Saturday, April 03, 2010

Overheard: The Blind Side

I am terrible about eavesdropping when I hear a movie mentioned. Overheard in midtown Manhattan yesterday between two co-workers.
woman: Did you see The Blind Side? We rented it last night. Sandra Bullock was so good in it. Because of that accent.

Honestly, I had a lump in my throat from the beginning to the very end.

man: [earnestly] It really puts things into perspective.
Puts what into perspective!?! Jesus. That super rich people have easier lives than poor people?

I wouldn't hate that movie half as much if it would leave me alone but people are still talking about it. For this I suppose we must blame the Academy slightly and Jesse James most of all.


Unknown said...

Eavesdropping can be the most horrifying thing. I live in DC and couldn't help myself from listening to what all the tea party freaks on the metro were saying.

If Blind Side changes your perspective, I can only wonder what that perspective was before seeing it. Like, were they surprised when the black kid really didn't steal Sandra's shit? Were they surprised Sandy didn't go along with those white bitches? Have they ever seen a movie before?

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Nathaniel, I overheard something even worse that that in my classroom some days ago:

Person 1: So I went to see The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock was SO amazing.

Person 2: I know, right? She deserved that Oscar so much. She transformed herself into the character, it didn't look anything like her.

Person 1: Yeah, you're right. That role was nothing like what Sandra has done in her career. She deserved the Oscar.

Person 3 (that'd be me): And what about Meryl Streep? Or Carey Mulligan?

Person 1: Meryl Streep? You call that a performance? And that chick from An Education? Please, those are Sunday afternoon movies... Anyone can play those roles. The Blind Side, on the other hand, deals with important, social issues. And Sandra is amazing. The obstacles that character had to overcome...

Person 2: Yeah. You don't really know anything about cinema, do you?

And then I shut up. Stupid people.

James T said...

Jorge, you deserve a medal. I would throw the "morons", "close-minded", "easily manipulated" at their faces with all my strength!

Anonymous said...

Pretty much everyone I know was rooting for Bullock to win, I never saw TBS so I can't say either way. But you know...people feel like they know her.

Jude said...

Jorge - I agree with James, you do deserve a medal for being able to shut up as people praised Sandra Bullock's "amazing" performance in that "social-issues-tackling" drama The Blind Side.

The Blind Side is rich people's Precious.

Anonymous said...

That terrible, TERRIBLE, accent!?! God woman get a dialect coach.

Clarence said...

LMAO. I really have to laugh at what those silly people said. You should have said something about Gabby Sidibe in Precious instead. LOL. I want to hear their response. Imagine: "Oh please that's probably her real life. It's not that hard to play a character if you live like her. (Insert fat joke)."
As awful as that thought sounds, I think your classmates are the ignorant type to say something like that.

I love Sandra Bullock. I just don't love her in that movie. IMHO, she's better in The Lake House than that :x

Robert Hamer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Hamer said...

If there's one positive thing that I can say about it, The Blind Side showed me just how sheltered most people are in the United States, and how white condescension is just as (if not more) pervasive than outright racism.

ZiZo said...

I get the "You don't really know anything about cinema, do you?" all the time too by the way, I wonder why.


robert -- good point.

anonymous who wrote -- "But you know...people feel like they know her."

that is very true. and explains a lot. I'd root for people I knew and liked too. It's only human nature.

Ben said...

I had my first hate comment on my blog because of my review (a C+, nuanced review by the way) of The Blind Side. It just bugs me so much how many people loved this movie and can feel good about this "nice white lady" helping the young man out of his ghetto. While Sandra was good, I HATED the way they portrayed Michael as totally a bystander in his own triumph. And those scenes in the projects? Please. Every young black man was decked out like Mr T. Whatever your take on the characterizations in Precious, at least she is a fully formed character with her own agency.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

I'm suddenly imagining Nathaniel bursting into Academy screenings, bleached blonde hair and sunglasses on head pointing his finger and saying...

"Y'all are supposed to be votin' on the quality of the performance. I look around this Academy and all I see are people shootin' the bull and drinkin' coffee. Who's in charge here?!"

The Pretentious Know it All said...

