26 February 2009

Madea (Needs To) Go To Jail.....For Life!

I have a major problem with film director Tyler Perry. I'll say that Tyler Perry is like Lil Wayne in the movie game. He's well-liked, gives the (mass) people what they want to see, and makes a lot of money while doing it. It should be hard to find a fault on the powerful Black man in the name of Cinema, right? Wrong. In the same vein of what makes him 'so popular', he is also an integral part to the support of Blacks continuing to make excuses for their shortcomings and take responsibility for their actions, inaction, and future. He is a sore in our culture, opting to entertain by exploiting the stereotypes of our race for comedic relief, subliminally bringing to light what is wrong with our culture but providing little to no viable alternatives to such a problem, and on top of everything else...he just plain sucks.

Last weekend, I went to see Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. I've never liked any of the Madea plays and most of his movies were just doing too much for my tastes, namely because of his penchant for broadcasting the stereotypes of Blacks and blanketing them, making them much bigger and 'general' than they really are. I have a problem with that. A big problem. However, I went to see it anyway because my homies wanted to see it and I didn't want to be the odd one out. Plus the tickets were only six bucks so I figured, "why not?"*

I knew this film would be full of fuckery to the tenth power when not only was it the usual run-of-the-mill stereotypical "from Down South" Blacks speaking in broken English, partying with the "big red cup", and ultimately making a mockery of our culture by talking loud for no reason and being uncooperative. Sure enough, these stereotypes exist. But the whole film? I shook my head when everyone laughed at the stereotypes. I just didnt find it funny.

It's important to embrace our culture and 'be real', of course. My problem lies mainly with his character development in all of the works he's done with the exception of "Why Did I Get Married" and "A Family That Preys" because in those films, his characters were variant, diverse, and painted a more wholistic picture of our culture, marking our general social struggles but still not losing sight of the battle we as a culture face and also took note that...there ARE successful Black people in the world that work legally, aren't ignorant and uneducated, have families, and take responsiblity for their actions.

It's like Perry is doing this on purpose though. It's one thing to have that one film or two exploiting your race for comedic relief...and an entirely different animal altogether to have a portfolio of buffoonery as your main source of income. I can't knock him because he's made it work for him and he's now a millionaire...but damn all that! I can knock him for disrespecting our race time and time again!

I do wonder though: Do Whites see us like this? Do they 'blanket' us and think we're all this ridiculous? That we're all jokers with no goals and just getting by with Life? The theatre I was in was packed with Whites taking up about 85% of the seating. I understand that the movie is a comedy but I saw so much deeper than all that and I was heartbroken by what I saw....generally. We aren't all like that. See the Black attorneys in the film? We can be like that too (though I felt like he should have developed more into the story of those successful Blacks) and it isnt an anomaly. We're successful, driven, educated, and happy. Damn you, Tyler Perry!!!

Take all of these issues I had with the character development out and let's focus on how the film was completely underdeveloped. On one hand we had Madea on the brink of going to jail and profusely refusing help, by which case she ultimately loses her cool in a very extravagant (read: EXTRA!) way and is eventually jailed (no shocker there; we knew she was going to jail by the title alone). On the other hand, we have Candy, played by Keysha Knight-Pulliam (aka: Rudy from the Cosby Show) who is a prostitute that is sentenced to jail for an unreasonable amount of time because she is friends with an attorney who is engaged to a very jealous and outright ridiculously unfair and selfish woman to whom he works with. The fiance intentionally dallies with Candy's legal papers and makes her go to jail so that her and her husband-to-be can live their lives without Candy's interrupting. Basically, the movie was two stories in one film. It was obvious.

And even though it's titled, "Madea Goes to Jail", I personally favored the latter story.

I felt like the connection between the two scenarios should have been much more clear and well...developed. Instead, Perry waited until near the end of the film to bring the two (Madea and Candy) together and when he did, it was still clear that this was two movies in one.

Bad character development + Grossly underdeveloped plot + A few laughs here and there =

Ms_ Slim rolling her eyes and sitting at the film laughing sparingly instead of in a rukus like everyone else. I just saw so many errors and couldn't get past it for the sake of mere comedic relief.

(Gotta admit: The Madea and Dr. Phil scene was the funniest scene in the whole film)

Boo, TP, BOOOO!!!


