THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB (2014)

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Christopher

I was very disappointed by this film. Tyler Perry generally makes two movies a year, a “comedy” and a drama. I generally tend to like the dramas the most because they are just way too crazy. Single Moms Club falls under the drama but this one was way too boring. Nothing really happens. Where is the insane storyline there generally is? Now, there is some craziness, like a kid running away and no one really doing much to find him, but it never came close to throwing kids out of a window like For Colored Girls.

The world needs to jump onboard the train wreck that is Tyler Perry but don’t waste your time with this one.

Elizabeth

I think the best way to start with Single Moms Club, Tyler Perry’s latest horrible feature, is to just go down the line of terrible/nonsensical characters.

May (Nia Long) – May is, for all intents and purposes, the main character out of our group of five women, except for the part toward the end where she stops talking to everyone and the movie also stops following her. She lives with her son, Rick, and Rick’s father is a drug addict and Rick is acting out at school. The climax of the movie comes when the women can’t find Rick . . . even though Rick is just at his dad’s house? In what world would a woman have a missing child and not call the child’s father, who lives in the same city and sees the child, to see if he’s there and, you know, tell the father that their child is missing? Tyler Perry’s world!!! May is also a writer, which is important, I guess, when she decides to write a book about herself and her friends. She works at a newspaper, which might be the sweetest job in the world because she leaves work in the morning to meet TK (Tyler Perry), a potential love interest, for coffee. She then leaves the coffee date to go hang out with her friends and drink wine until they have to pick their kids up from school. So basically she works for a few hours and leaves and hangs out with people the rest of the day. I’m glad Tyler Perry is accurately portraying jobs. Not even a particular job. JUST A JOB. TYLER PERRY DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A 9-5 JOB IS. Jesus. The man that saves her is Tyler Perry (as TK), if you couldn’t guess.

Jan (Wendi McLendon-Covey) – Jan is a businesswoman. That’s all you need to know because that’s all Tyler Perry really wants us to know. She works for a publisher, where she is trying to make partner but is turned down because she has a child. They don’t tell her that exactly, but they do tell her they don’t think she has the time to make partner, even though she points out she’s at work from 9-6 like everyone else, plus weekends. Too bad, you have a kid! She’s also mean for no reason, because of the aforementioned being a businesswoman. She also can’t date because of being a businesswoman. But then, just to change things up, Jan appears to have never seen or interacted with a black person before . . . despite being a businesswoman (in Atlanta). Because that makes sense! Wendi McLendon-Covey was insanely miscast here because she’s legitimately funny, so her whole act as Jan just seemed sarcastic and weird. The man that saves her is Tony (Sean Carrigan), a buff co-worker of May’s.

Lytia (Cocoa Brown) – I think Lytia is supposed to represent Tyler Perry’s vision of poor people. All of them. She’s the only character who appears to be struggling; it’s hinted that May has money problems but she lives in a super nice house and only has one child. Lytia has 5 kids, 2 of whom are in prison. So naturally, she’s a black, heavy, sassy lady who somehow knows everything and nothing at once. She mispronounces things, but is a child-rearing expert. She works at a Waffle House-esque diner, but her son goes to a swanky school because he’s super smart. She chastises her sister for suggesting that Lytia should go on welfare, because Lytia refuses to not work. Um, Lytia, I don’t think that’s how welfare works? But I really shouldn’t be shocked at the fact that Tyler Perry doesn’t understand welfare. The man that saves her is Branson (Terry Crews), a gross guy that stalks her at work until she gives in and makes out with him.

Hillary (Amy Smart) – Hillary is a recently-divorced rich woman who doesn’t know anything about children. And by that I mean not only children in general, but her own children. Her ex-husband is “a powerful attorney” and they have a nice house (not a mansion) in a nice neighborhood, but you would think Hillary had a Queen of Versailles-esque lifestyle. For example, when her baby cries, her method of treatment is to bend down in front of it and ask it what’s wrong, and then start crying herself when the baby doesn’t give her an answer. Okay! She’s upset that her oldest daughter had her period 3 months ago and didn’t tell her, but told the maid that Hillary had to fire. She’s sad because she missed a “beautiful and special” moment with her daughter. Eh, wuh? I guess it goes without saying that if Tyler Perry can’t be bothered to research welfare, he’s not going to attempt to find out what it’s like when a girl gets her period for the first time. But, at least from my experience, getting your period for the first time isn’t an amazing, beautiful thing that makes you hug your mom or anything. I think that only existed in the Huxtable house, in fact. The man that saves her is Peter (Ryan Eggold), her sexy new neighbor.

