Friday, May 22, 2009
Madea goes to Space!
Yesterday, we here at Great Scott had the chance to take in the new Star Trek movie. While it wasn't half bad, it did raise some eyebrows with it's casting choices. It got me thinking about all the poor casting I'd witnessed in the past, especially in the Sci-Fi genre, and it lead me to an interesting conclusion, a series of follow up questions, and the creation of a new column: WHO WAS WORSE.
Who was worse intends to take two similar things (whether they be Family Guy and American Dad, U2 and Coldplay, The Jetsons The Flinstones) and decide which was the worst of the two. In the case of Family Guy vs. American Dad, I'd say we've got a tie. (and to clear up the other 2, U2 is far worse, and the Jetsons and Flinstones were both awesome, so shut it.)
Today though, we explore 2 very similar roles from 2 very similar films: Tyler Perry in Star Trek and Samuel L. Jackson in Star Wars I-III. Before we can completely understand who was worse, I think it's important we look at the big picture: the two films as a whole. In this case, I am calling all three of the new Star Wars movies 1 movie, since, essentially, they were. Actually, it probably would have been a lot better had Lucas made it one film, but anyway.
Star Trek was pretty good. Not as good as everyone keeps saying it is, but entertaining, a fresh take, and a film primed for franchise. Plus, save for Tyler Perry, it was very well cast. That idiot from Heroes did a great job as Spock (though it seems like the same role he plays on heroes, just with pointy ears), and Jim Kirk was awesome. That kid was channeling Shatner, which, after writing, I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Shatner isn't exactly a bastion of great acting, though he has his moments.
Star Wars, on the other hand, was not only terrible, but relied on CGI for actors! What the hell! Even Yoda in the earlier three films was a puppet! And it played better on screen than any CGI character ever will. Now? They got Jar Jar Binks and 2 Natalie Portmans. Not enough. Plus Hayden Christiansen is at his worst in those movies, a feat which I didn't think he could pull off, but then he went for the 3-peat like Jordan. Why do it wrong once when you can do it wrong for 3 films straight!
But the films, and all those other actors aren't the topic of today's post. Instead, we're deciding who was worse: Sam Jackson or TP. I think we all know the obvious (and correct) answer: Tyler Perry. Get Madea out of my cinneplex! What idiots go and see those movies! At least Samuel L. Jackson has done some spectacular movies in the past. What has Tyler Perry done, save for make me hate him more with each passing second, and waste precious air time for his brand of so-called "comedy."
Let's see...people claim he's the savior for black cinema. I contend that legitimate black cinema ended the second Spike Lee picked up a camera. Okay, so what else? Well, Tyler Perry did manage to ruin the steam TBS had been picking up with not 1 but 2 crappy sitcoms that are essentially the same show. Granted, they apparently do gang buster ratings for TBS, but you could have fooled me! Every time I see that show on my guide, I immediately switch away. I forever have and I forever will. One time I had left my TV on TBS...I came home the next day and turned it on. Tyler Perry was on the screen. It was as if I was watching that movie from the Ring. My roommate's been missing since.
That's not to say Jackson wasn't without his blunders as well. After all, he did decide to do the Star Wars movies, a foolish decision by his agent. Plus, they cast him as a Jedi, which, by definition, should mean that he plays a balanced rational man. I've never seen Sam Jackson play anything but crazy characters, whether it be the subdued yet sarcastic computer programer in Jurassic Park, or the scientist with a heart of gold in Deep Blue Sea. He just doesn't do movies where he has to play a bored character. Star Wars was his one fault, but at the same time, you can't really blame the guy for wanting to be a part of one of the most successful franchises of all time.
So then what was it about Tyler Perry in this film that rubbed me so raw? Why was he worse and will always be worse than Samuel L. Jackson? I guess it's the fact that casting him was really just a play to pander to the African American audience, which, not to generalize, isn't all that in to Sci-Fi. Marketing wise, that may have been a good move, sure. But when I saw his obnoxious mug on the big screen, all I could think was "another movie ruined."