blind_side_ninja_assassin

A couple of weeks ago, I received a copy of The Blind Side in the mail. I don’t get very many DVDs, and when I do get a DVD it is almost exclusively by specifically requesting it. So The Blind Side took me…BY THE BLIND SIDE! (Ooof. My apologies, as always, for everything.) I couldn’t remember asking anyone for it, and why would I? I had no interest in seeing it, as I had assumed (not entirely incorrectly) that The Blind Side was a mediocre middle-of-the-road Lifetime movie for which Sandra Bullock certainly didn’t deserve an Oscar, and whose unexpected success at the box office was simply further proof that American society was on the decline. I had assumed (not entirely incorrectly) that it was the dramatic equivalent of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But here it was. Did I want to make fun of it? Is that why I (must have) requested it? That didn’t seem right. Even my yuck-em-ups have their limits of exhaustion. Huh. I didn’t know what it was doing here! WHAT A FABULOUS MYSTERY. We would probably never solve it, not without Ben Gates‘s help.

And then that evening I received an email that explained everything:

From: [redacted]
To: gabe@videogum.com
Subject: Ninja Assassin/The Blind Side Mail Mix-up

Hi Again-

It’s come to my attention that the mailing for Ninja Assassin DVDs was mixed up in shipping and many of you may have received copies of The Blind Side on DVD. Can you please email me and let me know whether you received Ninja Assassin or The Blind Side?

Aha! Mystery solved, and in hilarious fashion. At first this email made me LOL so much. What a comical mix-up! But then I actually sat down and watched both movies, and it turns out that maybe it wasn’t such a comical mix-up after all. You might be surprised at how similar these two movies are!

-Both Tell The Story Of Children Taken From Their Homes
In The Blind Side, Big Mike is taken in by Sandra Bullock and her family after they discover that he is homeless and sleeping at the school gym. With their help and guidance, which his own parents could never provide, Mike begins to improve his grades, and joins the football team, leading to a successful career in the NFL. In Ninja Assassin, Raizo is stolen from his family and raised by the Ozunu Clan. With the help and guidance of the clan, which for better or for worse his own parents could never have provided, Raizo becomes the deadliest ninja in the world. (Of course, Raizo eventually turns against the Ozunu Clan, whereas Big Mike remains a part of the Tuohy family. So I guess in some ways they are not the EXACT same movie.)

-Both Deal With Characters Confronting A Culture They Don’t Understand

In The Blind Side, the Tuohy family have their first encounter with the impoverished black community of Tennessee and are shocked at what they discover. In Ninja Assassin, the police have their first encounter with the murderous ninja clans, and they are shocked at what they discover. At least until they are killed.

-Big Mike And Raizo Both Reject Violence Until It Is Proven Necessary To Protect Someone They Love

When Big Mike first begins to play football, he is awful at it. Ultimately, he is a gentle giant who doesn’t want to hurt anyone. He shies away from hitting people because of his “protective instincts.” But then Sandra Bullock gives him a rousing pep talk in which she likens the football team to his family, and demands that he protect his family. With that in mind, Big Mike becomes one of the toughest players on the field. In Ninja Assassin, Raizo abandons the Ozunu Clan after they murder his childhood sweetheart, eschewing a life of pre-meditated violence for a solitary life of quiet contemplation. But when it becomes a matter of self-defense, and, more importantly protecting the young policewoman with whom he has developed a friendship, then Raizo will fight until the death. Duh.

-Both Feature Investigations That Are Completely Beside The Point
In The Blind Side, Big Mike eventually earns a scholarship to the Tuohy’s alma matter, Ole Miss. An investigator from the NCAA interrogates Mike to determine if the Tuohy’s generosity towards him was simply a cynical scheme to get a football player onto their favorite team. Tensions are high for about 30 seconds until Sandra Bullock just tells him to go to whatever school he wants to, and he ends up going to Ole Miss anyway, and I guess the case was dropped? It was a stupid case anyway. Meanwhile, in Ninja Assassin, some police detectives at Europol in Germany (Germany?) have uncovered the centuries old secret of the Ozunu Clan. They do investigate the ninja stuff, but it is really beside the point. This movie is about ninjas fighting ninjas.