Esperanza (Zulay Henao) – Three different times I counted Esperanza telling three different people, “Do you know how hard you’re making this on me?” Esperanza, if you’re a grown person telling three different people that they’re making everything so hard on you, maybe because you’re the common denominator here you’re just super whiny and incapable? In fact, that’s exactly what it is. Esperanza has a boyfriend that she won’t introduce to her daughter and whom she’s scared of having in the house because of her controlling ex-husband whom I guess also owns the house. I honestly don’t even remember if she has a job because the only thing memorable about her is that she’s miserable and wears tight, short dresses. The man that saves her is her aforementioned boyfriend who should probably dump her, Manny (William Levy).

Here is something else that happens: Jan finds a copy of May’s manuscript on the floor of May’s house, takes it, and then in the last scene tells May that she switched firms and published May’s book! And she has the book right there! Because book publishing is easy, fast, and you don’t even need permission from the author to do it!!!!!

But honestly, this movie was really boring because it should have come out in the 60’s or 70’s or something. Making the entire movie about how hard it is to be a single mother, without having any basis in reality, is just weird, outdated, and insulting. I also take serious issue with the way Jan was portrayed. Just like Olivia Munn’s character in I Don’t Know How She Does It, Tyler Perry only knows how to portray women who are successful in their careers as unsympathetic hardasses. It’s infuriating. I’m pretty sure Tyler Perry also thinks every successful job that’s not in the entertainment industry is more or less just a lawyer.

Please don’t spend money on this movie. If you want to know what it’s like for a single mother, just ask one. Tyler Perry doesn’t know what a job is, do you really give a shit about what he thinks life is like for single mothers?

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A MADEA CHRISTMAS (2013)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Oh. My God. YOU GUYS. As you might know, I have seen every single Tyler Perry film, including his filmed stage plays. So I can say on good authority that A Madea Christmas is awesome in that it is so incredibly stupid and awful in all the ways a Tyler Perry (especially a Madea) movie should be.

I am convinced that Tyler Perry wanted this to be his first 3D movie and then abandoned that idea after filming the opening credits. This is because the credits are in this weird 3D that we see as we go through a department store. It’s hard to describe, but you know when you rent a movie that was 3D in theaters and you can suddenly see all the choices that were made that were clearly only made because the movie is supposed to be 3D? That’s what the opening credits are like. The movie is also filled with these amazing 3D PowerPoint-esque side swipes that are Christmas-themed (my favorite was the spinning Christmas tree). These don’t show up in any kind of order that I could tell, which made them all the more pointless.

The first scene of A Madea Christmas is fantastic in that it is unlike the rest of the movie. In a bold move, Tyler Perry decided not to have any of the old Madea standby characters (like Joe and Cora) or even Madea’s house in this movie. Instead, it opens with Madea getting a job as a greeter at a department store, the same one that her friend Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) works at. Madea is later described as Eileen’s daughter’s great aunt, but I don’t think they ever describe her as Eileen’s aunt, so in classic Tyler Perry style, the family’s relationship to Madea makes no sense and doesn’t matter. Anyway, Eileen, a nice older lady, finds out on December 20 that her daughter, Lacey (Tika Sumpter) will be staying in Alabama and not coming home to Atlanta for Christmas. So, at this point, Lacey is the asshole, because who tells their mom (who lives far away) 5 days before Christmas that they’re not coming? I mean, obviously this happens, but Lacey was obviously just putting off telling her mom that she wouldn’t be coming. At this point, we also meet Conner, who is clearly in a relationship with Lacey, although Lacey tells her mom that Conner is a “farmhand.” See, Lacey lives on a farm and also works as a teacher in a town in Alabama that must have a population of about 500 considering the school is literally a house. So Lacey lives on a farm and is a teacher, but is always decked out in the most stylish, Anthropologie-ish clothes ever.

