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The West Wing
Madea (Perry) delivers three young adults who tried to rob her home to their aunt (Henson), a hard-living nightclub singer who doesn't want the responsibility of parenting the trio. Can Madea's influence, coupled with the arrival of a handsome, industrious new tenant (Rodriguez), help April turn a corner in her life?
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Tyler Perry is becoming a better filmmaker. His first films in my subjective opinion have been almost unwatchable, but now he's actually making me feel. I got into the story of I Can Do Bad All By Myself mainly because the film's lead, Taraji P. Henson (playing April), pulled off a really great performance as she let us into her soul with this role. Perry has had great actors perform in his films in the past, but they always seemed to fall flat for me. Not this time.
But of course I am not the audience for Tyler Perry films. In the last few years Perry has tapped into an audience Hollywood has ignored for years and has reached box office gold because of it. It made me wonder what all of those highly paid suits are doing over there in LaLa land for them to miss such an untapped market. Did they know it was here all along but just ignore it?
The same weekend I Can Do Bad All By Myself opened, there was an episode of Mad Men (set in 1963) that had a storyline about a TV set company that had a large contigent of African Americans buying their products. So the AD man wanted to take advantage of this and pitched an advertising angle to target this untapped market. The owners were angered that he would come up with such an idea eventhough it would make them a lot more money. They just didn't go there.
Thirty Six years later Hollywood only goes there when Tyler Perry makes a film because he has now gained that control from them. But it only happened when he made some very successful independent produced films that did very well at the cinema. So it makes me wonder why Hollywood isn't making more of these films? They are obviously very successful and people want more of them. Do they just not want to go there?
Perry's films are not just for the African American audience, but for all the underdogs of the world who have gotten the shaft in life. And there always is a female main character who goes through this journey. Another market Hollywood doesn't tap into enough (I think there's been enough loser white guy comedies to last until the next generation).
Yes, if you've seen enough Perry movies you can kind of figure out where things are going right from the beginning. A woman has fallen on hard times and doesn't seem to be able to crawl underneath from it. Then someone from left field enters for guidance and a little romance to help out. Throw in some comedy from Madea the man looking grandma with the strength, candor and grit of John Wayne and you have yourself a Tyler Perry film. You watch because you know you're going to feel inspired and good afterwards.
In reality his films are like the afterschool special movies they used to make. There is always a message. And what's really wrong with that?
So I've gone a full 180 with Perry. He can keep making 3 films, 2 TV shows and 4 stageplays a year if he wants to. And keep doing it for as long as he can.