-Both Have Scenes In Laundromats

-Both The Blind Side And Ninja Assassin Are Simplistic And Terribly Written
With very little attention paid to developing three-dimensional characters (Leigh Anne Tuohy is “tough as nails”, Raizo is “a ninja assassin”) and zero plot complexity (the dramatic conflict in The Blind Side appears to be if the Tuohy’s are going to end up loving Big Mike TOO much, and Ninja Assassin does not have a plot) both movies are equally thin and unambitious. Of course, this actually works for Ninja Assassin because it’s a cartoonish action movie and doesn’t require three-dimensional characters or plot complexity to succeed. All it requires are super sharp swords and a fistful of throwing stars. In the case of The Blind Side, the same laziness results in a cliche-ridden script written by a third-grader (which includes a scene in which a state-required aptitude test has found Big Mike to be deeply insufficient in learning skills but “in the 98th percentile in protective instincts,” whatever THAT means) leads to a cloyingly happy ending, ultimately leaving the viewer feeling bored and insulted. Apologize, The Blind Side!

-The Blind Side Had A Secretary Named Ninja Assassin, And Ninja Assassin Had A Secretary Named The Blind Side!

The movies have their differences, of course. Ninja Assassin is totally fun to watch, whereas The Blind Side is tedious. Ninja Assassin doesn’t claim to be anything that it isn’t, and relishes its role as a cartoonish action movie. The Blind Side, on the other hand, thinks that it is a serious and important drama but is really just a pretentious, puffed up afterschool special for intellectually lazy people. Ninja Assassin has lots of comic book violence, The Blind Side has lots of this kid being so annoying:

But mostly they are the exact same movie. Sometimes the similarities were almost spooky.

I rest my case.

 
Comments (133)
  1. The Blind Side was a mediocre middle-of-the-road Lifetime movie for which Sandra Bullock certainly didn’t deserve an Oscar, and whose unexpected success at the box office was simply further proof that American society was on the decline.

  2. I liked Sandra Bullock in Demolition Man.

  3. Oh sure, you hate The Blind Side, and yet you think LOST is a terrific show. Yeah, no hypocrisy there, guy (sarcasm).

  4. Does this mean The Blindside is disqualified from THFTWMOAT?

    • please god no.

    • Shouldn’t this actually mean that it is SO qualified for the hunt? I thought terrible movies that take themselves seriously are the most ideal candidates?

      Unless of course you’re referring to the fact that Gabe seems to have already given The Blind Side the rundown.

      Why did I log in to make this comment again?

  5. This movie taught me that the underprivileged strive to live in Norman Rockwell paintings.

  6. You actually meant to order Ninja Assassin? Otherwise I don’t understand the mix-up.

  7. I read the book The Blind Side and they definitely added a lot of things that never happened, like the car crash because they were rapping to a song from 1989? That a kid in elementary school knew all the words to?

    • Is that the most damning difference between the book and movie you can think of off the top of your head? The car crash did happen if I recall.

      • No just one! I couldn’t list them all since that would take a century

        • But seriously, are we judging movies for being different from the books they were based on now? Because…that seems pointless.

          • I tried replying to you upthread, but apparently Videogum 2.0 only allows a certain amount of replies, I guess to bypass the endless reply-loop and skinnify-ing of comments, etc. et. al. BLAHH

            Don’t take this Blide Sind related downvoting personally, Senator Puma Crock! Ur stil kool.

  8. Oh no, is that the kid who played Bo on FNL?

    Yes, that is the kid who played Bo on FNL:
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2052567/

    Clear eyes, blind sides.

  9. the blinde side was ridiculous. i saw it with the fam and they all LOVED it. my dad (who seems to love everything gabe hates) now lists it as one of his favorite movies. (my dad also has a collection of pig statues/stuffed animals, f.y.i.)

    i really did not appreciate the implication that all big mike needed was a well to do white woman to go in and clean up the mess that was his life. that is not real life (okay, so maybe this was based on a true story and all, but it’s the exception rather than the rule). there are millions of children in the u.s. living in similar (if not worse!) conditions than this fool and there are millions of wealthy conservative white folks who are not so willing to open their homes to them. this was one of those “feel good because something good happened to someone once so we can completely ignore the actual problem” movies (similar to pursuit of happyness o algo) and that genre is just lame in my book.

