OPINIONS: The Blind Side

The Blind Side

I realize it has been a while since I have reviewed anything. To be more specific, I have only reviewed one other thing since my excellent piece on fast food french fries in early 2008. Some people might call me a slacker. I like to say that I have been doing research. Of course, I haven’t been doing any research unless changing diapers, playing shows, eating and bowling count as research. But should I let my slacking reviewer skills keep me from reviewing something ever again? No way. So the Gully rating system is back – for now.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Redbox with a code for a free DVD rental. Jill sent me to Walgreen’s to pick out a good movie for us to watch after the kids went to bed. She mentioned something about the Time Traveler’s Wife. First of all, that has the word “wife” in the title which means it is all about a girl. Secondly, there is the picture of a couple hugging on the front of the DVD. I might be forced to watch these kind of movies but I am definitely not going to be the one caught renting it from Redbox. Precious was another option – but knowing a little about that movie, I want to see it but it just never seems like a good time for me to ruin our moods for a night. I considered getting Crazy Heart but I think we needed to watch something that had nothing to do with music. Then I saw The Blind Side.

I already knew a good bit about the movie because it had a lot of press around it. I know Sandra Bullock won the best actress Oscar for it. Jill made me watch some of Oprah’s interview with the family the movie was about. In addition to this, I heard from many, many people that I needed to see this movie – “it was really good”. I called Jill and ran the movie by her (no – I can’t even make one movie decision on my own) and she didn’t sound very excited. “It is going to be that  kind of movie,” she said. I knew exactly what she meant – but I was still holding out hope that it would exceed my expectations.

One of the most nerve-racking experiences is being the person to pick out a movie – especially when the other person watching it with you is hesitant about it. In this case, Jill wasn’t opposed to the movie but it was clear that she reserved the right to say “I told you so” if it wasn’t so good. So that left me as the proponent for a movie that I was not so sure about myself. She asked me what rating it got on rottentomatoes.com. I said, “Around 70%”. It actually got 66%. Normally I trust the ratings on this site but here I found myself rounding a percentage up to 70 to make it sound more appealing. I was in a bad position.

Anyways – on to the movie. It only took a few minutes of this movie before I knew Jill was politely keeping her mouth shut and looking at me out of the corner of her eye to see my reactions to some bad lines and awkward acting moments. And it didn’t get much better. It was only 10 minutes or so before I was openly mocking scenes that had just passed in the film. It took 45 minutes for Jill to say “I told you it would be that kind of film”. I had to resist the urge to be offended and just agree with her. The rest of the movie was actually quite enjoyable because we were able to openly mock the awkward moments together.

I am not saying this is a bad movie. I know many of you liked this movie. It is a great story. Sandra Bullock does a good job (I guess). I am not trying to dissuade you from seeing it if you haven’t already. It is inspirational. But for my taste, I thought the movie was a bit formulaic. I think of it as a late 90’s Garth Brooks concert – what it lacks in depth it makes up in manipulative pulls at the heartstrings. One of the things I look for most in a movie is a script that sounds like a believable conversation. So many lines and conversations in this movie just felt to me like a parody or caricature of what a normal one would have been. Rich ladies at the country club discussing poor people. Family calling to ask about the big black boy in the Christmas picture. I guess it is possible that people actually talk like the people in this movie – but if that is true, I don’t want to go back to Memphis, TN.

If you are headed out to rent a movie and want something quasi-inspirational that you don’t have to think about, this might be the movie for you. If you like seeing college football coaches attempt acting, this is definitely the movie for you. But if you want to see some excellent writing, you might want to consider your other options.

Rating:  2 Gullys