Anyway, Eileen decides to surprise Lacey by visiting her on Christmas instead. She wants Madea to drive her, but Madea’s car is too old, so Madea tells her that if Eileen finds a ride, she’ll just go along with her. Why? No one knows. In the meantime, we find out that the town Lacey is in is freaking out because they don’t have enough money for their annual Christmas jubilee, which apparently somehow garners enough revenue for the town to last the whole year? How in the hell does that work? To save the day, Lacey calls up her high school boyfriend, Oliver (JR Lemon), who has a mysterious job as some kind of broker for companies who want to donate money. I’m sure his job exists, but Tyler Perry obviously had no idea what this job was supposed to be because it didn’t make any sense. Oliver has a client that wants to look good and thinks that they’ll be perfect and brokers a deal for this company to donate $100,000 to the town for their Christmas thing as well as for the school.

Somehow Eileen and Madea find out Oliver is driving to Lacey’s town, so they hitch a ride with him. On the way, Madea has to stop to use the bathroom, so they ask an old man sitting in front of a store for directions and where a bathroom is. He casually points Madea toward a building across the street, which she goes to and opens the door . . . TO FIND A KKK MEETING UNDERWAY! WHAAAAAT! Does that happen? Are KKK meetings held in random buildings in the middle of the day?

Once Eileen, Madea, and Oliver arrive at Lacey’s house, we see just how misleading the first scene was because Eileen pretty much immediately turns into a terrible, terrible person. She treats Conner like shit just because she thinks he works for Lacey. She tells Oliver that Lacey is still in love with him. Etc. Lacey then takes Oliver and Madea to school with her so Madea can watch Lacey’s class while Oliver presents the mayor with the contract. See, the mayor might live in the principal’s office. He’s always there, using it as his office and this is never explained. The mayor gives the contract to a lawyer, who doesn’t read it and hands it back to the mayor, who also signs it without reading it and Oliver hands him a check for $100,000. Meanwhile, Madea tries to spread some wisdom to Lacey’s class, but ends up tying a girl up on the giant cross that’s in front of the classroom with Christmas lights instead. So, basically, Madea non-fatally crucifies a young girl. Okay!

After Oliver hands over the check, he makes a move on Lacey and kisses her. She’s gone through graduate school, so she’s at least in her mid-twenties. If I randomly saw my high school boyfriend again and he kissed me because my mom told him that I wanted to get back together with him . . . I mean this is just so far beyond comprehension that I don’t know what to say about it.

Back at home, Conner’s parents, Buddy (Larry the Cable Guy) and Kim (Kathy Najimy, straight up using her Peggy Hill voice) show up for Christmas. Buddy casually mentions that they were fine with Lacey and Conner eloping. Wait. WHAT?!? Lacey and Conner are married? And Lacey’s mother didn’t even know Conner existed?? And now that she does, she still just thinks he’s a farmhand and not her son-in-law??? What???? Lacey tells her in-laws that she still hasn’t told her mother about her marriage because Conner is white and Eileen will drop dead because she’s had heart attacks. Soooo Buddy and Kim decide to go along with it.

Craziness ensues, including, but not limited to: Eileen, who is older and apparently has a heart condition, chopping down a tree in Lacey’s backyard for a Christmas tree . . . even though it had a yellow ribbon around it . . . which, come to find out, was planted in memorial for Kim’s father; Eileen walks in on Buddy and Kim in bed, sees Buddy under a sheet and immediately thinks he’s in the KKK; Madea discovers that Conner, who studied agriculture in college and is apparently working on a type of corn that needs less water to grow (?), doesn’t know the difference between a cow and a bull because he’s tried to milk a bull.

