I have probably just watched one of the worst, most nauseating, most infuriating films I have ever seen. Mucking around on Facebook as usual earlier, I came across a poster for a film called I Am Potential, flagged up by Can-Do Musos. They’re an organisation for musicians with disabilities, which L had links to. Curious, I thought I’d check it out, and found it on Amazon Prime.
What I found myself watching, however, was staggeringly crap. It’s about a disabled young man in the deep south; blind and a wheelchair user, he finds he has a talent for music, teaching himself to play the piano and then the trumpet. What follows is a nauseatingly saccharine American family drama: we see him growing up and the pervails his family goes through. His dad works in an office, which is drawn straight from a cartoon, complete with a big bad one-dimensional boss. We see all the sacrifices they go through as he grows up, nurturing his talent. We get virtually every cliche and stereotype hurled at us – I swear I can pull better writing out of my arse.
Then, to cap it off, the guy decides he wants to be in his school marching band, or rather, he is told he can’t be in the ordinary school band if he hasn’t been in the marching band first, or some meaningless reason. The problem is, he can’t wheel his chair and play his trumpet at the same time. This causes the main moment of tension in the film, before, at the last moment, his dad quits his job, steps in, and pushes his son in the formation. We then see them both practicing and performing as part of the marching band, as though it was some great boundary-breaking achievement, when in reality any real disabled musician would probably be inconsolably embarrassed at having to be pushed around a field by their dad like that.
I know I probably shouldn’t be so critical about what is probably a children’s film, but as a piece of disability representation, surely we can do better than this cheesy, cliche-strewn shyte.