Monday, December 14, 2009

The Blind Side - Surprise Hit Movie

My favorite line in this movie is when Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) asks his wife Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock):

"Who would've thought we'd have a black son before we met a Democrat?"

Bullock portrays a southern, white, Christian mother of two, married to a rich businessman. She is a proud NRA member who packs a pistol and threatens to use it during a confrontation in the poor black Memphis community that is the original home to her adopted son, Michael Oher. He is destined to become a great right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens football team. [Click photo for a larger view of the family Christmas card]

No wonder the reviews in the liberal media were so poor AND no wonder the movie caught on and is drawing larger and larger audiences every week!

Village Voice (NY City): "Blind Side the movie peddles the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them.."

Portland Oregonian: "A facile, feel-good fable that substitutes cliché for reality at nearly every turn.."

New York Times: "..a movie made up almost entirely of turning points and yet curiously devoid of drama or suspense ... Will you be moved? Maybe, though only in the sense that “moved” can describe the experience of defensive player, overpowered by a blocker and left flat on his back with a possible concussion."

The Globe and Mail (Toronto): "A football story that deserves a penalty flag every other play for piling on the sentiment

NPR: "..The Blind Side's story is contrived, storybook sweet, credulity-straining and ... um, true."


My wife and I watched the real-life heroes of this story, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy along with their daughter and son, today on ABC's Good Morning America after having seen the movie last evening in a packed theater.

Michael Oher was born in Memphis to a crack-adicted mother and was an effectively illiterate teen when the (Black) father of one of his friends helped him gain admittance to a Christian Academy. "Big Mike" was admitted because the football coach saw his great size and athletic ability, but he struggled with the academic side and had no place to live.

Enter Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) and her businessman husband and family, who rescue him out of the cold streets and take him in, eventually adopting him. Michael's measured IQ is only 80, but she recognizes that his innate intelligence has been obscured by a low level of literacy. Leigh Anne and her son and daughter help him with school work.

Michael excels as a football player and is courted by many colleges, but his GPA is too low to qualify under NCAA rules. Leigh Anne finds a tutor and hires her despite her confession of being a Democrat. (Hence the line at the head of this posting: "Who would've thought we'd have a black son before we met a Democrat?")

With Leign Anne pressuring his teachers and school administrators, and the help of the tutor, Michael barely squeaks through with a 2.52 GPA and goes off to Ole Miss to play football. His tutor goes with him and his IQ is improved to the average range. After graduation he plays professional football for the Ravens.

The Title of the movie "Blind Side" comes from the tragic end to Joe Theismann's career in 1985 when the Redskin quarterback was "blind sided" and had his leg broken by Giants' tackle Lawrence Taylor. The movie starts with TV coverage of that event.


This is the true story (with minimum Hollywood distortion) of how a Conservative American family actually helped a poor but deserving young man develop his intellectual and athletic abilities and succeed in life.

While some Liberals like to talk about helping the downtrodden, they seem (to me at least) to help the less-deserving poor in return for their votes as a means to political power. They use public money to accomplish their goals.

Conservatives do not seem talk about helping the disadvantaged so much as act by setting the stage for them to help themselves if they have the innate talents, as illustrated by this true story and fine movie.

Ira Glickstein


joel said...

What did your wife think of the movie? Did she agree with the Times and other critics? -Joel

Ira Glickstein said...

Joel, my wife thought the movie was "extraordinary". She wanted to see it on the stength of a recommendation from her best friend who had seen it with her husband. She told me she does not pay much attention to movie reviews.

I should also mention that the reviews I quoted were selected from the most liberal media because they were both pithy and negative. See Metacritic for a broad selection of reviews, both positive and negative.

Ira Glickstein