A common criticism of Best Picture-nominated "Babel" is: "It's the 'Crash' of 2006," which is unfair to "Crash." While last year's Best Picture wasn't a classic winner in the mold of 2003's "Return of the King," more resembling a successful experimental movie than a successor to "Gone with the Wind," "Lawrence of Arabia," and "The Godfather," it was a lot better movie than "Babel." I wrote in The American Conservative: " "Crash" is too contrived to be a great movie, but it's a contrivance of an unusually high order." The first hour, being inspired writer-director Paul Haggis's having been himself carjacked in 1991, is one of the most candid depictions of America's crime and race problems. The second hour mostly apologizes for the first hour, but that's a small price to pay (especially compared to the film it upset for Best Picture, the thoroughly phony "Brokeback Mountain." My full review of "Crash" is here.