But in all seriousness, "The Blind Side" will be put into perspective once the smoke clears. It'll totally be one of those Oscar wins that doesn't smell too good. Especially once people realize they gave Sandra Bullock an Academy Award for essentially playing a wealthier, slightly more well-bred version of Naomi Harper from "Mama's Family."

Unknown said...

LMFAO, as a Carey Mulligan fan in Education, I FEEL YOUR PAIN, that film trashed Mulligans chances at award season.

Oh well, at least she has Shia, for all we know he is not banging nazi trash.

adelutza said...

You too , Nathaniel! This is still an open wound for me, and it feels that everybody around me conspires to not let me forget about it. Forgive and forget...

Univarn said...

Yeah overhearing conversations about movies, especially Oscar winners/contenders is a horrible thing.

I remember a few years back, I overheard someone at my school complaining about the films being nominated for Best Picture. Their argument: Since they haven't heard of the movies, they must not be best picture contenders.

jimmy said...

i like to look at this as a movie about one human reaching out to another. i am watching it right now & think it's terrific. not to sound whatever - but i would guess if michelle pfeiffer or julianne moore had played the role, or someone "respectable / acceptable as a great actress" - then all of your opinions would be very different. just because sandra bullock is a huge box office draw doesn't mean she can't turn in an inspiring & terrific performance -which she did. streep was ham ham hammy once again - ironic because it was about julia child. she should have won last year for "doubt."

jimmy said...

"tea party freaks" - what a horrible foolish generalization.

Ryan Ray said...

I feel Jimmy hasn't seen Julie and Julia.

If Pfeiffer or Moore had been in the movie, I think it would have been better...since they are better actors.

michaeltn said...

Yeah for Jimmy. Finally a sane comment. I agree, had it been Julianne Moore or Michelle P playing Leanne Touhey, none of you would be complaining. I would go further and say had "TBS" not been the huge hit that is has become, nobody would be wasting their time with negative comments. Nathaniel, How sad that you and some others still feel so upset about Sandra Bullock winning an Oscar for "TBS." I'm so glad she won,so "disappointed" people like yourself can no longer try to have an effect on voting outcomes. "TBS" was beloved by most movie goers because the story was true, Sandra was outstanding, and wow, heres an idea, the movie actually left audiences feeling good as they left the theaters.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

@Jimmy...a lot of what you're saying is actually quite fair. For my money, Meryl Streep wasn't exactly leagues and leagues above Sandra Bullock in terms of actual performance. I only preferred her slightly.

Where you lost me is the Julianne Moore and Michelle Pfeiffer hypothetical. Julianne Moore is quite adept at giving dimension and mining internal psychology, even when it's not there on the page. And when I watch a movie like Love Field for instance, I'm not convinced that Michelle Pfeiffer wouldn't have done interesting things with Leanne Tuohy and at least TRY to rail against the pandering, misguided film. Just keeping things in perspective.

badmotherfucker said...

Two things bother me about Bullock's Oscar win:

1. A mediocre - albeit good - performance winning the trophy in a pretty stellar year AND

2. This "she's due" nonsense (IMO) that popped up after the film's release and never quite went away. Name ONE Sandra Bullock performance that was truly Oscar-worthy. Okay, name two. And I'm not talking about a likable SB perf because, believe me, she's won my heart over many times before. I just haven't been blown away by anything she's ever done.

To be honest, it reminds me of how I felt when Reese Witherspoon won for Walk the Line. A charming performance, yes, but the best? OTOH, I'd be the guy to argue she deserved a nod for Election and a statue for Legally Blonde so take that as you will.

NoNo said...

If you had overheard what I did when I left the theater after being dragged to see Why Did I Get Married Too!


Her publicist started that "overdue" talk just like with Jeff Bridges. The media just latched onto it.

G.ShaQ said...

I don't know if anyone has commented on this before, but when they cut to a commercial during the Oscars, the voice-off said: "after the break, who will win Best Picture? Avatar, The Hurt Locker, or.... (cue excited tone) THE BLIIIIND SIIIIIIDE". I think this small statement speaks volume about TBS and what the Oscars have become; IMO, TBS brought a whole new category of viewers to the Oscars. One has to wonder how far down the list TBS was from winning the big prize.


