Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Blind Side...of all that's good in the world

I don't know how to say this, so let me just spit it out:

Last Friday, I snuck in to watch what I soon learned was one of the most racist films to earn an Oscar nod (and tragically, most likely Oscar) since Breakfast At Tiffany's. Some may call it 'feel-good' and 'inspirational.' I call it offensive garbage.

Now I can already hear you bloodthirsty genre fans scratching your heads in confusion. "I Googled 'horror!'", you mumble, or, for those 3 viewers that seem to find this one page every month, "I just wanted a good headshot of Marc Blucas looking like an idiot ." 

I understand your pain and will now open a door for you to exit, should you choose. Feel free to return at a latter date, such as Thursday when I hope to post genital ripping praise of Lars von Trier's Antichrist or next week when the Day of the Dead remake gets its chance to thud. Allow me, however, this one pocket of cyberspace to waste on a movie that deserves none of the baffling praise it has somehow earned. 

And for the loyal readers who actually read this way too long synopsis of a way too long and unnecessary film, I threw in a reference to Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror. Don't say I don't love you.

Also of note: throughout this 'review', you may hear some electro jazz music playing in intermittent spurts. Trust me, you'll know (bwamm chicka chicka...I clearly don't know my porn music). This signifies an ideal moment for any director of feature length pornography--professional or amateur, we're all artists here--to take the otherwise uninteresting scene into X-rated territory.

Not a Quick Plot: A kindly janitor named Tony comes to a private Christian school to try to enroll his son, Stephen. In order to do this, he has to talk with the school’s basketball and football coach (Ray McKinnon, who gets to make a lot of Karrrr-azay faces in a bid to nip at Jim Carrey’s ankles) because of course, young black men are athletic and will make fine additions to any team. Turns out, Tony has ANOTHER young, potentially athletic black man under his occasional care (aka, he sometimes sleeps on Tony’s couch) named Big Mike (Quinton Aaron, who gets to...mumble and occasionally walk), and wouldn’t it be great if he could go to school too? 
Yes, that’s a fine idea, and what a nice gesture from a caring man like Tony.
Now to follow in the footsteps of the film, let us never speak of Tony again.
Big Mike walks to school and stands out, according to one source, like a fly in milk because apparently, there are no black people in Christian small towns. No black people except for Big Mike. And Tony and Stephen, but they have served the script’s purpose and seem to have evaporated into the glistening Caucasian air. Since they don’t have any nice white people to adopt them, we’re led to believe they will probably turn to drugs and die early deaths.

In the classroom, Big Mike is kind of a drag. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t seem to learn. Teachers snidely talk about his lack of ability, and Big Mike spends a few evenings hanging out at a laundromat and making hesitant eyes at the town’s only black woman (bwamm chikka chikka chikka) until one day, while walking nowhere in the rain, he crosses the street in front of the Tuohy family. Father Tuohy, played by Tim McGraw as a man comprised entirely of knowing grins, tells Big Mike he can “go on,” because apparently black people need permission to cross the street in 21st century Tennessee. Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock in what I believe to be a role she sold her soul to Satan to be considered for an Oscar for) insists Big Mike come home to the Tuohy mansion and spend the night on the couch. (bwamm chikka chikka chikka). 

The next morning, she wakes up and wonders if he stole anything.
He didn’t, of course, because he had been touched by the spirit of Caucasia. Leigh Anne drives Big Mike to his mother’s house on The Other Side of Town where a bunch of thuggish black men call her Snowflake and suggestively wink in her direction. Clearly homeless, Big Mike sheepishly returns and before long, the Tuohys (teen daughter and horrendous man-child son S.J. included) are sharing their Thanksgiving dinner with the monosyllabic new guest and Leigh Anne is buying him rugby shirts, making his futon, and attending parent teacher conferences where she learns that Michael (as he’s now known because nobody on the Streets ever knew he didn’t like being called Big Mike) tested in the 98th percentile for “protective instincts.” 

