was a combination pizza for me. There were some great ingredients, and others that left a bad taste in my mouth. In hind sight, I would have preferred to just’ve ordered pepperoni.
begins with a rear-end accident involving a LAPD detective Graham Waters (Cheadle) and his partner (Esposito). The accident happens to be right near a recently discovered body, which triggers Waters to flashback to events that began the previous day. At this time we’ll be introduced to two carjackers (Tate and Ludacris) who happen to carjack a car from the DA (Fraser) and his wife (Bullock). This launches a geyser of conversation from all parties about racism. Meanwhile, a bigot cop (Dillon) takes his frustration out on an outspoken black couple, doing unspeakable things during a pat down, while frustrated partner (Phillippe) stands watching. And don’t forget a quick tempered Iraqi shop owner who recently purchased a weapon from Archie Bunker’s evil twin in hopes of protecting his store . . . instead of fixing his door that won’t shut properly.
is an attempt at Robert Altman’s Short Cuts.
Others have compared it to Anderson’s Magolia.
Both are similar in that the viewer has to wade through the feces of this world just to find a few good elements.
Don’t believe the hype about this film. Yes, there are some very good moments in this film. I really enjoyed the characters of the two carjackers played by Tate and Ludicris. A few of their conversations were thought provoking- truly great clips. And the visual transformation of several characters was noteworthy. There’s no argument, there are some fantastic scenes in this film and the message overall is positive.
But unfortunately, you have to track mud all over the floors just to enjoy the thought provoking dialogue and character development.
And, against popular opinion, I felt that the story was a little far fetched and, dare I say, “forced.” We’re asked to believe that a handful of people’s lives will collide and intersect numerous times in a city as large as LA. The chances of this happening are as likely as running into the entire “Friends”
cast on your next visit to Universal Studios.
I found the film a little predictable as well. Viewers weren’t shown the body that Cheatle’s character found, it was left a mystery. Any Scooby Doo fan will guess this conclusion with no problem. The examples don’t end there; I saw warning signs ten miles away for several of the other plot twists in the film. I was a little disappointed in Haggis’ writing. His script for Million Dollar Baby
was anything but predictable.
So don’t believe the hype. Don't rush out to rent this one.
SHOULD KIDS SEE IT:
Absolutely not. Language is terrible, and the violence and sexual content is excessive. Not to mention pointless in some scenes. In one scene we see Don Cheadle’s character having graphic sex with his female partner. The scene was pointless, a sellout to someone’s desire for a little eye candy.
Some people will tell you that the message of this film is a positive one and kids should see it. I guess if we’re talking about the kids who can see anything they want—this film would be a better option than Four Brothers
showing in the theatre next door.
As said above, we don't recommend your kids see this film. But on the occasion that they actually have already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
- What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?
- How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
- How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
, president of The Source for Youth
Ministry, is the author of numerous books including the new
Should I Just Smash My Kid's Phone?
, and youth ministry books like
Ministry By Teenagers
Connect: Real Relationships in a
World of Isolation
, and the award winning book
Do They Run When They See You Coming?
speaks and trains
at conferences, churches and events across North
America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his
. You can follow Jonathan on
, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help.
Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live