Everything comes to a head when the town suddenly reads the contract and realizes that A.) The company that gave them the $100,000 is also the company responsible for building a dam that apparently ruined the town’s economy and B.) The Christmas jubilee has to be the “holiday” jubilee with no nativity and no mention of Christianity at all. The town freaks out at Lacey for this . . . even though it wasn’t her job to read the contract. She’s not the one who signed a huge contract without reading it! What the fuck?? Then Chad Michael Murray, in another beautiful Christmas role, as Tanner, suggests to the mayor that maybe Lacey should be fired. So the mayor fires Lacey. Even though Lacey does not work for him. Um, what? If the mayor of Austin told me he was firing me . . . well, I wouldn’t give a shit, because he’s not my boss! The principal doesn’t say anything against this though, so Lacey is just straight up fired.

When she gets home, Madea makes her tell Eileen the truth about her relationship with Conner, because everyone listens to Madea. Then the BOMB gets dropped on us that Eileen hates white people because her husband/Lacey’s father was murdered by a white man. Madea then turns around and drops a DOUBLE BOMB on us when she tells us that Eileen actually hates white people because her husband/Lacey’s father ran off with a white woman. Oh, and Madea also drops the TRIPLE BOMB that Eileen has zero heart problems, and when Eileen told Lacey she had a heart attack, it was actually gas. Sooooo Eileen has lied and manipulated Lacey her whole life and Lacey has just discovered that her previously-thought-to-be-murdered father is actually alive. Okay!

Luckily, all of that is forgiven when Eileen, trying to run away from her daughter because she is a giant baby, comes across Tanner in his overturned truck and pulls him out Crash style before the truck blows up. Conner shows up and punches him and brings Eileen home. AND EVERYONE FORGIVES EACH OTHER. Eileen forgives Lacey for lying about BEING MARRIED. Lacey forgives Eileen for lying about HER FATHER BEING MURDERED. Lacey forgives Tanner for GETTING HER FIRED. Uhhhh . . .

Cut to the Christmas jubilee! Yeah, see, that whole problem got solved because the town just decided to ignore the contract and have the jubilee be Christmas-themed, nativity and all! And then Lacey doubly makes up for it by announcing to the crowd that the construction company who sponsored them will somehow make the dam they built give the town more water AND $100,000 a year for the next four years for her school! Yay! EXCEPT SHE IS MAKING ALL OF THIS UP. Does Tyler Perry think this is how businesses work? The vaguely Middle Eastern, vaguely Jew-y construction company guy leaves all huffy, and Lacey is proud of herself for making them give the town all that money. Except that will not happen, because this company is not going to honor an oral contract that they didn’t agree to that will make them responsible for upwards of $400,000.

THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So. What gets solved? Everything! How? By doing nothing! This movie is so incredible because it lacks the usual Tyler Perry themes of rape/abuse/AIDS but is overrun with the usual Tyler Perry theme of Tyler Perry not understanding how the world or life works. Everything works out because this town was brave enough to not be victims of the WAR ON CHRISTMAS. They’re going to have their Christmas jubilee goddammit!

Oh my god. Out of context (meaning if you haven’t seen most or all of Tyler Perry’s movies), this movie would be so incredibly bad that it would blow your mind. In context, however, this movie is SO AMAZING because it’s the epitome of Tyler Perry being a fucking moron and his movies making absolutely no sense. But you know what really sold me on A Madea Christmas? Larry the Cable guy, a spokesman who does commercials for Prilosec OTC, plugs Prilosec OTC in the middle of the movie. Using the full brand name. Out of nowhere.

INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christopher (spoilers!)

Madea Goes To Christmas [editor’s note: Madea Goes to Christmas was our own personal title for this movie] might be my favorite TP comedy to date. For Colored Girls is my favorite drama. I think his comedies tend to be a little more boring than his serious movies, but this film is so crazy and so dumb, it’s hard not to love. Also, there was no rape or AIDS so it was a nice change.

This movie has Larry the Cable Guy telling you to use Prilosec OTC, an old mother who can chop down trees and pull men out of cars, and a scientist who doesn’t know the different between utters and testicles. What is a constant with TP’s films is how he never really thinks anything through. Absolutely nothing. This is mostly demonstrated in the end of this film.