Now I’m not from the south, but are students really tested on this? Am I crazy, or is this something generally reserved to describe quality guard dogs? Anyway, Big Mike gets some extra help tutoring from kindly teacher Kim Dickens (bwamm chikka chikka) and starts to smile more. Also, he gets pet by S.J.

D’oh! I skipped over the amazingly poignant scene wherein the Tuoys go to a fancy restaurant for dinner, and Michael stays behind to embrace the busboy. When asked about the identity of this rare African American male not selling drugs on The Wrong Side of Town, Michael explains that he is his brother.
And like Tony and Stephen, we never see him again.
Anyway, Michael becomes such a big part of the family, he’s actually allowed to pose with the Tuoys ) for their annual Christmas portrait! Of course, Leigh Anne assures the slack-jawed McGraw that she won’t use the photo on the Christmas card but cut to--get this--the Christmas card, complete with Michael’s smiling mug in the background! You totally didn’t see that coming, did you??? 

Naturally, the questions start coming. Leigh Anne sometimes dines on $18 salads with a few girlfriends who wear really big accessories and colorful scarves, which naturally means they’re the kind of women who don’t approve of a black man sharing house space with Leigh Anne or her 16 year old daughter Collins. One of them even compares the Christmas card to a still from 1976’s King Kong, 

which is a terribly cruel insult to both black people and Jessica Lange. 

The other great thing about this scene is it gives us the opportunity to hear this line: 
“You’re changing that boy’s life.” 
To which we can all mouth in prediction at the same time Leigh Anne’s heartfelt response:
“No. He’s changing mine.” (presumably by teaching her that black people like rugby shirts)
Soon it’s time to legally adopt Michael, a surprisingly easy feat when you’re white and Southern because you can waltz into a state office, cut the line, and charm everyone around you with your own protective pluck and low cut top. Leigh Anne is also saddened by just how easy a process it is to claim a young black man as your own, so she seeks out Michael’s birth mother so that she can direct her pity somewhere else. According to a social worker, this is a woman who’s been described as having “more than a dozen” children and naturally, there’s little Leigh Anne can do to comfort her (bwamm chickka chickka).
Leigh Anne can, however, buy Michael a brand new truck and Michael can, of course, take freckly demon seed S.J. out for a spin and immediately get into a nearly fatal crash because he was distracted singing “Bust A Move” with a nine-year-old rather than watching the road. 

Sadly, S.J. survives unscathed.

Oh well, glad that unpleasantness is behind us, because now it’s FOOTBALL SEASON! Remember, this is the whole reason Michael ever had a shot at The Good Life With White People, so it’s very important that this young man prove himself on the field. Unfortunately, football is haaaaaard. Poor Michael can’t really get a grip on the logistics, but more importantly, the big guy seems positively timid when it comes to tackling other men. Coach Rubber Face can do nothing but cross his eyes and make stupid mouth gestures. Thankfully, Leigh Anne is watching eagle eyed and solves the problem: Michael doesn’t want to hurt anybody, but if he thinks of the football team as his family and the other guys as Oompah Loompahs, he’ll be amazing! 

Remember, this is the same dog--dude, I mean dude, who tested in the 98th percentile for protective instincts.
Cut to the first Big Game, where Michael is a little slow to get moving. Also, everyone in the crowd not now in love with Michael is a blazing racist because the only black people they know--if any--come from The Wrong Side of Town. This also applies to the referee, who flags Michael for no reason other than, we’re all supposed to believe, the color of his skin. Because there are no black people playing football in 21st century Tennessee. Ah well, at least this is enough to make Coach Stupid Rubber Face realize that he loves Michael like a son. Naturally. 
So now Michael is popular ‘n stuff and everyone--including football coaches and college recruiters--want a piece of him. We even get a scene where Leigh Anne watches--in between coaching cheerleading, apparently--as a huddle of white men approach Michael and eye his giant arms as if they’re primed for heavy labor on the cotton fields. 

