Sam Strange Remembers: CRASH

Hollywood legend Sam Strange recalls that time he made an Oscar winning movie that held both liberal AND racist messages.

I believe it was Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. who famously asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?” That’s a good question, Doctor. I believe I have finally found the answer:

“It’s the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.”

See, Dr. King? That’s a line from my hit movie Crash. It states that the reason we can’t all get along is because we live in L.A. and don’t touch each other enough. If you require further elaboration on what the quote means, I recommend you Redbox my hit movie Crash. Actually, I directed two movies called Crash. Make sure you get right one, or you’ll be really confused and titillated.

For the rest of you, Crash is about how all people are great no matter what their color. But it’s also about how horrible people of color can be. Let’s not forget that “white” is a color too, guys.

Having said that, the white people in this movie only appear horrible to viewers who have no lessons to learn from Crash. You can accurately call this “preaching to the choir”. But you also underestimate how many racist there are out there. They like movies, too. Nothing wrong with trying to please everyone, and Crash strives to please both Liberals and racists alike for opposite reasons without either side realizing it.

Confused? Take my hand, and I’ll show you how it works. Crash deals with a small sample of every ethnic group on Earth intersecting in L.A. Let’s look at each character’s individual journey and what it says on both sides of the aisle…

1. Matt Dillon as Officer John Ryan

Matt Dillon’s character hates black people. He’s also extra tense because his dad has severe peeing problems. So one day, he and his rookie partner, Ryan Phillippe, pull over black guy Terrence Howard and his less-black wife, Thandie Newton, because he sees them giving each other blowjobs while driving, which is illegal. While patting them down, he totally feels up Thandie Newton, which is also illegal. He lets them go; they don’t press charges. So this one’s a wash.

Later he tries to get medical help for his dad. The lady in charge of this decision is black and denies Matt Dillon because he’s racist. Dillon thinks this is bullshit because, while he may be racist, his poor father loved black people and lost his business to affirmative action. The lady doesn’t care. Her name is Sheniqua.

Pissed and hating black people more than ever, Dillon approaches a bad car wreck filled with a trapped Thandie Newton. Rather than let her burn to death, Dillon risks his life to save hers. Conversely, Newton must overcome her fear of getting re-molested to let him save her.

Liberal Message: Even the most racist guy in the movie isn’t all that racist when it comes down to life and death.

Racist Message: Hate all you want, but if you want to live, you’re gonna need a little white power.

2. Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser as Jean and Rick Cabot

Brendan Fraser is the district attorney and Sandra Bullock is his rich, racist wife. Like many of us, Bullock’s racism is subtly waiting under the surface. But that all changes when two black guys highjack their SUV. This proves to her that people of color are bad, and the universe has finally given justification for her to let loose her long held prejudices. In the end, however, she realizes that her only friend in the world is her Mexican maid. Because she’s a bitch.

Fraser, on the other hand, is less racist, but must play a whole deck of race cards to keep his political career. This includes possibly sending a white guy to jail for a murder he didn’t commit simply because it would look too bad to send off the guilty black guy so soon after getting highjacked by black guys.

Liberal Message: Mexicans are people too. Once again, a racist white person learns to not be racist. Brendan Fraser is stuck in a bad situation, but he means well.

Racist Message: That Mexican maid is lucky to be employed, and she gets a best friend out of it for free. Affirmative action sends innocent white people to prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Also, fear of a black planet is justified.

3. Shaun Toub as Persian Farhad

Persian Farhad is an Iraqi guy who owns a store. He’s afraid of the Mexicans and black people who shop there, so he buys a gun. Additionally, he has a lock that needs fixed so he hires Mexican locksmith Daniel Ruiz, played by Michael Pena. The locksmith tells him the new lock is fine, but it’s the door that needs replacing. Because Farhad hates Mexicans, he refuses to pay and tells Ruiz to go fuck himself.

The next day, Farhad finds his shop broken into and destroyed. Insurance won’t pay for it because he failed to replace the broken door. In anger, he visits the locksmith and shoots his little girl.

Liberal Message: Farhad’s daughter is super hot.

