Much like the God awful mock movies that I did a column about back in May…see what I’m talking about?…there are some directors/writers that I can’t stand. It’s not to say that I hate Tyler Perry, but being a fan of his work is not a title that applies to me. Chances are that there is going to be plenty of backlash due to this column from not only his fans that think he is brilliant…but I can just hear the screams of “prejudice” or “racist” already. Let the hell begin!
Welcome to another week here in the world of Making Movie History and I’d like to first touch on something very important before actually getting into the main content of this column.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is an organization I am affiliated with that is very near and dear to my heart. This organization helps so many people every single day, and with your help they can continue to do more for those that need it. It happens to be the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and I’d like to take a short moment to fill you in on why they are so important to me.
A dear friend of mine has had two kidney transplants in her thirty years on this Earth, and those transplants have given her a chance to leave a fulfilling and active life. I don’t even like to think what may have happened had the two generous donors not been there for her, but there are numerous people that aren’t as fortunate. They don’t have the money for transplants or life-saving dialysis or even just the normal treatment needed to fight renal (kidney) disease and other such ailments. In November, the NKF will be holding one of their annual walks here in New Orleans to raise money and awareness in the fight against kidney disease.
Folks, if you can spare $5, $10, $25, or anything…it will truly mean the world to me and millions of others. I will be participating in the walk and you can sponsor me by going here or you can go directly to my friend’s sponsor page and donate to her if you so choose. You can do an anonymous donation if you’d like or let your name be known. Either way, you will be thanked by more people then you’ll ever know.
Now onto my column that I think may end up being a tad controversial, but that only depends on who you are. My opinion is that there is no real need for my comments here to cause any type of controversy, but you never really know how some people are going to react. Let me preface this by saying that I am a thirty-year old white male. The bulk of my life has been spent in New Orleans, LA going to a predominately black grade school and then working in a predominately black office for five years of my working life. Many friends I currently have and have had throughout my lifetime are black. Also Brazilian, oriental, French, Hispanic, and a number of other ethnicities as well as white.
That explanation about myself is needed because there are a great number of you that have never seen me or even met me yet you needed some background for the information I’m about to provide here. Readers have screamed at me before for comments I’ve made about movies or genres or franchises, and those were only horror films or even comedies. This week I’m taking a look at the films of a man that obviously aims his work towards the black community. Not a single thing is wrong with that since it is his target audience and I don’t care who his work is aimed at because that matters not in what I have to say about it. His movies and television shows have never gotten much viewing time from me although I have seen bits and pieces here there or shall I simply say, “as much as I can stand.” More so I’m not going to touch on the movies and television shows this man creates, but the man himself. So let us get started and discuss…Tyler Perry.
Tyler Perry has created a number of movies that started out with a character named Madea that was born on stage. She is a fictional character that is a staple in just about everything that Perry puts out and usually is there as comedy relief. Sure she sometimes is there for the serious moments or even to provide some helpful advice, but she often comes through with the funny times to make it a bit funnier for everyone involved. She is known to bust through walls, tear up personal belongings, and even whip a gun out of her purse when the moment calls for it. Madea is an over the top woman that surely knows how to make an entrance and always let her appearance be known.
But not all of Perry’s work involved Madea or more so doesn’t center on her. Sure there are the obvious works like Madea Goes To Jail or Madea’s Class Reunion, but he tries to get a bit more serious at times and avoid her comedy too much. That seems to be the case with his new film opening today entitled I Can Do Bad All By Myself. And I’m going to admit here that it is the serious and dramatic work of Perry that appeals to me more then his humorous and comedic releases. The serious films often times tell really good stories that get to me tension-filled but end up being a bit too over the top for me too when all is said and done. I’m willing to give those more of a chance though then anything including too much Madea. Or his two television series that make me just want to shoot myself in the head.