Again, really wish I was joking.
Since there’s still another 30 minutes let in the film, it’s time for Another Conflict. This time, Michael needs to raise his grades a bit, which is easy enough when Kathy Bates is your tutor (even if she is shhhhh! a Democrat; bwam chickka chicka). Of course, there’s one crusty old white English teacher who isn’t charmed by Michael’s poor writing skills. This is where Smiley McGraw comes in handy to recite The Charge of the Light Brigade to an otherwise possibly illiterate Michael, who then writes an essay that earns him the A he needs. 

No comment on the fact that Michael doesn’t seem to actually read the poem, providing struggling English students with a very poor example of how to earn a scholarship (i.e., have a dad like Tim McGraw).
So you thought we’re ready for the Happy Ending, right? Nooooooo. We need to EARN it! This is a Best Picture nominee, for goodness sake. See, now that Michael is the cat’s plus size pajamas, he can actually choose which university to bestow his greatness upon. Like the rest of the film, there’s no actual thought process for the character to go through. He simply mumbles in agreement after a quick montage where various men in suits wine and dine him and, more importantly, precocious little S.J. who’s far more concerned with what gee whiz bonus he gets in return for Michael’s letter of intent. 
After a lot of casual prodding, Michael decides to attend Ole Miss (which I assume is code for the University of Mississippi, but I’m not southern so I probably don’t deserve to know) but there’s Drama here because this is the alma mater of both Tuoys. Leigh Anne was even a cheerleader there! So in steps the NCAA to investigate whether the Tuoys just adopted this defensive prodigy in the hopes of improving their Division I’s roster. A black woman with a severe haircut and, most likely no happy adolescence with a nice white family is positively mean to the baffled Michael. 
Hurt and shocked at being allowed to display any sign of individuality, Michael storms off and returns to his childhood home where all the poor black people are doing drugs and drinking alcohol. I’d really like to pretend that was an exaggeration. It’s not.
Michael hesitantly parties with his new friends, (bwammm chicka chicka) but gets upset when they make sexual comments about his snowflake of a mother and white sister. I mean, Michael has shown absolutely no interest in the opposite sex the entire film, so naturally the mere thought that someone else would say such words rile his Protective Instinct (98 %, remember). Bad Black Drug Dealer pulls a gun on Michael, but since our hero is working on protective adrenaline, he easily KOs BBDD and three other villainous, non-white tutored thugs and leaves.

This brings us to the arguably Greatest Scene of All Time, and easily the reason Sandra Bullock will walk home with a quickly lessening in value Oscar in a few days. Leigh Anne has had time to think about the past year’s events and has concluded that she might not a good person. To make peace with herself, she drives back to The Wrong Side of Town to confront The Bad Black Guys, most of whom sit menacingly on a porch with their tattoos glistening with nefarious intentions under the hot sun. With her Wonder Bra beaming and southern accent chirping, Leigh Anne convinces the crowd that she’s a proud NRA member holding a gun in her designer purse. 

That’s all they need to let her go. (bwamm chick chicka)
Wow white people rule. They even intimidate black people with their sass!
Michael, meanwhile, is eventually found (not that hard because he’s the only black person on the Not Wrong Side of Town, and horizontal stripes from rugby shirts help to widen his girth even further). Leigh Anne apologizes, Michael decides Ole Miss will be his new home no matter what, and an epilogue leads them to orientation day on campus. A few attractive freshmen pass his glance, to which Leigh Anne then threatens to cut off his penis if he dares impregnate a fellow student. 
“She means it!”  says S.J. with a smile, finally confirming what I suspected from the beginning: that he is indeed a 30 year old man akin to Burial Ground’s Peter Bark, only Leigh Anne castrated him when he did indeed get someone pregnant. It explains so very much.

Real-life footage pops up over the credits as the actual Michael Oher gets drafted by the NFL, daughter Collins gets the surely equal in grandeur honor of becoming a college cheerleader, S.J. gets to walk onto the opening day football field wearing a sweater vest, and the audience around me mumbles how wonderful the last 2 hours of hell were. I consider suicide.
Lessons Learned
Owning 85 Taco Bells is an incredibly lucrative profession
The bigger the accessories, the bigger the racist

You’ll never love clothing nearly as much as you love it in the store
Thugs packing heat are easily intimidated by prayer group presidents

Please understand, I mean no disrespect to the Tuohy family or Michael Oher. If this indeed their story, then more power to them for being kind and charitable and defeating the odds. They--but more importantly, we--simply deserve better. 

