The Blind Side: The Most Insulting Movie Ever Made

11 Jun

Davetavius and I consider ourselves the world’s foremost authorities on watching movies for reasons other than those intended by their producers. As such, we go way beyond just watching “cheesy” (whatever that means) movies, 80s movies, or kung fu movies (which I refuse to watch but which every dork on Earth has been pretending to like in some attempt at letting everyone know how “weird” they are since Quentin Tarantino’s ridiculous ass popularized kung fu movie fandom as the #1 route to instant eccentricity cred in True Romance) to focus our attention on recently-released romantic comedies, those obnoxious movies in which two assholes just sit around and talk to each other for 98 minutes, and “serious” movies for which people have been given gold-plated statuettes. One can learn an awful lot about the faults and failings of our social system and corporate entertainment’s attempts to sell us its version of culture by watching movies created by and for the anti-intelligentsia, and if one were to try hard enough, I’m sure one could find the string that, if tugged, would unravel the modern world system buried somewhere in a melodramatic Best Picture Oscar contender intended to make people who refer to beers as “cold ones” feel like they’re considering The Big Issues. There was no way we were going to miss The Blind Side.

Spoiler alert: this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and I’m going to spoil your desire to see it yourself by writing this post. Also, I may, if I can manage to give a fuck, divulge important plot elements. But it’s based on a true story that everyone has already heard anyway, so who cares.

Let me say up front that I’m aware that I’m supposed to feel sorry for Sandra Bullock this week. She’s purported to be “America’s sweetheart” and all, she has always seemed like a fairly decent person (for an actor), and I think her husband deserves to get his wang run over by one of his customized asshole conveyance vehicles, but I’m finding it difficult to feel too bad. I mean, who marries a guy who named himself after a figure from the Old West, has more tattoos than IQ points, and is known for his penchant for rockabilly strippers? Normally I’d absolve Bullock of all responsibility for what has occurred and spend nine paragraphs illustrating the many reasons Jesse James doesn’t deserve to live, but I’ve just received proof in the form of a movie called The Blind Side that Sandra Bullock is in cahoots with Satan, Ronald Reagan’s cryogenically preserved head, the country music industry, and E! in their plot to take over the world by turning us all into (or helping some of us to remain) smug, racist imbeciles.

The movie chronicles the major events in the life of a black NFL player named Michael Oher from the time he meets the rich white family who adopts him to the time that white family sees him drafted into the NFL, a series of events that apparently proves that racism is either over or OK (I’m not sure which), with a ton of southern football bullshit along the way. Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, the wife of a dude named Sean Tuohy, played by — no shit — Tim McGraw, who is a fairly minor character in the movie despite the fact that he is said to own, like, 90 Taco Bell franchises. The story is that Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, is admitted into a fancy-pants private Christian school despite his lack of legitimate academic records due to the insistence of the school’s football coach and the altruism of the school’s teachers (as if, dude), where he comes into contact with the Tuohy family, who begin to notice that he is sleeping in the school gym and subsisting on popcorn. Ms. Tuohy then invites him to live in the zillion-dollar Memphis Tuophy family compound, encourages him to become the best defensive linebacker he can be by means of cornball familial love metaphors, and teaches him about the nuclear family and the SEC before beaming proudly as he’s drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.

I’m sure that the Tuohy family are lovely people and that they deserve some kind of medal for their good deeds, but if I were a judge, I wouldn’t toss them out of my courtroom should they arrive there bringing a libel suit against whoever wrote, produced, and directed The Blind Side, because it’s handily the dumbest, most racist, most intellectually and politically insulting movie I’ve ever seen, and it makes the Tuohy family — especially their young son S.J. — look like unfathomable assholes. Well, really, it makes all of the white people in the South look like unfathomable assholes. Like these people need any more bad publicity.

Quentin Aaron puts in a pretty awesome performance, if what the director asked him to do was look as pitiful as possible at every moment in order not to scare anyone by being black. Whether that was the goal or not, he certainly did elicit pity from me when Sandra Bullock showed him his new bed and he knitted his brows and, looking at the bed in awe, said, “I’ve never had one of these before.” I mean, the poor bastard had been duped into participating in the creation of a movie that attempts to make bigoted southerners feel good about themselves by telling them that they needn’t worry about poverty or racism because any black person who deserves help will be adopted by a rich family that will provide them with the means to a lucrative NFL contract. Every interaction Aaron and Bullock (or Aaron and anyone else, for that matter) have in the movie is characterized by Aaron’s wretched obsequiousness and the feeling that you’re being bludgeoned over the head with the message that you needn’t fear this black guy. It’s the least dignified role for a black actor since Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s portrayal of James Robert Kennedy in Radio (a movie Davetavius claims ought to have the subtitle “It’s OK to be black in the South as long as you’re retarded.”). The producers, writers, and director of this movie have managed to tell a story about class, race, and the failures of capitalism and “democratic” politics to ameliorate the conditions poor people of color have to deal with by any means other than sports while scrupulously avoiding analyzing any of those issues and while making it possible for the audience to walk out of the theater with their selfish, privileged, entitled worldviews intact, unscathed, and soundly reconfirmed.

Then there’s all of the southern bullshit, foremost of which is the football element. The producers of the movie purposely made time for cameos by about fifteen SEC football coaches in order to ensure that everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line would drop their $9 in the pot, and the positive representation of football culture in the film is second in phoniness only to the TV version of Friday Night Lights. Actually, fuck that. It’s worse. Let’s be serious. If this kid had showed no aptitude for football, is there any way in hell he’d have been admitted to a private school without the preparation he’d need to succeed there or any money? In the film, the teachers at the school generously give of their private time to tutor Oher and help prepare him to attend classes with the other students. I’ll bet you $12 that shit did not occur in real life. In fact, I know it didn’t. The Tuohy family may or may not have cared whether the kid could play football, but the school certainly did. It is, after all, a southern school, and high school football is a bigger deal in the South than weed is at Bonnaroo.

