Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blind Side (2011)

Blind SideMy wife and I just went to a double-feature. I picked AVATAR and she picked THE BLIND SIDE. Now, there couldn't be two movies on a different plateau than AVATAR and BLIND SIDE, but I'm so glad that she brought me to see this movie. AVATAR, I gave 4 stars, BLIND SIDE, 5 stars. BLIND SIDE, for what it was, was flawless.

With BLIND SIDE, the story tells itself, because it's the true story of 2009 Baltimore Ravens Right Tackle Michael Oher, or possibly Michael Williams, or maybe something else, and his improbable escape from oblivion with the love and care of a rich white family in Memphis, Tennessee. Michael Oher's greatness, first showed up in his size and athletic potential and then in his courage to forget and go forward. Michael Oher, a kid who struggled at basic study skills and education, but scored a 98% in protective instincts. A tribute to his lifestyle and his ability to survive, homeless, with two shirts, a pain on his face that couldn't be explained.

Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, and I haven't seen a whole lot of nominated movies this year, but if she isn't at least a runner up to the best actress of the year, I'll be stunned. This was Sandra Bullock's shining moment. She is strong and she is funny and she is exceedingly brilliant at hiding the tears she sheds throughout the movie as her personna won't allow her to be seen crying. No scene was more poigniant than the one where she makes a bedroom for Michael in her beautiful home with a chipperness that you would expect from a spunky Tennessee mother. Michael says, "I've never had one of these before." and she says, "What, a room?" "No, a bed." he says. She looks at him, stoned faced, gives a quick nod and exits the room, enters the bathroom, locks the door and although we don't see it, we know exactly what she's doing.

THE BLIND SIDE is a testimant to what life is all about. The Tuohy families link to Michael Oher may have been a rare occurence, and that's why there's a movie about it, but if we all looked out for each other a little more, despite color boundaries, despite class boundaries and just showed a little love and extended a helping hand when we could, the world would be a better place.

The Tuohy's didn't just extend a hand, they extended their hearts and lives.

I go to see movies all the time while they are still in release.

At this time of year we have high profile movie offerings like A Christmas Story, New Moon (same vampires), and the world coming to an end with 2012. So. it's easy for this movie to get lost in the shuffle.

It would have been so easy to miss this movie, and such a mistake to do so. For, this is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the few I recommend whole heartedly.

Sandra Bullock gives probably the best performance of her career, playing Leigh Anne Tuohy, a tough business like mom, who sees big Mike, a young oversized kid who never had a role model, and who never did well academically, because he had no reason to believe in himself. He is the underdog we love to root for.

The Tuohys take him in to their plush house, and we get drawn into the experience, perhaps sucked into this story might be a more apt description. Yet Mike has a hidden gift which others like the sports coach can identify, and other teachers start to have faith in him, so who knows what will happen.

If you're like me it's a movie about the importance of a mentor and believing in people, the more you believe in them the more they start to believe in themselves. If you like this one, I also recommend Akeelah and the Bee, another five star movie. In its first 14 days The Blind Side has done over $108 million at the box office, assuring that it will be one of the big hits of the year.

While the Academy does not typically reward comedies with awards, Sandra Bullock may get a nomination, and so might the writers for best adapted screenplay, and she might win a Golden Globe for her performance.

A point of interest in the movie is Lily Collins daughter of Phil Collins who plays Sandra Bullock's daughter.

Update, Jan 29, 2010. As she has now won the Golden Globe, which is a dress rehearsal for the Oscars, I expect she will get the Oscar nomination, and it sets the stage for an interesting contest with Meryl Streep for her performance in Julie and Julia. Both actresses played real life characters, with an interesting mix of drama and humor. Although Oscars are not usually given for this type of performance, the exception is Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. I predict this will be the year of the exception. Streep has been nominated 15 times winning only twice. This would be Bullocks first nomination.

Update 2/3/2010. The Blind Side has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, for Best Actress, and Best Picture. As of 2010 the Best Picture category has been expanded from 5 to 10 pictures, partly because of falling ratings, and partly because many popular movies have not historically received the same level of Oscar love, as movies such as The Blind Side has received from the public.

Blind Side has grossed over $238 million dollars domestically, making it the 8th highest grossing movie of 2009, and no 63 all time for domestic box office, and it's still in release.

I hope this was helpful to you, and I think you will enjoy the movie.

Buy Blind Side (2011) Now

Every so often a movie comes along that is well-deserving of all of the hype that is allocated to it. This is one such movie. In short, it ranks as one of the greatest sports movies ever made not the least of which due to the fact that it is based on the true story of Michael Oher.

One of the more notable aspects of this film is just how little of it takes place on the football field. This is a movie about Michael Oher the person more than it is Micheal Oher the football player. In spite of being about 6'8 & > 300lbs, we find Oher to be someone who is as uniquely human as the rest of us. People who automatically believe that sports movies = zero plot will be quite surprised after giving this one a viewing.

Likewise, very little focus is on Oher's HS football team. It shows them winning from time to time & it shows Michael holding the league championship trophy. However, the other players on the team only have bit parts and we know very little about them.

Rather than being about a team's quest for a championship, this is a movie about a young man's involvement in the college football recruiting process. It is also centered around his desires to escape his past and make the grade while fending off racism at a ritzy all-white private school.

At its core, however, this is a story that shows how a little bit of kindness can go a long way towards making the world a better place. Even in the sadistic, twisted time in which we live, it's good to know that magnanimity has not entirely gone out of style.

