Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips finds the discrepancy puzzling.
“While everyone is fussing about ‘Precious,’ a movie like ‘The Blind Side’ is going to make a pile of dough and seems far more racially patronizing,” said Phillips, the white co-host of the syndicated show “At the Movies.”
“‘The Blind Side’ is telling a really good story about one African-American character completely through the perspective of the white family.”
“That’s absurd and patronizing in itself,” Armond White, chief film critic of The New York Press, said of Phillips’ comments.
The reason for the discrepancy, said White, who is black, is simple.
“Some black people find ‘Precious’ offensive and they don’t find ‘The Blind Side’ offensive,” he said. “There’s more humanity there. ‘Precious’ is like a horror show, a freak show. There’s nothing but misery, debased behavior and degradation. One film is about Samaritan-ism, humanism, kindness, love and brotherhood, and the other is about degradation and ignorance.
“I’m happy that people aren’t buying it ['Precious'] and prefer to buy ‘The Blind Side,’” he added.
Indeed, “Blind Side” opened last week just behind the “Twilight” juggernaut, raking in more its first weekend — $34 million — than “Precious” has grossed since its limited opening Nov. 6. Granted, “Blind Side” is being marketed as a Hollywood mainstream film, whereas “Precious” is being sold more as an art film…
Milloy wrote in his column last month that Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, executive producers of the film, “have helped serve up a film of prurient interest that has about as much redeeming social value as a porn flick.”
Milloy told ABCNews.com he hasn’t seen “The Blind Side,” but among his black friends who have, they “like it a lot,” he said. “Apparently, the book was really good, and people went in knowing that they were going to get a happy holiday ending.”
Jack White refuses to see “Precious,” writing in a recent column on TheRoot.com, “I don’t have to see ‘Precious’ to know that it has little to tell us about how we can improve the circumstances of real-life victims of such tragedy.”
Armond White, who chairs the New York Film Critics Circle, called “Precious” more demeaning to black people than any other film since D.W. Griffith’s crudely racist “Birth of a Nation” in 1915.
“Full of brazenly racist cliches [Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken], it is a sociological horror show,” he wrote last month.
Later, in a separate column, he praised “The Blind Side” as an antidote to the “Preciousmania” seizing the nation because it is “so free of the guilt ‘Precious’ arouses that it simultaneously raises the level of social imagination.”
Meanwhile, white culture critic Mark Blankenship, editor and chief of TheCriticalCondition.com, sees “The Blind Side” as another Hollywood production of a do-gooder white person rescuing a poor black person.
“The real story is inspiring,” Blankenship said, “but the way it’s being sold as a film is not very surprising. We’ve seen movies like ‘The Blind Side’ over and over again — ‘Dangerous Minds,’ ‘Freedom Writers,’ ‘Finding Forrester’ — even if we haven’t seen stories like the Tuohys or Michael Oher, which is an exceptional story being sold to us as just the latest cog in a feel-good machine.”…