Don’t count out ‘Crash,’ the little movie that could

Published 7:45 pm Monday, February 13, 2006

By Staff
We saw “Crash” before we ever heard of it.
I think Jordan brought it home from Movies Movies after whatever we intended to watch was checked out.
Imagine my surprise when it landed an Oscar nod for Best Picture.
Never mind that it is expected to be slaughtered by Ang Lee's anointed gay cowboys of “Brokeback Mountain.”
Actually, “Crash” earned six Academy Award nominations, including three for writer-director-producer Paul Haggis.
Four of the five Best Picture nominees cost less than $15 million to make - less than a fifth of the average Hollywood budget.
That only cools “Crash's” cachet.
It's the cheapest at $6.5 million, despite a cast of recognizable names, including Terrence Howard, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock and Thandie Newton.
It explores racial tension through multiple story lines.
Yet Crash's domestic box office, $56 million, exceeded that of any of its rivals when nominations were announced.
I'll be rooting for it.
Quips, quotes and qulunkers: “Political correctness is a front for bigotry because we don't learn about each other.”
This just in from 2002: President Bush Feb. 9 revealed a foiled al-Quaida plot to strike the United States after Sept. 11, 2001, by shoe bombers crashing a hijacked airliner into the Los Angeles Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast.
Turning point: Annual U.S. cancer deaths fell for the first time since 1930. Smoking declines and better tumor detection and treatment are credited.
A death certificate review by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the number of cancer deaths dropping from 557,271 in 2002 to 556,902 in 2003.
-0.5 percent: 2005's personal savings rate - the first year since the Depression that Americans spent more than they made (7.6 percent has been the average annual U.S. personal-savings rate since 1929, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis).
6.5 percent: Share of American consumer spending in September going for gas and energy bills - the highest rate in more than two decades.
An item in Motor Trend magazine's March issue has Toyota eyeing Benton Harbor for an engine factory.
Global warming converges with reality (TV): Remember 2004's “Survivor: Vanuata?” Its permanent residents face losing a real survival battle as the rising ocean devours Pacific islands. Australia had its hottest year on record. Climatologists quoted in the Feb. 5 Parade say cities are registering temperatures that would be normal 60 miles closer to the equator.
January was the warmest on record, 8.5 degrees above average at 39.5 degrees - erasing the previous mark, 37.3 degrees, set in 1953, the National Climatic Data Center reported Feb. 7.
McMakeover: The Golden Arches are getting their first restaurant redesign in 30 years.
More than 6,000 McDonald's will feature the new look by the end of 2006.
There will be counter seating for real fast-food customers, plush chairs for lingering and flexible seating areas where teens can shove tables together.
Obits: Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster, 1964-66), 95, died Feb. 3 in New York City. He ran for New York governor as a Green Party candidate in 1998.
Reuven Frank, 85, television pioneer and twice NBC News president (1968-73 and 1982-84), died Feb. 5. The Montreal native helped create the Chet Huntley and David Brinkley anchor team and tapped Tom Brokaw for sole anchor of NBC News. In 1982 he oversaw the wee-hours “NBC News Overnight” with Linda Ellerbee.
Fifth Harry Potter movie filming: British director David Yates began making J.K. Rowling's “The Order of the Phoenix” Feb. 6 in Hertfordshire, southern England. Daniel Radcliffe's back for the movie slated for 2007 release. Unpopular Dolores Umbridge will be played by 2005 Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”). Newcomer Evanna Lynch, 14, beat out 15,000 would-be Luna Lovegoods. Mike Newell's adaptation of the fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” grossed more than $285 million.
The 48th Grammys: Kelly Clarkson won best female pop performance for “Since U Been Gone.”