This film received a nomination as Best Picture of the Year. Enough of the Hollywood industry considered this to be just as good, if not better than, Inglourious Basterds. Thus far, it’s made over ten times more money than The Hurt Locker. This, a film in which every line that isn’t shockingly offensive in a did-they-really-say-that way, is anticipated by any audience member with a slight hold on the English language. A film that insists, sometimes outright, that black people suffer in the world every day but every once in a while, a loving white family can change that. A film whose central character has zero weight on anything that happens around him.

An equally long essay could be written comparing The Blind Side to Precious, a film also about an overweight, underloved African American. But see the difference, to sum up quickly, is that Precious cares about its lead. It empowers her. It allows actress Gabourey Sidibe room to create a human being that can be hurt and find her own strength to deal with that, occasionally with help from others but most importantly, from within herself. It’s not a flawless film by any means, but it is a film about characters that actually develop, for better and worse. Quinton Aaron's only direction as an actor is to quietly accept everything white people tell him. 

Although, it should be noted, Michael is often compared to an onion composed of many layers. 

Yes, just like Shrek.
The Blind Side is a McDonald’s--or, more appropriately, Taco Bell--dollar menu item. Seemingly appealing, yet less fulfilling than the gum scraped off a sidewalk. Dangerous to your health and destructive to the minds and bodies of those that consume it. It creates an imaginary fantasy world where people are either amazingly angelic, uneducated and dangerous, or blank slates willing to fall on whichever side seizes them with prettier colors. 
This film makes me embarrassed to be considered white. And alive.

Now let's forget our troubles with a cute photo of an English bulldog puppy.


  1. WOW. i think i laughed harder at your review then i did at the movie, and i laughed a hell of a lot a this "movie."

    You're right embo, what a monumental offensive piece of horseshit..no horseshit is funner to look at and more inspiring.

  2. Fuck. That was the greatest thing I have ever read. I was so shocked that this film did so well, then got nominated when it is so clearly a major fluff piece, meant to tug at the heart strings of insensitive white America. But if it star's Sandy, it must be great! Bravo, Emily, you have truly outdone yourself with this one!

  3. You've confirmed all the fears I've had about this movie from the trailer.

    And from the sound of things, it's almost the same movie as Marley & Me.

  4. Excellent review skewering this movie. The sad thing, though, is that that the book is really good. The whole problem comes from you had to make a movie based on half a book. You're not going to get anything from the half of the book that explains the science of the left tackle in football, and sadly they embellished a lot of the Oher parts of the book to make it less his story and more about Leigh Anne Tuohy.

  5. Tim: Thanks, and I truly would not have enjoyed the movie nearly as much without your company.

    Matt: Seeing as you have such a weakness for Lifetime cinema, I would love love love for you to watch this and share your thoughts.

    Zed: But was Marley & Me as offensive to labradors?

    Murph: I'm considering reading the book, as long as I can find a copy that doesn't have the film tie-in photo on its cover. (I do have some pride left in me.) I have no doubt that Michael Oher's story is incredible. It's just a travesty that THIS is the film treatment he gets.

  6. Epic and compelling. Your best post ever. I have yet to see this and I'm glad I've stayed away despite multiple attempts by my fiance to drag me to the theater to see it. Bravo.

  7. I had zero inclination to see this movie despite all its praise, but I'm so glad I read this post! Surely more entertaining than the movie by several factors. :)

    I *am* from the South, and I have seen my share of emotionally manipulative, "One Angelic White Person Saves an Unfortunate African-American from His/Her Culture" movies. They always have roughly the same message and roughly the same way of going about it. And strangely, they often receive the same amount of praise. Was I the only one who cringed at the end of that John Grisham A TIME TO KILL movie at Matthew McConohey's over-earnest, shocking turn in his closing argument, "Now IMAGINE SHE'S WHITE!!!" Apparently so. :P

    But as long as it makes the majority feel like they're not really as bad as history would seem to dictate, I guess it'll put asses in the seats. :(

  8. PoT: Thanks for the compliments. I debated how to attack this post, and then figured a simple plot summary would suffice to show what a nightmare it is. Do I need to have a word with your fiance?

