Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Blind Side

The Film: The Blind Side

The Actors: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates, etc.

The Dealio: Based on a true story (oh, man, how many times have I heard that one?), this tale starts by setting the scene with affluent Ole Miss boosters, McGraw and Bullock, complete with perfect son and daughter, meeting a young man who attends the same cradle-to-college-style academy. They are well-off, he is disadvantaged- a product of The Projects, living by his own wits and the grudging charity of tenuous relatives. 'Big Mike' sleeps in a laundromat, picks up food after athletic events in the gym, and is barely scraping by at school because his head is in the clouds and he is 'scary looking' to others- including teachers. He is big... and brooding, never smiling and largely mute. A chance meeting after a game leads Bullock and McGraw's characters to take him in. Next, it is a short hop to their sponsorship of him, the hiring of a tutor (Bates, who believes in this kid from the git-go)to bring him along, intellectually, and the discovery, through some sort of inventory test (could someone tell me the name of this one? I would love to take this one myself!), which clearly indicates that young Michael abounds in 'protective instincts'. Would he walk into a biker bar to defend his family? Probably so.
It seems that football is the perfect place to kill two birds with one...well, you know. He can shelter under the protective wing of his coach- placing him in an ideal situation to develop some sort of skill which would make him appealing to colleges. That, and, more importantly, he also begins to experience, perhaps for the very first time, socialisation in an other-than-gun-toting, drug-using setting. The question is, will there be a happy ending for Michael? Oh, come on, you know the answer to this one!

The Grading Session: 4.29 stars out of 5. There are those who will protest that this film is the worst sort of pap- the hubris of these folks to feel that only the affluent whites can save the underprivileged youngster from an uncertain life on the streets. However, I choose not to go down that rabbit hole. I prefer to enjoy the over-the-credits scenes from the real story, featuring the real people, and let any glossiness that appeared to smooth the way pass on by. Why? Well, I spoze it's because I prefer to believe in the pure goodness of people's hearts and intentions. Each one of us needs to seize a moment, a situation, an opportunity to make a difference large or small. These folks, clearly, got that and saw an opportunity with Michael. And I believe that Michael saw one, too: the unique opportunity to make a better life for himself, and then to pay it forward. The fact that this is a true story of someone - one little person- who stepped up when she saw something was wrong, and did something about it-well, that gives me both hope and happiness. If it is possible for one individual to make such a big difference, it is possible for many to make huge changes. Let's see how much we can do when we flex our muscles and act, instead of waiting for someone else to get the job done.

Lessons Learned: It's an oldie but a goodie: you can't judge a book by its cover. And I am not speaking just about Michael Oher.

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