But what would have happened to Oher outside of school had he sucked at football and hence been useless to white southerners? What’s the remedy for poverty if you’re a black woman? A dude with no pigskin skills? Where are the nacho magnates to adopt those black people? I mean, that’s the solution for everything, right? For all black people to be adopted by rich, paternalistic white people? I know this may come as a shock to some white people out there, but the NFL cannot accommodate every black dude in America, and hence is an imperfect solution to social inequality. I know we have the NBA too, but I still see a problem. But the Blind Side fan already has an answer for me. You see, there is a scene in the movie which illustrates that only some black people deserve to be adopted by wealthy white women. Bullock, when out looking for Oher, finds herself confronted with a black guy who not only isn’t very good at appearing pitiful in order to make her comfortable, but who has an attitude and threatens to shoot Oher if he sees him. What ensues is quite possibly the most loathsome scene in movie history in which Sandra Bullock gets in the guy’s face, rattles off the specs of the gun she carries in her purse, and announces that she’s a member of the NRA and will shoot his ass if he comes anywhere near her family, “bitch.” Best Actress Oscar.

Well, there it is. Now you see why this movie made 19 kajillion dollars and won an Oscar: it tells a heartwarming tale of white benevolence, assures the red state dweller that his theory that “there’s black people, and then there’s niggers” is right on, and affords him the chance to vicariously remind a black guy who’s boss thr0ugh the person of America’s sweetheart. Just fucking revolting.

There are several other cringe-inducing elements in the film. The precocious, cutesy antics of the family’s little son, S.J., for example. He’s constantly making dumb-ass smart-ass comments, cloyingly hip-hopping out with Oher to the tune of  Young M.C.’s “Bust a Move” (a song that has been overplayed and passe for ten years but has now joined “Ice Ice Baby” at the top of the list of songs from junior high that I never want to hear again), and generally trying to be a much more asshole-ish version of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. At what point will screenwriters realize that everyone wants to punch pint-sized snarky movie characters in the throat? And when will I feel safe watching a movie in the knowledge that I won’t have to endure a scene in which a white dork or cartoon character “raises the roof” and affects a buffalo stance while mouthing a sanitized rap song that even John Ashcroft knows the words to?

And then there’s the scene in which Tim McGraw, upon meeting his adopted son’s tutor (played by Kathy Bates) and finding out she’s a Democrat, says, “Who would’ve thought I’d have a black son before I met a Democrat?” Who would have thought I’d ever hear a “joke” that was less funny and more retch-inducing than Bill Engvall’s material?

What was the intended message of this film? It won an Oscar, so I know it had to have a message, but what could it have been? I’ve got it (a suggestion from Davetavius)! The message is this: don’t buy more than one Taco Bell franchise or you’ll have to adopt a black guy. I’ll accept that that’s the intended message of the film, because if  the actual message that came across in the movie was intentional, I may have to hide in the house for the rest of my life.

I just don’t even know what to say about this movie. Watching it may well have been one of the most demoralizing, discouraging experiences of my life, and it removed at least 35% of the hope I’d previously had that this country had any hope of ever being anything but a cultural and social embarrassment. Do yourself a favor. Skip it and watch Welcome to the Dollhouse again.

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81 Responses to “The Blind Side: The Most Insulting Movie Ever Made”

  1. OutsideLookingOver June 11, 2010 at 9:57 PM #

    “Was that the message of the film? It won an Oscar.”

    That was the message. Paints a pretty bleak picture about the state of mind of this nation.

  2. polly June 12, 2010 at 4:15 AM #

    I don’t watch most films, and never had any intention of watching this, but this was a massively entertaining summary. Perhaps you should start a blog called ‘nine deuce, she watches this crap so you don’t have to’.

    Speaking of which did you ever see ‘500 days of summer’? I found even the trailer of that made me want all those involved to suffer an extremely unpleasant fate – possibly having their liver repeatedly pecked out by a giant bird. I was particularly annoyed by the gratuitous hijacking of some of my favourite music to indicate the fake quirkiness of annoying smug yuppies.

  3. Imaginary June 12, 2010 at 7:22 AM #

    I had a psychic vision that this movie would be shit, and it seems you proved me right. I’m not going to watch it to confirm however; I wouldn’t throw myself in front of a train on the off chance it was made of soft, gooey peanut butter. Mmmm train peanut butter.

  4. pisaquaririse June 12, 2010 at 10:33 AM #

    “But what would have happened to Oher outside of school had he sucked at football and hence been useless to white southerners? What’s the remedy for poverty if you’re a black woman?”

    Exactly what I was thinking when I was watching some goopy, Hallmark *news* piece on “The Blindspot” (more fitting, yes?). What if the black guy had been some smaller framed video gamer who was happy going into middle management some day?
    This news piece actually chronicled another family who was doing a very similar thing as the movie was coming. Southern, guuuuud ole people, just taking in the down-on-his-luck, giant black teddy bear who ALSO happened to be excelling in football. This particular football-er came from a single mom situation on the “wrong side of the tracks” (people STILL say this shite) with a younger sister. Both mom and sis smiled meekly-almost embarrassed-into the camera as they spoke of their pride and happiness for talented big bro moving up in the word/leaving their lesser lives. Aww. Where is the single mom’s White Savior? Where is his little sister’s? White Knight? Why don’t the good-hearted white folk just help mom out with bills each month so she doesn’t have to lose a child and go on national television feigning self-deprecation to the racist masses?

    Never intended to watch this but your review will be passed on with pride. 5 stars Nine.

  5. Jeff June 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM #

    “Who would’ve thought I’d have a black son before I met a Democrat?”

    Whoever was responsible for that line (the screenwriter or the actual dude) apparently has no goddamn memory of politics in the South before Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

  6. KBO June 12, 2010 at 11:31 AM #

    Sweet Jesus, thank you. The whole time that drivel was in the theatre, I kept looking in the media for someone to ask what the fuck was going on with this obviously racist bullshit. It seems like everyone just let it slide because it happened to be a “true story”. Well, so fucking what? Racism is a true story, motherfuckers. So why are we glorifying it. Fuck this noise.