    • Man, your dad is an asshole.

    • I’m going to shimmy out on a limb and disagree. Not that The Blindside is so fine I want to get it pregnant, but it is unfair to criticize it for being a story of “the exception rather than the rule.” All of storytelling back to The Iliad, and Beowulf, and Exodus, is pretty habitually about the exceptions, not the rules; the ninja assassins, not the innocent bystanders.

      Of course, if everyone sees a movie and says, “See? All those blacks need to do is listen to a white woman, and they’ll all become wealthy athletes,” or “See? All babies need to be is stolen from their families, and they”ll end up being the best at something that matters to them, perhaps calligraphy, perhaps a Cirque du Soleil of killing, it could be anything but they will be the BEST at it,” well, then we have a problem.

      But most people are sensibler than that? Anyway my point is that you can’t really attack a story for being about unusual people doing unusual things.

      • well, i would actually disagree with the sensibility of most people.

        movies like this allow people to ease their collective conscience because they show how the american dream works only in favor of the down and out. it allows people to engage in empathy for an hour or two and then return home to their lives. movies like this perpetuate the problem by suggesting there is an easy way out, when the reality is the opposite. i don’t think that the majority of people out there saw this movie and were moved to the point that they went to the impoverished areas of their cities to adopt children without homes. i don’t think the movie inspired anyone to go into these communities and work with children from troubled backgrounds. they probably thought “that was a good story” and returned home. in general the movie was pretty meh. it’s escapism that plays into the idea of the “american dream” and i just don’t support it.

        i do agree with you on the point that most art is about exceptional individuals. of course no one wants to watch a movie about my life, people generally go to the movies to escape from the dullness that is daily life. engaging stories are necessary to sell any sort of escapism (books, movies, vanity fair…)

  10. I think The Blind Side deserves another Oscar for “Best Job by a Cast and Crew Pretending to Not Be Completely Surprised by the Lead Role’s Oscar Nomination.” But that’s just me. Also I love it when Ninjas Assassinate.

  11. Has anyone ever noticed how similar Lost is to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button?

  12. Actual dialogue from The Blind Side:

    Teacher: Big Mike’s test scores are so low. Third percentile in math, fourth percentile in reading. But in one area, his scores are through the roof. He scored in the 98th percentile for protective instincts!

    WHAT?! WHERE DID HE TAKE THIS PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS TEST?!

    • Ok, I wrote this before I finished reading the post. But srsly guys, where the fuck can I take that test?

    • Is that true? Was the teacher just saying “Fuck it, he’s good at football”? Or was the context such so that THE ONLY thing they could be referencing was a “Protective Instincts” section? And also, how could it be remotely fucking possible that there is a standardized test on INSTINCTS? How would you even test that? Crazy stupid.

      • It seemed pretty clear to me that they were referencing a section on the test. Probably the one where they throw baseballs at children and you have to block them.

    • i wondered that as well. what the hell type of school tests in protective instincts? i am assuming that the same school tested for “ability to forage for food,” because that seems just as reasonable in this day and age.

    • Look, you guys. This is from the book by Michael Lewis, who is a respected journalist. He didn’t take as much license with reality as you think (assume).

      • I was so dumbfounded by this dialogue that I looked into it, and it seems like Big Mike DID take a psychological test that gave him these results. HOWEVER, the movie frames it as though this result came from the same test that tested his math and reading skills and that EVERYBODY takes a test that gives you your “protective instinct” score. Which = nope.

        • Thank you for clearing that up. Because on the Stanford Aptitude Tests I was taking in grade school the bicycling owl did not lead us from math to reading comprehension to psychological evaluations. Definitely he hopped off his bike and held up the STOP sign before asking us about our protective instincts. Or how we felt about owls wearing turtleneck sweaters.

  13. Key difference between the movies: Ninja Assassin failed to shorten its title to Ninjassassin, but The Blind Side is short for The Blind Leading the Utterly Stupid into a Movie Theater. Side.

