In the days leading up to the Oscars, Sentimental Movie Marathon will take a look at each of the Best Picture Nominees. This is OSCAR BONANZA: TOO MUCH FILM IN YO’ FACE. Thirdly, The Blind Side or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Left Tackle.
1. WHAT IS THE BLIND SIDE?
The film’s title refers to the position of left offensive tackle in American football. Since most quarterbacks are right-handed, their progressions go in such a way that limits their vision to their left, or their BLIND SIDE. The left tackle protects that.
The Blind Side was first a book by Michael Lewis. Lewis’ thing is looking at the unnoticed and esoteric minutiae of all sorts of sports. He did this in his baseball/ Billy Beane book, this book that became this movie (and also the NY Times Magazine article that focused on Michael Oher), and an NY Times article that claimed Shane Battier is the best basketball player in the history of basketball.
So, you would think the movie is about Michael Oher and his life? Well, sort of. The movie seems more focused on Sandra Bullock’s Leigh Anne Tuohy, matriarch of the family of which Oher becomes a part. Quinton Aaron plays Michael Oher. Fun Fact! Quinton Aaron is actually older than the real Michael Oher.
2. WHAT DOES THE BLIND SIDE HAVE GOING FOR IT?
Along with Avatar and Up, The Blind Side made lots of money, almost unexpectedly. So far, it has made about $250 million. I remember going to a theater around Thanksgiving and seeing a line for The Blind Side that stretched around the whole theater. The people seemed to like the film when I thoroughly interviewed them all afterwards.
At the risk of sounding like an asshole, The Blind Side is the closest thing to a chick flick in the race. Again, small sample size, but the audience with which I saw this film was almost entirely female. Granted, this has less to do with the film than with Sandra Bullock being in the film. People love Sandra Bullock! Some think she deserves an Oscar for her work in this film. She does act very well.
The Blind Side is also an uplifting sports movie, which is a category that appeals to everyone ever!
3. WHAT WILL BREAK THE BLIND SIDE LIKE LAWRENCE TAYLOR BROKE JOE THEISMANN?
While The Blind Side does a bunch of things well, it falls back on cliche, a LOT. Cases in point
There’s also an uneasiness about the portrayal of race relations within the movie. I don’t think that The Blind Side wants to be racist, but focusing the story on Bullock’s character opens up a view of the film of the loving white person saving the quiet, filled-with-potential black adolescent. In The Blind Side‘s defense, Avatar deals with these same things, but MUCH less effectively.
Lastly, The Blind Side avoids conflict. The conflicts in the film are episodic and solved through the constant honesty and righteousness of the main characters. The movie seems to avoid some of the tougher questions that the book brings up (such as booster culture in college football). Most true-story sports movies go along this same path, but not many true-story sports movies are nominated for Best Picture. So, The Blind Side falls with Up, District 9, and maybe Inglorious Basterds into the realm of genre nominees, a definite disadvantage.
4. WILL I TOTALLY LOSE MY SHIT IF THE BLIND SIDE WINS?
I do not expect The Blind Side to win. I think it does not deserve the award, but I think in the year of nomination expansion, its inclusion is a way to say “Hey, we like heartwarming tales, too! We are just like you, America!” It is more likely and will be more disappointing to me if Sandra Bullock wins for Best Actress. Don’t get me wrong, she is fine in this film, but Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe are so much better! And Hellen Mirren and Meryl Streep are Hellen Mirren and Meryl Streep, respectively. And Emily Blunt was snubbed, SNUBBED I tell you for The Young Victoria! But yeah, if The Blind Side wins, it will be proof the Sandra Bullock postulate, wherein nominated films that feature Bullock upset the Oscar establishment (AKA Sandra Bullock CRASHES the Party).