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Thursday, February 21, 2008

This N' That

While writing about Sidney yesterday, I got nostalgic for the times when I would look forward to seeing a black film. Now I go in super suspicious from the get. I know it's not fair, but so little of it moves me. A couple of readers co-signed with reader "darkside's" comment on Madea:

"Although I'm not a Tyler Perry fan. I do give him props. I just wish we had someone who could also make very artistic & very well acted & very well written films, black themed films that don't fall under a message film, comedy, or urban crime film. "

I have said variations on this, but he sums it up pretty well. You know why we don't have people taking time to search out new talent and quality? Cause they are sticking to the formula for awhile. Hollywood is always in the mindset of "If it makes money and it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Set yourself down for more agonizing "family is family, no matter what" extended family-sitting-around-the-dinner-table-revealing-revelations type movies. The trailers for "Meet The Browns" is a perfect example of this.


Reader ma'at also made a great point, and I don't know why I didn't pay attention to it before:

"I cannot for the life of me understand why, in T.P.'s book, a man is the cause and cure for every issue a woman has. Why for instance does Jill Scott's character lose weight because of a man and not because the extra weight is killing her or heyell even just personally embarrassing... but enough I'll go on all day."

How true, how true. You can be on crack, obese, a bad mother, or addicted to spousal abuse, and all you need is a good man and all of the ills of your life disappear. I think Tyler Perry needs to start a dating service. Wait, I take that back, let's not give him any ideas.

You know why he and his type of film is not going away for a looong time? This is the main reason:

Tyler Perry's latest Lionsgate DVD release "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?," debuted at number one on the North American DVD charts this past week with over two million units already sold. The accompanying DVD release of his stage play "What's Done in the Dark" also debuted in the top 10.

Proving to be an unstoppable force in Hollywood, Tyler Perry releases -- including theatrical blockbusters "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea's Family Reunion," along with many of his most popular plays -- have sold over 23 million units to date. "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" debuted at number one at the North American box office when it was released theatrically in October 2007 and grossed more than $55 million. Lionsgate will look to continue its Tyler Perry run as it gears up for the theatrical debut of its fifth Tyler Perry film -- "Meet the Browns" -- which hits theatres March 21.

"Tyler Perry is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon," said Ron Schwartz, Lionsgate Home Entertainment General Manager and Executive Vice President. "He has an enormously loyal following, which continues to grow with each new theatrical and DVD release. His way of delivering incredibly strong moral messages with laughter, heart and soul is something that is unique among today's filmmakers. We look forward to releasing many more films and DVDs based on his works as we continue to build our powerful Tyler Perry franchise."

From IW: like readers qadree and aj say, we are on our way to Madea action figures, lunchboxes and backpacks. Dolla dolla bill, y'all. Bottom line


Also sigh-inducing is the news that she that will not go away, Beyonce, will be in "Cadillac Records" playing Etta was not confirmed before. I had such high hopes for this movie--Jeffery Wright and Beyonce go together like salad and dog s**t.

(i posted this picture cause when i googled beyonce images, aretha kept coming up, and frankly I am very tired of looking at bey)

On to some good news, yes? All of you out there *Obenson* cough, cough *orville* cough cough and others who have fine projects in limbo but no financing...get yourself out of the "Soul Food" Hollywood trap:

The Los Angeles Film Festival Fast Track Program, designed to connect filmmakers and their current projects with financiers, production companies and other industry professionals, is currently looking for new films in development in order to help get them made. This highly selective program is open to established as well as up-and-coming filmmakers with exceptional projects still seeking funding.

The Fast Track program is being re-launched as a Film Financing Market -- now open to all filmmakers who have a film they want to get fast-tracked in production. In past years, the program was restricted to alumni of the Los Angeles Film Festival and graduates of Film Independent’s Talent Development Programs – the Filmmaker Labs, Project: Involve, and the Spirit Award grant winners. Selected filmmakers would get a pass to the festival and one day of industry meetings. This year, he program is open to all filmmakers, both national and international, who have strong feature films seeking their financing.

The filmmakers chosen for the 2008 Fast Track program will receive an Industry pass to the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, three days of intensive, high-level industry meetings, a pass to the 2008 Financing Conference that takes place during the Festival, a pass to the Filmmaker Forum, which runs in the fall of 2008, complimentary membership in Film Independent, and year-round support from Film Independent.

Download the application (due March 31) at:

BTW: please forgive all of my spelling mistakes...after 2 or 3 weeks, Blogger spellcheck is still NOT WORKING. How bout concentrating on that Blogger instead of translating to Filipino? I'm just sayin.


The Obenson Report said...

I've said all that I can say about Tyler Perry, both the good and the bad. I don't know if there's really anything else to say. Because there are so few of *us* working successfully within the current system, those few are always going to be subject to intense scrutiny, maybe even moreso than necessary - from your lover in another life, Sidney Poitier, to Spike Lee, to Tyler Perry. We invest so much in these people, and so expect much from them in return. But we often forget that they themselves are people just like us, with personal goals, hopes and dreams of their own, and maybe aren't beholden to anyone other than themselves and those close to them, simply because of how high up the ladder they've been able to climb. I'm only now starting to learn how to just let folks be as they are, and not place my own values and expectations on them; and instead focus my energy on ensuring that my own personal agendas come to fruition. I'm not implying that this is an approach everybody else must take... but rather, this is going to be my new way. I've become all Zen and shit now :o) ... well... maybe not quite. But I'm trying.

black | woman | unhinged said...