Racist Message: Iraqi people are extremely violent and cannot listen to reason.

4. Don Cheadle as Graham Waters

Don Cheadle is a pretty level headed guy, race wise. His girlfriend is a Mexican, and he opposes laying a murder on a white guy when a black guy is more likely guilty.

According to his heroin-addicted mother, however, this is just his way of refusing to be black. In fact, she lays his brother’s murder at his feet simply because he, like she, didn’t know where he was when he was shot. Ultimately, he goes back on his morals and helps charge an innocent white guy for murder in exchange for political gain.

Liberal Message: It is nearly impossible for a black man to escape the tiny box society creates for him.

Racist Message: A black guy comes close, but ultimately fails to become “one of the good ones.”

5. Ludacris as Anthony

Ludacris is one of the two carjackers who steal Sandra Bullock’s SUV. He rationalizes his thieving as a form of class warfare against white people. All that changes when he tries to highjack Terrence Howard, who is not only mad that his wife got felt up by Matt Dillon, but also that Tony Danza forced him to make a black actor “act more black” at his day job directing episodes of TBS’s hit show “Who Da Bozz?”

Howard steals Ludacris’ gun and teaches him a lesson about how his own “acting black” is keeping black people down in general. He does this by goading police into shooting him.

Luckily, Ryan Phillippe is there to save him, and Ludacris walks away enlightened enough to set a van load of Chinese slaves free onto the streets of L.A. rather than sell them to some fat Russian guy who they will undoubtably end up with anyway.

Liberal Message: Classism exists within races as well as without. Nothing is as simple as it seems.

Racist Message: Rich or poor, black people need white cops to save them from each other and themselves.

6. Ryan Phillippe as Tom Hanson

Ryan Phillippe is determined the be the only non-racist person living in L.A. As a test, God partners him up with Matt Dillon. When he appeals to his black superior, played by Keith Fucking David, for a transfer, he’s denied because calling another cop racist will get them both fired. They only way he can get away from Dillon is by claiming to have severe farts.

Phillippe is so determined to be non-racist that actually shoulders this humiliation. Before he and Matt Dillon part ways, he’s warned that the job itself will make him racist no matter who his partner is. He proves this wrong by saving Terrence Howard’s life.

Eager to prove it wrong even more, he picks up a hitchhiking Larenz Tate, Don Cheadle’s brother. After a little tiff, Tate starts laughing and reaches for something in his pocket. Fearing for his life, Phillippe shoots Tate to death. Phillippe realizes that he’s been racist all long and promptly disappears from the film, presumably to go become Matt Dillon, which means any racist shit he does in the meantime is forgiven because redemption is in his future.

Liberal Message: It doesn’t matter what color you are, you cannot cryptically reach into your pocket around police officers. That’s just stupid.

Racist Message: If you’re black, you cannot cryptically reach into your pocket around police officers. That’s just stupid.

7. Korean People as Chinese People

Some Chinese guy is locking up his van when Ludacris accidentally runs him over. After being dumped at the hospital, his Chinese wife races to his side, accidentally rear-ending a Mexican. Instead of apologizing, she blames the Mexican and calls her fat, even though she is clearly fine as shit.

Once at the hospital, her and her husband have a warm reunion, after which, he hands her a check and tells her to cash it immediately. If she doesn’t, they might not get paid for all the Chinese slaves they imported because they’re probably all about to be deported.

Liberal Message: Uh…Married Chinese people love each other?

Racist Message: Holy shit, Chinese people.

So let’s go through the checklist…

White People: Racist but capable of redemption.

Black People: Capable of looking like white people, but only at their own moral detriment.

Mexicans: Cute and lovable saints.

Iraqis: Capable of producing babies that aren’t super fucked up and dangerous.

Chinese: Holy shit, Chinese people.

It’s a tough world out there, and there’s no way to walk through it alone. I recommend we put aside our differences and crash into each other now and again. It’s the only way for us to grow as a culture. Besides, 100 years from now, we’ll all be whatever color Vin Diesel is, so we may as well get used to it now.

(three stars)