TBS shows Perry’s two series and they are called Meet The Browns and House Of Payne. I have tried watching these two shows and my God do I ever want to gouge my eyes out and puncture my ear drums. The characters are so far over the top and incredibly lame that they make me want to commit multiple homicides. Even when they aren’t being so out of whack and telling jokes that were maybe funny back in the mid-eighties, they are just boring and annoying. It amazes me that The Browns was able to come about because of just how truly bad House Of Payne is. Now I’m going to cut Perry a tad bit of slack here because there are truly not many sitcoms on TV today that can hold a candle to anything the seventies, eighties, and early nineties produced. But these are by far two of the worst ones available. Even the commercials shown for them on TBS make me nauseous, but that could also be because they are on during every break on every show.
Going back to Madea for a bit and I’ll let it be known that I have been exposed to Perry and her since before his first film ever hit the big screens. Being at the job I had for many years in the late nineties and into this decade; my co-workers always told me how hilarious and awesome his plays were. They gave forth stories of how good they were and that I needed to see them because I’d truly appreciate them. It makes me wonder now, years later, why they thought I’d appreciate these works of Perry so much. Was it because I am often found to be quite funny myself? Maybe it’s because they thought he was just so hilarious that anyone would enjoy his work. Perhaps it truly was because there I was usually the lone white person in a predominately black office and never did I keep quiet, feel out of place, or act like I didn’t belong. I don’t really know, but after seeing a good bit of Tyler’s mind on the small and bi screens…I’ll have to admit that my old friends were truly wrong because I do not appreciate them whatsoever.
Besides not finding really anything he puts forth as funny; it is blatantly obvious that Perry is aiming everything he does at the black community. Again I have no problems with that, but my problem is that he sometimes comes off as making them look stupid. It’s like he is trying to make everyone laugh at the idiocy of the Browns or Paynes rather then laugh with them. Wouldn’t you think he would want to make them funny but also able to be respected at the same time? There is not a single character you can look at on either of those shows and say you respect them. Everything they do is incredibly stereotypical and just straight up ignorant. I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve never seen any of my black friends act anything like the way they do on those shows. And from what I’ve heard before; most people are offended by the stereotypes portrayed in them (as well as by Madea) and say they aren’t true at all. Yet here comes Perry throwing all of them and then some into his films and shows, but now they are being accepted? Don’t really understand that double standard, but to each their own.
I’ll leave you to your own decisions because you are able to make them all of course, but this is at least my opinion. Before you send me hate mail though or make a comment saying I just don’t like black oriented material, please let me give a few examples of some of my favorite films and shows:
New Jack City
Boyz N The Hood
The Kings Of Comedy
A Time To Kill – not entirely considered to be black cinema, but check out the plot and you’ll get the point.
The Tuskegee Airmen
Lean On Me
She’s Gotta Have It
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Coming To America
Sorry, but that’s just a great damn line from Coming To America, but only one of many. I just am trying to get the right message across and let it be known that I do not hate black cinema or have anything against it, but if it is going to keep going forward…then Tyler Perry is not the answer. It’s too bad that Oprah likes him so much though because I doubt there will ever be enough people to speak out against him since “her majesty” has given him her seal of approval. Maybe things will change and he’ll eventually figure out that Madea really isn’t funny and that even her stale shtick has gotten really old, but I doubt it. Hell, would you pass up those checks? I know my ass wouldn’t.
Have a good weekend everyone and hopefully no-one gets too upset here because that is not my intention. I was merely trying to touch on a subject that has bothered me for quite some time. I am not attempting to alienate anyone or act better then anyone…hell, there is plenty of shit out there in theatres that I’m willing to rip on no matter what color your skin may be or what gender you are. I don’t discriminate…I just tell you what’s crap and what’s not. Whether you believe me is totally up to you.
Til next week, have a good one and please don’t forget to visit my friend’s page for the National Kidney Foundation and donate or sponsor if you can. It would mean a lot to me, her, and so many others. I sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Tags: Making Movie History, Tyler Perry