    Vicar: I have a similar problem with the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, which shifts the (admittedly also white) novel's point of view about growing up in a hugely racist society to capturing the heroism of one white lawyer. Still admirable, but yeah. And A Time to Kill--so clearly inspired by Atticus Finch--is definitely cringe-inducing. Again, this is something of a true story--the Tuoys did help Michael Oher get where he is--but based on the film, you're led to believe this man was a giant sack of skin capable of being shaped for any purpose nice white people bestowed upon him. Ugggggggh.

  9. Yep. I really want to see the movie so I have context but this doesn't surprise me. Doesn't even blip on my radar because yawn and hiss, 'The Great White Hope' genre is a long, bad, rash that won't die the painful death it should because Hollywood loves attemtpting to disguise and morph their own beloved racist stereotypes then herald them with their esoteric awards ceremonies. I wish Denzel would've just told them they can take their golden phalluses and shove it.

    Thank you for giving this the critical eye!

  10. The very fact that Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar the same year Do the Right Thing wasn't even nominated shows how, even just 20 years ago, voters couldn't get it right. I think the Academy truly thought they were being progressive by choosing Crash a few years back, not realizing that a) the film said nothing and b) by snubbing Brokeback Mountain, they ended up looking more outdated than ever.

    While I don't particularly like 'feel-good' stories on film, I respect them when they're well-done. I don't know, something like Stand and Deliver does a decent (although I haven't seen it since middle school when it was compulsory viewing so who knows) job of telling a somewhat factual poor-kids-succeeding-thanks-to-wise-adult story. The Blind Side just doesn't ever consider, for one reel of film, that Michael Oher is an actual person. Everything that happens happens around him to elicit a cute chuckle or sassy Sandra Bullock quip. It's disgusting.

    And also kind of hysterical.

  11. You just said it all Emily!

    It's exploitative to the character of color to be utilized as nothing but a tool to assuage 'white guilt.' Like you said, lessening their humanity by propping up the white character so they can seem evolved whilst really being patronizing and belittling. I know that's a lot of -ing's but these kinds of films really grind my gears and I haven't even seen it yet!

    They did the same thing with Basquiat. You can't find the main character's story anywhere!

    Spike Lee is still bitter about that Academy Award snub to this very day but rightfully so. When I hear about the banning of viewings in public schools (this and Amistad though, not far from The Blind Side it seems) because it would incite racial riots was only code for: we don't want to have an honest, open dialogue about race because it makes us feel umcomfortable about our own racism. As long as I'm here and you're there, I don't want to take responsbility for its relevancy in my life.

    And Stand & Deliver is a great example. I know there's more but the name's escape me at the moment.

    Again, kudos!

  12. Yup, so I just wrote a looooooong comment and then lost it in a funny Blogspot lapse, so that was fun.

    But let's see if I can recall any of it....

    The Do the Right Thing snub remains one of the biggest Oscar sins in history, especially when you consider it was the same year Driving Miss Daisy went on to win Best Picture. Ugh. Heavens forbid we dare to accept a controversial film in the mainstream!

    Funny we talk about Spike Lee, because I was recently thinking about his Bamboozled. It's a bit of a mess of a film, and part of that is because it's made with such a strong amount of anger. For that reason alone, it's also fascinating and a true rarity. I don't really want to sit through more Bamboozleds (probably one of the hardest films I've ever watched), but I'll take ten for every travesty of whitewashed idiocy like The Blind Side.

    I'm curious if you saw Precious and what your thoughts on it were. It reminds me a tad of Stnad and Deliver in that it's not just about one teacher 'changing the lives' of underpriveleged students. Stand and Deliver worked because it was as much about the kids learning as it was about the teacher. Precious is Precious's story, plain and simple. Others come into her life and help to take it in a certain direction, but it's ultimately HER choice and strength that tells the story, as opposed to the atrocity of The Blind Side, where Michael Oher exists solely to highlight the wonder of Leigh Anne Tuohy.