This movie is about a small town, who is trying to have a Christmas Jubilee. They don’t have any money though so they sign a contact with some middle man company with a giant corporation to fund it. Mind you, at this point the brokers do not know that the company is going to accept their offer and the townsfolk have no idea who the company is. The only thing the town does is, the mayor gets some guy named Walter(?) to read the contract to see if it’s okay. So the town gets the funding for the party! But before the event two things go awry. One is that the giant company that is funding the event is the exact same company that put most of the town out of jobs!!! We only find that out in this scene. Also the company does not want this CHRISTMAS Jubilee to have anything to do with Christmas or Religion. They just want it to be a Holiday event, which the town is up in arms about. Come the day of the Jubilee! Which just shows up, none of our main characters put in any work to set this up, it pretty much just appears. Haha so at the Christmas Jubilee no one followed the rules of no Christmas or Religious decorations. They still have the nativity scene up and what not. They are told to take all of that down before the event can continue but first a children’s choir performs, boring, and then the main lady, who is a terrible actress and you can never tell what her emotions are, jumps on the stage and just starts lying. She talks about how the giant corporation is good with all the religion, she talks about how the giant corporation is going to give the town/school more money, and that the company is going to rehire people (or turn around whatever terrible thing they did). THE END.

IT ENDS WITH A LADY JUST TELLING THE TOWN A GIANT LIE!!!! Of course none of this stuff is going to happen? Why would it? TP is notorious for having no clue what happens in the real world but this is just getting crazy. Now, we watched one of his plays recently and that ended with Madea going from one room of a house to another solving everyone’s problems. That even makes more sense than this. This is a giant mess that needs to be watched by all. Elizabeth and I already talked about it and I think this is going to be our annual Christmas movie.

It’s pretty fantastic and a lot of fun to watch!

I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF (2009)

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Elizabeth

We really have a habit of watching movies about awful people whom we are not supposed to think are awful. Case in point: I Can Do Bad All By Myself, another horror from Tyler Perry. But because the character of Madea is such an awful person, this isn’t really uncommon for Tyler Perry. But what makes I Can Do Bad All By Myself particularly stand out in awfulness is the fact that it’s a musical.

“I didn’t know it was a musical!” You might be thinking to yourself. Well, that’s because it’s not a musical in the traditional sense, where songs are integrated into the story and, ideally, help the story along. I Can Do Bad All By Myself is just a regular movie that happens to include 7 full-length songs performed within it. It’s not an accident that Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight are randomly in the movie for no real reason. These song sequences are so fucking boring that it’s hard to watch. I’m not the biggest ever fan of musicals, but a good musical is good. A shitty movie with awful full-length songs is just a really really really shitty movie.

And, once again, Tyler Perry displays here the conflicting idea of having superior black actors (in this case, it’s Taraji P. Henson) in terribly written, terribly shot, terribly produced movies. Henson is not bad in this movie because she’s a really good actor. But she falls into the same trap that Idris Elba found himself in in Daddy’s Little Girls, along with Kathy Bates in The Family That Preys, Blair Underwood in Madea’s Family Reunion, Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns, and most of the cast of For Colored Girls: how much good can even a good actor do in such a terrible movie? The answer: not much.

Although I Can Do Bad All By Myself is often unbearable, it still has the violence-without-consequences, child-abuse-by-Madea, random rape, melodrama, sexism, and racism that we all know and love about Tyler Perry movies. So, there’s that!

Christopher

Since it was not only my birthday but also Elizabeth’s and my anniversary, we decided to revisit the holy entity that brought us together in the first place. Tyler Perry. I Can Do Bad All By Myself is one of his films I had yet to watch but Elizabeth and our friend Ben have always mentioned it as one of the craziest (For Colored Girls is still my favorite though) and they were absolutely right, it’s insane.

The one negative I would give it is the main negative I have about TP’s plays, there are so many fucking songs, in full length. And you really don’t have to know too much to guess that he really is an awful songwriter.  Every song sounds the same and they all deal with people just yelling. So this movie had 7 full songs, probably 40 minutes of the movie.

Great movie to watch but have a cup of coffee to help you through the singing.

