I liked John Stewart, though I felt the whole time he was humoring the audience, telling his jokes with a grain of fear that those "hollywood types" just wouldn't understand.
I'm not afraid to admit that I was NOT rooting for CRASH in the Oscars. Not only was I not rooting for it, I was rather surprised it made it in and such fantastic movies like TransAmerica and Junebug did not. Oh I know...but it had such an important message, you say. People need to be made to think when they go see a film, you say. Yes, fine, that's all well and good. But the movie still has to be good in order for it to achieve that. In order for a movie to be good in my humble opinion, it needs to be well-written and well-acted, and well-directed.
As a writer, I found the dialog and writing cliched. As a viewer hoping to make emotional connections with the characters, I found the acting over-done, and an entire cast of talented actors turned into cliches because the writing they had to work with was so bad. There were a few powerful scenes, but mostly it was a bunch of people yelling at each other, having very little compassion for each other, and trying to prove their points with bad consequences.
Directing wasn't too bad, except that for at least half the characters (Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillipe), I had to suspend disbelief; i just did not believe their characters.
I know that if you say you didn't like a movie like CRASH you're liable to be accused of being racist. "It was the message that scared you. You just couldn't handle it. You know, racism still thrives in this country!"
Racism still thrives, it's true. And I probably have as much internalized racism as any character in that movie, which did seem to be the point of it. But so thrives sexism and violence and rape and suppression and I still wish Brokeback or Goodnight and Good Luck had won. I don't like a movie just for its message; and I've gotten the message from more even-handed, subtle movies before.
So. Can we still be friends?