In nearly 20 years as a film critic, I have seen more than my share of terrible movies. I have seen The Room without the Rifftrax commentary track. I sat all the way through The Happening with my mind reeling at the incompetence of M. Night shyamalan’s most incomprehensible work. And I have seen all the Transformers movies which should qualify me for some sort of movie critic combat pay. But in nearly 20 years I can genuinely say I have never seen anything quite like Blind.
Blind is a film of such remarkable, incomprehensible awfulness that it can comfortably stand alongside the oeuvre of Tommy Wiseau and not feel out of place. Directed by longtime producer and first-time director Michael Mailer, Blind takes very talented, formerly big name stars, Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and renders them as amateurs via a script, editing, and direction that could only kindly be described as amateurish at best, and blatantly, intentionally incompetent at worst.
Blind stars Alec Baldwin as Bill Oakland, a famed novelist who was blinded in a car accident that took the life of his then-wife. 5 years later he’s a bitter college writing professor who spends his days at a school for the blind where he berates volunteers who come to read to him the work of his college students. Bill’s life is changed forever when he meets Suzanne Dutchmann, the wife of a Bernie Madoff-style con-man, Mark played by Dylan McDermott, who has been sentenced to community service reading for the blind while her husband is behind bars.
That’s a straightforward interpretation of the plot of Blind and it even kind of resembles the movie that I saw but Blind is so much more incompetent than my description indicates. Director Mailer and first-time screenwriter Diane Fisher have crafted a film and script that truly boggles the mind while you watch it. Actors speak lines as if they’ve never used words before. Characters interact as if they’ve never met other people or had normal interactions with other human beings before.
Characters are introduced and employed as if they were borrowed from other movies and had to get back to those other movies in some sort of rush to get out of being in this movie. For example, actor Steven Prescod who plays a young, wannabe writer who tries to get in good with Bill. The character is introduced as if he was borrowed from a bad remake of Finding Forrester and inserted into the story for several scenes of exposition to give Baldwin the chance to have a friend and then he disappears unceremoniously and is never heard from again.
Dylan McDermott plays Demi Moore’s husband, a stock manipulator, clearly modeled on Bernie Madoff, if Bernie Madoff were a knock off of a character from Goodfellas. McDermott lays on a thick Queens accent and talks solely in exposition dialogue explaining who he is, his relationship to Moore’s Suzanne, while narrating exactly what his character is doing or desiring in every scene because why show the character doing things when you can just have him state literally exactly every thought he is having at any moment.
Most of the characters in Blind speak like McDermott, narrating their thoughts to the audience, repeating information that the director and screenwriter apparently believe might be too much for the tiny brains of the audience to comprehend. If you enjoy scenes of characters who’ve apparently known each other for years explaining to each other who they are and their relationship to one another as if everyone has the short-term memory condition of Guy Pearce in Memento, then Blind is the movie for you.
I kept having to stop watching Blind so I could collect my thoughts and recover from the bizarre, misguided effort that led to its creation. Every change in scene in Blind brings a new peculiarity that must be paused and pondered for a moment before you can grasp the awfulness on display and then continue the struggle to start and finish the next baffling scene. Take for instance a scene where Demi Moore gives Alec Baldwin a shave.
The director clearly believes he is giving us a scene that is intimate and sexy but the dialogue and the remarkable lack of chemistry between Baldwin and Moore states entirely otherwise. The scene begins with Moore talking about how her father had an accident when she was young and she had to shave him which Baldwin then renders creepy when he states that the story about HER FATHER sounds 'naughty.' The camera meanwhile whipsaws around Baldwin’s terrified face as Moore uses an obviously dull straight razor to wipe shaving cream off his face before he simply appears clean shaven.
Nathan Rabin in his book My Year of Flops tells a story in his review of the movie Tough Guys Don’t Dance about a scene in that movie that star Ryan O’Neal begged director Norman Mailer to take out of the movie because the scene made him look like an amateur. I can only imagine that Baldwin must feel a similar sort of shame watching the shaving scene in Blind as few well known, professional actors have ever looked as silly or amateurish onscreen.
It really is difficult to describe the incomprehensible awfulness of Blind. I almost recommend the movie just so you dear reader can confirm that such a thing as Blind actually exists. At one point when I had paused the movie in an attempt to regain my sanity, I messaged some friends and stated that Blind could only be the result of The Room having had sex with The Happening and given birth to a Lifetime movie. That really is the only way to describe Blind. It’s as if Tommy Wiseau collaborated with M. Night Shyamalan and made a romantic drama aimed at wine soaked housewives.
Blind is, without a doubt, the worst movie of 2017 and among the worst movies I have seen in over a decade and a half of being a film critic.