Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Blind Side

I don’t see a lot of movies in the theater – no reason, other than I tend to not take the time or make an effort to drum up people to go with and there’s not a ton of movies I feel like I ‘must’ see in the theater - although I do remember going to see Saving Private Ryan by myself, so I must’ve thought that one was pretty important.

Anyway, while visiting family or on vacation, movies always seem to be on the agenda as it’s the rare occasion when we actually all have time to go. Given the Oscar push this time of year it was nice that we also had plenty of good options. I doubt we saw an academy award winner, but that’s ok, it wasn’t really our motivation. I think more so it was to be a bit of an escape from our own lives; something that wouldn’t leave us depressed or frightened or perplexed or stressed or wondering what happened next. On that goal, The Blind Side was definitely a winner. It was funny and moving and entertaining and hopeful and the good guys win – it’s even based the true life story of Michael Oher.

It’s no wonder it’s gotten good reviews and a lot of ‘buzz’ in the recent months – who doesn’t love a humble, triumphant underdog story? Sure we appreciate the cinematic impact of movies like the The Lord of the Rings and Avatar; or the gripping and graphic World War II portrayals in movies like Schindler's List and Private Ryan, not to mention the likely all to fresh realities of The Hurt Locker. But sometimes, don’t you just want to be entertained? Or even more so, know before you go in, that no matter how bad it gets you already know there’s a happy ending? (think opposite of Titanic).

The nice thing about The Blind Side is that while, yeah, it’s a little light on dramatic acting, and certainly won’t change the course of American filmmaking, it definitely has an ‘everyman’ type of message. At least I thought it did. A few weeks ago I’d watched when Sandra Bullock accepted the Golden Globe for her role in the movie. In her speech, she thanked her husband and then went on to say “because I never knew what it felt like for someone to have my back.” It definitely was a very nice way to say thanks, and obviously apropos of the theme of the movie, but to be honest, I thought it was a little sad for her. To live that long and have never had anyone you could really count on? Maybe that’s Hollywood, but I decided that wasn’t really true, and hoped it was more for a good speech and dramatic effect than accuracy.

And since seeing the movie, and knowing it’s theme, well it does make you think a little; about who you are and who you know, who you really trust and more importantly, who is going to be there for you when things get tough, really tough, who’s got your back?

I’m hoping we can all think of more than a handful of people that no matter the miles or the years, that you know would be there for you if you were only to ask, or maybe even if you don’t. And we know it’s true because, well, you don’t need a life threatening illness for anyone to prove it – but when that happens too, it’s sure nice to know you were not wrong, but it’s true because we prove it to each other in the little things we do nearly every single day. Proof can be found in the cards, and letters, phone calls and conversations, and today, more often than not, it’s in the emails and text messages and maybe even the tweets (if I only knew how to use them!:). It’s in the little things people do without thinking and are never even sure we really notice. Few people are so confident as to tell everyone else exactly how they feel all the time, but that ‘actions speak louder than words’ thing tends to go a long way when you’re trying to figure out who exactly has got your back - family for sure, but well beyond that I know there’s a long line I’d be there for and I hope they’d say the same for me …

The signs may be subtle but no less unmistakable. It’s raising a pint with friends; fresh flowers in your room; a ride when you need one; a dinner invitation; an un-kept birthday surprise; an unsolicited household chore or repair; it’s encouraging or sympathetic words when you need them and a kiss or a hug when you don’t; offering up an organ or caring for your closest companion; an impromptu sing-a-long; giving you the tools for the job when they can’t do it for you themselves; it’s a ride or a run that helps get you to the start line; it’s waiting 50 minutes or 15 hours for you to cross the finish line; fixing a flat or towing you home; it’s dinner on the table or maybe just a drink in your hand … but the whole time, they’re ‘right there,’ right where you want them should the need ever arise …just over your shoulder …covering your blind side .

... And to everyone not in the picture, well, I just hope you know who you are ;)

(enjoy the reprieve - it's back to 'cookie talk' tomorrow!)

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