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January 21, 2010

2009: VII-Hollywood Generic

State of Play
The International

All three are workable, Hollywood fare – good entertainments.

The Blind Side
It’s Complicated

I have some fundamental philosophical issues with both of these movies. Both suffer from one of my pet peeves, which I’ll call “Tacit Maid Syndrome.” Or TMS. (The syndrome extends to Tacit Gardener Syndrome, etc.) The movie features a family, or a divorcee, or a young couple who live in a 4,000+ square foot house in southern California, or spacious apartment in New York City, or McMansion in a gated community in Memphis – and never once during the course of the entire film is there a hint of a maid – or of a gardener for the acres of grounds – in sight. I know for a fact that these people are not mopping their floors, vacuuming their pets’ fur off of the upholstery, pruning the shrubbery, or scrubbing their toilets. In the midst of these unspoken assumptions is the BIG ONE: These are “middle class” characters – and critics join in, perpetuating this absurdist fantasy of “middle class.” (Don’t get me started; subject of another essay….)

With The Blind Side I have other issues beyond the “feel-good movie of the year” bill that it strives to fit so neatly. How would this young man from a life of poverty, abuse, and family dysfunction have fared, even with the intervention of an affluent family, were he not possessed of the brawn for football celebrity? What if he had shown an emerging talent for math, let’s say, or mechanical repair – or what if he had turned out to be not particularly exceptional at anything – in other words, a regular kid. What then? Would our hearts still be warmed, or would they just be left cold?

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