Roger Ebert is really hit or miss as a movie reviewer, but his TV show is reasonably entertaining. He has never made a secret of his liberal views, but I believe his review of the movie “Crash” has gone a little too far.
The movie (which, incidentally is very good), is about racial tensions in Los Angeles. Of course, you can’t have a movie about race in L.A. without a couple of good racist white cop beatdowns, and they are provided in the film. Matt Dillon plays the aforementioned racist officer, who pulls over a black couple and assaults the wife during the pat downs. Ryan Phillippe, who plays Dillon’s partner, of course finds this reprehensible and asks to be reassigned from partnering with Dillon.
Fair enough. But in Ebert’s review, he describes Phillippe’s character as a “liberal young cop,” which drew me to a couple of conclusions. First, there are no speeches about Social Security reform or drilling for oil in Alaska in the movie, so I can only assume Ebert thought the young cop was “liberal” because he objected to his racist partner’s activities. If this is the case, Ebert thinks the more accepting of racist behavior you are, the less “liberal” and more “conservative” you are.
I’m certain that during the movie, Ebert felt the same anger towards Dillon’s character that the young cop did. Since Ebert considers himself a liberal, he probably drew that connection without really thinking about what the flip side of that equation would mean.