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The Blind Side (2009)

May 3, 2010

VERDICT:
6/10 Southern Hospitalities

Yeah, Sandra deserved that Oscar.

The Blind Side is based on the true story of Michael Oher and how he went from a couch-surfing foster kid with no education, no home and no real family to fall back on to being a college grad and starting front tackle for the Baltimore Ravens after one Leigh Anne Tuohy came into the picture, took him under her family’s wing and eventually adopted him as a second son.

For a while there, I was pretty hesitant to see this movie for a number of reasons. Not only was this the mandatory annual feel-good sports movie of ’09 (and it’s been a while since one of those has been good), but I couldn’t freakin’ believe that Sandra Bullock – the girl who got famous for driving a bus with Keanu for two hours – had nabbed an Oscar nomination for this. In retrospect, it was more just a sense of disbelief that this could in fact be better than my preconceived notions of it that stopped me from seeing it, and even though I hate that quality about my movie-going self, such was the case.

But then Sandra gave her Razzies acceptance speech, then I realized that she’s actually pretty awesome, then she won the Oscar, then I realized she was even more awesome, and the rest is history.

And even though this is the mandatory feel-good sports movie of ’09, Sandra’s the reason this movie works. Leigh Anne is a great character and whether she’s telling off gang members or telling off folks at the DMV or telling off football coaches, Bullock is all-business in the role. Sometimes it gets to be a little much when she keeps on jumping into scenes and sassing folks left and right with that Southern twang of hers, but for the most part she had me thinking, “Wow. The Academy wasn’t kidding.” I still find it somewhat strange that the movie ends up being more about her than Michael, but what can you do when your lead actress steals the show. 

So way to go, Sandra!

The rest of the cast is alright too, even though they all get totally overshadowed. A clean-shaven Tim McGraw (strangely enough) isn’t bad as Leigh Anne’s husband, I’m still debating whether or not Jae Head (cue Aiden laughing to himself as he writes “Jae Head”) is annoying or cute as Leigh Anne’s son, and all Quinton Aaron has to do as Oher is shut up and mope for pretty much the entire movie, so he nails that. And Kathy Bates plays Oher’s tutor, and while I usually love that woman to pieces, it’s kinda weird to see her fist-bumping people.

Just because Howie Mandel does it doesn’t mean you should too, Kath. Still love ya’ though.

But like I said, you take a look at that poster, see the football uniform, the pat on the back and that it’s “BASED ON THE EXTRAORDINARY TRUE STORY” and you know what you’re getting into. The downside to the equation being a formulaic plot, super-sappy dialogue at times, heartstrings a-pullin’ and director John Lee Hancock filming it all like he was phoning it in, and that definitely takes away from the experience. It’s expected, it’s predictable, but hey, sometimes it’s good to go predictable.

In a nutshell, The Blind Side is a nice movie about why it pays to be a good samaritan, and the story of Michael Oher is an inspiring one, but this is Sandra’s show all the way. As much as I thought Gabby Sidibe was the bomb in Precious, Sandra’s apparently no joke and I’m glad I finally wised up and got around to seeing what all the hype was about even if the sum doesn’t quite measure up to its parts.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 12:07 am

    Okay, this movie didn’t get me to cry… BUT it almost got me like 73 times.

    • May 3, 2010 10:40 am

      Hahaha, can’t say it had the waterworks going for me at all, but you’re a bigger man than I for that comment, Kai.

  2. May 3, 2010 5:11 am

    Not sure about Leigh Anne because as a Brit we generally don’t get people that nice, although I have met Americans who are that nice! Bullock was good but I’m not convinced she was Oscar good. I thought the son was annoying, it felt a bit like he was in a comedy and everyone else was acting a drama.

    Almost a ‘Score Snap’ there dude. Nice

    http://paragraphfilmreviews.com/2010/04/01/the-blind-side/

  3. May 3, 2010 6:51 am

    I gave the film the same thing, and in all honesty, I’m glad with my pick. However, I still do think Carey Mulligan should have won, but if you look at it, its a good thing Sandra finally got it after all her hard work. Nice Review!

  4. Ryan permalink
    May 3, 2010 8:57 am

    Have you ever seen this movie called Speed 2: cruise control? Probably the best thing Sandra has ever done. Check it out

    • May 3, 2010 9:19 am

      Have I seen it? I got Willem Dafoe and Jason Patric’s faces tattooed on my ass after seeing that. Truly a pinnacle of cinematic brilliance.

  5. May 3, 2010 10:28 am

    Hi Aiden, Nice review. I saw this for the second time on dvd last night so it’s still fresh in my head. I enjoyed it the first time I saw it and it still made me feel good the second time around. Sandra Bullock was good, there was some debate in our house last night as to whether she was ‘Oscar’ good though.

    It’s nice to watch a film thats doesn’t allow its flaws to get in the way of a good yarn. And this is a good yarn.

    Cheers Aiden

    • May 3, 2010 11:21 am

      Yeah, it is a good story, but the flaws did kind of get in the way of it for me at times. That kid SJ got way too much screen time and when that football coach goes off on the ref about how he’ll defend Michael’s good name no matter what, that was a little much for me. Otherwise, good stuff. Glad you liked it, too.

    • May 3, 2010 2:12 pm

      Blehh, not a fan. Just too formulaic for me.

      And when is Hollywood going to run out of white people save the day movies?

      • May 3, 2010 2:16 pm

        Hahaha. Something tells me they’re never gonna run out of helpful whiteys.

  6. May 5, 2010 11:39 am

    I actually quite liked this film. It wasn’t anything revolutionary or astounding but the acting was great and the story at least got me interested in the characters.

    • May 5, 2010 5:37 pm

      Yeah, same thing on my end. Nothing fancy, good for what it was though.

  7. Branden permalink
    May 24, 2010 6:07 pm

    Back the truck up, you actually thought that Sandra DESERVED the Oscar for Best Actress. Are you insane?

    • May 25, 2010 9:28 am

      My sanity’s not out of the question, but she was good, man. Never thought I’d be the one writing that.

      • Branden permalink
        May 25, 2010 12:58 pm

        I just don’t get it. I don’t get the praise that she got for this movie. I am not understanding. My mind is not computing this.

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