of my qualms with Capra, Arsenic and Old Lace is a killer movie (pun not entirely intended).

But it’s all about the effort. I’m trying. I swear, I’m trying, even if progress is slow. I have three perfect examples: Frank Capra, romantic comedies, and musicals. I’ve found my stride a little bit with rom-coms and musicals in that I can at least appreciate the best of the best. I can finally see the appeal, which is a huge step in the right direction. As for Capra, I still find the saccharine storylines nauseating but I’ve found that I can appreciate some of the humor, and I can also understand why others like it. I think that’s at the heart of matters more than anything. I don’t have to like everything I see, but I’d at least like to understand why others enjoy it… and of course, not be a jerk when others say they like something. After all, movies are meant to be enjoyed and the medium offers so much to so many for so many different reasons. Who am I to rain on someone’s parade?

As for the aforementioned slashers, there’s been a little progress in that realm. Amazingly, three Nightmare on Elm Street sequels wiggled their way onto my TV set this past summer and I don’t feel an ounce of regret about it, despite the fact that I sort of loathed the original. The films didn’t get better. My attitude did. Instead of looking for reasons to dump on a film, I looked for what was good about it, and clung tightly to it like those stupid assholes in the ocean with the wreckage at the end of Titanic. Oops… there I go again.

Stay tuned, folks. I’ll get the hang of it some day. I’ll get over that hump eventually. Just don’t hold your breath on Crash. 

20 Comments

Filed under Humor, Movies

20 responses to “The Crash Hump

  1. I think the rom-com is the only genre I really have this issue with. I can appreciate the great ones, but getting me to watch an average one is like puling teeth.

  2. A parody trailer I saw for Titanic summed it up perfectly for me: “Based on the tragedy that spawned 1000s of heartbreaking true stories…comes this fake one”. Seriously though, I think everyone finds films that they feel they should enjoy or that has been generally acclaimed but can’t work out why other people like them. I can’t stand Closer in any form or shape but know people who love it and I recently watched Wolf Creek after hearing good things about it only to find it was a truly horrendous piece of filmmaking.

    • That’s pretty funny.

      I’ve never seen Closer though I know it had some critical acclaim. I had a similar reaction to Wolf Creek. Not that I hated it, but I was very “meh” about it.

  3. Summed up my feelings about Crash beautifully, well done sir.

  4. aleksa

    People I know, and otherwise respect, look at me like I’m insane when I say I hated “Avatar”. I think South Park summed it up succinctly when they called it “Dances with Smurfs”. I recently tried to watch “I Saw the Devil” because I’d heard such good things about it. I don’t think I made it even halfway through before turning it off out of sheer boredom.

    • For some reason, I always think of “House of the Devil” when people mention “I Saw the Devil” despite the fact that they weren’t even made in the same country. I think it’s because both are slow burns and both have devil in the title. Anyway, I enjoyed it, but I completely understand where you’re coming from with that movie.

  5. I absolutely agree with you on Titanic and Avatar. I despise Avatar, it has the most generic plot of all time and the fact that it grossed so much money is ridiculous. I didn’t think Crash was a bad movie, but my issue with it was it wasn’t a Best Picture worthy movie. It deserved it’s nomination, just not it’s win.

    • Honestly, I’m not even willing to say it deserved a nomination, but that’s just me. I’m just some schmuck in St. Louis and not part of the army of 80 year old white guys who make up the Academy.

  6. I feel the exact same way about Crash. That may very well be the only movie I legitimately *hate*.

    • I’ve softened the teeniest tiniest bit in that I think maybe I judge it too harshly, but I’m still pretty sure I don’t like it. At all.

  7. You’re spot on regarding Avatar, Titanic and Crash! Maybe we should all join a club. You might appreciate my wife’s 2+ year old review of Avatar: http://themediaminx.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/more-like-avatard/

  8. goregirl

    I’m surprised to hear you don’t like DePalma…not even CARRIE? “They are all going to laugh at you!!” I love that movie so much! Sisters was decent too….thought Dressed to Kill wasn’t bad either. Admittedly, slashers don’t do it for me like they once did. But like any sub-genre of horror there are some winners; Halloween, Maniac, New York Ripper (the killer talks like Donald Duck-quack quack), Pieces, Tenebre…all slashers I love. I think the first Nightmare on Elm Street is the cat’s ass. I seen it at the theatre when it came out and it rocked my world. There was nothing quite like it at the time. I try to be an open minded movie goer, or at least I try not to write off an entire genre. That said, there are plenty of movies that do not interest me whatsoever. How many more chances do I need to give Roland Emmerich? Fuck Roland Emmerich!

    • The guy who met Kevin Meany

      The first horror movie I saw was Nightmare on Elm Street 2. It scared the hell out of me. My favorite is part 3–Dream Warriors (remember the Dokken song). Freddy got a little bit of a sense of humor. Strangely enough, I thought part 4 sucked.

      • goregirl

        I seen every Nightmare film up to The Dream Child in a theatre. Back in the 80s I never missed a horror film on the big screen. The original and Dream Warriors are my faves. Not a fan of 4 and 5.

        • I just DVR’ed New Nightmare and I’m kind of excited about it. I have no clue what number that one is. Dream Warriors was one that I saw this summer, and laughed/enjoyed it.

      • Yeah, the humor in 3 was great. Was 4 the one where he dies? I saw that one.

    • I was hoping you’d gloss past the DePalma part. I didn’t like Carrie at all. It just felt like a huge Hitchcock ripoff, right down to the actual score.

      As for slashers, I’ve really come around on it. It’s still not my favorite sub-genre of horror. It’s probably my least favorite still. But I really had fun with those Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, I loved the crap out of Candyman and the original Halloween, and there are some awesome lesser known B-slasher films.

      Roland Emmerich can kiss my ass. The Day After Tomorrow is a pretty unintentionally funny movie. South Park really spoofed it just right.

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