THE HUNGER GAMES (2012)

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Christopher

This was my third time watching this movie. I was able to see it twice in theaters. I love it! It’s no award winner but it’s pretty much everything I want in a summer blockbuster. I think the only thing I really don’t like is that Lenny Kravitz is in it. It’s not that I don’t like Lenny Kravitz but it’s really distracting. It’s a lot like having Tyler Perry in the first Star Trek movie.

What I’m really excited for is the second movie. It was by far my favorite book and I cannot wait to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in it.

Elizabeth

What struck me most about The Hunger Games was how brutal it was. Even though I’ve never read the books, I still roughly had an idea of what the plot was, but I was still surprised when I saw kids murder other kids. I think some of that has to do with how well-paced the movie was. There’s a good amount of build-up before The Hunger Games starts, showing how the tributes are prepared and shown off to the rest of the country. By the time the games start, it’s easy to forget that the games are not so much about showmanship but mostly about punishment; punishment that children must take for wrongdoings committed generations in the past. There are a lot of parallels you can make with that, too.

I also really like Jennifer Lawrence, especially here. She does a good job of playing someone who looks and seems young, but still mature and capable of manipulating and winning The Hunger Games. Also, Jennifer Lawrence has an incredible body. Just saying. It also took me at least 3/4 of the way through the movie to realize Peeta’s name wasn’t Peter. I guess it fits in the world of the movie, as most characters don’t have what we would consider standard Anglo-Saxon names. But it was still weird that his name wasn’t Peter.

THE MARRIAGE CHRONICLES (2012)

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Christopher

On this movie journey we have run into a good amount of sexist movies but we might have run across the worst so far? I kind of don’t remember a lot of this film except that the fact that it has an almost Saw-like plot. People in this film torture and kill and no one suffers any conequenses. People actually never bring it up again . . . it’s very bizarre.

MUST SEE!!!

Elizabeth

The Marriage Chronicles is so disgusting in its anti-woman views I think I blocked a lot of it out. Even though I watched it two days ago, I don’t remember much except scoffing and rolling my eyes a lot and feeling more and more disgusted with the messages this piece of shit movie was trying to send. The most egregious of these messages was the old classic that women, or at least, “Good Christian women,” are not supposed to enjoy sex. In fact, they’re not even supposed to have sex unless it’s with their husband and only for purposes of conception. I’m going to ignore the homophobia that that view implies, because it’s not even worth it, and because of course writer and director is Paul D. Hannah is homophobic. He’s already mind-numbingly sexist, he might as well be homophobic. But anyway, this idea of sex-for-conception-only would be radical even for Tyler Perry; that’s going into super conservative, religious zealot type of territory. And that’s always fun!

And you know, I’m not even going to go into how utterly insane this movie is, in that a marriage counselor and her husband essentially kidnap three couples. Or how this is a cheap rip-off of Why Did I Get Married Too, which is saying a lot. Or how one of the main characters reveals that he murdered his wife’s ex-husband, whom was also the father of her child and she was still in love with . . . and it’s never brought up again, or punished, or anything remotely like that. Whatever!

The single redeeming thing about The Marriage Chronicles really only exists in my head, because I like to think the title is a weird play on The Martian Chronicles . . . but I doubt that.

TEMPTATION: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR (2013)

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Christopher

This was a great way to spend Easter Sunday! It is true that we watch a lot of Tyler Perry films and a good amount of them run together, especially the movies in the Madea-verse. However, Temptation stands out as one of my favorites.

As of right now I would have to say that TP’s more dramatic movies are the ones that have truly captured my heart. His comedies are fine considering they are still trying to be pretty serious but the ones where the great TP stays behind the camera and pours his whole vision onto the screen are truly where his genius comes out.

Though I have come to the realization that For Colored Girls is my all-time favorite as of now, Temptation is a pretty close second I think. It is full of such awful characters it’s impossible to actually care for anyone, leaving you with a ton of time for laughs and excitement at the cost of others. Yes, the wife may have cheated on the husband but he expects her to cook every meal, wait 15 years to try to open her own practice, and only have sex in the bedroom when he is good and ready? I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for this guy/their marriage but how can you when everyone is so tragic and awful?