  13. I haven't seen The Blind Side - nor am I planning to - but your review confirms my worst fears. This movie - based on a true story or not - struck me as racist propaganda from the get-go. I sincerely hope it doesn't win an Oscar in any category but I'm sure Sandra Bullock will walk away with one.

  14. I'm sure Sandra Bullock is a very nice person who takes care of her dogs and linen, and in all fairness, she's not the worst thing about this movie. But that this film found its way anywhere near Oscar night is just embarrassing. I was excited about the 10 Best Picture nominees and am still happy to see films like Up and District 9 in there, but in no dimension or alternate reality does this come near being and important or even entertaining film.

    I say that, but the worst part of all was that the audience I saw this with on Friday seemed absolutely content with the film, laughing at the jokes and smiling on the way out. So what do I know about America.

  15. Em,
    You never got a "protective instincts" test?
    This post made me hate everything ever. Not you though... this is a "yay" post.

  16. I totally didn't get tested! Just imagine: for all I know, I could have had a successful career as a bodyguard or line backer. Damn public school system!


    I have not been able to convince myself to see this, and luckily, now I don't have to. Your review will suffice. It is my worst fears of the film come to fruition, and I have no reason to doubt your judgement. I have, however, always known that all it takes for an illiterate, down-on-his-luck black male (or usually, black team of underprivileged children) to make it is one good white teacher. And this time its Sandra "How do people still love me and think I'm a good actress" Bullock. God Bless White Redemption. Thanks for a great laugh, I was actually laughing out loud reading this.

  18. Thanks othah bruthah!

    I still have 3 films left to watch from the Best Picture category and as embarrassed as I am that this is not one of them, I'm happy to help others out by explaining every little detail and thus hopefully minimizing the already insane amount of ticket sales The Blind Side has earned.

    Bu wait, are you inferring that Keanu Reeves' baseball coach in Hardball was NOT all that those underpriveledged children of color needed?

  19. Emily: An outstanding post!

    Before I step up on my soapbox (ahem), a few minor notes:

    A) I sincerely hope that 'snuck in' translates as 'did not pay'. Your money would be better spent on many other things, such as bubble gum, lipstick, candy cigarettes, or a signed 8x10 of Leslie Nielsen;

    B) 'Bwamm chicka chicka' is MOST definitely an accepted representation of porn music;

    C) 'Evaporated into glistening Caucasian air'.
    Belongs on the top 100 list of Best Phrases of All Time.

    when I saw this trailer with the BF for the first time (months ago, long before it made a shitpile of cash and then, defying logic, started to get nominated for awards), I immediately put the movie on my 'do not want' list for many reasons - and you just verified my suspicions were correct. Even the BF, who lives/dies/breathes football (and I am a fairly big fan myself) was all, 'I think that movie might burn my eyes out with its hideousness'.

    THEN - I watched 60 minutes and learned that guess what - Michael actually KNEW how to play football and did not ever need some dumb old white lady tell him how to visualize playing good football (this from straight from 'he who the movie is based on') I expected the movie's theme was 'white people save the day again' but I was pretty disgusted to find that they were also giving the nice white family credit for that too.

    THEN I just read a review of a book of Michael's life (maybe the same one mentioned before in the comments) that suggested that he actually lived in a few homes and not just the Tuoy's. Take that part with a grain of salt, however, I have no idea if it's true or not and I'm just too damn lazy to look it up.

    Bottom line - I expect that movies made of ANYONE'S life are going to be 'dramatized' (unless said life is mine, which is actually so filled with so much high drama, crime fighting, slapstick comedy, and cats, that there would never be a NEED to create anything fictional).

    But when you twist a story that probably somehow, somewhere, had something interesting about it into a pile of crapola such as this one - well - your review says it much more succinctly and eloquently than I can.

    One bright spot - your review obviously struck a few cords with those of thus that felt the same, and I'm heartened to know that they're out there.

    Once again, outstanding post.

