Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AB Goes To The Movies: The Blind Side.

Much like Precious[1], it took me awhile to bring myself to watch The Blind Side. The reasons are many. I live in the midst of enough black dysfunction on the daily. Why would I wanna drop $50 to experience this nonsense on the big screen? Perhaps even worse is the "white Savior" aspect of both movies. Namely, poor, shiftless Negroes are rescued from themselves by White(ish) folks, largely by virtue of tough love and motherly nurturing. If you ain't seen this Hollywood staple before, then might I suggest you go rent Freedom Writers. At least that movie had a good soundtrack.

For those utterly clueless, The Blind Side is about a wealthy white family that takes in a large, slovenly, mushmouthed black kid from the other side of the tracks, and magically teaches him how to perform pancake blocks to get himself drafted in the NFL. Of course, it's not this simple, but after watching this cliche-ridden piece of drivel, I can't say there's a whole lot more to it.

Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Southern Belle married to a rich man, with two beautiful kids and a large suburban home. When Tuohy realizes that a new kid named "Big Mike" at her children's exclusive private school is homeless, she and her husband take him in out of the kindness of their hearts and make him a part of their family. They bathe him, dress him, educate him, and motivate him to turn his life into something other than a statistic. In the end, "Big" Michael Oher goes on to play four years of college ball at Ole' Miss, and was drafted last year as a first rounder for the Baltimore Ravens. It's a true story that was inspired by a book of the same name, and provided you're able to turn off your third eye, this is a relatively entertaining movie.

As ya'll know, my Negro Spidey Sense has no off button, so I couldn't watch this nonsense without wincing. Sure, much of what's here is true. The Tuohys did indeed take in Oher, and rightfully deserve much praise for helping out a kid who was headed nowhere. But come the hell on! So much of this movie is insulting, and borderline stereotypical for the sake of manufactured drama, it kills any good vibes I might have walked away with.

Perhaps the most alarming is Oher himself, who is portrayed as a damn near a mute. Sure, Oher in real life is pretty soft spoken for an NFL player, but they movie makes him look like an imbecile. He is routinely tutored academically by his 3rd grader "adoptive brother", a child so comically obnoxious you want to punch your TV screen when he's on it. Leigh Anne reads "Big Mike" children's books for Crissakes. WTF? And in an act of fiction so egregious, I'm shocked Oher didn't sue for defamation, the movie basically shows him being taught how to play football by a 9 year-old and a 50-something white woman. In real life, Oher had been playing football since Pop Warner, but here, he somehow, thanks to the magical Tennessee twang of Sandra Bullock, goes from not even knowing what a snap count is, to being recruited by every SEC school in a matter of two weeks time.

Even worser, there isn't a single black character in this movie that helps Mike. His real Mom is on drugs and has nearly 20 kids, so she willingly gives him up for adoption. His neighborhood is full of dope boys who ogle Tuohy and try to get Mike to join a gang. And even once he gets a scholarship, his dreams are nearly derailed by some evil sista who suggests that that Tuohys only allowed him to move in because they wanted to steer him towards playing college ball at their alma mater. Of course, when Mike finds himself in even more trouble, a pistol-packin' Leanne simply rides over to North Memphis and threatens some gangbangers to set him free.

Holy Caucasian Jesus, who the hell wrote this crap?!?

Again, this isn't a terrible movie, so much as its typical. You've seen it all before, and there's nothing new in The Blind Side, whatsoever. What's atypical is how successful this movie was, raking in a cool $200M, and giving Bullock the distinction of being the first female lead in a movie that did those numbers. That, more than anything else, is what I suspect earned her the best actress Academy Award, because it sure wasn't her performance in this movie. Yeah, Bullock captures the Southern drawl and overall presence of the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy to the tee, but this movie is so cookie-cutter, and so full of cliches, I can't imagine why someone deemed this worthy of an Oscar.

Final Verdict: Is The Blind Side decent "turn off your brain" entertainment if you have nothing better to do? Sure? But if you're like me, and find that "off" switch hard to locate, you might wanna pass. 2 1/2 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Did you see The Blind Side? Is this "White Folks Save The Negroes From Themselves" genre of movie getting played out, or is it just me?

[1] The review is coming soon.

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