This blogger’s sports-loving girlfriend was a mere 13 years old when the Tennessee Titans won the AFC wildcard game against the Buffalo Bills in 2000. With 16 seconds left on the clock, the possible greatest arrangement of men in the South since Second Bull Run ran a play that would lead them all the way to the Superbowl (where a controversial carpetbagging official would rob the Titans of a victory). The dizzying lateral passes zig-zagged the ball up the field, and my girlfriend–the entire state of Tennessee, really–watched in amazement as the spectacle of football way exceeded her expectations.

She fell in love with football that afternoon, and ten years later I took her to see The Blind Side, the movie that wildly exceeded all expectations. She remained unsurprised: “It’s about football and the South–what could be bad?” I, however, despite my best intentions to thoroughly loathe this film, found myself not only enjoying it but actually admiring its approach to the “New South.” The racial tensions outlined in The Blind Side are much more complex than are generally acknowledged in Hollywood. Indeed, the differences between the wealthier, educated Southerners and their red-neck counterparts are nearly always overlooked by the “triumph of integration” feel-good films usually put out by the machine.

Should Sandra Bullock win Best Actress? Maybe. Meryl Streep’s had enough (and really, how do you go from Sophie’s Choice to Julie and Julia? Or the Devil Wears Prada?), and Bullock succeeded admirably at making believable a caricature of a Southern belle. Is it Best Picture worthy? No. But as Lost Causes go, this one is fairly entertaining.