Who's In It: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates
The Basics: "Big Mike," a gentle giant with a crackhead mom and nowhere to go, gets in the way of steel magnolia Sandy B's bulldozer parenting style and goes from lost foster child with a 0.6 grade average to a football star who can discuss the Napoleonic wars. It's kind of like what would happen if Precious and Rudy had a baby .
What's The Deal: This movie doesn't care if you think it's paternalistic or condescendingly racist or playing fast and loose with the facts as they actually happened. It doesn't care if you think it's gross when it trots out white people trying to bond with black people by giving them fist-bumps or singing along to "Bust a Move." The entire film is one long nervy, corny dare, absolutely confident in its own adorability, heartwarmth and ability to bodyslam the critical thinking skills of anyone who gets in its way. It's also from the director of The Rookie, so you're going to be crying by the end.
Forgiving And Forgetting All About Steve: Although she's not listed as any kind of producer, you know that Sandra Bullock has precision-engineered this film to be a showcase for herself as an outsized Erin Brockovich-ian ballbuster. And why not? It's never not fun to watch an indomitable frosted-blonde Southern belle boss around people three times her size or threaten to cut off a man's penis or shoot him in the face just before the big huggy, cuddly we-are-family ending you know is waiting to happen. Her job is to please crowds and she gets to do a lot of that here.
Yes, They Address The Charges Of Boosterism: When I first saw the trailer for this film I thought it was a prank. Then I learned that it was a true story and that there are people to this day who are cranky about perceived "grooming" on the part of the real-life people who adopted Michael Oher. But if you wait until the end credits and check out the scroll of actual family photos full of people embracing like they mean it, you'll see that they're just a typical, super-rich, Republican clan who love each other and who happen to have a huge interest in maintaining their alma mater's gridiron dominance by any means necessary. Is that so wrong?
Amount Of Actual Football Taking Place On Screen: About ten minutes worth, six if you don't count the moments when Bullock is playing vigilante coach.