Day Nineteen: The Blind Side (MotM 2017)

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I don’t have an excuse for getting this post out this late tonight. Just ended up being this late.

Sandra Bullock won an award for her role in this film. Her character is caring, traditional-minded, and strong-willed. She has sass, with a number of biting remarks for a number of different characters. She’s likable—about as likable of a character as it sounds. But does this deserve her an award? If the rest of the movie is any indication, she’s the only bright spot in a world of muddy water.

Without sugar-coating it, I don’t think Bullock deserved an award for her performance. I think this was a case of the judges liking her character more than her acting, as there was little here that could justify Bullock’s finest quality of acting. I could put any number of actresses here and very little would change about the film. Some of this is due to her character not having much of a personality outside of her usual demeanor, while some is simply Bullock acting as she should. I suppose 2009 was a thin year for lead actresses.

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Popping the biggest zit on the metaphorical forehead that symbolizes The Blind Side as a whole, let’s continue on with the greasy skin which groomed the zit to substantial size. Bullock’s character is an interesting point to start off with, as she is the only positive one. Despite my claim that she doesn’t deserve the award she received for this film, she did do a decent job. And her character is likable, if not a little too stubbornly within her role. Everything else about this film feels forced, uninspired, and far too safe to impact the viewer with the messages it tries to convey.

For those who kept up with the month, recall my review of Space Cowboys and how I demolished it for its use of one-role/one-joke characters and by-the-books narrative structure. In that film’s case, some interesting characterization and two likable characters save it from being completely derivative. In The Blind Side’s case, Sandra Bullock is the only savior. It’s amazing how watchable Space Cowboys feels in comparison, as The Blind Side seems to have read up on every “How To” book on creating dramatic underdog stories and threw in every detail without developing a single one. It’s to the point where it’s almost insulting; insulting to the viewer and insulting to those who actually have to face the reality that’s only hinted at in this film.

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So self-indulgent in its own masterpiece, the scenes play out and garner all sorts of strange, tonal shifts that go from inspiring to traumatic to… funny? One scene goes as such: the son of the woman who adopts Oher as her own, and Oher himself are driving the family car down the road, goofing off and singing to a song on the radio. Not paying attention, Oher crashes the car into a truck that’s slowly backing out into their lane. It cuts to the woman receiving a phone call notifying her of the accident. Cutting again to the scene of the accident, she rushes to Oher, who’s sitting down on the sidewalk away from the accident, who tells her to check on the kid. Seeing that her son is being tended to, she shoves an officer out of the way and runs to him, asking if he’s okay. To this, he replies: “Mom. Do you think the blood will wash out of my shirt?”

It was at this point I decided not to take the film seriously anymore. Here we have a kid, who’s bloodied from a car accident, being tended to on a stretcher, making one-liners to his mother, who is worried sick about him. On top of that, she smiles and answers his question seriously, only to go back to Oher and tell him that everything’s fine and that it happens to everybody. Not one ounce of anger. Astounding. The film doesn’t have the guts to have a single lingering negative circumstance surround the characters for any extended period. Not only that, but the guts to show any negative event that would shock the viewer into believing the hardships of Oher’s life. All throughout, things are simply stated, and if shown at all, are shown only to the most minimal degree. Nothing truly gets any attention, other than Bullock’s face and Oher’s rise to football stardom (though even that feels lopsided).

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So the story is laughably benign of all tension and personality. Are the characters any better? Unfortunately no, as they all stick firmly within their characters’ roles and nothing more. Oher’s a tragic hero, bullied by life and mistreated by just about everybody. A sad sack who’s good at heart and couldn’t hurt a fly. Bullock’s character is the sweet-hearted angel who takes him in and provides him all he needs to survive and flourish athletically. Her family is there. The teachers and football coaches are there. They receive next to no development as people and hardly provide anything worthwhile to anything. Bullock’s husband and daughter may as well have not been in this movie. Bullock’s son I wish wasn’t in this movie. The more I think about it, the more I realize that nearly every character is only to provide a single driving point: Oher is to be pitied, and Bullock is to be praised.

It doesn’t give a single shit. It doesn’t give a shit about Oher or his real-life struggles. It doesn’t give a shit about the traumatic experiences that happen behind the scenes. It doesn’t give a shit that everything about this film is but a big-budget straight-to-VHS movie. It doesn’t give a shit that its own narcissistic telling of a genuinely interesting story ruined everything about this film for me, and likely others. It doesn’t give a shit how the only real thing they wanted to do was make a flimsy “zero to hero” story without any effort. The Blind Side is blinded by its own grandeur, which may have been the most insulting thing involved, and what makes it so easy to forget.

Final Score: 3/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!