Monday, November 30, 2009

See The Blind Side

If you haven't seen "The Blind Side," yet, go see it! Blind is the true story (not "based on a true story" or "inspired by a true story") of how NFL pro football player Michael Oher--a very large black man who plays tackle for the Baltimore Ravens--was adopted, for practical purposes, by a wealthy white family in Memphis while he was in high school and living on the streets in a housing project. (That's Michael and his real-life adoptive parents to the right.)

The Curmudgeon got dragged to the movie by the rest of the family over the holiday weekend and is glad of it. It's a terrific story. Sandra Bullock is great as Leigh Ann Tuohy, the real-life petite, blonde, strong-willed mother who took in Michael as a boy and helped nurture him to success.

It's a good movie to drag the kids to as well. Our 14-year-old even conceded that he liked the flick!


Gill Robb said...

If you read the book, there is a very strong inference made that these maniacal football supporters actually took Mike into their home so that they could provide their favorite college with a viable prospect. The author also implies that the couple allowed "Big Mike" to have his way with their teen-aged daughter.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot, Gill. I've read the book, first the parents had doubts Michael would be good at football, in fact the father thought he sucked and was looking to get a basketball scholarship for him. Second, Lewis never implied the parents let "Big Mike have his way" with their daughter, at one point the mother wondered if he was gay. By all accounts, Michael and his sister acted like any siblings: squabbling and bickering. There's an anti-Collins thread in IMDB from folks claiming to have gone to school with Collins and none of what you suggest, Gill, ever came up, and we know how cruel kids can be and love to fan any lurid rumor.

X Curmudgeon said...

After these comments, I decided to read Michael Lewis's lengthy NYT Magazine article--excerpted from the book, to see what's what. I can't believe the Tuohy's took him on just to steer him to Ole Miss--while Michael was big and quick, it's clear that he had very little football experience and did poorly as late as his junior year of high school, so it just could not have been clear that Oher was destined to be some kind of star player. What's more, the school Oher was at, Briarcliff Christian Academy, had no history of producing great football players and played in an obscure league of small private schools. If someone is hell-bent on producing an athletic star, they usually send him/her to some elite school with a pedigree in the sport. There also was no reason, at first, for the Tuohy's to think Oher could meet the required academic cut-offs for college.

I was surprised to learn that when he finished school at Briarcliff, Oher's GPA was not high enough to get him into college on an NCAA scholarship. Instead, the Tuohy's resorted to a big NCAA loophole--evidently used by a lot of players--where he took a series of online summer courses offered by Brigham Young Univ., and was able to substitute his grades in those courses for grades in classes he took in high school. The movie ignored that one. I don't blame Oher or the Tuohy's for using the BYU courses, but the sanctimonious NCAA could certainly shut down that out if it wanted to. Guess they don't care.

The NYT Magazine article doesn't say anything about Oher's relationship with Collins Tuohy, but the claim that Big Mike was allowed to "have his way" with her seems quite far-fetched.

Ellen DeSale said...

enilina has a serious reading comprehension deficit. You can't miss the reference to the overt recruiting motive for Ole Miss.

The book does dance around the issue of the relationship with the couples' teenage daughter, implying that Mike and the girl were regularly left unchaperoned, which in some corners of the old South still is considered an open invitation for a boy to take liberties.

After reading the book, I had the impression that these football fanatics would do anything, including offering-up their daughter, (although that was never admitted).

The book left me disgusted rather than uplifted. I love football, but I felt as though Mike was treated more like a prized steer rather than like a human being.

Anonymous said...

Ellen, you apparently lack both reading and timing comprehension, though given the sometimes non-linear non-chronological writing style of Lewis, I guess that’s explainable for poor little you. Gill wrote as if the parents saw Michael on the street during Thanksgiving break and thought “hummm, he’ll make a great left tackle for Ole Miss” and not “oh my God he’s only wearing a tee shirt and shorts in the snow!”. Once Michael was well integrated into the family, started playing football (which was not very good at first), and adopted; the "overt recruitment into Ole Miss" didn’t begin until then. The mom thought Michael would choose University of Tennessee and had already called her friends living near the school to check in on Mike now and then. The NCAA woman grilled and interrogated Michael for several hours over couple of weeks and decided in the end it was a big nothing.

The kids were left unchaperoned sometimes, big deal. Michael and SJ spent several hours in SJ’s bedroom playing video games. Next thing you’ll write is the parents let Big Mike have his way with SJ since some people wondered if Michael is gay in part because he hadn’t fathered any out of wedlock children, unlike his bothers (I think all together they fathered 10 children).

I guess my “deficit” is I don’t gossip and assume the worse. It’s just like in junior high when one can’t walk down a hallway with another guy and not have people yell half way across the gym, “are you two now guuuuuurl and buuuuuy friend!?”