Haggis | Starring:
Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito,
Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, Ryan Phillippe,
| Runtime: 122m
| Rating (out of 5):
||I haven't been this
torn about a movie in quite a while. I was actually rather enjoying
it until I spotted Ms. Hipster rolling her eyes and even once throwing
back her head in disgust. And I'm like the biggest film skeptic in
the world, but I'm allowing the second-biggest ruin what up to that
point had been a relatively interesting experience. I knew from the
beginning that this wasn't going to be a subtle affair. I knew this
wasn't going to be a nuanced look at race relations set in the context
of a larger plot. That was the plot. Everyone is a racist, and you
shouldn't judge a book by its cover. The writer comes right out and
basically screams this. Not an original concept, nor a particularly
compelling one, but I was taken by the glossy sheen of the whole thing.
Of course, shortly after hearing this lover of the Lifetime
Movie Network huff and puff over some seriously awkward dialogue,
my skepticism started to grow, and the fancy camera work showed itself
for exactly what it was: an attempt to cover up truly awful repartee.
Listening closely to conversations revealed some ideas not worthy
of a freshman ethics class or bad Death of a Salesman rip-offs
or early Spike
Lee films. And what did we actually learn from this movie? Blacks
are inherently good, but are situationally bad. Whites are bad, but
feel really bad about it. Hispanics are thought to be bad, but are
really, really good. Asians are bad-driving, money-grubbing evil-doers.
Arabs are bad because they don't speak the language, but are ultimately
good, god-fearing people like whites from the Midwest. It is weird
that the only minority group you can consistently bash is Asians.
I'm not sure why that is. I blame it on that step-n-fetch-it, Jackie
Chan and his crazy Rush Hour antics. Or maybe the Asian anti-defamation
lobby is lazy and shiftless. There are basically four or five stories
that weave themselves together, uniting different cross-sections of
Los Angeles. Growing up in that city, I don't really recall the Valley
being a dangerous place for African Americans, as it is alluded to.
I mean I know the Westside (especially Beverly Hills) cops were fond
of pulling folks over for DWB, but apparently I had my head in the
sand about all these closet racist freaks. Oh, and Brendan Fraser
as the D.A.? Jesus, next we'll see Keanu
playing the Secretary of State. That was some serious miscasting,
but what are you gonna do when Dudley
of the Jungle is willing to do your small film? And then there's
that "ending." I threw quotes around it because it's not
as much an ending as it is a movie with a 6.5 million dollar budget
that was already over two hours running out of film. Seriously. The
thing just kinda peters out. It's like they got to page 122 and just
gave up and panned away. Maybe I shouldn't take these things so literally,
but it's difficult when the filmmakers are so earnest with their message.
And exactly what that message is is a little lost on me to be honest.
Reviews of New York City's most popular (and least
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This much ignorance
about literature can only lead to hurt feelings and a whole lot of
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