    This is shit that conservatives point to as proof that Black people can make it if they work hard enough and, of course, White people show them them way. Um, bullshit. Because this is anecdotal, and we’re not post-racial (and this moves into both class and race issues, which I think are inexplicably intertwined) unless Black Americans in poverty move out of poverty as a class, which can’t happen without fundamental change to our hegemonic society. Of course, anecdotally, individuals can “make it”. Duh. But it doesn’t mean shit until an entire class has mobility.

    Sidenote: I mean, we can all agree that Jesse James is a piece of shit, but don’t you think his White Supremacist leanings had to have come out sometime in their marriage? I mean, isn’t that something you figure out about someone you are married to before he cheats on you with a low-rent tat model in Hitler garb? I’m not blaming Sandra for her husband’s indiscretions, I’m just wondering how oblivious she is to reality.

  7. Konservo June 12, 2010 at 12:25 PM #

    Tim McGraw is a filthy Democrat. But who can resist that smooth Southern Voice of his? As far as politics go…
    Hank, Jr. 2012
    We need Bocephus in the Senate, Yeeeeehaaaaw!

    • cordell March 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM #

      Wow that’s the most funniest thing I heard yet

  8. Komal June 12, 2010 at 12:59 PM #

    This is why I don’t like America. Among other reasons.

  9. Rachael June 14, 2010 at 2:19 AM #

    Oh my God, this was so worth the wait. That film was the biggest load of garbage I’d seen in a long time.

    There was also a rather sickening scene where White Mom meets Michael’s Single Black Mother. She just can’t handle life, poor thing. Of course, White Mom does the right thing and try and make her feel good about herself (at least, that’s what I was getting–I watched this film as an in-flight movie). I do remember the black mother saying, “Good Christian woman?” and the white mother says, “I try to be.” I felt like the word “white” was in the first question–unsaid, but highly relevant all the same.

    And the part where Bullock’s character rattles off all the guns she has and how she’ll kick the black “bitch’s” ass…It all reminds me of when white people gloat about calling a black person the n-word because they’re “not the good kind of black.”

  10. Andrew June 14, 2010 at 2:53 AM #

    I am having a bit of a problem with the fact you believe Jesse James should have his wang ran over with one of his own choppers. But, only because I know you’d feel a lot less comfortable with it if, after all the cheating men had their wangs double as speed bumps, we started “burning rubber” on all of the cheating women’s vaginas in whatever they like to drive; minivans perhaps?

    The notion of physically torturing anyone for infidelity is very “Taliban-ish,” don’t you think?

    • Nine Deuce June 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM #

      Yeah, dude. I was totally serious.

  11. Andrew June 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM #

    Does that mean you embrace some sort of double standard when it comes to telling “jokes” about sexually mutilating men instead of women?

    • Nine Deuce June 14, 2010 at 12:29 PM #

      Dude, the guy’s a giant asshole, not just an adulterer. Piss off with the “what about the men” business.

  12. Andrew June 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM #

    To be fair, a “what about the men” argument pops up whenever someone argues that women are being treated unfairly and someone else argues that men are treated unfairly as well. Here, you made an express comment about a man and I responded by asking “what about the women” who would fall under the same rubric, i.e., women who cheat. This is really a what about the women argument, specifically, what about the women whose real or hypothetical sexual assaults become jokes?

    It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to take you seriously when you argue that jokes involving rape of and otherwise sexual mutilation/ harm to women shouldn’t be tolerated after you expressly state (even jokingly) that men should face the same in your posts. I am wondering if there is a scenario in which you think doing destruction to a woman’s genitals is appropriate to discuss without being “totally serious.” If not, there had better be something different about men, or at least this man in general, that separates them from the vast population of females, other than his “manhood.” That is unless you think the fact he has a penis is relevant and a double standard is then appropriate.

    Anyway this was a good post and I don’t want to mire it in this discussion or otherwise “derail” it. I think its important to point out that racism can exist, and can even be especially pernicious where it is the hardest to detect (like in films that purport to celebrate diversity and cross-racial cooperation). I only made this point because I thought it strange you embraced the reasoning that jokes about sexual mutilation where acceptable as long as they involved a penis.

  13. Level Best June 14, 2010 at 1:40 PM #

    Ban Andrew. He perpetually de-rails your otherwise wonderful threads and is a yawn-worthy contrarian. He’s even more boring than most inter misogynists.

    Your review of The Blind Side may be the funniest movie review I’ve ever read, and I have read many, many reviews. Outrage drives your wit!

    It’s an evocative review, too. I’m inured to reading just about anything on the Web, but when I read your recounting of Bullock’s character’s words to the black, confrontive guy, I physically winced.

  14. Faith June 14, 2010 at 2:01 PM #

    “If not, there had better be something different about men, or at least this man in general, that separates them from the vast population of females, other than his “manhood.” ”

    It’s called patriarchy. Look it up.

    “Anyway this was a good post and I don’t want to mire it in this discussion or otherwise “derail” it. ”

    Well apparently you do want to mire the discussion and derail it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have done it. This is pretty simple fucking logic.

  15. Owl Eyes June 14, 2010 at 2:12 PM #

    Ugh, thank god you wrote this. So many people in my family are trying to convince me how heartwarming this film was….
    How is everyone so blind (no pun intended) to this film’s blatant racism? Great post. I shared it on my Facebook :)

    • Christy Aldridge September 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

      You are all way too analytical for me. I just thought it was a total piece of shit. Ughhhh worst movie ever! Not one single redeeming quality. Ironically it was one of Sandra Bullock’s worst acting jobs as well. I wanted to shoot myself in the eye. Thank you for writing this article you may have saved my sanity!

  16. Bina June 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM #

    I’m so old, I remember when REAL social justice was the theme for an Oscar-winning “based on a true story” movie. Remember “Norma Rae”? I do. I think I’m going to save the money it would cost to see this, and buy a DVD of that instead. (And make myself some popcorn with real butter to go with it.)

  17. polly June 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM #

    Andrew: the Taliban don’t make quips. Well not as far as I know. Nine Deuce however does. As opposed to like – actual physical violence.