    -Mother Firefly

  20. Gosh do I now want a signed 8x10 of Leslie!

    Thanks for the kind words. A few more things

    -Leigh Anne (Bullock) teaches Michael football according to the film, but more importantly, the antichrist (aka, child actor playing her young son) explains all the plays using spice cans and ketchup bottles.

    -I don't generally mind embellishments, but The Blind Side does pretty much put all the accomplishments in the lap of the Tuoys. again, I'm sure they did wonderful things for a young man in need, but the film pretty much assumes ALL the responsibility was due to white southern pluck. Ughh!

    -And yes, these comments have been fantastic. It's great to have actual discussions about race and film, when here all I expected to ever do was dilly dally about horror movies.

    And by the way, can't wait to see the film based on your adventures as a dramatic crime fighting cat lady!

  21. Did ANY ACTUAL BLACK people participate in this reaction?? WHO DO WHITE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE to even VENTURE an opinion as to whether this is or isn't "racist"?? IF any white person was crazy enough to do that BEFORE ASKING ANY ACTUAL BLACK PERSON, well, I pity the fool.

    It does MORE than a little MATTER that this IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY. It CANNOT POSSIBLY be "racist" IF it is ACCURATE!!!!!!!

  22. These comments HAVE NOT been fantastic -- "puts all the accomplishments in the lap of the Tuoys"?? BS. The Tuoys didn't go into the hood and fight their way back out of it vs. their old bad former crew. The Tuoys didn't learn how to switch from defense to offense. The Tuoys didn't learn how to adapt to a culture completely the opposite of the one they grew up in.

  23. Michael Oher WROTE A BOOK HIMSELF about these events. http://www.epinions.com/review/Michael_Oher_with_Don_Yaeger_I_Beat_the_Odds_From_Homelessness_to_the_Blind_Side_and_Beyond_epi/content_544900091524
    It makes this review and everyone praising this review sound a lot further out of touch with reality than the movie sounded.

  24. George,

    Firstly I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I very much appreciate and respect your opinion and willingness to share it.

    As I state in my review, I am not insulting Michael Oher or the Tuohy family. I DO think they have a wonderful story to tell.

    But The Blind Side did not tell it.

    “Based on a true story” does not mean “this is exactly how everything happened and all of it is true.” The film took a true story and made it cinematic.

    I have no problem with that. That’s what film is SUPPOSED to do. My issue lies in HOW they did it, i.e., reduce Michael Oher to a near-silent idiot savant who is saved by the angelic kindness of a batch of wealthy white people.

    To an extent, this IS what happened in part. But considering Michael Oher himself then wrote HIS OWN book to correct some of what bothered him ABOUT the film, I’d say there was certainly liberties taken. More importantly, it’s the PRESENTATION of his character as a man who can barely brush his teeth without the help of a kind Caucasian hand.

    Take this passage from his own book that you describe:
    “I felt like it portrayed me as dumb instead of as a kid who had never had consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving once he got it.”

    I agree that it was not the Tuohy’s who ultimately made Michael Oher the inspiration he is. But the MOVIE makes it seem as though it was, that there was no one else to thank but these kind folks. If you found the movie to be inspirational, then I’m happy for you. I found it to be offensive.

    Yes, I am white, which, am I assuming correctly based on your first comment, means I can’t ever measure something to be racist? When I feel as though a film is portraying a black man as less a character than a mold of athletic clay, I call racism. I apologize if my skin color doesn’t allow that.

  25. You're exactly right, Emily. And, I don't know, me saying that as a black person makes any difference.

    Yes, the problem is the way Hollywood consistently constructs narratives like these that reduce black folks to many of the original stereotypes that were only intended to demean an entire group of people. It wasn't a story about Michael, it was a story about the benevolent white people that "saved" him from the "blackness" (equaling bad and violent in this narrative) of his community. It's one, if not the only reason why Ms. Bullock won the Oscar because it was her performance that made the film and quite frankly, it's as simple as that.

    It if was the true telling of Michael's story from his POV, maybe Quinton Aaron would've been nominated for an Oscar.