Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's on Like Donkey Kong -- Tyler Perry Series Kickoff

As she mentioned in her accompanying post, my good friend Jordyn as a Class III Loathe Entirely for Nicholas Sparks. Of course, the guy is friggin’ everywhere these days, with six movies adapted from his novels and a seventh in the works, proving any hack with a sob story can gross a kajillion dollars if the teenagers and housewives like it. I’ve been dying for Jordyn to watch all of them for some time, partially because I want to see the poison pen ass-whupping she would give them, but mostly because I know the after-effect these movies will have on her.

However, I am not entirely without my sense of fairness, and am well aware that I would need to do something equally as awful in order for there to be balance in the universe (it’s either that or I pick up her bar tab forever until one of us croaks, and that’s not going to happen any time soon). As such, I’ve been searching for a film series I find equally abhorrent to watch, in the hopes that my reaction will mirror the one she will likely have.

Of course, this was monumentally easier said than done; there are certainly movies that I don’t like, and the whimpering eight-year-old inside of me doesn’t care for movie gore, but the goal was to find something I’m thematically opposed to. It’s not enough that the movie must be bad—to truly make this equal, I would need to find movies of the same series, a series whose most basic conceptual structure would make the marrow freeze in my bones, and whose very presence in a Wal-Mart DVD section would elicit an emotional response. Things were looking bleak, and I was convinced that Jordyn’s Sparks-athon would be relegated to the Wouldn’t It Be Funny If section of discussions. Until last week.

Last week, we were scouring the various retail stores in Helena for cheap movies (a successful venture that netted me Highlander and The Warriors). I was trying to decide which Austin Powers movie I should consider getting on high-def, when I saw it:

Something clicked, dear readers, and I knew that I had met my match.

Tyler Perry, famed playwright, director, and actor, has long been a thorn in my side. He has attained stratospheric popularity, despite turning out plays and movies that are all largely the same (not to mention misuse their admittedly-talented casts). As a match for Nicholas Sparks movies, this is perfect, and let’s breakdown why:

1) They have both attained fame by, essentially, recycling elements that made them initially successful. For Sparks, it’s love in the wake of ham-fisted tragedy. For Perry, it’s equally ham-fisted African American dramas jarringly interrupted by Martin Laurence’s character from Big Momma’s House.

2) They both seem to have equal antipathy for their characters. Sparks’ movies often involve some spoiled white chick sodden in first-world problems, and who can only achieve fulfillment and satisfaction through her knight in shining armor. Perry’s movies often involve some Minstrel Show-level of black stereotypes, replete with “Oh no she di’in’t,” “Praise Jesus”-talking junkie prostitutes, and they all demonize successful, educated black men.

3) They both have six movies currently available on Netflix.

So yes, dear readers, Jordyn and I will be putting ourselves through the wringer, all in the hopes that you will enjoy the accompanied wailing and gnashing of teeth. Check back to Diversion 2.0 as I cover:

1) Diary of a Mad Black Woman

2) Madea's Family Reunion

3) Meet the Browns

4) Madea Goes to Jail

5) I Can Do Bad All By Myself

6) Madea's Big Happy Family

Jordyn, over at Popped Density, will be covering:

1) Message in a Bottle

2) A Walk to Remember

3) The Notebook

4) Nights in Rodanthe

5) Dear John

6) The Last Song

Check back often, and bring your galoshes—it’s gonna be a s@$# storm.

PS - Here is the best way to describe Tyler Perry, as interpreted by The Boondocks.

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