    That’s the difference. Well that and Nine Deuce has never been at war with the USSR AND the USA/Britisherland.

  18. polly June 14, 2010 at 3:18 PM #

    Also I am no expert on Sandra Bullock’s spouse(s, I don’t even know if this is her first one) but hasn’t Mr James done things that are slightly worse than cheating? Why do males always think women are obsessed with the idea of men CHEATING (like this face looks really bothered….)

    • Nine Deuce June 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM #

      I’m more concerned with the fact that he’s a racist, misogynistic purveyor of cultural doom than I am with his adultery.

  19. Miss Andrist June 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM #

    @Andrew:

    You jackass. I’ll explain what the fucking difference is: power. POWER. What 9/2 has in common with all the women ever, and you don’t? We’re powerless, stupid. Describing savagery to male genitalia different first and foremost because IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Savagery to a female genitalia is a SPECTATOR SPORT ALL OVER THE WORLD. Furthermore, men have declared their precious little wee-wees to be the source and object of their right to wage relentless war against women. Men have further declared that women’s lack of wee-wees to be Of The Devil or whatever and there are CENTURIES of extremely graphic accounts depicting men mutilating women because MEN HATE WOMEN. If we’re delighting in make-believe, maybe it’s because we’re attacking and diminishing and ridiculing the very thing men have defined as the weapon, the instrument of all our fucking suffering. We’re attacking his idea of his own power. Wow, that really bugs you, doesn’t it? Guess what? Your wee-wee’s next. LOL. Genital torture and mutilation is something men do to women, not the other way around.

    So.

    So no, you’re not getting any sympathy with your insipid whining for fairness and your insistence that we non-males should be held accountable and adhere to rules over our speech that men are not bound to in acting against our bodies. Nail your fucking hand to a stake and burn yourself alive for having a wee-wee. Then we will posit whether fairness has begun to be introduced in the discussion.

    -Miss Andrist

    http://books.google.com/books?id=4-PvMvdVqp0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Caliban+and+the+Witch%3B+Women,+The+Body+and+Primitive+Accumulation&hl=en&ei=36QWTM5PxaqUB9j2kYIN&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA

  20. factcheckme June 14, 2010 at 5:46 PM #

    Yawn-worthy contrarian. Heh. And, yeah. To all of it. Except I thought Jesse James was really named after Jesse James, because they are related? No?

  21. isme June 14, 2010 at 9:35 PM #

    I also agree with Miss Andrist, of course, but I’d like to offer my own tl:dr version:

    ‘Saying “Israel should carpet bomb Luxembourg” isn’t the same as saying “Israel should carpet bomb Palestine”.’

  22. EmilyBites June 15, 2010 at 3:55 AM #

    You go, Miss Andrist! Make mine a wee-wee in a blender.

    Thanks for the review Nine Deuce – I saw this film with friends and we were all sort of paralysed with the ick factor throughout.

  23. Sophie June 15, 2010 at 2:37 PM #

    Ugh, I thought it would be shit.

    Just a thanks for your absolutely amazing writing.

  24. bellacoker June 15, 2010 at 6:45 PM #

    I saw this on some holiday with a friend’s incredibly conservative family and when we came out they had *nothing* to say about it. You know the way people normally talk about movies they have just seen and the ideas presented, nope, complete and total radio silence. I was like: Really? All of the white people in that movie were rich and all of the black people were poor, that doesn’t seem right, does it? *Crickets*

  25. Gayle June 15, 2010 at 7:47 PM #

    “I thought Jesse James was really named after Jesse James”

    Yep, that’s the rumor. Jesse James is Jesse Jame’s great grand cousin or something like that. No one has been able to actually substantiate the rumor, though.

    Regardless he is a creep. Watched his show once and just couldn’t do it anymore because he was so full of himself. And his ex was so damn pitiful– that was the other reason I couldn’t watch again. Why was she on his show being so publicly pitiful? Why? What kind of an ass would do that to his obviously unstable ex wife?

    Anyway, I saw The Blind Side. I’ve seen worse movies (really!) and I’m no no way defending it, your criticism is spot on. The role was not Oscar worthy. Of course, neither was Meryl Streep’s performance in It’s Complicated, which was also, inexplicably nominated. Have you seen it? Ugh!

    So I’m guessing it was a very slim year and people really, really like Sandy B.

  26. polly June 16, 2010 at 1:58 PM #

    Incidentally one of my favourite songs Andrew, is ‘Margaret on the guillotine’. Does that make ne a misogynist? Or just someone who hates Margaret Thatcher?

  27. Andrew June 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM #

    Polly,

    Someone who hates Margaret Thatcher. Unless you would feel differently about it if it were an equally good song about beheading a male prime minister; In which case you might be a misogynist.

  28. Roxie June 17, 2010 at 5:43 AM #

    I saw this movie at a free screening (which was going to be the ONLY way I intended to see it). I already knew it was going to be a “Look, good white people! Look! You’re all a downtrodden black person needs! Isn’t it awesome to be white and show these heathens THE WAY?”

    And it totally was.

    Everyone was black and was not Michael Oher was a violent thug, drug addict, or his mother–who failed at being his mother. EVERYONE!

    I tried to very lightly & politely bring this up to my white friends and you’ll never guess what they said! They couldn’t see it! or “I don’t know about that..” it really almost makes me want to give up on white ppl as friends.

    Even Vanessa Williams tried to bring it up on The View and how it brings up the problem of the theme (for black ppl) of white people coming in to save the day and Barbara tells her that she’s wrong!

  29. polly June 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM #

    I’d be quite happy with a song called ‘Blair on the guillotine’ actually Andrew, though it wouldn’t scan. ‘Cameron on the guillotine’ would though, maybe Morrisey should reissue it. But some USAsian blogger once wrote that the song proved Morrissey was a horrible misogynist, simply thereby proving that USAsians do not understand the horror that was Thatch.

    Make the dream real….

