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Tyler Perry's America: Inside His Films (Paperback)
  • Tyler Perry's America: Inside His Films (Paperback)
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Tyler Perry's America: Inside His Films (Paperback)

(author)
£18.95
Paperback 208 Pages / Published: 01/02/2018
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Tyler Perry is the most successful African-American filmmaker of his generation, garnering both accolades and controversies with each new film. In Tyler Perry's America, Shayne Lee digs into eleven of Perry's highest-grossing films to explore key themes of race, gender, class, and religion, and, ultimately, to discuss what Perry's films reveal about contemporary African-American life. Filled with slapstick humor, musical wizardry, and religious imagery, Tyler Perry's films have inspired legions of fans, and yet critics often dismiss them or demean their audience. Tyler Perry's America takes the films seriously in their own right. After providing essential background information on Perry's life and film career, the book looks at what the films reveal about post-civil rights America and why they inspire so many people. The book examines the way the films explore social class in America-featuring characters from super-rich Wesley Deeds to homeless Lindsey Wakefield-and the way Perry both celebrates upward mobility and critiques soulless wealth. The book discusses the way religion fills the films-from gospel music to biblical quotes, the power of sexuality, and more. Lee also devotes a chapter to Madea, one of Perry's most controversial and complicated characters. Tyler Perry's America is a thought-provoking examination of this powerhouse filmmaker which highlights the way Perry's films appeal to viewers by connecting a rich African-American folk-cultural past with the promise of modern sophistication.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780810896222
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 295 g
Dimensions: 219 x 151 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Lee is a sociologist, and his approach to the sociology-or is it economics?-in Tyler Perry's films is 100 percent admirable: he writes that he 'watched each movie no less than ten times, carefully coding and cataloguing themes, plots, and character development regarding their relation to pertinent socio-cultural themes.' This is the first book-length study of Perry, and Lee is brilliant at perceiving clearly, not sentimentally, the role of religion. . . .The author never perceives movies as movies; he could be talking about novels. He deals with the meaning of ten films, looking at 'the dream and the nightmare' of blacks. Dreams are strength, education, devotion, love, freedom, blessings. Nightmares are poverty, hunger, drugs, white domination, suffering, inequality, prison, hatred, injustice, rape, and best of all, madness (especially in the Madea films). The book is lovingly informative, and Lee knows the context of the films (be it reality, novels, or other films). Written in clear prose, this is a surprisingly important book, especially for those interested in the sociology of film. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. * CHOICE *
Lee's book clearly demonstrates the necessity of scholarly treatments of Perry's oeuvre. Quite simply, to ignore Perry is to ignore a central figure not just in Black film but American independent film. There is still much work to be done on Perry and his media empire, including his use of genre and seriality, but Lee's book is a welcome contribution to the evolving Tyler Perry discourse. * Journal of Popular Film and Television *
Shayne Lee's Tyler Perry's America, the first book-length study of Perry's movies, sheds the most positive light on the artist and his work.... Lee's study systematically covers all of Perry's work-from his debut film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), up to and including Good Deeds (2012)-a total of eleven productions.... The author craftily links a large number of classic and contemporary filmmakers and films, some focused on African American culture and some not, to Perry and his collection. So while Humphrey Bogart's character in the film Key Largo (1948) appears at the beginning of chapter 2, the book's appendix and chapter 5 are more general and thus noteworthy. The former is about the social import of black film and new promising directions it should take; sociologists will be especially attracted to it. The latter, treating five functions of art that are implicit in Perry's work, will appeal to readers interested in a larger American pragmatist tradition of artistic production. * American Quarterly *
It is impossible to understand modern America without understanding the phenomenon that is Tyler Perry. In this book, Shayne Lee does a masterful job bringing us into the world of Tyler Perry films and helping us understand what they tell us about ourselves. A riveting read; be prepared to be surprised. -- Michael Emerson, Rice University; author of Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America
In Tyler Perry's America: Inside His Films, sociologist Shayne Lee offers an unmatched and unrivaled scholarly consideration of the sociocultural relevance of Perry's oeuvre for a post-civil rights, post-soul era. With a keen eye towards class, religion, and race, among a host of other domains, and with a new approach to evaluation at hand, Lee ups the analytical ante by transgressing the all-too-easy conflict management and moral maintenance analyses that have shaped previous treatments of this and other subjects. Lee offers here a compelling, rigorous sociological approach to his data that sets a new standard of engagement that future treatments will have to, no doubt, consider. -- Monica R. Miller, Lehigh University; author of Religion and Hip Hop

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