    /I really labored over that joke. Sorry.

  14. “The Blind Side Had A Secretary Named Ninja Assassin, And Ninja Assassin Had A Secretary Named The Blind Side!”

    Call in the Black Helicopters because I am lol-ing too much.

    • I was holding my breath and drinking water, trying to get rid of my hiccups, and then I read that sentence and saw that picture and let’s just say not only are my hiccups still here, my computer screen and keyboard are now wet and cranky.

  15. The Blind Assassin

  16. Oh, here’s another thing though. This is a true story and such, and he ended up playing football. BUT I’m confused what the family really had to do with it. He was suited for football, and they just put him through school, so coincidence. It’s not like they found him and he became like a super professor or master of physics with their help.To be a pro-athlete it must be ordained by God I guess.

    • They legally adopted him…that’s a pretty big deal for a kid with no family. They weren’t the ones that got him into Briarcrest anyway. An old family friend did that, though the football coach definitely had a vested interest in making it happen. The Tuoey’s weren’t involved then, though.

      • An old family friend of Michael’s, I should say. Big Tony. Maybe the real hero of Mike’s story. He put so much of himself out there to do right by poor Mike with not all that much of his own to give, and it ended up paying off.

  17. Jeez this kid’s head is big enough to block all light and vision on my blind side

  18. Why does case.edu keep wanting to authenticate me to view this page?

  19. Hahaha I love that kid’s “Que será, será” shrug, with his bloody stumps.

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    • I think it’s different, but only in the way that nominees for Best Actress are *usually* nominated for great acting in a meaningful role and not wet-paper-bag acting in a garbagey hamfisted role.

      • I always find it frustrating when a pretty actress gets nominated or wins for playing an “ugly” person (like Charilze Theron in ‘Monster’, with her heavy makeup and weights glued to her chin to make her slack-jawed or sumthin).
        It’s like, “HEY! I bet there are plenty of not drop-dead gorgeous actresses that would have loved to do that role, no jaw-weights required!”

        • To be fair, Charlize Theron was good in that movie. I think she’s proved that she is a good [also GORGEOUS] actress and I just like that she prefers to plain herself down for her films rather than just rely on being pretty.

          Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, is a bad actress who should stick to making Lifetime movies and rom-coms and I just REALLY HATE that from now on, every goddamn stupid movie she is in will say “Starring OSCAR WINNER Sandra Bullock in… KITTEN CABOODLE! Opening July 16″

          #runonsentencegum

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        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • Senator, now you feel my random and unnecessary angst. Additionally, That One (much love to you), you come off as an annoying and condescending commenter with much frequency, hence my previous assertion that we were at internet war. The first comment I made on this site was smacked down by you in quite spectacular fashion. Since that point I have realized that you are not at war with me, but with the internet, writ large, and personally, I can get behind that, as I am also at war with the internet.

          • Aww… I’m sorry. Seriously. I know I can sometimes be a jerk, but I probably don’t realize the extent of it. Funny thing is I’m honestly not a jerk at all IRL. Promise! I’ll honestly try my best in the future to not let those tendencies get the best of me. mmfcl, DS3M

    • Watch our Senator, the monsters are converging! I can only defend you with a single upvote and the rest you have to do on your own. I only scored a 17% on my protective instinct exam.

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        • It seems that you might be overthinking this whole situation.

        • I’m just here to riff. Sometimes I don’t like what gets made fun of, but I still like to riff. I have not seen The Blind Side and cannot definitively say whether or not it’s a good film and whether Sandra Bullock is good in it. But I still like to make jokes based on blanket statements and other people’s observations, because why not? It’s just a movie. It’s just an actress. And I have zero sway over the success and/or failure of the film.

          I’m just here to waste some time.

          It’s all in good fun.

          • Now go get your ^%$#ing SHINEBOX!

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          • Apparently a a bunch of people don’t think it’s in good fun when they like the things other people don’t like.

            That’s when shit gets real. Oh well. I guess when people make fun of the thing I like, they’re snobs and when they like the thing I don’t, it’s groupthink.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Senator, I totally hear you.