@jimmy -- that's a great way to look at it (one human to another) and i'd like to share that view but (for me) it unfortunately the movie takes so many short cuts and makes such generalizations that it's hard not to be offended by the black/poor white/rich dynamic. and...

as far as 'tea party freaks' . can you blame people for generalizing? as soon as people in that movement start behaving with common decency and stop promoting violence against others and start accepting realities and the beautiful diversity of this country and THE POWER OF REASONING rather than shouting and dissent and chaos and as soon as they stop blindly screaming every paranoid hateful racist regressive spin that is further perverting Christianity (most Christians today seem to be adamantly opposed to everything Christ believed in. Christ was all about taking care of others and woulda loved universal health care ;) ... than we can stop labelling them in ways that might come across as demeaning.

@michaeltn -- oh don't worry ;) i won't suddenly stop commenting and trying to sway oscar opinions just because things didn't go my way? Sandra cannot defeat me thateasily :)

but you're right. it's very true that i wouldn't have gotten so worked up about it if it hadn't been such a behemoth hit. But then, that cuts both ways. Sandra Bullock never would have been in the conversation to begin with if it hadn't been a behemoth hit. It was part of the package all along. If that had done An Education level business for example, there is no way in hell it would've happened.

@badmofo... i like Reese's performance in Walk the Line more than most people did but i totally get what you're saying. and I think she was great in those two movies you mention. I think Sandra was quite good in BLIND SIDE but not "great" and i don't think she's ever been as good as Reese Witherspoon's best (though she's more "likable" probably)

anyway: I require "great" for Oscar wins ;)



Jon Foerster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimmy said...

I did see "Julie / Julia" - did not really like it - primarily because of the "Julie" side of it. Meryl Streep should have won for "Doubt" (over winslet) & "Ironweed" (over Cher). She should have 4 sitting on the shelf right now. Julie christie should have 2. witherspoon & Berry should have 0.

In terms of tea partiers - people in this country have every right to protest & raise their voices about something they do not agree with. The press & the democrats want to brand the tea partiers as extreme / right wing / racist yahoos. Pelosi and her ilk very deliberately walked outside on the way to the house through the tea party crowds with the hope of getting heckled - great splashy press for them. Typically, rather always, house members take an underground tram to the house - it's faster / easier. So - they tried to say they were spit on / racial slurs were thrown their way. and after looking at ALL video, and there was lots of it, no one could find any slurs against barney frank or black members of congress. their hopes of getting some n-words and f-words thrown at them did not work. anyway - i support the tea party people's right to protest & voice the opinions. are there a few bad ones in the bunch - yes. is sarah palin's map with the targets on it stupid, yes & so is she. I do not think it's right call all tea party people racist or slap some brand on them; just like we should not brand any group. I'm christian (Catholic) and I'm some not some hateful small-minded demon. I get a little tired of people and the press bashing christians, especially catholics - but it really comes from ignorance. the the government clearly spends too much money foolishly. for the democrats, president & press to try to stop the tea partiers and conservatives from voicing their opinions; and saying we all have to march in "lock step" - that's very dangerous for our future.

anyway - Happy Easter / happy spring time / happy kuhm buy Yah. Peace.


jimmy ... i support everyone's right to protest too. I just don't support people's rights to disrupt democracy with imaginary facts and shit-stirring hate mongering. I mean, yes i suppose it's legal. But it sure as hell isn't Christian.

i guess i'm stunned over and over again at how people within the christian community fail to see how far astray they've gotten from anything approaching what Christ would want. They seem HORRIFIED that democrats want to feed the hungry and clothe the poor.

and if it weren't so hateful, it'd be funny how much christians would hate Christ if he were to return and start actually preaching what he always preached you know?

which has almost zero to do with capitalism and horde all your money and arm yourself against your neighbors and blah blah blah.

i mean. this is farce now, what's become of Christianity in america.

Samson said...

The film isn't bad. The hate's getting old already. Oscar-worthy might be a stretch, but it told its story well and Sandra Bullock was great in this role. I'm a fan and I won't be ashamed to admit that.

jimmy said...

again - you just totally blanket and stereotype all Christians. that's too bad.

they are not horrified that democrats want to feed and clothe the poor. both sides have been doing that for years & know it's a responsibility.

typical knee jerk stuff without listening to the other side. unfortunately - that's a big problem in our county today - both sides not listening or attempting to understand each other. cable news networks put on opposing players every night because it madkes for "good tv" - watching the fights every night.

oh well - back to the movies. agree to disagree.

