It's been a while since my last post, and it might be a while until my next one. After all, late December/early January is the bleakest time in the world of new television. With the holidays upon us I found myself watching nothing but Christmas movies (mostly Santa Clause 2 and 3) and Modern Family's Undeck the Halls over and over again. No matter how many times I view it, Jay Pritchett's "You too are total innocentes!" continues to be a delight.
As I returned to my life on the road, I found myself traveling to Blacksburg, VA for a tournament at Virginia Tech. Sure in the past I have had to endure the viewing pleasure of What Happens In Vegas and Destiny's Child Live In Concert with this group of inidividuals, but today was different. Someone got their hands on a dvd screener of The Blind Side, which has been in theatres since late November.
I heard about the story of Michael Oher a while back and was highly interested when I saw the trailer. Michael Oher is the starting left guard for the Baltimore Ravens. The Blind Side tells the story of how he made it out of the Memphis projects, because a rich, white family took him in and made him a part of their family. Personally, I love a good true story more than a fictitious one because, for the most part, the people the audience connects with actually exist in this world.
Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuoy, the woman that takes the homeless Oher in, gives him food and clothes and helps him to earn a Division I football scholarship to Ole Miss. I thought I might be annoyed by Bullock's performance before in this, but I was wrong. I've seen her play the scared heroin in Speed and The Net. I've also seen Bullock play the hapless romantic lead in While You Were Sleeping and Two Weeks Notice. This was the first time I've really been impressed by her acting chops. She did a fantastic job portraying a woman that knew how to get exactly what she wanted, but also had the compassion to take care of a young, black kid from the ghetto.
Whether it was Pistol: The Birth of a Legend or Invinceable, I've often found myself disappointed in the window of life a sports biopic uses. As good as The Pistol is as a film, I want to see more of Pistol Pete. If you don't want to take the time to say anything about his LSU or NBA days, how about a bit more about his days after eighth grade? Yeah I know, it's a story, but it's a story about a real person and that makes me want to see more. In this particular case, I think The Blind Side used the perfect amount of time for the story of Michael Oher. The reason? It's current. He's just entered the NFL. We're watching that part of his life happen right now. He was at Ole Miss only a year ago. Many sports fans saw him excel at the college level on his way to All-American status. The only important storyline America should be curious about is how the heck this family helped him make it to where he is today. And they did that tremendously.
Without mentioning many more details of the movie, I'll just say that i was extremely emotional throughout the entire thing. Quinton Aaron, who played Oher, was terrific at playing a troubled, but genuinely caring human being. I wanted to see him succeed in everything he did.
Jae Head, with the exception of a few moments from Bullock, was the only source of comic relief in the movie. He played Bullock's son, a young kid that adored Oher, helped him with his football training, and did most of the negotiating with the college coaches that were recruiting Oher. Head was almost identical to his character in Friday Night Lights, that loved and adored Tim Riggins. He's great at this character.
The Blind Side was a great movie, but as I look into the future I have a tough time thinking about it as a sports movie. Football was the backdrop for this film about a kid making something out nothing. With that in mind, I think that my only major problem with the film is the beginning. The cold open is really well done, as Bullock monologues about Lawrence Taylor's career ending hit on Joe Theisman. It makes it seem as though the movie is all about teaching this kid how to play football and how to protect a quarterback and that was not this movie at all. I don't think it was the right message to shove in the audience's face to start the movie.