            Here’s how I go about stuff like this- As a rule of thumb for internet commenting (my rule, not the internet’s rule or anything like that), if I have a major conflict of opinion with whatever is going on, I have to ask myself if it’s worth it to invest the time to type out a big post that says what I feel needs to be said to set people right about whatever, even if it only means I then get to watch it get buried underneath all the other comments, some of which get typed and posted in complete disregard to my own.

            Sometimes it’s totally worth it. Most of the time it is not. at. all.

            But I do give props for putting yourself out there, and you just may change some minds.

          • I honestly don’t know what you mean by “haters”. I’m not trying to be “cool” or whatever, I just don’t understand why people get so worked up when the things they like get made fun of. Different strokes we are the world or something. Some people didn’t care for The Blind Side so they made fun of it on the internet. That’s what the internet was invinted for! Are people who make fun of The Room snobs? Avatar? It’s every man, woman, and child’s god-given right to bitch about movies on the internet. I think. I’m sure there are some movies you that you hate, right? Probably. Does that make you a snob? Probably not.

            I haven’t seen The Blind Side so I’ll save my snarky, ironic one-liners for another day, but of course a ton of folks loved it. Great! It’s super awesome to love things! It just so happened that some people on Videogum didn’t love it. Where’s the beef? You know what movie I loved? Marley & Me! I’m sure that most monsters do not also love Marley & Me the way that I love Marley & Me, and THAT’S FINE WITH ME.

            And don’t you think it’s a bit ironic (ahh! unhealthy devotionz!!!) that you’re calling us names for not liking the thing that you like? That sounds almost snobby (here, let me pick up those pieces YOUR MIND off the floor).

            Sorry for the thesis, tl;dr I’m sure, but the bottom line is I think it’s okay to like things and rave about them just as I think it’s okay to hate things and make fun of them. Is that cool?

          • People think they’re being cool here? They should probably go somewhere else to do that. (This thing is not making any of us cool, excepting, probably, the guy who gets paid to do it.) This is the place where various forms of media, popular and unpopular, get explicated and judged. Right? So is it any surprise that most of it gets trashed? Most of it is trash! I think we need to put trash in the garbage before it starts to STINK. That is not cynicism. That is not our job, either, but if it makes us feel better about living within our current (and ever shifting) media environment then LET’S DO IT. Let’s pitch in. Let’s not dwell on it, of course! I don’t go around talking to my mailwoman and the dude at the wine store about how The Blind Side probably sucks even though I haven’t seen it, but it IS a biopic after all pretty much, and I saw this great GIF and … that’s what this place is for! Everything in its proper place.

          • That One liked Marley & Me? I point and laugh at you, That One.

            Well, what I’m checking in to say is Senator, you’ve got That One all wrong if you think he simply dismissed you above. He’s never been that kind of monster. I read him as hearing you out with an open mind, and then in a friendly way saying Hey, let’s remember to apply a healthy sense of humor / irony to ourselves, too. Anyway, that’s how I took him.

            ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, BACK TO WORK, ALL OF YOU.

        • Hi Senator,

          The only thing that I take issue with in your comments is that I don’t think that Videogum is “primarily a place for snarking.” For one thing, I don’t know what snarking means, but I have a sense of what it’s probably supposed to mean, and if anything I would argue that Videogum is the opposite of that. For the most part, Videogum avoids ad hominem attacks, and everything that we make fun of or criticize, for the most part, comes from some kind of idea. Now, I am sure that there are countless examples to the contrary that you could dig up and shove in my face to make me look like an idiot, but I do think that is at least at the heart of the site, even if we miss that mark occasionally (or maybe very often). I do think that we at least try to think about the things we are making fun of before “snarking” about them.

          And I don’t think anyone is arguing that it’s not fun to like things. I love liking things! Maybe it is more rare for me than for other people, but that doesn’t mean that I am against it or don’t enjoy it myself. I mean, obviously, come on. Personally, I don’t think that liking things is in opposition to not liking things. I do both on a daily basis, based on whatever it is that I am presented with at any given moment. I would hate to get into the habit of hating things just to hate them, but the contrary is equally dismal to me. Let’s just like what we like and dislike what we don’t like! Right?