Cinesnatch said...

I am going to jump to Bullock's defense. A lot of you are acting like her Oscar win is a tragedy greater than Helen Hunt's. If we want to regret any Best Actress Oscars, let's start with her!

I don't mean to kick a dog when it's down (where is Hunt's career these days) and I kind of like her, but that she has an Oscar and Annette Bening doesn't have one, I find kind of comical.

Frankly, I'm glad Bullock won. She has proven to be a box office draw over the length of 15 years. How many actresses have managed that? Not that warrants an Oscar, but, come on, there are worse scenarios that could result in a Best Actress Oscar ... like a popular TV star with a pathetic film resume winning one. Bullock's win is of the Julia Roberts/Reese Witherspoon kind, at worst.

Before I'd take away Bullock's Oscar, I'd take back Hunt's, Berry's, Swank's second (and first for that matter).

But, Tilda Swinton was definitely robbed of a nomination, let alone win.

Anonymous said...

some people liked the movie. get over it.

Lara said...

" A lot of you are acting like her Oscar win is a tragedy greater than Helen Hunt's. "

For me it is. It ranks among Berry's and Swank's second (which is a tragedy in itself since her first was so highly deserved and the second diminishes that performance in many people's mind).

Ian said...

Halle Berry's win was excellent. Don't drag her in the mud along with this Sandra Bullock/Helen Hunt hate.

Andrew R. said...

You could argue she deserved it because she made the film watchable. Though that's a lame argument.

I was actually scared they were going to nominate Quinton Aaron. He spoke in 4 word sentences and...shudder.

Bryan said...

I personally thought that Bullock was good, not great (and shouldn't have won). I think that The Know Nothing makes an important point, though: even if Sandra's performance wasn't a revelation, neither was Meryl's. And frankly, Gabby should have had this in the bag.

I guess I'm just saying that I can only half-heartedly agree when people say, "Sandra Bullock was so BAD in TBS! Meryl "The Goddess" should have won!!!1"

After all, only the real Meryl Streep fans are capable of acknowledging that she doesn't always do stellar work ;)

Anonymous said...

it really pisses me off when I hear people saying, well she is a box office draw for 15 years so why not?

WTF? I dont care if she is a box office for 100 years, she didnt deserve at all. The film was mediocre and she was average at best.

The only reason she won is because she is a movie star and the film did 300mil.

That was one of the worst victories in Oscar history and the fact that her personal life now is in the toilet doesnt change that.

awful, awful, awful film.

Anonymous said...

the fact that Abbie Cornish wasnt even nominated proves what a joke the Academy is.

so, I think the academy got the winner taht they deserve. the sweet american princess.

michaeltn said...

Nathaniel (and obnoxious anonymous),
I'm going to take a different turn this time. Many things go into an Oscar victory besides simply the performance. There is peaking at the right time, a favorable campaign, Academy voter influence, prior Award wins...and yes the actor's performance. Sandra Bullock had all the above going for her. She won all the major awards leading up to the Oscars. Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG. "TBS" peaked at the right time. Sandra ran a terrific campaign, she is well thought of among her peers (and has worked with many through the years), and finally (though you don't agree) she gave an award worthy performance in "TBS." Let me go a step further. This year the Academy wanted to broaden their viewership. To do this they included 10 film nominees. "TBS" was nominated, but no way was it going to win over the favored films. However, the Academy could be content with giving something to "TBS." That something was an Oscar for Sandra Bullock. Something worked because viewership was up 20% this year. I doubt more viewers would have tuned in if Abie Cornish or Tilda Swinton had been sitting in Sandra's seat on Oscar night. Before you scream about Oscar being a popularity contest, (I will repeat myself again) Sandy won (or tied) all the major acting awards prior to Oscar. This further put Academy Voter's minds at ease when they voted for her.
As for Sandra's prior films, don't forget actors choose their roles and Sandy has chosen what she felt safe with, romantic comedies. These have made her, and the studios lots of money,(none of her films has lost money, which, I think, no actor in Hollywood can claim) as well as catapulting her to stardom. This does not mean that when she gets a good screenplay or drama as in "Crash" (which Sandy won a SAG award as part of ensemble)and "The Blindside" she can't hit one out of the park, and win an Oscar in the process.