Christ, Invisible Woman! I'm in the mood for a diatribe so here goes...

Tyler Perry can DIE for all I care. But he won't...because too many black people give him undue props for slandering the image of BLACK WOMEN with his god-awful buffoonery. I don't know why so many are content with his artificial success story. Tyler Perry is a complete embarrassment and quite frankly, I don't know why sane, thinking black folks would throw money at this cretin, so he can put on a fat-suit and further demean black women. At this point, Tyler Perry is like Microsoft in the 80s. It's clear we don't have too many cinematic options.

Why don't we don't we have cinematic options? Because most people who say (disingenuously) that they want to see some other kind of black film, don't understand that there is a BEGINNING and an ENDING.

I always hear dumb-ass questions like "how come no black people are nominated for academy awards this year????" Do these people even understand that award-worthy films must be made in order to gain a nomination???? And before that the film must be FINANCED and produced and marketed and distributed BEFORE any red carpets roll out?

I don't understand the thinking of folks who SAY they support me as a filmmaker, but their actions rarely back up their words. You know how many times I've sent out letters, proposals, had long passionate conversations about my projects only to receive no financial contributions?

I don't ask anymore. It's a serious time-waster. Plus it's depressing. Especially for me, because my mindset is way outside of the boundaries set for black AND female filmmakers. I have to roll with whatever funds I can scrape up on my own, and work from there. It sucks, because there is a lot more time between projects, and quite frankly, I don't know when I'll make my first feature.

Now about beyonce...the girl is soulless. Is there even a human being in there? She reminds me of a wind-up doll performing on cue. I personally would never cast her in anything. She's not in touch with her emotions enough. She's full of energy, but glassy-eyed and soulless...

Danielle said...

Tyler Perry a "cultural phenomenon"? Are you frackin' kidding me? That's it? This is all we get?

Listen, I'm not mad at Tyler, but damn! I mean seriously has it gotten that bad that his formulaic shyte is so-called "culture"?

Jesus be a Film Producer because black folk are in trouble.

Let me stop before I unleash more venom!

Darkside said...

Hey IW very good thread. Glad to see that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

It seems that a lot, not all but a lot of black roles on the big and small screen fall into the following labels: The asexual best friend, The hip urban wisecracking co-worker, The mothering/fathering figure. This is esp. true for TV.

You hardly ever see on the big screen black roles and black themed films, that are complex, dark, multi-faceted, brilliant or characters with edge. And the only TV show to my knowledge to ever have black roles that way was "the Wire." Which to me is the best show ever on TV.

I'm not blaming anyone, we all got to eat but I would just like to have "Cinematic Options," as black | woman | unhinged put it.

I was going to go on a rant about TV, like how come they did not make the only black female on the hit show "Grey's Anatomy" sexy (not a knock against Chandra Wilson, I'm just saying) ? I mean Dr. Miranda Bailey is by far the smartest one on the show, but she couldn't be smart & sexy at the same time ? When they finally put a black family on the show "Desperate Housewives". The family is crazier than a billy goat during mating season. But I digress I won't get started.

Cinematic Options, that's all I want.

Orville said...

Tyler Perry doesn't just have a black audience anymore people of all races clearly are fans of his work. I do wish there was MORE then just Tyler Perry though. I believe in diversity and I wish more talented black screenwriters, directors, actually got a chance to SHINE. Now, I've written a screenplay but I am no film expert. I've been reading books on how to write a screenplay and trying to make something happen for myself. I don't know where this will lead?

I do know that Tyler Perry I will admit it is nice that in the film "Why Did I Get Married?" the drag queen Madea wasn't in the film. It also proves people like PERRY and not so much the drag queen. Also, remember when the film came out last fall he defeated both Clooney Phoenix at the box office I was shocked. I think this is when Hollywood REALLY realized this guy is a power player. I do like one thing about Perry's work it is NOT about the projects, or about the hood. The blacks in his films are middle class with careers with aspirations and race isn't the issue. I think this is part of the reason Perry crosses over because people of other races can relate. We all have relationship problems in our lives. We all have problems with family and loved ones. I mean I just wish there was more DIVERSITY in black film that's my beef that's my main complaint. Sorry for going on so long. Rant over.

MrsGrapevine said...

I don't understand why black actors can't get together and make something happen. Are they to broke to pool together, or they more interested in making money than art?

I see the Hispanic community doing it and they have some really great indie films. I just watched "Quinceanera" and the ending had me balling like a baby when they took away Uncle home.

Even Nigerians are making things happen.

Why can't African Americans make movies like that. I see all this talent coming out of festivals, but then what happens to them, They don't seem to make any movies afterwards.

Invisible Woman said...

@TAO: I agree...I don't think I'll be commenting on him much any more...this post is kinda the reason why. I'm getting a bit weary of his stuff, but there's no use in complaining or talking about it.

@unhinged: I feel you. No black film or performance that I can remember was really up to par; but some people seem to think Denzel should have been nominated for American Gangster. Go figure.

On Beyonce: I always make my feelings quite clear about her on this blog.

@danielle: Jesus be a film producer for! Unleash that venom girl!

Invisible Woman said...

Thanks darkside and orville---OPTIONS. The operative word. Non-black Hollywood is funded to do all kinds of things, garbage and non garbage---why can't we have the same choices?

That's the one thing you can say about Perry if nothing else--his movies as of late show blacks in a professional realm.

@MGV: Nigeria has it DOWN! (they call it Nollywood) But Africans are brought up in a community based culture...something that American Blacks are sorely lacking today.