Don’t Save Him, He Don’t Wanna Be Saved

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In white people please stop it news, Hollywood has unveiled yet another film about some poor, misguided, unscrupulous Negro being saved by you guessed it – some paler, gentler, caring individual from the other side of the racial aisle.

I really like Sandra Bullock, but is the best her agent could come up with? The accent is abysmal, the storyline is trite, and wait, no why keep going – let’s just focus on the storyline.

Has the film industry not learned from the lessons of Radio?

How many stories like this is the film industry going to keep telling? I don’t want to see some story about some big black man being taught to read well enough to sign his name on an NFL contract. We all know how that story ends. Ain’t that right, Michael Vick?

To be fair, this movie is based on the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The premise is as follows:

An intermittently homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by a rich white family and a Christian high school, Oher’s preternatural size and agility soon has every college coach in the country courting him obsequiously. Combining a tour de force of sports analysis with a piquant ethnography of the South’s pigskin mania, Lewis probes the fascinating question of whether football is a matter of brute force or subtle intellect.

So it’s indeed rooted in a true story. Yet I’m still irritated. I haven’t read the book, but based on its summary it seems as though film producers have taken this story and trivialized it into some cliché-driven sports movie focusing on the same old black pathology subplot. He’s poor, he’s black, he’s big, so brawn, he can’t read, but thank you Lordy, some nice wealthy woman is gonna hug him and make it all better.

These sorts of films seem exhaustive. And honestly, though Precious is a good film, that plot is played, too. Let me just say, this isn’t simply about race.

I think Sandra Bullock is a good actress and very much atypical of the A-list actresses we’re used to. At the same time, she’s very much but sidelined into an obvious shtick and while everyone needs a gimmick, more people should be challenged especially when they’ve proven they excel when given the opportunity. But she’s not which is why some people now consider her a one-trick pony.

She’s not being elevated and neither are we.

Before anyone brings it up I know my recently defending Tyler Perry’s right to make the sort of films that he wants (and that they won’t destroy the race) on Twitter might suggest I’m exercising a double standard.

I don’t think so, though, only because I think as a filmmaker he’s at least trying to switch it up. Whether or not he fails miserably at it is debatable, which is why I believe he should still be afforded time before being completely written off.

This type of film follows a longstanding tradition, however.

Some gimmicks never get old, but really, how many more movies do we need to see of white people fixing some black stereotype and calling it an uplifting piece of work?

It reads as lazy, and shows little signs of progress given the fact that some skinny black man with a white mama and African name managed to become President.

Don’t save us, Hollywood. Save yourselves.

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