The Blind Side

Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:49 pm

I'll be honest, I didn't at New Regency. I have read some good scripts since. Most of them were quite bad. There was a script for an epic called SAIGON as in FALL OF THE. And it was hard to say because it was such a big, clearly-researched piece of work. It was better than the rest, which is why I think such big, boring epics get made. Contrast competency.

The only thing I read that I liked was this book called DIARY OF A WIMPY KID which was darling. Everything else was actually pretty terrible. I read an early draft of Wolverine: Origins that didn't have Cyclops in it. I think it was comparatively better, but that's not saying much. Wolverine fought the Blob in a super-market. Clearly some things changed since then.

Gonna say "No, not really". But I've read better since.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Greg
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Postby Greg » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:37 pm

Did you ever have the opportunity to read something you actually liked?
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Sabin
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Postby Sabin » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:12 pm

Armond White counters "Preciousmania" with The Blind Side. I read The Blind Side when I was a reader at New Regency two years ago. It sucks. That being said, it can't not be better than Precious. This notion of though of "Sandra Bullock cinema" is something I don't subscribe to.


The Blind Side
With all the Preciousmania going around, is Sandra Bullock the only sane one?
By Armond White

Sandra Bullock brings sanity to the madness currently infecting the movie scene. Her intelligent, affecting new movie The Blind Side uses a double metaphor (alluding to both a football player’s vulnerability and racial color blindness) to dramatize how people can overcome race and class barriers to achieve their fuller humanity. Bullock’s film is upfront about the attitudes mangled and suppressed in media hype for Precious. The past week’s Preciousmania featured outrageous displays of self-righteousness, fake compassion and gullibility—from white journalists wondering if their instant recoil from the gross figure of Precious was proof of prejudice to a black journalist proposing “There’s a Precious inside all of us.”

Bullock’s movie, about an upper-middle-class white Southern family who take in a homeless black kid, Michael Oher, and paves the path for his future in pro-sports, is so free of the guilt Precious arouses that it simultaneously raises the level of social imagination. Producing and starring in a script by director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie), Bullock trusts that the popular audience shares basic humane values rather than a taste for the squalid and bizarre behavior that defines Lee Daniels’ decadent specialty that has degraded recent cultural discourse.

Every aspect of The Blind Side rectifies the corruption represented by Precious. Based on the book-length account of the NCAA’s recruitment of Oher, it is a true story of how the aimless black Memphis teenager (Quinton Aaron) gets enrolled at a Christian school and then is cared for by the family of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock). But Precious is all fabrication—the most outrageous literary hoax since J.T. Leroy, yet with more mileage since it’s full of the grotesque black myths that the Obama-era media wants to congratulate itself it has remedied. As a counterpoint, The Blind Side—with its Southern Christian Republican setting—enriches Hollywood’s inspirational and sports movie conventions, especially those simplistic nightmares about the ghetto and bromides about the welfare state.

This also reverses conventional movie messages: The Blind Side emphasizes how much the Tuohys’ learn about their privilege; Oher inspires their noblesse oblige—an American pop alternative to bourgeois self-critique as best dramatized in Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning. When Leigh Anne and her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) force the Wingate School to teach Oher and prove its “Neighborly Academic Christian” credo (“We either take that seriously or paint over it,” Sean says), the Tuohy household becomes a laboratory of democracy, sympathy and common—small “l”—liberalism. Unlike Precious, this film doesn’t pretend to be about uplift; it expands into an unquestionably optimistic view of our private and social potential. (As a healthy post-Hurricane Katrina story, this could also be called Americans Saved From Drowning.)

Through the use of basic sports analogy, integration and compassion affects white folks as much as blacks whereas Precious offered one-sided pathos. (Note: Michael’s effect on the Tuohys’ unorthodox Thanksgiving dinner habits.) Leigh Anne begins this transformation tale explaining the position of the Left Tackle as revolutionized after the 1985 pro game where Lawrence Taylor sacked Quarterback Joe Theismann. The conflict inherent in athletic rivalry sublimates racial difference and institutionalized rivalry into a less-anxious form of competition: not race, class and gender as horrorshow but as sportsmanship. All the obvious fearfulisms are implied yet not emphasized (Leigh Anne tells a denigrating yahoo to “zip it.” Sean notes Michael’s desire for a pickup truck: “He thinks he’s a redneck”).

Although Oher looks like a male Precious (he’s a sullen, hulking behemoth), Aaron doesn’t play the role for our pity. Hancock dares an instructive cultural analogy when Leigh Anne asks Michael if his mother ever read Ferdinand the Bull to him. Another perfectly humanizing metaphor, this opens our view of Michael: We see the man who’ll emerge from the child—his spiritual essence rather than his social type.

Leigh Anne is The Blind Side’s most remarkable social type. At first she recalls the gutsy white girls Goldie Hawn played in Wildcats and Meg Ryan in Across the Ropes, demonstrating comic sass and social smarts some call effortless. But look how wonderfully poised Bullock is playing a WASP Republican Southern diva (and with a disarming lilt in her voice). Bullock’s likeability has been an unsung virtue of American movies for the past decade. It’s key to the enjoyment of movies that could be better (Crash, While You Were Sleeping, The Lake House) and movies that are superb, such as Infamous (the good Truman Capote biopic), The Thing Called Love and now The Blind Side. All Bullock’s films promote an edifying sense of human experience—she has an instinct for what people like to see—and that gift makes The Blind Side the perfect, God-sent antidote to Precious.

Bullock never lets you see her sweat and in this tearjerker, she shrewdly never lets you see Leigh Anne Tuohy cry. She never cheapens compassion. Maybe the only questionable moment is that her retort to a gang of ghetto thugs needed a flash of the iron she threatens—but that would have turned this lovely film into hypocritical sensationalism like Eastwood’s poorly judged social treatise Gran Torino. This is better. Bullock’s discretion is a form of decency.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver


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