The Blind Side

Photo #22


Film (with rating): The Blind Side (PG-13)
 

Studio: Warner Home Video

Summary: Based on the true story of a young man, virtually
homeless, who is taken in by a well-to-do Southern family and raised as their
own, helping him become a football star. The film has origins in Michael Lewis’
2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.

Review: If I had one thing to say about “The Blind
Side,” it would be that this is Sandra Bullock’s movie. The story is
fantastic, the acting is great, but Bullock outshines everything. She’s starred
in many enjoyable (and not so enjoyable. Gads, “All About Steve?”)
films, but this is the one she was born to do. She still has possesses
girl-next-door charm when portraying the formidable Leigh Anne Tuohy, but
Bullock adds a depth and fierceness that propelled her straight to Oscar
status. She is fantastic. From her perfectly shellacked hair to her manicured
hands to her designer duds to her Southern rapid-fire accent, Bullock is
amazing. Her character may look like a Southern Belle, but she blows through
any room with the force of a tropic storm.

At times, director John Lee
Hancock (“The Rookie”) lays this on a bit thick (like when Tuohy
confronts a bunch of drug dealers), but Bullock’s talent manages to turn an otherwise
hoaky scene into a powerful one.

Sports movies often have a powerful affect on viewers. Take
“Invincible,” “Rudy,” “Field of Dreams.” We root
for the good guys, we cheer on the team. These films evoke emotions in us not
always seen–or felt–in a movie theater. The fact that “The Blind
Side” is based on a true story makes it even more intense.

Baltimore
Ravens tackle Michael Oher (played beautifully by newcomer Quinton Aaron)
really was once a homeless Memphis teenager saved from a life on the streets by
a rich blonde woman with a big heart. What was once a bleak outlook is now a
success story. Even though we know this going in, director Hancock makes it
seem fresh and not clichd.

The heart-touching way the film rolls out makes
viewers cheer for everyone: Michael, the team, Leigh Anne. We want this to end
well. We want a happily ever after. We know it does; Oher went on to have a
stellar career at the University of Mississippi and became the 23rd pick in the
first round of the 2009 NFL draft. Even knowing the true-life story didn’t keep
me from wanting to see how (well, a Hollywoodized how) it all came to be.

“The Blind Side” isn’t really a film to watch if
you want action, or something unpredictable. Or even more of an in-depth
discussion about bi-racial families or the issues faced between the haves and
the have-nots. Yes, some of the scenes are a bit over-dramatic and
heavy-handed. But even through the rough points, the heart of the film shines
through.  “The Blind
Side” is definitely one to see if you need a lift, if your soul needs some
refreshing, or if you just need reminding that good things do happen in this
world. 

Extra highlight: “Sidelines: Conversations on ‘The
Blind Side’–Sandra Bullock and Leigh Anne Tuohy

What to serve for dinner: A Southern feast, from famous
Southern cook Paula Deen: Grandmother Paul’s Fried Chicken, Cheesy Squash
Casserole and Peanut Butter Cake (www.foodnetwork.com).
Just make sure to workout tomorrow after eating such a spread tonight.

Fried Chicken

*  Salt and
pepper, for seasoning chicken

    *
Crisco shortening, for frying

    *
3 eggs

    *
1/3 cup water

    *
2 cups self-rising flour

    *
1 teaspoon black pepper

    *
1 (2 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into pieces

Heat shortening in a cast iron skillet to 350 degrees. Beat
eggs with water in a small bowl. In a shallow bowl, season flour with pepper.
Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture and then coat well in flour mixture.
Carefully add to hot shortening, in batches if necessary, place lid on top of
skillet, and fry until brown and crisp. Remember that dark meat requires a
longer cooking time (about 13 to 14 minutes, compared to 8 to 10 minutes for
white meat.)

 

Cheesy Squash Casserole

    *
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    *
6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced

    *
1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

    *
1 tablespoon butter

    *
1/2 cup grated parmesan

    *
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

    *
1/2 cup sour cream

    *
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    *
1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole
dish. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squash, onion
and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the parmesan, cheddar,
and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Place in the prepared casserole
dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 20 minutes
or until the top is golden and bubbly.

 

Peanut Butter Cake

Cake:

    *
1 cup all-purpose flour

    *
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

    *
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    *
1 teaspoon salt

    *
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

    *
Peanut butter (at least 1/2 cup; if using more, decrease shortening by an equal
amount)

    *
3/4 cup shortening

    *
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

    *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    *
3 eggs

Frosting:

    *
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

    *
2 tablespoons cocoa

    *
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

    *
1/3 cup heavy cream

    *
1/2 cup peanuts, salted

    *
2 capfuls of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees if baking with a metal dish; 325
degrees if using a glass dish. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
together. Add graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and
vanilla. Beat mixture with electric mixer on low until moistened, and then beat
on medium for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat for 1 minute. Bake in greased 9-inch
by 13-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not remove from pan to cool.

For the frosting: mix all of the ingredients together. Pour
into a saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute. Cool
slightly. With a wooden spoon handle, poke a few holes in the cake, and then
pour the warm frosting over it.

 

What to talk about over dinner: What is your favorite sports-themed
movie? Would you ever open your heart and home to a child in need? What about a
teen from the “wrong side of the tracks?” Did you believe Sandra
Bullock’s character? Do you think the real Leigh Anne Tuohy was that much of a
spitfire? How did Sandra keep her portrayal classy instead of a clich? What
obstacles have you overcome in your life to get where you are today? Who helped
you? Did Bullock earn her Oscar award this year? Does this story touch you more
because it’s based on reality?  Do
you believe in the Best Actress curse that ends relationships? How stupid is
Jesse James? Really, I mean, how stupid is this man? For more on the real
Michael Oher, check out this USA Today article.

This entry was posted in Family Films by Kyra Kirkwood. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kyra Kirkwood

Kyra Kirkwood is an award-winning journalist who combines her love of movies and good food in her "Dinner and a DVD" column. Get your week started right with her "Meatless Monday Movies" every Monday, and prepare for the weekend with another "Dinner and a DVD" column on Fridays. "My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" Forrest Gump

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