I feel I have already talked enough but this film has so many problems with it it’s definitely worth the watch but of course that’s every movie TP directs. INSTANT CLASSIC!!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

We saw Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on Easter Sunday, which was probably a good choice to reiterate one of the movie’s themes: Christianity = good, everything else = bad.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell plays Judith, a therapist working at some high-end matchmaker service in DC (and we know it’s DC because of the repeated establishing shots of the capital and various other monuments). She’s married to Brice (Lance Gross), her childhood sweetheart (from like age 5 or something). They’re from an unknown small town, which is supposed to be in the south, presumably Georgia, but also sort of looks like mid-century Kansas? But whatever. Judith and Lance get married and move to DC (REMEMBER, WE’RE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.) to pursue their dreams: Lance wants to fulfill his life-long dream of becoming . . . a pharmacist? And Judith wants to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming . . . a marriage counselor? This implies that these are professions they dreamed of having as children, which I sort of doubt. If so, they were extremely practical children. They’re “struggling,” even though they live in a super sweet apartment. Brice tells Judith they can afford for her to start her own practice in 10-15 years, discouraging news. Here’s what I’m curious about: if they’re starting out poor (which we are told but not shown), why the hell did they choose to move to one of the most expensive cities in the US? It’s not like DC is the therapy or pharmacy capital of the US; both are professions that one could presumably find pretty much anywhere else.

Anyway, Judith’s story is framed as a story being told by her sister, who is a marriage counselor in some kind of social services place, who is relaying the story to a woman who is thinking of cheating on her husband. You might think it’s curious that Judith, who dreamed of being a marriage counselor, has a sister who is also a marriage counselor but . . . stop thinking. So, Judith becomes involved with Harley (Robbie Jones), a super rich, super creepy guy who is, for whatever reason obsessed with Judith. Luckily, Judith dodges his (pretty forceful) advantages, because A.) She’s married and B.) Is a super Christian who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. Meanwhile, Brice becomes involved with Melinda (BRANDY), but only in a platonic way because Brice is a saint. Did I not mention that? Yes, Brice is a saintly, God-fearing, buff dude. Sure, he might forget his wife’s birthday two years in a row (even though he seems to have few other people in his life), makes her feel ashamed for wanting to spontaneously have sex with him, and expects her to cook every meal even though she clearly has a harder, mores stressful job, but HE’S SUCH A PERFECT MAN. Melinda is on the run from her crazy ex, an abusive drug abuser. Blah blah blah.

Eventually, after a business trip to New Orleans in which Judith and Harley attend a board meeting on Bourbon Street, because that happens, they get together, although I do think Harley sort of assaults her. This isn’t ever brought up again, but he forces himself on her while she hits him and tries to push him away, repeatedly telling him no. Eventually she kisses him back but . . . shouldn’t that be a red flag? Especially when she has flashbacks to it while looking at herself in the mirror and crying? Doesn’t that make it seem like it was less like sex and more like rape? But whatever, I guess.

In pretty much no time, Judith gets sucked into Harley’s world of sex, drugs, and excess, while Brice literally stands by and watches (and cries). Judith eventually dumps Brice outside of a nightclub, which causes him to slam his car door so hard his window breaks. But it’s just because he’s so NOBLE! Luckily, Melinda is noble, too, because when Brice runs to her crying (almost literally) and tries to kiss her, she refuses because she knows he’s just in pain. I’m so glad there are two evil characters and two perfect characters playing opposite one another, because that makes for really interesting conflict.

So, yeah, we soon find out that A.) Melinda has HIV, B.) Harley is her evil ex that she’s running from and B.) Harley is the one that gave Melinda HIV. Brice and Melinda go to save Judith from Harley’s clutches; they find Judith beaten up and passed out in a bathtub, while Brice and Harley roll around fighting until they throw themselves through a random glass wall in Harley’s house. Because, you know, why not?

