The trailer for The Blind Side went around the internets the other month as a hee-larious meme. Remember? Was it for real, we wondered? Surely it was joking. Surely some WASPy bitch didn't just say to Sandy Bullock, "Honey, you're changing that boy's life!" and then double-surely Sandy B. didn't just whisper all misty-in-the-eyeballs, "No. He's changing mine." Who wrote that? The Original Kings of Comedy? The court jester? Of Chuckletown? The court jester in the throne room, standing before the Original Kings of Comedy, lord regents of Chuckletown, capital city of Laffsylvania, world's leading manufacturer of shoulder pads, double-breasted yellow suits, military defoliant, and the patented Steve Harvey Mustache Fluffer™!? Nope. A real-life screenwriter wrote it. On real-life purpose. To mimic real-life human speech and emotions. REALLY.
That magical quote serves as a handy distillation of this entire movie—a based-on-a-true-story story about Michael Oher, a very large and very homeless black teenager who is plucked from the streets of Memphis and adopted by some very white and very pleased with themselves white people, led by a raving lunatic named Mrs. Benevolent White Lady (the aforementioned Sandy B.), who is either a creepy fanatical football booster for Ole Miss or is achieving the impossible (apparently): learning to love a very large and scary black person.
The thing is, this actually happened. (Interesting! So make a fucking documentary, dickbuckets!) Michael Oher is a real person and so is Mrs. Benevolent White Lady, but their on-screen dramatic representations are about as far from real people as you can get without being, like, a fern. And the racial stereotypes (oooh! Dark, roiling nest of inner-city drug dealers!) are as nasty and dated and unconsidered as anything since white people first discovered black people. But instead of making a movie in which real humans do believable things—you don't always have to redecorate the facts to make them fascinating—The Blind Side, unsurprisingly, takes the nonsensical, manipulative emotional boilerplate route. Huzzah.
Michael stares, bewildered and bitter, at a Norman Rockwell book. Michael has to hear Sandy B. say the words "$10,000 couch." Michael is easily distracted by balloons. Michael doesn't understand the rules of football unless the white lady reframes them as a condescending family metaphor (before every game!). Michael has to put his face real close to Tim McGraw's hairpiece. Also included: a precocious child, many mentions of "the Christian thing to do," near-constant having of each other's backs, Tim McGraw giving a soulful reading of The Charge of the Light Brigade, and a Ferdinand the bull analogy so unchewable it's like a mouthful of sawdust and crayons and ham rinds. Frequently, Mrs. BWL will say a sassy thing, and then later in the movie, Michael will say it back to her, only slower (slowness = meaningfulness). At the very end, out of nowhere, Sandy B. says TO HER ADOPTED SON, "If you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock... I will cut your penis off." It's the Christian thing to do. What. The fuck.