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I'm a sucker for feel good sports stories. About a year and a half ago I heard about Michael Oher and read Michael Lewis's wonderful book titled The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. I followed Oher's career in his final year at Ole Miss and cheered as he was drafted in the 2009 Draft in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, I was excited when I learned that The Blind Side would be made into a movie. Opening day today in most U.S. Cities. This morning, I went to the first showing and I will be the first to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Warning: The movie will not win any Oscars or Golden Globes. But it does remain true to the story - something not always a given in movie versions of books. The movie like the book pulls at the heartstrings and provides great moments of comedic relief.

cross posted at The Progressive Electorate

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This is Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy who took Michael in and helped him find his way. They would become his legal guardians.

I wrote about Oher and his story during last year's draft. Here's an excerpt

My reason for wanting to write about Oher is that this is a feel-good story. Amidst all of the bad going on in the world and especially in our country, this story proves that common decency and dreams still exist. In a world where we politicize everything this story is a great break from the hate and the partisanship.

Oher had this to say in a recent interview with USA Today

They've got big hearts," Oher says. "To take somebody from my neighborhood into your house? Nobody does that. I don't think I'd even do that. I'd help you out, but with a daughter and with all the violence and drugs where I come from ... they didn't have to do that. I owe a lot to them."

Many sports movies based on true stories have to embellish facts to make it more Hollywood. The producers of The Blind Side knew that they had a good story ready made and did a great job keeping it in perspective.

Michael Lewis is a great writer and phenomenal storyteller. In Blind Side he tells a number of converging stories including: The evolution of the offensive lineman, nature vs nurture, class inequality and the good in people. The movie does a good job touching on all these themes.   I would also suggest reading Lewis's Moneyball and Liar's Poker.

I do not want to ruin the book or the movie. The story is well known and something you should familiarize yourself with before seeing the movie. I would recommend reading the book first. A lot of the backstory, especially that of Oher's discovered childhood, is left out in the movie due to time constraints.

Overall I give the movie and 8 out of 10. I'm not the harshest critic, but I do like sports movies. This does not rise to the ranks of a Hoosiers or a Remember the Titans for me, but it's in the second tier. Unlike most sports movies, it's not about the team's achievement. Yet, this is a movie that inspires and provides a number of teachable moments. However, make sure that you do read the book.  

Originally posted to alpolitics on Fri Nov 20, 2009 at 04:25 PM PST.

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