Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tyler Perry and his Movies



There are two main kinds of people who watch Tyler Perry’s films. Those who love his movies and those who hate them.
Then there are those like me who really want to love his movies and keep rooting for him because we admire how far he has come and what he has achieved for the black community. The reality is that Kimberly Elise, Tasha Smith, Jill Scott, Malik Yoba, Richard Jones, Janet Jackson are billable today because of his movies. But more than that, he gave a girl who doesn’t mind some dark chocolate on her screen a venue to see black families in action. No matter their madness I could relate to them somehow.
On the downside a beautiful and talented actress like Kimberly Elise might never be critically acclaimed or receive the highest rewards in her field because she has hitched her star to Tyler Perry’s melodramatic enterprise. Like someone said ‘while mainstream movies are subtle and take you in scene by scene, Tyler just drops the viewer into a fish pool of barracudas where you are forced to make instantaneous judgments’. LOL

He first came into my horizon with ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’ in 2006. DMBW was like a drink of cool aid after being choked dry with black movies where ‘fuckU’ is the noun, verb, adjective and mantra. It was good to see a black movie that was devoid of street violence, guns and plain old crime. The moralistic undertones, the Hallelujah singing were most welcome.
I went through the highs and lows of the MBW. Her expulsion from her matrimonial home. Her lack of self confidence in a new relationship. I crowed at her revenge: I understood every slap, every with held spoon of food, every insult she leveled at her bedridden ex Charles. Ha! I believed in karma once again.
I got to watch the movie again, late last year and it was like I had had brain surgery. Where I’d cried before I cringed this time - Charles unrelenting vileness, the druggie cousin's redemption, Madea shooting ‘em up? Oh please!

Then came Meet the Browns. Arghhhh! This movie made me pull my hair with its mediocrity and drama. Angela Basset played a long suffering, always crying, three times baby Mama who was waiting on yet another Sir Galahad to save her (and hopefully not impregnate her again). Latino girlfriend thankfully gave us some reasons to laugh though that grew old real soon.

Madea’s Family Reunion. That’s the domestic violence plot where hot grits resolves all problems and TP made multiple Madea-rish appearances. Twas alright but moving on…

The Family that Preys. Family loyalty, Infidelity, Sibling rivalry, two friends off on a ‘Thelma and Louise’ type adventure. I found this an interesting watch except for when Sanaa Lathan’s  husband (without prior discussion)sweeps out the family’s joint account, an account majorly contributed to by the wife and Tyler Perry makes her the bad one? Come on!

Daddy’s little girls: So much drama (rolls eyes) – The druggie ex-wife and boyfriend, alleged rape, child abuse, Rich girl/poor boy - TP knows how to pile ‘em on! What I loved though was the message that a united community can protect their own.

Why did I get married? Despite its melodrama, this was one of his most entertaining movie. There was the villain, the good wife and all the characters in between. Tasha Smith carried the day as the loud nagging gangster shrew Angela married to a bumbling Marcus.
My favourite scene is when Mike reveals everyone’s skeleton-in-the-cupboard at the dinner table. Match Set BOOM!! LOL!
 
Why did I get married too This is where TP tries to rip off on the success of Why did I get married. But this time in Marriageville, there was no plot but plenty of subplots, and Janet J’s character finally went mad. I mean what was all that ‘trashing the house with a golf club for? Did her husband deserve a share in her book earnings? A big fat YES. If the roles are reversed would you think, a wife has a right to her husband’s earning? YES. So why the double standard?
Pls wait!! Does that cameo appearance by ‘The Rock’ mean there will be a ‘Why did I get married too too? Nooooo

For Colored Girls
This has been one of Tyler Perry’s better movies up to date and his most ambitious project. TP adapted the movie from Ntozake Shange's play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf – a collection of 20 poems each dealing with intense issues that particularly impact ‘women of color’. I don’t know if I agree with the issues being ‘For Colored Women’ – black women in particular. Women of all races and skin color deal with love, betrayal, rape, infertility, domestic violence, abortion, infidelity everyday. What is crazy is that this play written in 1975 (37 years ago) still resonates today.
For those of us who might never have seen it staged, we have TP to thank for bringing it to the screen. I am thankful he retained most of the original play, cause though the characters break into poetry at incongruous junctions in the movie, one can’t deny the beauty and truth in Ntozake’s words.
Lady in Yellow/Anika Noni Rose gave a most glorious performance. I loved the imagery of light, dance and joy which radiated through her from her first scene till post–rape when it felt like someone had switched off her light. I wept at that darkness cursing the rapist who had caused it.
Lady in Green/Loretta Devine’s relationship with an unreliable lover, her love-plants made me laugh and when she finally decided that her love was too precious, to be thrown in her face, I cheered.
Kimberly Elise’s Crystal suffered what no woman should ever go through while Phylicia Rashad was the real ‘Madea’- all seeing, all wise.
The weak links were Janet Jackson’s Jo, her gay husband, Whoopi’s fanatic character, Macy Gray as a scary alcoholic  butcher surgeon (I wouldn’t let a woman like that see my briefs talk of opening my legs for her to touch my womb!!). Coincidentally we have TP to thank for tacking on those characters to the original script.

Under more nuanced and less melodramatic directorship, FCG could have gotten an Oscar nod at least but with TP as screen play writer/director/producer, it is what it is. I would still recommend it - but be warned - the stories are not pretty.

Who has seen ‘Good Deeds?’ and what’s your fave TP movie?
Have a blessed Easter people!!
                  




