CSI
Crash And Burn

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Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
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Hank, You Duplicitous, Body-Moving Bastard

Kicky electronic music plays, causing viewers in the audience who grew up in the 1980s to look around and wonder who broke out the Atari. We get a wide aerial shot of Las Vegas's sprawling suburbs (nary a tree to be seen from the sky; evidently the ones we see are those elusive burrowing trees you hear so much about on the Discovery Channel) and then we zero in on a bustling café. We can tell it's a café and not some dreary chain where people fret about their flair count because the patrons are all too good-looking to have ever thought about eating a cheddar-and-bacon-filled potato skin, much less hefted one toward their mouths. Also, the glassware is way too nice. Anyway, couples huddle over the tables in conversation, murmuring, "Things couldn't look more normal here if they tried!" A saucy brunette sashays out of the bathroom, heading towards a confused-looking blond man. I'm going to assume it's Hank. I have a confession to make: the character's never really registered with me visually. He's like the human equivalent of rice; I know in the abstract that the different varieties are supposed to look and taste unique, but it's all one big, bland mass to me. So it is with Hank, too. I'm pretty sure the powers that be have swapped actors for this character at some point, but since the guy slides off my memory like eggs off a Teflon-coated skillet, I can't confirm it and I don't care enough to look it up on IMDB.

The patrons all partake of postprandial chitchat while the manager beams benevolently. His smile disappears the moment he notices the Jaguar heading down the empty street which faces the café, as the Jaguar is a) speeding, and b) showing no indication of making a turn before reaching the T-shaped intersection at which the café rests. In fact, the car goes hurtling through the café's plate-glass window, wreaking impressive Bruckheimer-caliber carnage as it goes. Glassware breaks, people go flying across the room in the kinds of parabolas that require entire trigonometry classes to map, enough blood splatters to look grisly without going overboard, and general mayhem ensues. In short, we've just seen proof that the apple doesn't fall far from the Bruckheimer tree when it comes to carnage. The penultimate shot of the disaster is perpendicular to the ground -- probably to demonstrate how disorienting it can be to plow into a restaurant without a reservation -- and the scene ends with the camera resting on the slumped senior citizen pinned behind the wheel of the Jag. Oh, AARP's gonna be pissed about this.

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