  30. Rachael June 18, 2010 at 2:13 AM #

    Roxie –

    “Everyone was black and was not Michael Oher was a violent thug, drug addict, or his mother–who failed at being his mother. EVERYONE!”

    You forgot about the Angry Black Woman who suggested to Oher that he might have been adopted for the sole purpose of improving the college football team. :p

  31. cub June 18, 2010 at 7:52 PM #

    “Well, really, it makes all of the white people in the South look like unfathomable assholes. Like these people need any more bad publicity.”

    you know that sickening feeling v.williams said she got/every black person gets when the white savior narrative is introduced? it’s the shame, the rage that ensues equally for me when i see false portrayals of my fellow southerners in the media –my fellow black and white southerners especially, since that is all hollywood sees, save Mississippi Masala, and it is the same queasy feeling i get when reading a critique which, i’m sure, didn’t mean to paint all southerners with as broad a brush as the producers of HeeHaw and The Beverly Hillbillies have.

    yes, i am sure the movie sucks based on the tv ads– i see the manipulation coming a mile ahead, and i avoid s.bullock movies for the most part based on her artistic choices on record; i can say the same for stepin fetchit, meg ryan, s.stallone, bruce willis, and kevin costner (even before his white savior opus).

    but i quoted part of the post to highlight the ambiguous tone of the post rather than focus on the less ambiguous tone of “southern bullshit.” i know my history and my current affairs; 9deuce is right about not needing any more bad publicity, but the same goes for howard beach, crown heights, south central l.a., orange county, CA, chicago, detroit, and gary, IN, none of which are in the south, and i guess i could handle (this very well-deserved) whitey-hatred all by itself a lot better without dragging southerners en masse along as racist whipping boys. we all have blind spots in our minds where we don’t see our own privilege or our own bigotry. regionalism is part of the landscape. this post highlights that fact and shines a brilliant spotlight on the source at hand: the arbiters of our pop culture have determined that no lower/middle class socialist ecofeminists live in the south, and that the only people who live there are modern-day colonel culpepper stand-ins, hillbillies who have to be trapped and wrestled to the ground in order to get them to wear shoes, and black (no other p.o.c.) versions of the underclass, you know, the great unwashed, urban-style!

    crap, what a pointless rant– but i had to get that off my chest– i agree with the post, but let’s say i hate what this movie does so much more that i can barely put it into words. it needs to UNEXIST.

    • Nine Deuce June 18, 2010 at 8:14 PM #

      I certainly don’t mean to say that I think all white southerners are smug, racist, SEC-loving wearers of sunglass ropes. It’s just that this movie pretty much tells everyone that’s the case, and the people who made the movie are trying to market it to that demographic and to appeal to that demographic’s disgusting world view. I’m no expert on the South. I mean, I have spent three summers and two winters here and have done some observing and met a lot of people, but I rely in large part for my info on the South outside of Atlanta on Davetavius, who grew up all over the South. So when I say “southern bullshit,” I generally mean obsession with football, nostalgia for a past that to an outsider seems characterized by not much more than a more rigid race hierarchy, and a willfully ignorant “fuck you” attitude toward liberals and outsiders. I’m definitely aware that not everyone in the South fits that description or even any part of it (or else I’d be pretty lonely down here), but I’m still fairly alarmed by the people it does apply to, and by seeing a movie that panders to them in such an obvious fashion.

  32. Lillie June 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM #

    This is a completely wrong place to post this, but can I quickly ask – Miss Andrist, did you by any chance get the email I sent a while ago?

    If you did, but had nothing to respond, no worries! I just started wondering if the email went astray (I took the address from the Screaming Banshee site) OR whether I came across as some kind of a weirdo… which wouldn’t be the first time. I have the peculiar talent of coming across as a total creepo arseclown even when I ask the most mundane of questions or make simple remarks on the weather. Sigh.

    Anyhow… er, that was it. Back to regular programming now. (Sorry for using your blog as a private communication tool, ND. Hope it’s okay.)

  33. joy June 27, 2010 at 7:53 PM #

    Hey ND, I also wanted to drop an unrelated note to tell you that yours is the least classist radical feminist blog on the internet.

    In all the time commenting here, I’ve never once felt weird class vibes. Other than when the trolls come, it’s almost like … whoa. A bunch of women actually talking together, across class and possibly even race barriers.

    See recent debacles at other places, such as IBTP. (I’m not an artist because I never went to art school, huh? Surprising, because here I thought art schools were pretty clearly made up and sponsored by the patriarchy.)

    Okay, done patting you on the back. Thanks for watching shitty movies so we don’t have to. Your sacrifice has not been in vain.

  34. Lillie June 28, 2010 at 8:27 AM #

    I’ll second Joy’s back-patting… but as long as we’re having a little off-topic festival here, may I please ask Polly to consider making her new blog public? I’ve followed all the old incarnations of your blog, Polly – or at least the ones I’ve been aware of – and would love to read this one, too, if I could.

    Okay, I’m done with the derailing now. Promise!

  35. joy July 10, 2010 at 6:27 PM #

    “Satan, Ronald Reagan’s cryogenically preserved head, the country music industry, and E!” still makes me laugh riotously whenever I see it, by the way.

    Other than the typical reiteration of “Andrew is a blockhead”, I have nothing more to add to this … other than this:

    I recently had a dream that relates to this topic. In the dreamworld, I was invited to a barbecue back in my hometown. As I sometimes go to these for the entertainment and irony, I decided to go. Some friends accompanied, in a “truhk” (proper regional pronunciation).

    When we arrived, however, we found that this was not cool. There were a bunch of dudes in white robes and hoods. Yep. Surprise KKK rally!

    (My hometown did have a public, functioning branch of the KKK well into the nineties. It may still exist, but popular opinion has finally pushed it underground. Finally.)

    That being said, a miraculous thing started to happen. Truckloads of people of color/nonwhite people and allies started showing up, attired in everything from daishikis to polyester leisure suits and cowboy hats (homage to Blazing Saddles, I assume) to ’80s hipster costumes to regular street clothes. The point seemed to be as outrageous and attention-getting as possible, as if to say, “You just try to ignore us, jackasses.”