Anonymous said...


except that SHE DIDNT hit one out of the park, go read the reviews when the film opened, she was good in a mediocre film.

Please, she didnt deserve the Oscar and everybody knows she won because she is a movie star and the film made bank.

I dont give a damn, if the audience would be as high if people like Cornish or Tilda got a nom, at least they actaully would deserved the damn Oscar.

Oh, and I hope she doesnt DARE TO CRY for privacy now that her private life is in the papers, she won an Oscar because the public loves her and she is a star, so deal with it now.

juligen said...

Sandra victory for me was gross, but it makes things easier for me as a fan, next time someone says taht Shia Labeouf or any favorite of mine cant win I can say, "well Bullock won for that crap".:)

so, its good at the ned. lol.


juligen -- yes, anyone can win. the surprise factor is such a potent oscar narrative and oscar history confirms this. if people like, say, lindsay lohan ever get their shit together and startle in a well loved movie,they can win.

keanu reeves could win with the right role even though few have ever thought of him as much more than an adequate actor (and sometimes much less).

mickey rourke can win if... oh, wait.

point being: THEY LOVE A SURPRISE. and a 'I DIN'T KNOW THIS PERSON HAD IT IN THEM!' way more than they like people who are well reviewed the majority of the time and considered consistent quality actors (see Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Viggo Mortensen, Laura Linney, Kathleen Turner, and roughly 300 others who've never won ;)

michaeltn said...

Anonymous, Wow! you are upset. Never forget that performances are subjective. That YOU didn't like Sandra in "TBS" does not mean she was not great in the part. Most of the critics agree Sandra was great, even if they didn't love the movie. This happens alot. Most of the critics were upset with the politics of the movie. Its much better to tow the downtrodden, poor, repressed black stereotype in a movie like "Precious," than to give a thumbs up to a true story of a conservative, wealthy, Southern religious family actually doing the right thing. We have a black President, you can't have it both ways. Knowing the politics of more prominent movie reviewers (Roger Ebert would not review "TBS"), I could have predicted what critics were going to say about the film before it was released. Thanks Nathaniel for your last comment. Sounds fair and level to me. Its called show business, not show fairness. Anonymous. How sad that you feel Sandra's personal life deserves to be in shambles because she is a big movie star. Wow, you are bitter.

michaeltn said...

Anonymous. Wow you are upset! Remember performances are subjective. There have been many past actors who were nominated for Oscars because they rose above the average reviewed film they were in.
Most critics agreed that Sandra Bullock was great in the role of Leigh Anne Touhey, even if they did not love "TBS." Many of what you call the "average" reviews for "TBS" found fault with its politics. Roger Ebert would not even review the film, but thought Sandra was outstanding in it. How an acclaimed film critic like Roger can be taken seriously when he allows his politics to not allow him to review an Oscar nominated film is beyond me, but its called show business not show fairness. Thanks Nathaniel for your final comment. Sounds fair and level to me. Sorry Anonymous, but to say Sandra Bullock's personal life should be in shambles after winning the Oscar and we or she should "DEAL WITH IT" is really sad. I'm embarased for you.

Wild Celtic said...

This post is hilarious. :)

Broooooke said...

Wowe this is old but i have to comment because i was laighing at the line "If Michelle Pfiffer had been in this no one would have thought it was bad" Um she was, but it was called Dangerous minds lol.

With that out of the way, wow, what a divider that oscar had been. I liked the performance myself. Would probably had her at 3rd or 4th on my list, and wasn't upset by her win, because unlike some year, there was no clear cut deserving winner. I myself was in the Mulligan camp but thats beside the point.

Sandra was actually spot on, she may not have had many big emotional scenes, but that isn't a nessecity for a great performance. I knw women like that, and believe me, I felt like i was watching a real person. I feel sorry fr Sandy, because, like she didn't choose the scars, she just did her best, and the right people liked it, now she gets a ton of abuse for it.

Also i will note that the movei didn't do a whole lot for me, and i dissagree with the BP nod, but i don't think the movie was too heavy handed with politics. im a hard core liberal, and i didnt hate it, so it cant have been too bad. It didn't show the Tuhoys as perfect beings.

anyway rant over, time for this years race, and lets hope they don't give it to Swank again or something.