          That being said, I also think there is a huge difference between liking something and reading about someone liking something. In that sense, Videogum definitely skews towards the negative because it happens to be easier for me to make jokes about things that I dislike than it is for me to make jokes about what I like. That’s a human flaw. I’m doing my best. But personally, I really like jokes, and I want this site to be as funny as it can be, and as long as I am in charge of it, that’s going to mean being funny through whatever broken, stupid framework I’m able to come up with. It’s all I can do.

          Although I also think that I do my best to highlight things that I like when I am able to do so! And those ARE genuinely much fewer and far between the stupid garbage that is out there. Good stuff is rare, Senator! It just is! Not my fault!

          Of course, most of this discussion stems from the problem of people making fun of something that you like, and particularly people that maybe you tend to agree with in other cases (I am making assumptions here, about both you and the Videogum community in general, so please excuse me if I am way off-target). I understand why that is aggravating. No duh. But it’s unfair of you to dismiss someone else’s opinion to be disingenuous or posturing or “snark” just because it’s not the same as yours. I watched the movie, and I thought about it, and in so doing I earned my opinion just as much as anyone else, including you.

          So.

          OK. Bye!

          • I’m flattered by the long reply from Gabe (whose wit is 98% of the reason I read this site, as nice as I think the Monsters are, truly) and as such, I wish I would save a reply for tomorrow when I’m *ahem* clearer headed. But I’m typing verrrrry slowly and proofing as I go. All I want to say to finish this argument of mine (that I started) is this:

            1. I held the comments on this thread to a difficult standard, as I was reading them through the matrix of ALL of the discussion of this movie from people/sources with whom I normally feel comfortable and agree, politically and morally; that is, the constant debating over the moral question of whether the Tuoeys decision to adopt and support Michael Oher was somehow a big PR stunt of some kind just because it happened to be made into a semi-cheesy movie. And because I have known about Michael Oher since he was a senior in high school because of where I grew up and and sports team that I follow, I have accepted the story, and thought it was gross how many people seemed happy to impugn the family’s motives with no evidence to the contrary. But those people, despite possible overlap, are not you, VG peeps.

            And while I will state formally again, and for the record,that it is really a much better movie than I thought it would be, and that Sandra Bullock does in fact act her ass off in it (and really, I am so not a chick flick person so I had/have NO reason to love the woman)…I admit that the conversation I seemed to be having about whether or not people commenting here liked the movie was not actually the conversation I was having with you in my head. I realize that now, and I apologize for seeming obsessed with whether or not damn Sandra Bullock deserved an Oscar. (GABE….how do you watch every awards show? I know it’s for us, but HOW DO YOU DO IT? They make me want to cry. Anyway…thanks for TOFTY)

            2. If I implied that I think VG is ONLY for snarking (YES A WORD PLZ) I apologize. I think maybe it’s more sarcasm than you realize, but that’s not the same thing as mean-spiritness, or I doubt I would have kept reading and commenting for so long (for example, I had a brief D-listed affair…but the hatefulness on those comments, yikes)

            All of you who called me out on all my BS…you’re right…and I bet I’m right about you guys on a lot of things, too. Obviously we all are a little heavy in the more creativity and intelligence than we can use department, probably due to our boring jobs. Let’s all write the great American novel this year, could we–as a family?

            Somehow making several people annoyed with me at the same time has made me feel like a part of the community–maybe for the first time. HUGZ.

          • Gabe: Snarking is when you you pull down a ladies top in public. right?
            though apparently there is top snarking and low snarking? didn’t know about the low snarking. Gross Japan. Gross.

          • I think we can blame all of this on WHITE GUILT!

  21. mydaughter'sname69  |   Posted on Mar 16th, 2010 +13

    I hope “A Side-By-Side Comparison” becomes a regular feature here at videogum. If I may make a suggestion, I would next like to see you compare “The Blind Side” with the “Enter the Ninja” music video.

  22. As a black person who was not homeless on the streets and taken in by a nice white lady but instead was privileged and was raised by two parents, I would never go to Ole Miss. That school frightens me. Anyway, thank you now I don’t have to watch either. Of which I had no urge to anyway.

  23. Miss Congeniality

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