The Blind Side

Thankfully, the Holiday season is over. For Bongo And the Point it was a hectic time. Much rehearsing and many gigs as well as all the normal Holiday season rush made it very, very busy. We didn't see many movies. We did see "Avatar" but that was about it. There's been plenty already written about "Avatar," so I'll only say it was beautiful, but the story was a rehash of many other sci-fi/fantasy stories I've read; and sci-fi/fantasy is one of my favorite genres. If you don't read much of it, “Avatar” may seem like a great movie. I think there might have been another one or two movies we saw, but I don't remember what.

The Blind SideBut last week we finally got around to seeing, "The Blind Side." It was as good as I hoped it would be. I imagine who want to see it already have. It is, for sure, one I would put in my video library. However, I don't really see it as a sports-flick. Of course it involves football, but that is not really the point. This movie is about motives; and for me, motive is everything. Here’s what I mean.

You’re standing on the steps of a church when you see two men get out of their cars. Both are nicely dressed, carrying Bibles under their arms, smiling at other folks in the parking lot. What do you know about them? That they are two nicely dressed men, carrying Bibles under their arms, smiling at other folks in the parking lot. That’s it. What you don’t know is that one of them is a Christian man who just moved into the neighborhood and is looking for a good place to have fellowship and worship God. The second, just graduated from school to become an insurance agent. The first thing you must do, he was taught, is find a good, big friendly, upscale church to attend; all those church-goers need insurance! What’s the difference? Motive.

Back in the 1980s Dee and I worked as creative consultants for a company in Southern California. One of the things we had to do was read a book on writing screenplays. We learned that, generally, movies all have a similar structure. If a movie is an hour and a half to two hours long there will be two “plot points” one about 15-20 minutes into the movie and one 15-20 minutes from the end. A plot point is when the story is progressing along and all of a sudden something unexpected happens to take it in another direction. The first plot point in “The Blind Side” comes on a cold, wet night when a rich, white, Christian family sees a cold, black, teenage boy walking along the road in shorts and a t-shirt shivering. After a brief hesitation, they take him home for the night.

If you don’t know the story of Michael Oher, of the Baltimore Ravens, I won’t spoil it for you but there’s no real surprises. That’s okay because, as I said, that’s not the real point of this film, for me. The second plot point comes when, Leigh Anne Tuohy, (Sandra Bullock), the wife and mother of the aforementioned family, comes face to face with her own morality. Is it good enough to do the right thing, or must you do the right thing for the right reason? She believes it must be the right thing for the right reason. I agree. Someone can still benefit from you doing the right thing for the wrong reason, but you deserve no credit for it. Just as someone might benefit when your intentions are wrong, yet good comes of it; you still deserve no honor. I remember a story of a young mother going out to work in her garden. Her small daughter comes along to play in the warm Spring sun as mom works her way along the flower bed pulling weeds. Upon reaching the end she straightens up, stretching her legs. She turns around to admire her lovely garden and to her horror there stands her daughter at her feet, fists filled with flowers pulled up by the roots. “Look mama,” she says smiling up admirably, “I help.” Did the child mean evil? No. Did harm come? Yes. Will mom be angry? Yes. But, hopefully, before she flies off the handle she will realize that motive is everything. It’s always the motive that gives the action it’s moral definition. Credit or blame is determined by your motive. That’s why Jesus said not to do good deeds in order to be seen by men. If you do you’ve had your reward when men take notice. I’m thinking there is One whose opinion about me matters more than other men’s.

So, I do recommend you go see this if you haven’t or get it when it comes out on video. Despite the fact that Hollywood was blown away by the success of “The Blind Side” I hope they take notice. I just read a report that indicates that films with gratuitous sex tend to do worse at the box office than those that don’t. Sometimes the assumptions Hollywood film makers make are worse than their movies.

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