Where’s the relevant, nicely edited Spike Lee interview on YouTube when you need it?
I wrote a small, small story about “The Blind Side” for a local publication when it shot a few scenes at Agnes Scott College in Decatur a few months ago. The college is the setting for many a movie because it looks so goddamn cute on film, so, after watching the trailer for the movie, it makes sense the directors were looking for goddamn cute places.
Because this entire damn movie looks a little too goddamn cute.
I never read Michael Lewis’ book, “The Blind Side,” but I am aware of Lewis’ reputation, and it is a serious one. His most recent book documented the breakdown of the American economy last fall, so, on the whole, Lewis… knows his shit, essentially. “The Blind Side” was about a white family who informally adopted an underprivileged, hulking black kid and clothed and fed him while he was sculpted into an NFL left tackle. It also looked at the position of left tackle and how it’s become more important over the last several decades. On a greater level, it examined the game of football, debating whether it had shifted from a game of subtle intellect to one of crushing, oversized force.
Heady shit, basically.
Christmas Ape, the pseudonym for Michael Tunison, co-founder of the very popular football blog Kissing Suzy Kolber, sums up my thoughts on the trailer nicely, particularly the movie’s focus on the white family. It reminds me of a great quote from Spike Lee on why he desperately needed to make “Malcolm X” in the ’90s, going so far as to demand Norman Jewison reliquish the film’s directorial reigns and hand them to him (which Jewison did because what are you going to do when Spike Lee says you’re going to make a racist movie about Malcolm X because you’re white?).
Dah… I deleted the quote, and I’m not getting out the extras from “Malcolm X” to find it, but it essentially goes as follows: “Black movies in Hollywood are always about the white people. ‘Cry Freedom?’ Stephen Biko was an extra in that movie. ‘Amistad?’ Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest filmmakers in history, but I’m not feeling ‘Amistad.’ I’m sorry. I’m not feeling Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey. That’s not the story to me.”
He’s essentially right, though I suppose you could feasibly tell a story from either perspective and make it good. But I imagine the choices made for the two films Lee mentions are purely commercial. (Full disclosure: While being one of my favorite directors, Spike Lee can also be a bit of nutjob.)
This “Blind Side” trailer seems to commit the same narrative crime here (as Tunison says). More disclosure: I worked with Tunison at my college newspaper, The Diamondback. He was a movie critic. He used a lot of words I wasn’t aware of, which I found intimidating. I must admit, however, after perusing Kissing Suzy Kolber, he’s pretty funny now.
He’s also got a book out. You should buy it. I’m not a football fan, so I can’t say I will. (Sorry, Tunison. I have too many unread books already.) Check it out though. It’s on amazon.com.
So, Tunison has a book out. My pseudo-aunt has a book out. A girl I know in Atlanta is working on a book about transportation. My former co-worker, Brian Egeston, self-published a whole pantload of novels and nows writes for an unnamed television show.
I thought the publishing sector was really in trouble lately?