A lawyer's car breaks down in a bad neighborhood and he's saved
by a tow truck driver, sparking a friendship that affects many lives.
Grand Canyon (1991)
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
Written by Lawrence Kasdan and Meg Kasdan
Starring Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Mary McDonnell,
Steve Martin, Alfre Woodard, Mary-Louise Parker,
Jeremy Sisto, Patrick Malone, Tina Lifford
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Screenplay
I'm not a fan of movies that think they're going to solve racism in America with a single motion picture. Driving Miss Daisy, The Blind Side, and Grand Canyon are just a few that are guilty of this offensive, condescending trope. This movie sports a fantastic cast, all of whom are playing yuppie or minority caricatures. You've got the heartless lawyer, the noble black father who lost his wife, the douchey film producer, the wife who has no other character traits but "mother," the teenager who finds love at camp, and the young black kid who is arrested for being a young black kid in 90's L.A. There is not a single drop of originality or honesty in this film.
Kline plays Mack, a yuppie lawyer whose car breaks down in a bad neighborhood. Within minutes, he's harassed by a gang of black hoodlums in a fancy white car. Considering this scene is written by a white screenwriter, it's amazing it's not more offensive. The characters are portrayed with zero nuance or layers, and they also never come back despite a promise that they will come back. Meanwhile, Steve Martin is a film producer who gets shot in the leg by a vaguely Hispanic mugger, because apparently Kasdan wants us to fear minorities if you're a rich white guy who happens to be in the projects. Also, Martin's story has no bearing on the rest of the film, so why is it here?
Grand Canyon is a diet Magnolia without the realistic characters and situations that made it so memorable. This film is one of those "we're not so different after all" horseshit films that comes around every few years to remind us that racism can be eradicated quickly if we all just tried to get along. If only it were that simple, but unfortunately, it's not, and I don't like when films are dishonestly telling generations that it is. It's annoying, it's condescending, and it's gotta stop.