I went and saw Tyler Perry’s new movie “Good Deeds” on Saturday night. Given my distaste for offerings from Tyler Perry Studios I was surprised that I got talked into it; my lack of like for his movies, and my amazement that Perry apparently didn’t know that Adam Sandler made a movie called “Mr. Deeds” only a few years back, though is tempered and equaled by my love for the guy’s drive and hustle so I went to check it out with a couple of people. After the movie, aside from thinking to myself, “Meh, it was a’ight”, was the overwhelming thought that prevailed in my head:
Tyler Perry is a master manipulator.
The man is a king level exploiter.
He is Reverend Ike with film equipment.
I don’t believe that problems are race specific, there isn’t one problem that happens just to Blacks, or just to Whites, or just to folk of Asian descent, problems of all types can happen to all people at any time. However…there are some problems that are more prevalent in one race of people than another. And your man, Tyler Perry, knows that. One of the biggest critiques that I read regarding Tyler Perry films is that, except for small details here and there, he is telling the same story over and over again. I was amongst those that echoed this notion about Perry films but then I remembered something about McDonald’s.
McDonald’s knows their audience. They know people will always make children, so they have the Happy Meal, the kids’ meal that has been imitated by every fast food chain in the world. They know people like the Big Mac, so they don’t change anything about it which is why generations of people can sing the “Two all beef patties, special sauce, etc…” song even though “all beef” has been debatable for some time. They know their French Fries are addictive and incredibly tasty which is why they haven’t changed unlike, Burger King, Wendy’s, and everyone else switching up their formulas trying to put a dent into McDonalds’ French fry market share. Tyler Perry is just like McDonald’s.
I went to the movie with a friend that happens to be a single Mom. There were several women in the theater that had their children in tow, I’ll assume based on social stats that at least 30% of them were single Moms and have the stereotypical Black single Mom issues: bills too high, money too short, low self esteem, men no good/beat me/cheated on me. Now, the focal point of the movie was Perry’s character, Wesley, but I challenge that the main character of the movie was Lindsay, the single mother who went through 2 lifetime’s worth of issues in about a 12 minute span in the movie. And that’s when Perry gets to fuel his evil sorcerer manipulator persona. You’ve got 400 women, 398 of them Black, captive in a theater, the rest of the audience is made up of men that either got coerced to attend the movie by a woman or are trying to earn points enough to see the woman they attended the movie with sans clothing at some point much like in the case HERE, and these women are being forced fed via big screen these race prevalent issues in rapid fire succession inducing a chorus of “Ooo, Girl” and “Ooh, no he didn’t” and “Oh no, not her baby!” until when Perry has wrung out and melodrama’ed these women into absolute submission by the time he gets to his heart wrenchingest scene the 400 women have been reduced to sobbing, tissue grabbing messes. I had to make sure my friend I went with was okay before asking for more popcorn; she and every woman on my row was having a real intense moment for this particular character that was down so low at one point that any semblance of a happy ending would have been okay. If she had gotten a free bus pass and a pack of Twizzlers at the conclusion of the movie it would have drawn applause based on all she had lost so no wonder when the movie ended the way it did the women were hooting and cheering like me at a Falcons game.
Find your audience where they are, grab them, relate to them, and don’t let them go. What Perry lacks in filmmaking and scriptwriting acumen he makes up for in this mantra. I think that he had every woman completely relating to the problem of this single mother, and every single woman/mother he has ever written and cast for, believing that this character was them, or their sister/sista, or someone they knew because they share similar issues. That’s the formula that he sticks with, that’s the formula he’s good at, that’s the formula that has a lot of people racing to the flicks to see his movies the moment they come out. And that’s why Tyler Perry is good with me; that’s why I no longer gripe about Perry movies, they aren’t for me (though I really appreciate Gabrielle Union’s scene in that black dress and those heels – my God!) This movie proved that there is no harm in sticking with what makes you successful regardless of how badly people want you to change. Perry while not a master yet of the film craft (though this was a good effort) definitely has mastered not only the hustle of making and producing films when everyone has told you no but also mastered the knowledge of his crowd…and more importantly how to keep them coming back for more of the same McDonald’s french fries.
~thanks for reading 🙂
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