In the end, we discover that, alas, it was not Judith’s sister telling the story BUT JUDITH HERSELF, even though this woman looks nothing like the Judith we’ve been watching the whole time. Old Judith tells her client that she got HIV from Harley, (though she’s still pretending to be talking about her fake sister), which causes her client to “end her almost-affair.” Good work!

We then follow Old Judith to Brice’s pharmacy, where we see Not At All Old Melinda and Old Brice, whom we know is old because he has really fake, scraggly white pieces of hair. Brice gives her medicine to treat HIV, and then is greeted by a sexy new woman and a cute little kid, whom we learn is his new family. The credits roll as Old Judith slowly walks, practically stumbles, down the sidewalk, in dowdy clothes, to meet her crazy Christian mother at church.

There are several lessons here, but the main one is: if you cheat on your not-that-great-husband, you will be cursed with abuse, a drug addiction, HIV, and loneliness. Hooray! Tyler Perry scores another one for feminism.

FOR COLORED GIRLS (2010) – WITH SPECIAL GUEST POSTS!

for_colored_girls

A few years ago, I watched For Colored Girls back when I was still in college with Chris and my friend, Ben. He wrote an amazing post about it on his blog. He watched it with us again, and I think his post still expresses all of his feelings. READ IT! IT’S AMAZING!:

http://benjaminfrisch.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/a-critical-exegesis-of-tyler-perrys-for-colored-girls/

Chris’ sister Sarah came for a visit and joined us for some movies. Here’s what she had to say about For Colored Girls.

Sarah

This was my first real experience with Tyler Perry. I have to say it exceeded my expectations. The movie was even worse than I imagined and therefore was that much funnier and entertaining. I would guess that no one would actually watch this movie for the “movement factor” but considering some people believe in mermaids after watching “Mermaids: The Body Found,” I feel the need to once again state, this is NOT a good movie. The movie is in no way touching or compelling. I am not sure if the actual play For Colored Girls (written by Ntozake Shange) is good but I can tell you the Tyler Perry version is not. Now, if you are feeling like a good laugh and have some friends around to make commentary with then this is a great movie and I would highly recommend it. Also, be sure to predict the most ludicrous endings to different scenes. I was amazed how often we were correct.

Elizabeth

Here are some topics that For Colored Girls attempts to deal with:

  • Rape
  • Rape + incest
  • Literal back alley abortions
  • Child abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Religious cults
  • Child murder
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Putting work over family
  • Homosexuality
  • HIV
  • Closeted gay husbands
  • Compulsive sex

Does For Colored Girls handle any of these topics with grace or sensitivity? Did I mention that Tyler Perry directed, produced, and wrote For Colored Girls? So you know the answer.

We tried to think of a good introduction for Sarah into Tyler Perry’s world, and she had already seen Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Chris hadn’t seen For Colored Girls yet, and we thought that its unbelievably absurdity would act as a good intro.

Is Tyler Perry the Lars von Trier of black American cinema? I’m fairly convinced that he actually hates women, as women only have horrible things happen to them in his movies, but they all seem to have brought everything upon themselves, or at least that’s the message that’s given.

Case in point: Kimberly Elise plays Crystal Wallace, a mother of two young children. The kids’ father, Beau (Michael Ealy), lives with them, though they aren’t married, mostly because Beau is an alcoholic veteran suffering from PTSD, who is unemployed and beats up Crystal and her children. Finally, in some kind of drunken rage, Beau takes their kids and drops them out of the couple’s 5th-story window, to the horror of the pretty much the entire neighborhood (and Janet Jackson). Later in the movie, as Crystal sits alone and suicidal in her dimly-lit apartment, she gets paid a visit from her condescending neighbor, Gilda (Phylicia Rashad), who lets her know that Crystal needs to start taking the proper blame for her children’s murder, as she did not get out of the abusive relationship sooner.

Also, Macy Gray gives an abortion in a dirty bedroom that is found by literally going through a back alley, where people shoot craps, play dominos, and talk to themselves.

FEMINISM!

Christopher

Easily my favorite TP movie. I really can’t explain how much depth and emotion this film has. If you’re looking for a true pick-me-up at the end of the day watch this work of art!