As a sucker for feel-good movies and football, I was thrilled to cover last night’s premiere of “The Blind Side” at the Ziegfeld Theatre. The movie stars my favorite actress Sandra Bullock. Plus, it is based on the life of Michael Oher, who plays for my hometown Baltimore Ravens.
The true tale behind the film traces Oher’s path from the Memphis slums to NFL success, thanks to the Tuohey family who rescued him off the street. Originally portrayed in Michael Lewis' bestseller "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game," the story seemed to particularly move star Tim McGraw.“Anytime you can walk away from a movie and want to be a better person, you’re truly lucky,” said the country crooner, with gorgeous wife Faith Hill by his side. “It was just such an awesome story.”
While the real-life Michael Oher was a no-show (he better be resting up for Sunday’s game against Indy, for which I’m making the trek to Baltimore), the up-and-coming actor who plays him was thrilled to chat about the movie’s message. “I think this movie will inspire a lot of people,” said Bronx-born Quinton Aaron. “Not just today’s youth, but adults too.”
According to critics’ buzz, the most inspiring thing about the well-received flick is Sandra Bullock’s performance. She is already garnering Oscar buzz For her spot-on portrayal of the strong southern belle Leigh Anne Tuohey. “I’ve always been a fan of Sandy,” said director John Lee Hancock. “I feel so blessed to have worked with her, and to have her in almost every scene.”
For costar Lily Collins (yes, daughter of Phil), making her big-screen debut opposite Bullock was both a blessing and a source of nerves. “I thought, oh my gosh, I am going to play Sandra Bullock’s daughter! I really have to deliver!”
Even twelve year-old cutie Jae Head, who plays Bullock’s son in the film, was effusive about his experience with the screen queen. “It was awesome!” he said.
When Ms. B herself paused to chat about “The Blind Side”, which opens nationwide on Friday, I found her every bit the girl-next-door charmer I imagined. “I don’t know how they do it,” she laughed, gesturing to the dapperly-dressed pack of New York Jets stars (including D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Jerricho Cotchery). “To have that physical and mental capability, and maintain your composure? I was seriously amazed.”
I might not agree with Bullock’s draft picks –the Jets are, after all, in my hometown team’s division – but for her performance in “The Blind Side” and adorable real-life persona, she gets my vote for MVP.