    These partyloving people were the ones throwing the barbecue, in protest of the KKK rally. Within the space of minutes, the antiracist contingent had managed to dwarf the racist fuckwits, drowning out their megaphoned hate speech with some rocking live bands and general rabblerousing. Spirits were quite high. The KKK put in a good hard try, but could not compete and eventually packed up their toys and went home all poutylike.

    Would this ever happen in real life? Consider this some sincere doubt on my behalf, for many reasons. But hey. It was a good dream and left me happy for days. Hopefully it can cheer somebody else as well. Since there is apparently no hope for actual humanity, we might as well get our laughs somehow.

  36. Imaginary July 13, 2010 at 12:38 AM #

    Ummm, you haven’t died again, have you? Because remember last time I asked if you were a zombie, and then you said no… are you dead now? I hope not. But it’s been over a month. If you’re dead, can you tell us so we can mourn? Please don’t be dead. And if you are, please become a vampire.

    • Nine Deuce July 13, 2010 at 1:58 AM #

      No, not dead, nor am I a fantastical creature. I’ve moved across the country to get involved in a capitalistic enterprise that is occupying more time than I should allow it to. I’ll be back soon, though.

  37. joy July 13, 2010 at 5:33 PM #

    By the way, ND, I reread your Porn Series over the past few days — it reminded me how your blog helped me make the gradual move from: distressed eating-disordered anarchafeminism => sense of profound no-longer-aloneness => gradual acceptance that maybe, just maybe, I WAS right => elimination of self-recrimination and self-doubt concerning my radicalism and radical choices => straight-up not giving a fuck.

    That’s right. I straight up don’t give a fuck about dudes any more. Dudes I’d want to be intimate with (hint, I currently know of none), dudes I’d want to ally with (I don’t think any exist), dudes I might want to speak to (haven’t met any in a while), dudes I randomly encounter in social situations and/or pass on the street (they can all eat their own dicks).

    And that’s let me off the hook about giving a fuck about a lotta other things: what I talk about, what I look like, what I wear, whether or not I shave my legs, how I do my hair, whether or not I smile, whether or not I even choose to be fucking socially acceptably polite to these dick-yeasts.

    Which has given me a lot more energy to care about something I hadn’t cared about in probably twenty years: myself.

    Thanks for writing this blog. It fucking rocks.

  38. Imaginary July 13, 2010 at 8:18 PM #

    Nine Deuce, you are always a fantastical creature. Good luck with that thing you’re doing. And hurray for being back soon!

  39. rox July 15, 2010 at 4:24 PM #

    Honestly, Joy, Faith, Miss Andrist, as well as ND and many others here…. I just LOVE reading all of your words.

    I avoided this movie like the plague as I knew it would have a vomit inducing adoption theme; See my recent post for reason I hate adoption, although infant adoption is my top enemy.

    The class issues in SO MUCH of adoption are disgusting. Adoption is the ultimate act of taking childing of the poor class out of the poor class and sending them to rich class. Laws have begun to prevent arrogant rich fucks from taking poor peoples children by force, however NOTHING stops them from creating million dollar advertising campaigns to shove on unsuspecting pregnant women, as well as the general public in order to ensure that the public believes that adoption is “sweet” and “always in the best interest of the child.”

    You want to REALLY help lower income kids with messed up families? How’s about creating affordable or free drug treatment programs including programs that allow children to be present, how’s about creating enrichment programs for low income families so that life is just about miserable subsistence and the only way to be happy is to do drugs any way, how about creating extracurricular activities for kids that are sliding scale so that low income families can afford to send their kids to art, science camps, creative writing classes, etc etc?

    But see that would mean REALLY CARING about people in poverty. This isn’t about really caring. This is about being a martyr and a savior so that you can pat yourself on the back for helping the poor little victim.

    I am adopted. The poor are my people. When they took me from my mom, they left her behind. I am NOT OK with my mom being left behind. I am NOT OK with the solution to poverty being take the poor kids away from their families and shove them with middle class/rich families.

    I only don’t comment on the obvious disgusting white privilege issues because it has already been said so well.

  40. sonia July 19, 2010 at 5:00 PM #

    I’m glad you covered this film. The last few months of previews of it have been so nauseating. I seriously can’t believe that this is the period of history during which they chose to make and release it- without a hint of irony, or perhaps, as you kind of stated, it’s all part of a giant conspiracy to remind us that whenever Black People Get Anywhere it’s Because of White People.

    Was the crowd in the theater mixed? I would be shocked if any African American people paid to see it.

  41. sonia July 19, 2010 at 5:04 PM #

    p.s. I also want to echo cub in saying, I think Hollywood is using the South as a marketing tool for racism in this film. Not saying there isn’t racism there, but as someone who’s grown up in both metro California and the South all my life, I do not think there is greater racism there. It is more overt, but not greater. Sorry, but it’s true. And the “fuck you” attitude is kind of based on that. Southerners know what the rest of the country thinks of them, and they’re just as smart as everyone else.

    Just sayin- it’s not all bad.

  42. Bill July 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM #

    “Would you rather your granddaughter date a vampire or a werewolf?”

    “Would you rather your granddaughter be enslaved for eternity to a soulless pretty boy, or have the flesh ripped from her bones?”

    OK, so I don’t get it. I haven’t seen the Twilight movies, and know little about the story, but isn’t the idea that a woman’s most important life and love decision is choosing between two monsters VERY anti-feminist?

  43. Imaginary August 9, 2010 at 6:34 PM #

    To Bill: Yes. Also Edward is a pedophile that needs to be killed with a tuning fork.

  44. OutsideLookingOver August 18, 2010 at 12:52 PM #

    This movie, like this blog, makes me profoundly embarrassed to be born a white male, born with the psychological *handicap* (social blindness) of entitlement. Some fuckwits will never get it. Incredibly depressing, really… we’re moving backwards.
    Now I see evidence of it everywhere… you have to be completely blind not to see it. It makes me sick.

    And women just put up with it. What are they gonna do?