*- I was nowhere near Chicago last weekend. Movie tickets in Chicago are anywhere from 9 bucks a ticket to 11 bucks downtown, with matinee being 7.50. Where I was, tickets for adults were only 6 bucks. If I was in Chicago and had to pay for my own ticket (or even if I didnt pay for it), I wouldnt have wasted any time, energy, or money seeing the film for 9 to 11 bucks. It isnt worth it AT ALL...in my opinion, of course :)


A.J. Brown said...

I haven't seen the movie yet and I'm really not sure I'm going to the theaters to see it because well, movie ticket prices are ridiculous and I have own my popcorn at home.

I have to say I am a fan of TP, but I totally understand your point about showcasing stereotypical behavior and giving people an excuse, both black and white, to laugh at things we shouldn't necessarily be proud of. However, he is building a business and although both "Why did I get Married?" and "Family thay Preys" had way better storylines and characters, they didn't make as much money at the box office. Madea, on the other hand did. Since that's what people are paying to see, he's going to continue to do it.

Now, "Madea" is not why I'm a fan. Black sitcoms have dwindled away and Tyler Perry is bringing back the black family to T.V. and he's giving more black actors/actresses chances to show their talent and break in the business. I think his intentions are good, it probably could have been done in a better way, but I admire his effort and his struggle.

VerbFashion said...


I did enjoy the TP plays but these movies are easily exploitations of our culture and do harp on the fact that "all black people are the same" and handle situations loud and obnoxiously.

I'm totally aware and in agreement that TP is talented and can make money but with such creativity and personality, he should be able to make a movie that doesn't portray chaotic blackness.

*i went along with the group to see this one too or it would have been viewed via internet.

asia kismet said...

when it comes to "black films" support spike lee.

i'm not a big fan of these types of movies. they are like the rediculous soap opera plots you find in day time television. I've been to a few of the plays and it's just not my cup of tea. didn't really enjoy it...i guess i just prefer something a little more honest.

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

I kinda felt like ole Tyler got me for my paper on this one. I laughed on parts, but then again, shit was way ova tha fucken top.

ChiChi10 said...

I can see what people are saying about the "coonery", but I can't totally buy that because I knew/know women like MaDea. I odn't think the whole of his movies are as stereotypical as you do, but IMO they generally tend to be on the sucky side because of the lack of development. He needs to stretch out more...bring it to the next level. Leave these damn plays alone and come up with some new, fresh material. I don't really want to see MaDea Goes To Jail because I have no interest in seeing anything, but the comedy that is MaDea. I could do without the other storyline, especially since I figured he wasn't gonna mesh them together well anyway.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

i cant belive people would go to see buffonery

A Genius said...


MonicarolEvans said...

I also went to see this movie with some loved ones who think Madea is awesome and I agree with your conclusion.

This would have been a decent movie minus Madea and the Browns. (This is also true for the movie he did with Angela Bassett, btw.) The Prostitute/lawyer storyline was much more compelling.

And I was constantly being jarred between the over-the-top comedy followed by the tear-jerking dramatic scenes. It was too much.

Otherwise, I agree that his movies a really predictable and formulaic (other than the two you mentioned)but apparently he does a lot of good in inner-city Atlanta, which is good for the black community.

Eb the Celeb said...

I havent seen it yet but I commend him because he is growing as a writer and director. He has definitely evolved from the low budget plays that used to tour from city to city. I dont think that creatively he should be confined to one type of content to put out. Yeah Madea is a stereotypical character but I would rather see her then the stupid chicks that frequent flavor of love and for the love of ray j. They are the ones that are tainting the image of black people and not Madea. Madea ultimately has a message among the madness.. What is the message coming from how black are represented on television everyday.

Diamond~Star said...

Hey Slim!

I did go see it, and I liked the movie, but the ending needed to be worked on a little more. We have a $4 morning show on the weekends (before 12pm) and I am telling you those shows were PACKED to capacity. I thought I was really doing something catching that show but we are in a recession so...ya know?

I am a supporter of black film period, writers, actors, etc. You know, what would have been good was to see Candy cleaned up and approached that shiesty lawyer as a drug free professional and take her ass down (without the fighting). It was ok though.

South Loop Social Light said...

"....full of fuckery to the tenth power...."