Movie Debate: THE BLIND SIDE

It’s the return of PCN vs. EE. Every once in a while, I post a Siskel & Ebert-style movie review instead of a traditional one when my occasional movie partner, Eric Edwards, disagrees with my take on something.

We recently attended a screening of Sandra Bullock’s upcoming movie, The Blind Side (opening Nov. 20), based on the true story of Michael Oher, an African-American teen with a mother addicted to crack  who bounced through the foster care system before he was taken in by a Memphis family, the Tuohys. He eventually went to college and became a star NFL player with the Baltimore Ravens.

After the screening, Eric and I had the following discussion.

Warner Bros./Ralph Nelson

PCN: What didn’t you like about it? It stars our girl, Sandra Bullock!

EE: Sandra Bullock is the best thing about it. Take her out of the movie and you’ve got something that should be a Lifetime movie of the week.

PCN: Yeah, but it does have Bullock and she elevates the material like she usually does. You can’t judge it on what it might have been.

EE: Okay, but you must admit the movie’s very safe. The stakes are never very high and no matter what Michael does, there are no repercussions. Also, we hear there are issues at school but we never get to see any of it. He may have had a rough past but once the family takes him in, everything works out and he’s beloved by everyone.

PCN: You’re right, the movie doesn’t break any new ground. But since there are supposedly only seven original ideas in Hollywood, I look at the execution. Bullock’s performance as Leigh Anne is quite engaging and there are some funny moments. The Proposal wasn’t an original concept, either, but Bullock made that watchable.

EE: But she only brings to life her role. She can’t carry the whole movie and whenever she’s not on screen, the movie drags.

THE BLIND SIDEPCN: I thought Quinton Aaron did a nice job as Michael. He’s got such sad eyes and a gentle soul, which make for an interesting contrast with his intimidating size. Aaron hasn’t done much film work but he kept up with Bullock.

EE: I think the director told him that less is more and that’s what he did. He let his eyes do most of the acting and he’s got great eyes.

PCN: The casting of Tim McGraw was curious. He turned in a good enough performance as Leigh Anne’s husband, but I was thinking, How come they had to get a country singer for this role? There weren’t any qualified actors who could have played that?

EE: I agree, and there’s no arc for that character at all. He’s pretty much written as one-note all the way through. The only justification I could think of for casting him is that it’s set in Memphis and he’s a country star.

PCN: Yeah, but this movie is opening nationwide, not just in Memphis.

EE: But country music is huge and maybe they’re going after those fans, to give the film any kind of advantage possible. I maintain, though, it’s not worthy of the big screen. It’s a nice family movie with very little drama and low stakes.

PCN: How about looking at is as a character study instead of a plot-driven piece? You didn’t find these people compelling?

EE: The problem is, the strongest character is Bullock’s, but the movie isn’t about her. It’s about Michael and he’s not that interesting.

PCN: He’s a kid from a really rough childhood who makes good in the NFL!


Warner Bros./Ralph Nelson

EE: But we only get tiny glimpses of his childhood in flashback. It’s not enough to make me care. The story mostly deals with him living with the Tuohys, where it’s pretty much smooth sailing.

PCN: I know where you’re coming from; normally I’d be making the same arguments you are.  This time, though, I recognized the movie’s flaws but went with it anyway because I was rooting for Michael and thought the Tuohys were pretty cool for what they did. Maybe I just have a soft spot for true stories about kids overcoming adversity to achieve great things.

EE: It’s not a horrible movie but I’d still recommend waiting for the DVD.

Nerd verdicts—PCN: An enjoyable Side show, EE: Movie turns Blind eye to conflict



  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    November 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Yay, it’s been a while since you’ve done the ‘good cop, bad cop’ review with Eric, PCN! Hub will want to watch because of Sandra, and I’m always happy to see a feel-good, triumph-over-adversity movie, even if it’s a bit corny or technically weak. But I can wait for the DVD ~ we have too much of a movie backlog at the moment!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Shell. I’ll be going to a lot of movies this season so Eric might pop up again soon.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

    PCN, I really enjoy Eric’s and your exchanges on this. You two need to go out to more movies together so we can get this on a more regular basis. When Ebert and Siskel no longer were, the subsequent new pairings for that show just stepped down with each iteration (till finally, only Ebert was worth following on his own, and on Twitter). Both of you have a good chemistry that comes across. This is great stuff. I smell a new syndication! Thanks for this.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks, lp13. Eric & I like having these discussions so I’m glad you enjoy reading them.

      After Siskel and Ebert went off the air, I couldn’t deal with the clowns they replaced them with. Well, Richard Roeper was okay but Ben Lyons was a joke.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    You know that the story actually took place in Memphis not Nashville.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 12, 2009 at 10:56 pm

      Fixed. Thanks, Joseph.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2009 at 4:06 am

    “The Blind Side” was THE WORST MOVIE EVER!! It was absolute TORTURE sitting through over two hours of that BORING film! I can’t praying that this STUPID movie would end soon! I wasted $22 on this RETARDED show! Save your money. Sandra was annoying, that black guy is as dull as rocks, and the whole movie just drags on forever! Worst than Chinese water torture! OMG!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 21, 2009 at 10:27 am

      Hi H/T M,

      Though I’m sorry to hear you wasted your time and money, I think your review is hilarious. I enjoy a passionate one that clearly makes its point.

      Hope your next experience at the movies is better.

    • Reply
      April 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

      You are being too kind. This movie was the kind of thing that appeals to Jay Leno fans (lowest common denominator of understanding).

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