Since it opened April 22, Madea’s Big Happy Family has made $40.9 million. Why Did I get Married? — that made $55.2 million. The sequel? $48.5 million. Madea Goes to Jail? $90.5 million. And that’s just a handful of Tyler Perry’s films; in six years, his films have racked up more than half a billion dollars, averaging $50 million per movie, and that’s before his current film finishes its theatrical run. Still, his works have become quite a bone of contention, concerning race, gender, class, media consumption, and the definition of quality, and auteurism.
Our weekend trip to Palm Springs was not completely educationless. While we were there, we were able to take in a foreign flick at the Palm Springs Film Festival. The film was Outrage, basically following the complete overhaul of a Japanese gangster syndicate, starring and directed by Takeshi Kitano, described to me as the Robert DeNiro of Japanese film.
Mostly, I enjoyed myself. One of the adjustments I had to make in my own mind was the difference between this film, and a typical American gangster movies (and American films in general). Basically this film begins, as what I now realize is, right in the middle of the action. But there is such an understated way of getting to the action, you think at first they must be setting up the story, or getting to the whole point. What you don’t realize is that we’re already in the story. But because of this, there’s this constant waiting-for-something-to-start feeling, which kind of makes the movie feel kinda long.
There are a handful of crime families headed up by The Chairman, donned in pristine white track suits and doted upon by a group of young men in not-so-fancy, yet still-pristine, white track suits in his mansion. This film is all about how he manipulates others to take each other down, paring down this umbrella organization of ruthlessly violent yakuza (gangsters).
A couple of points about this movie I found fascinating…