    The only thing that *might* change it is enlightenment of the sort presented here, but even then, what if the prick doesn’t feel a need to be enlightened? Which I reckon is the majority of the cases: hey, they feel this is the *right* way, the “God” ordained way.

    God is Love, right? What does love have to do with entitlement?

  45. Lily August 22, 2010 at 11:54 AM #

    We had to watch this pretentious BS in health class at school-this, Radio and We are Marshall.

    ‘Twas supposed to teach us white, rich, kids about compassion or something, but in actuality taught me that teachers don’t actually care if you watch whatever movie their showing, so long as you’re quite. I read Animal Farm for English class instead.

  46. Imaginary September 3, 2010 at 11:09 PM #

    Hate to bother you, but you haven’t REALLY died, have you? I was (sort of) joking the first time I asked you, but if you have died, please reconsider. There are a whole bunch of people who will miss you. Like me! So please come back.

    Oh, and this movie sucks (see? I can stay on topic).

    • Nine Deuce September 4, 2010 at 11:32 PM #

      I’m not dead, just making some major adjustments. I’ll be back shortly with lots of posts, including a detailed annotation of the lyrics to a Nickelback song.

  47. Imaginary September 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM #

    Whew. That’s good. I am most excited as I am sure everyone else is. I hope those changes are for the better and that you get some lollipops if they weren’t.

  48. skeptifem October 16, 2010 at 11:40 AM #

    Your movie reviews are seriously entertaining. I would love if it became a regular feature.

    Hearing the constant barrage of pop culture conversations at work is demoralizing, and this kind of review is the antidote. I had a boss go on and ON about Revenge of the Nerds awhile back. Yeah, seriously. He kept telling me about how I should totally watch it. This is on top of people trying to get me to see Avatar (not the airbender one, the blue people one) because its “about the environment”. What the fuck ever.

    • Nine Deuce October 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM #

      I was into Revenge of the Nerds when I was a kid, but then I watched it a few years ago and realized there’s a condoned rape scene, and that it’s maybe the most misogynistic 80s movie of all time. That peeping tom shit? And the way they treat the women in the sorority? Unbelievable.

  49. Jet_Lagged May 20, 2011 at 9:15 PM #

    Thank you for this spot on review! I just watched this piece of crap while stuck on a 15 hour flight, and found it to be the most painful and offensive movie I can remember in a long time (maybe ever!) Normally I can enjoy bad movies, but this movie’s infusion of an anti-intellectual, christianist, republican world view, with all of the standard annoying Hollywood stereotypes and manipulations just made it too toxic to handle! Anyway, reading your review helped soothe my still bleeding brain a bit, so keep up the good work!

  50. natediesel30@yahoo.com September 2, 2011 at 6:20 AM #

    You seem like a jaded douche bag. One of those guys that smarter than everyone around him, and thinks every band and every movie sucks, and anyone that likes them are idiots and the downfall of america. Like I said, douche bag.

  51. gracemargaret September 2, 2011 at 3:36 PM #

    I haven’t seen the Blind Side but it seems like the typical way Hollywood deals with issues of racism. It’s always from the perspective of the white ‘savior’, with Black people as supporting actors or extras (see To Kill A Mockingbird, Mississippi Burning, A Time To Kill, and the new hit movie The Help.)

  52. lizor September 4, 2011 at 10:48 AM #

    @ gracemargaret – and Cry Freedom, the supposed biopic of Stephen Biko, but giving the lion’s share of screen time and story arch to Kevin Klein.

  53. Eryn Falox December 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM #

    This movie want horrible; I personally liked it. The reason it was made wasn’t to project any sort southern racism carp. This film was produced to tell the amazing story of a boy who overcame all odd to achieve something great.

  54. isme December 1, 2012 at 9:49 PM #

    How do you know what it was or wan’t made for?

    Though, yes, take any given movie, and you can’t say for sure that it wasn’t an exception. But there is still a large and worrying overall trend which films like this seem to follow.

  55. prisilla amma January 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM #

    This entire blog entry has hit the nail on the head. I was totally embarassed when I went to see this, I had no idea what it was about a friend had suggested it to me. I can’t believe I used to like these movies until a few years ago when I watched the madtv spoof on youtube “Nice White Lady” it really hit home how patronising this type of movie is.

  56. Adrian Medina June 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM #

    Dude….I keep trying to tell everyone the same crap. Typical black movie and if you don’t like this movie you are racist.

  57. Watson August 8, 2013 at 2:52 PM #

    That is one of the reasons why I dislike Alabama football, they are okay with black people when they are playing sports but then turn around and call them the N-word behind their backs, I have literally seen this happen from many personal experiences. This movie, I feel, made white southerners feel like they shouldn’t be blamed for all of the racism in the U.S., which is partially true, because yes I have experienced racism from the north, and although the southerners feel that way they still go around using the N-word freely. It makes no sense to me at all.

  58. Kel September 15, 2013 at 11:25 PM #

    I actually thought Radio was alright. It was about not judging the mentally handicapped, not so much race. But it was certainly not without its flaws. I think it was much better than this movie. This movie, the Blind Side, was not good at all. It might be okay for a made-for-TV movie, but it got Oscar nominations? Seriously? In what world was this movie in any way better than Star Trek? Thank god it didn’t win. Can’t believe so many people bought into this BS. I was constantly face-palming myself. Not only was it corny and cliched, they treat Oher like a big, black teddy bear. The stereotypes are so glaring it’s like it was done on purpose for comedic effect. It’s patronizing and insulting. The people around Michael seem to only use him for their own gain. They make him out to be really stupid and like he has no idea how to play football when in real life that was not the case. That’s why the real Oher disapproved of the movie. I’d get fed up too if a film made me out to be some giant buffoon who can barely string a sentence together. The little kid SJ is supposed to be endearing, but he comes off as a douchebag. It’s a typical “white person saves the day” for the black person or Na’vi (but at least the Help had good acting and plot narrative and Avatar had amazing graphics). This was supposed to be a feel-good movie, but for me, it was more of a feel-blegh movie because I wanted to vomit from the sickeningly cloying writing.