Acting wise, this is one of the most well-done films I've ever seen. There was not a single weak performance in the movie, and there are not too many movies I can say that about. The casting office came through with flying colors! Sandra Bullock's Oscar was well deserved, and Quinton Aaron is perfect as the gentle giant with puppy dog eyes. Cameos by college coaches such as Nick Saban, Lou Holtz & Phil Fulmer were a nice touch.

Whether you love Sandra Bullock or merely adore Sandra Bullock, this is a heartwarming movie that will stay with you forever. If, after watching this movie you're not stirred in the least, I would highly recommend that you check your pulse to ensure that you still have one!

Read Best Reviews of Blind Side (2011) Here

Don't get me wrong--I know this is a Hollywood version of Michael Oher's life during a particular timeframe. I know that certain real-life events have been tweaked in order to tug more effectively at my (and your) heartstrings. I also know that I can't assume that this movie is a perfect representation of this family and how Michael Oher came to be part of it.

That said, I must admit to having been a sniffling fool throughout much of the film. I am particularly sensitive to stories that show human beings stepping outside of typical comfort zones and taking risks to embrace others who need the attention or support. This story, for all that it's been Hollywood-ized, shows a young man and a family doing just that, and it's powerful in spite of those moments that just seem too good to be true.

I agree with other reviewers that Sandra Bullock has done an excellent job in this film. Her character might sound like a stereotype, but there's too much going on in her heart and head to keep her in a box that's easy to dismiss. She stands there in front of drug dealers who've been basically treating her like a piece of meat at the same time that they're sliding nasty, threatening looks over her designer-clad body, and she manages to hold her own. She enters territory that she likely hasn't ever encountered before, dangerous territory that must have struck fear into her heart and made her want to run in the opposite direction, but she enters and stays because she has something to accomplish, from finding Michael, to finding his drug addict mother, to ensuring that he doesn't meet a horrible end at the hands of those drug dealers leering at her. She does this, and then (I think) she spends however long it takes to fight back the emotions that these experiences bring out in her. The reviewer who said she basically hides when she is emotional is spot on, I think. She is all guts and sarcastic wit and in-your-face honesty because she has to be in order to get what she needs from others. But the soft side of her is reserved for very rare moments, either with her husband, or with Michael, who simply won't allow her finally to walk away and hide her feelings. Interesting that it seems at first that she is the one drawing him out, when ultimately they manage to pull the best from each other.

The acting is superb all-around. Quinton Aaron plays Michael, and he does it with such skill that it's easy to assume he is like Michael all the time, that he is simply playing himself. Instead, what we have is an actor who found the vulnerable core of his character and covered it with the flat, lumbering movements of someone barely connected to life and to other people. When we first meet Michael, it's hard to imagine that he will ever manage a full, genuine smile or even speak effectively to others. He begins to open up, and it's little moments where he reveals some of his past, or just simply tells us how his life is changing, that make him shine as a character. He's got a fair amount of anguish that he doesn't allow to come to mind very often, pain that has shaped him and led to that distance he seems to carry with him most of the time. Just an awesome acting job.

The story was my favorite part, though, and I did find myself crying as the family pictures came up on screen after the movie proper was done. Crying because, hey, here are the REAL moments, many of them part of the film version, too. Here are the pics that show this giant kid dwarfing his new family but also show a group of people finding their joy together. Just very sweet and very necessary at a time when we are likely spending more energy worrying about how crappy other human beings can be. It's nice to be reminded that human beings also contain within them a core of kindness and compassion that they sometimes extend out in truly amazing ways to people who not only need it but who have so much of their own to give back.

I will definitely get the DVD when it's released.

Want Blind Side (2011) Discount?

First, let me lay a couple of cards on the table. I don't usually like Sandra Bullock. Also, I don't like football, and therefore I don't like football movies (with the exception of KNUTE ROCKNE: ALL AMERICAN). In fact, there are just a handful of sports movies that I do like.

But THE BLIND SIDE is not a sports movie. (Or if it is, then it's the kind that's not really about sports.) It's a movie about family. And it boldly states that your family is not necessarily the people you're biologically related to or share the same skin color with. Your family is the people you live with and cannot live without.

Michael Ohr is the quintessential gigantic but timid and gentle hero that everyone would love to have by their side. And so is his adopted mother, Leigh Anne (portrayed by Sandra Bullock in what is easily her best performance). One of the more important lessons Leigh Anne teaches Michael is to protect your family and loved ones both on and off the field. When one of his former acquaintances speaks disparagingly of Leigh Anne and her daughter and then threatens him he....Actually, I don't quite remember what he did it all happened so fast. But one guy was slammed into a wall, and I think one was thrown against another. And it seemed like he nearly caved in a stairwell. It was so fast, it made Jason Bourne look like The Nutcracker.

One of the many things I love about THE BLIND SIDE is that the family is a family of faith. Sean and Leigh Anne are Christian parents and extend Christ-like love to Michael.

I cannot conclude this review without stating my favorite line from the movie. Leigh Anne has been threatened by an inner city thug who also plans to harm Michael. She rips him a new one even in front of his hoodlum buddies and says, "I'm in a Bible study with the D.A., and I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA!"

While this movie is very much about family, it is definitely not a family movie. It earns its PG-13 rating quite well. It's not for the younger kids. But it has a better message than probably any other film you're likely to find.

Save 28% Off

No comments:

Post a Comment