Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I’m watching a TV commercial for this movie ‘The Blind Side’ and it has its typical critical blurbs running across the screen telling us how great this movie is with one particular blurb from some critic saying that this is ‘Sandra Bullock’s Greatest Performance!’. Really Mr. Critical Dude? That would mean that Ms. Bullock’s performance in this movie outdistanced her performance as Lenina Huxley in ‘Demolition Man’… uh… I DON’T THINK SO! Not possible. Now if this cat meant to say that her performance in this flick was better than what she pulled off in those ‘Miss Congeniality’ flicks then I’ll buy that but better than ‘Demolition man’? Come on man. Anyway, I’m not one to miss a football themed movie, particularly one that’s getting as much love as this one is getting, and maybe due to the overwhelming praise this movie is getting, raising my expectations exponentially, by the time I finished watching it I simply found it merely okay. And barely okay at that.

Our film opens with Sandra B. as the character of Leigh Anne Tuohy narrating to us the importance of a football quarterbacks left tackle. This scene was played over one of the most gruesome plays in the history of football, that being Joe Thiesman getting his leg snapped by Lawrence Taylor. You know, I saw that play live when it happened while watching that game as a kid with my brother and my dad, and I really, really didn’t need to see it again on a 300 inch theater screen played back over and over again. There was a point to that grotesquery however as we are introduced to young Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) who is a homeless, clotheless, foodless giant of a boy who through the efforts of some kind folks has found himself a student in a prominent all-white Christian school.

During a rainstorm a cold wet and hungry Michael is picked up off the street by the kind Tuohy family, given a place to stay and as it will play out he would never leave. The fabulously wealthy Tuohy family would house Michael, who we are to assume

has been running from foster home to foster home ever since he was ripped away from his crack addicted mother. The Tuohy’s would clothe Michael, feed him, nurture him, educate him and help develop him until Michael Oher would rise from a borderline illiterate homeless child to the Deans List at Ole Miss and an eventual first round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens.

There were an awful lot of things that bugged me about this movie ‘The Blind Side’ which had good intentions, was well meaning, was also irresistibly watchable and did have a firecracker of performance delivered by Sandra Bullock. I don’t want to spend the time getting into the laundry list of crimes that this movie has committed against humanity but maybe I’ll just touch on a few while casually avoiding some of these crimes that tend to get people all upset. Let’s start off with some simple things such as watching the character of Michael on the football field. We are led to believe in this movie that Michael Oher has never played a down of football in his life before getting to this school, which Michael Oher himself has said isn’t true but we’re going ahead with what this movie says. Then we see Michael get into his four point stance like a frog and the coach (Ray McKinnon) gets all upset because Michael basically sucks. Maybe the man should try to coach him up a little bit since simply being born large doesn’t necessarily bless one with the football gene. Keeping with the football theme, since this is a football themed movie, there was a scene during a game where Michael, playing tackle, sees the defensive line switch positions which completely baffles the poor boy. I immediately say, after watching the confused look on the boys face, ‘cover your inside gap son’ which isn’t even Offensive Line play 101, it’s remedial offensive line play. I wish these things didn’t bother me and I could ignore them but can’t. It just ruins the element of believability for me. This also plays into another fundamental problem I had with this movie in that with this movie in that the characters were always ‘telling’ us that Michael Oher is smarter than he appears but they were ‘showing’ us nothing of the sort. In this movie the character of Michael, who has about fifteen lines in this movie about his life, is presented as slow witted, gullible and easily controlled and unless Leigh Anne or the Tuohy’s young son S.J. (Jae Head) is making the decisions for him, Michael is doesn’t do all that well on his own. The thing is if this kid has been on the street for the last ten years then this kid is probably more worldly than all of us combined and more worldly than he has any right to be. So when his tutor, Miss Sue (Kathy Bates), tells him some stupid story about zombies under stadium a the University of Tennessee, in an effort to guide Michael to her alma mater of Ole Miss, I would expect this street kid to see the story for the story it is as opposed to looking on in abject terror and choosing to go to Ole Miss to avoid the zombies.

I am glad the movie at least touched on the appearance of impropriety in the Tuohy’s interest in Michael as Ole Miss boosters and guiding Michael to the school of their choosing because that appearance is certainly there. But from where I stand, even if the Tuohy’s only interest in Michael Oher was to provide their alma mater with a starting left tackle for four years, they took interest in this kid when nobody else did and it turned out pretty good for him. Besides, that’s a lot of effort to go through just get yourself a left tackle, valuable though they may be.

I had more problems with this movie but I’ve run out time and space so we’ll go ahead and shut it on down, but ‘The Blind Side’ did manage to be entertaining while personally weighing me down with it’s myriad of frustrating elements. The public has spoken and the public loves it, I just can’t agree with the public on this one.

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