Somewhat to my surprise, it turns out that I saw seven of the 10 films nominated for the “Best Picture” Oscar. I loved two of the seven: “The Blind Side,” which I wrote about here the weekend it opened, and “The Hurt Locker,” which we recruited Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Stephen Hunter to write about here. (I wrote briefly about “Inglorious Basterds” here; I thought it should have been titled “Stupid Bastards.”) Ross Douthat saw all 10 of the “Best Picture” nominees and commented on the expansion of the “Best Picture” category from five to 10 nominees.
Yesterday’s New York Times carried an interesting article on the commercial success of “The Blind Side.” The Times focuses on the film’s shrewd marketing. It considers the film’s story only as the story is incidental to the film’s marketing.
But the film’s story is inspirational and family friendly, depicting a Christian family living out its faith in taking Michael Oher into the family’s life and making him one of its (their) own. The film is rated PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references. The film’s themes and the skill (including Sandra Bullock’s) in telling the story have as much to do with the film’s success as the marketing behind it. The film’s success illustrates many of the points Michael Medved has made about Hollywood over the years, preeminently in his book Hollywood vs. America.
Not that “The Blind Side” is going to win “Best Picture.” It shouldn’t and it won’t. But it was the most enjoyable film of the seven I saw that made the “Best Picture” cut. And the award for the least enjoyable, most unpleasant film of the seven I saw goes to…open the envelope, please…the Coen Brothers for “A Serious Man.”
UPDATE: What I would have said if I could about “A Serious Man” is said in Professor Maimon Schwarzschild’s post “Horror show.”
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