Two weekends ago (was it? whatever.) Anne and Matt rented a couple of DVDs in Cambridge and brought them up to Casco. We watched Good Night and Good Luck on Friday and Crash on Saturday.

I’m just a little too young (!) to remember the McCarthy era as such. I do remember my parents being very concerned about it. We didn’t own a television set in those days, but my parents were able to borrow one from my father’s work (he worked for Sylvania Electric, which made TVs. Back in those days, there were American companies making consumer electronics).

As I was saying, my parents borrowed a television set from Sylvania specifically to watch the Army-McCarthy hearings, which showed up just at the end of Good Night and Good Luck. They, and in particular Welch’s question, “Have you no shame, sir?”, really led to the end of the McCarthy witch hunts. There was still the House Un-American Activities Committee for many years later, but the worst was over when McCarthy was censured. As far as I could tell, the movie was a fair recap of how things were in the early ’50s. By the way, Roy Cohn, the villain of Angels in America, was McCarthy’s right-hand man.

Which brings me to Crash. I’m still thinking about it almost three weeks later, which is a sign of a good movie. What I liked best was that the characters were so hard to characterize. Almost every significant character in the movie had moments of being likeable and moments of being despicable. When you can see the good points of carjackers (was carjacker #1 the only person who acted with real integrity? could be), you figure a movie is getting past cookie-cutter personalities and into some of the real complexity of human beings.

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