28 comments:

  1. I have only ever watched DMBW and Why Did I get Married.. and though I felt they raised salient points, they seemed to be heavy on shock and awe as against telling a story with poise and nuance.. But then you can't argue against movie receipts can you? :)

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  2. i have seen Why did I get married and loved it. I know I have watched a couple of Tyler's movies but I only remember this one. Tyler makes some good movies and some that you wonder what on earth is going on. You couldn't have said it better Gings. The melodrama can be quite tiring..

    Happy Easter dear.

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  3. I love tyler perry movies. For me, the most important thing in a movie is the message it carries and all his movies carry strong messages

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  4. I have seen only For Coloured women and I love it...it was heavy, deep and felt so real. TP sure is good, but I think he should start focusing on the positive side of the African community. I believe the negative aspect of African life is over-flogged and we have seen it all.

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  5. I am a proud TP addict and I'll mention it again again and again. I have seen everyone of his movies and. I'm lookin forward to Good deeds. Diary of a mad black woman is my favorite.

    For coloured girls is the most emotional though, Keeps reminding me that my decisions shape my future and though any of the evils may happen to anyone they had a part they should have played.

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  6. I can't seem to stay away from TP's movies. I love the lessons. I loved WDIGM (Tasha's xter was curayzay) I've seen all you listed including I Can Do Bad All By Myself (I think I've seen them all actually)
    I loved DMBW too but you're killing it for me jor. He over-plays the Madea character a lil too much altho he must be talented to be able to pull all that drama off.
    FTP was cool & I fell in love with "I hope You Dance" soundtrack
    I was hoping FCG would get nominated for something too. I think it's my fav. It was very deep.

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  7. I am a TP addict...i love his movies....melodramas and all

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  8. "...after being choked dry with black movies where ‘fuckU’ is the noun, verb, adjective and mantra..." hear hear!

    I watched Why Did I get Married Too and liked most of it, so when people said they preferred the first part I thought I should watch it too but have not been able to find any sites where I can see it. No I haven't watched Good Deeds. Basically I also think he's trying.

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  9. Forgive my ignorance as I don't watch too many movies, so I can't really make any meaningful contribution to the post.

    Perhaps I should have got my wife to write this comment on my behalf as I'm sure she knows a lot about movies and the people in your analysis. :-)

    Anyway I just wanted to drop by after my recent absence.

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  10. I'm also a loyal fan. Provided I laugh and enjoy his movies, the negative reviews and predictability won't stop me from seeing them.

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  11. I love his movies..Happy easter.

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  12. TP, TP, TP... His movies are a bit OTT for me but he's done well for himself. I'll give him credit for that.

    Meanwhile, this is a fantastic write up. I love how most (if not all) of ur posts have depth. I should take a cue from you. Well done hunnie. Happy Easter!!

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  13. Oh, have you seen "The Good deed"? I saw it yesterday and I must confess, he never fails to wow me. I love Tyler! Sincerely, I do! lol

    - LDP

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  14. First Ginger, I'm SO glad to be back! I've missed your writing so much. I love your reviews of these movies. Honestly though, I'm not sure what to think about Tyler Perry, but I did like Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I didnt cringe, but I didn't cry either. I think my best was Madea goes to jail, but that had lots of the same cliches you see in his movies. I liked How Did I Get Married. I didn't bother with the Too.

    Wishing you a happy Easter :)

    Adiya
    Muse Origins

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  15. I went to see the play, "For Colored Girls" and I was awestruck by its honesty and heart. I saw the play about 1977, and I have not seen the film. I'll check it out.

    Tyler Perry has done a lot for actors of color. I find his movies to be a bit cliche, and I think he sells out a little to the masses. He could do deeper more meaningful work, but he is successful and so he doesn't take the risks associated with greatness.

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  16. Nice reviews Ginger. I love TP cliches, drama and all.

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  17. I love some of his movies and i agree with you about it being refrfeshing to watch a swear free black american movie. I loved all of the above that i have watched... for coloured women was a bit too much for me. good movie but OMG - I couldn't get over the man that threw his kids out of the window and the raped woman but mehn.. those were deep issues.
    daddy's little girls was really good as well. There was one that I saw yesterday actually that nearly moved me to tears. check it out, it is called - I can do bad all by myself.

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  18. You left out I can do bad all by myself, was that even the title? With Taraji P henson and the Prison Break guy. I watched that, the Why did I get married and Good Deeds. Good deeds is the best out of the lot. You should watch it.

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    Replies
    1. Yea, I can do by all by myself was amazing - I wasn't expecting much but it actually moved me to near tears lol.

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  19. Really I like your drift especially DOMBW why would the hubby clear out the account and they made her the bad woman altho she had her own madness tho..
    I have see The good deed..,the plot was OK at first but I totally disagreed with the part where he ended up with the single mom..just bcos his current relationship with the richer Gabrielle doesnt mean its love with the poor single mom!!! I was totally hoping he got on the plane alone and that was it..only for....(i dont want to be a spoiler jare)!!!mmmscheew!!
    Funny tho..I have seen all his movies..

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  21. Hey! :)

    I have seen some of his movies,and appreciate the religious undertones in them. I also love how he appreciates the sufferings of the female gender. It takes a certain kind of man to do that! Thumbs up to him.

    However for him to garner more than the 'black' followership and achieve a more universal appeal, he needs to diversify!

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  22. I totally lurrv tyler Perry's movies... his Goood deeds really got to me..
    Nice read.

    Please do come over to my blog and check it out..http://agrodolce-agrodolce.blogspot.co.uk/

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  23. You are a strong woman! *Bie Ginger oma*

    Tyler Perry movies just made me so mad. I watched the Diary one. So USELESS.

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  24. Tyler's shots are meant to entertain. This character, 'Medea' is hilarious Tyler. Anyway the movies are real and point out true things outta' here

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