Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sight Unseen 

Ooops, wasted all my blog time writing to the RPList about Blindside Reviews. Blindside Reviews offers film reviews by Jay Forry who as the site title suggests is blind. Forry has regular radio spots and the reviews also appear in US newspapers. Here's a slightly changed version of what I wrote.

Written at the bottom of each of Forry's review is:

Although I am blind, I can appreciate a good movie as well as sighted individuals.
I rely more on a good story line than special effects.

Perhaps he means that he can derive as much pleasure from some films as can fully-sighted moviegoers. Some people do not imagine that blind people have any interest in film or TV and Forry's reviews might change that perception.

According to the 'bio' page on Forry's Web site, he is usually accompanied by his wife or son when seeing a film, which would help him follow the storyline if his wife and son are good at describing the action. He also says that he reviews films based on plot and storyline. While some movies rely less on plot than effects, this approach to reviewing assumes that a well-crafted plot is revealed only through dialogue and sound effects, rather than through any visual cues.

Personally, I find that action movies are difficult to follow and so is 'Australia's Funniest Home Video Show' but that doesn't mean that every film or TV show that I can't follow isn't worth watching.

Forry's blindness is also the source for much of the humour in his reviews and it is his unique perspective that most likely appeals to his readers and listeners. From my point of view, some of the references to blindness are inconsistent. For example, this extract from a review of 'The Wedding Date':

"Nothing makes sense in this movie and at barely an hour and a half it didn't make sense for me to drive to the theater, order popcorn, a drink, and try to find a seat; all of which are hard for a blind guy to do by himself."

He can't order popcorn but he could drive to the cinema? It's hard to find a seat but not to follow the film? Except for this film, which he claims does not make sense. Okay, so maybe the reviews are all written or presented tongue in cheek and his listeners / readers understand and get a good laugh.

In a review of "The Aviator" Forry describes the film as a "spectacular drama" and comments on its "fabulous costumes", which indicates that the reviews are either not entirely his own opinion or he is not entirely blind. According to his bio, he lost his sight at 28 due to diabetes. I'm not concerned that he may have some useful vision and is referring to himself as blind but I am curious to know for myself which is the case.

For anyone who is interested in film reviews by someone who has a vision impairment and writes specifically for others with vision impairments and their friends or family, Forry's site provides a link to 'BlindSpot: Movie Reviews for Visually Impaired People'. The site doesn't look to have been updated recently but it may be helpful if you're looking to hire a video or DVD.

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