  59. Lana_10 January 19, 2014 at 10:42 PM #

    I just want to say I got a good laugh after reading your review. I agree with you, the movie is horrendous and very hard to watch at times. The story was more so about the mother than Michael Oher, which was kind of selfish. The guy who portrayed Oher had no depth or individuality, he barely uttered any words or long sentences. We essentially knew nothing about his personality or his own desires. It seemed like his purpose was to serve the family. The film portrayed him to be slow and helpless. This story was very much told from a white person’s perspective of how they view black people or “the black man’s struggle”. It was very preachy and condescending. Plus the portrayal of black women in the movie was just horrible. I guess if your a black woman, your either a bitch, an ex-druggie, or sassy mouth with an attitude. Nice meaning behind the story, but it was overdone and stereotypical.

    • Kel January 24, 2014 at 3:17 AM #

      I didn’t even think about that. What if Sandra Bullock’s character was black? You’re spot on. A lot more people would see her in a negative light. It’s sad. I was sickened when people threw hissy fits because Rue from Hunger Games was black. That little girl was so adorable and did a great job. Plus, it even said in the books she was “dark-skinned”. Why get so upset because they picked a black actress? They should be happy because it’s much more rare to see strong black female characters. I guess some people couldn’t handle the innocent girl being African-American. How disgusting is that?

    • Kel January 24, 2014 at 3:26 AM #

      And I’m glad you got a laugh, by the way. Looking back at what I wrote, I’m kind of surprised at how snarky I am, haha. It must’ve been just after I watched the movie and I went on a rant.

  60. mapaxn January 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

    I, too, just saw this on cable tv (I have bare basic, which didn’t leave a lot to watch). I specifically avoided this movie for several years – 1 because I absolutely, cannot, without a doubt stand football and the culture and jock entitlement it maintains and 2 because of this well written blog post and replies that sealed my doubts about the horrible message this movie sends.

    I didn’t finish the movie, because I think I saw everything I needed to see. I went to go watch the new episode of Oak Island instead.

    Everyone else has done a great job addressing the racial overtones, so I’m going to do my part to contribute by addressing the gender tone this movie sets.

    I find it unsettling that a main point of this movie was to take a polite, respectful, protective male and turn him into an aggressive jock. I don’t normally comment about gender for males, because I am a female and gender is more harmful to women than men, as women are on the receiving end of men proving their macho identity.

    But it’s got to be said – teaching young men that the only way to be a “real man” is to be violent – for SPORT no less – is part of the reason women suffer more under the hegemony of gender.

    I know, I know, Sandra Bullock’s character helped teach him football by using those instincts – but how healthy is it to encourage aggression, and twist those predilections to focus on a violent sport with a pretend family called a “team”? Aggressive behavior is rarely self limiting, usually metastasizes into more and more horrible behavior and laws against it already aren’t enforced enough to give legitimacy to the response that it’s all harmless fun.

    • Kel January 24, 2014 at 3:23 AM #

      Well, I think violence in football is much different than malicious violent behavior aim. But I agree that I was put-off by how they only seemed to care that he got good grades to play football. They should care about his grades because they want him to get a good education, not to play football! Your education so much more valuable. Instead, it was just means to an end for his “parents”. Such a pity. That really bothered me. And that scene where his tutor scares him into going to Ole Miss? I know it was meant to be funny, but I found it anything but. It just showed how selfish that family was. I was hoping he’d say screw that and pick the other school. It should’ve been his choice, instead he was manipulated. I never got the feeling his family truly cared. I’m referring to the movie characters, of course. I can’t speak to the real-life people.

      • Justin January 26, 2014 at 6:30 PM #

        Excellent point Kel.

        If someone sees good grades exclusively as a ticket to football, they have a problem.

    • mapaxn May 22, 2014 at 9:20 PM #

      I’m responding to my own post, because I don’t care what anyone has to say about defending jock culture and encouraging aggression for sport. With typical predictability, there’s at least one parrot willing to play cheerleader “Great point Kel! Thank you SOOO much for making me feel safe in my worldview, so I never have to challenge anything I’ve been taught to be “normal” in America.”
      Not interested.

      • Sugarpuss May 26, 2014 at 5:36 PM #

        Jock culture? Let’s talk about ENTITLED NERD culture. You know, the guys like Elliot Rodgers, who run around shooting women because they wont fuck them. Effeminate doodz are the biggest threat to women, despite all of the “evil jocks” that has become so popular (thanks to the nerdy dudes who control the media).
        All men are assholes and woman-hating pieces of shit, but nerds are in a unique power position (especially sine the advent of the internet), and they wield that power brutally. Who, for instance, is pummeling Feminist websites with DDoS attacks? Free clue: It aint Shaun T.

        • Sugarpuss May 26, 2014 at 5:42 PM #

          Oy. Some error correction is needed.
          This line should read: “Effeminate doodz are the biggest threat to women, despite all of the “evil jocks” rhetoric that has become so popular (thanks to the nerdy dudes who control the media).”
          And: “(especially since the advent of the internet)”
          That is all.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Movie Thread - November 10, 2010

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  2. Avatar: Only Slightly Less Imaginative Than a Bruce Springsteen Song « Rage Against the Man-chine - April 12, 2011

    [...] Gummi Bear-and-fake-butter-induced nausea. Finally, I like to strike while the iron is between zero and forty degrees. I don’t want my reviews getting lost among all the timely ones, do [...]

  3. Movie Review: The Blind Side (aka Sleep Soundly White America) | Tammy Salyer - April 21, 2012

    [...] I happened onto Nine Deuce’s post on this very movie the other day, and I have to share it. She goes off in no uncertain terms about [...]

  4. Avatar: Only Slightly Less Imaginative Than a Bruce Springsteen Song | Bitch Flicks - October 11, 2013

    […] Gummi Bear-and-fake-butter-induced nausea. Finally, I like to strike while the iron is between zero and forty degrees. I don’t want my movie reviews getting lost among all the timely ones, do […]

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