Oscarthon: Best Picture- The Blind Side

A ten part series on the Best Picture nominees, structured around four basic questions.

Part 2: The Blind Side

Was It Any Good?

You know what? It was a lot better than I thought.

While there are some big issues with selective white blindness going on with this film, and indeed it carries a condescending tone overall, the performances actually shine through about 75% of the time. It led to an affecting story, and I'd say an effective movie overall.

That doesn't erase the clumsy way it handles an entire half of the city of Memphis (apparently you cross some line in the middle and go straight from mansionland to a crime-infested hood) and the backstory of its central character (I mean its central non-Sandra-Bullock character of course).


Would I See It Again?

Nope. Not much below the surface of this one, despite all of the things it had going for it- especially Carter Burwell's restrained score.

It's a shame that while The Blind Side crosses $240 million at the box office, the VERY tonally similar and far superior tv show Friday Night Lights had to be saved from cancellation by DirecTV, and will get terrible ratings when it finally airs on NBC this summer.

The fourth season of that show features a shift in focus to the less affluent part of a smaller town, but it manages to tone down the contrast between the holy American-dreaminess of the football field and the seeming hellishness of urban living.

The Blind Side, despite touching characters, glides through this disparity only quick enough to make it seem nearly incontrivertably huge. The rest of the film is just a fish-out-of-water story, with some maudlin southern sentimentalism bleeding in here and there.

So no, not going on the shelf.

What Did It Acheive?

Other than to push Sandra Bullock toward a little gold statuette, not much.

And look, I don't care how much of the story is true. I'm sure Michael Lewis' book is great, but we're talking about Best Picture here. Being true doesn't get you anywhere with me. There's a book and a screenplay in probably half of the NFL Draft picks each year, if only because suceeding in sports is such a quintessentially American fable. But beyond a bookending voice-over by Bullock that feebly attempts to relate the importance of the starting left tackle (who protects a right-handed quarterback's blind side) to the themes of the film, The Blind Side doesn't really aspire to be more than about a family.

I suppose its prolonged box-office success is also an acheivement, one much heralded as a triumph for a humble little film that focuses on "family values" and so forth. And while it appeals to Christian values (when the Touhy's take Michael Oher in), name drops the NRA, and has a sly wink to George W. Bush, it doesn't get anywhere near polemic. The most charged moment in the film, on a left/right scale, is when Kathy Bates' character (a private tutor) admits that she's a democrat as if she's confessing to killing a man.

Will I Remember It Years From Now?

If it wins Best Picture, I sure will, but otherwise it will likely fade into a quiet oblivion. Sandra Bullock might not be the best of the five nominees (it's the only performance I've seen so far, but I'd put money on Helen Mirren anyday), but it wouldn't bother me if she won.

If I re-watched The Blind Side, I suspect I might grow much more impatient with its racial politics and "aw-shucks" narrow vision, but for now it's hard to dislike all that much.

Still, we couldn't have nominated Star Trek instead?

2 Response to "Oscarthon: Best Picture- The Blind Side"

  1. Agnes B says:

    I have to say, I'm liking this format of putting the contenders head to head. I look forward to more entries.

    For once, I've seen a surprising number of the nominees (Basterds, Up in the Air, The Hurt Locker, and Avatar [under duress]) and plan to see most of them (Up, District 9, and An Education).

    Whether I get through Precious, The Blind Side, and A Serious Man remains to be seen. I might just read what you have to say.

    I agree with the first question in here because I wouldn't see that again I'd prefer to watch the pharmacy it's a perfect movie, I want you to watch this excellent movie too.

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