Thursday, April 17, 2008

The 80/20 Rule

Yesterday was a rough day for me on many levels. My Mom’s intestines almost blew up while she was teaching her 3rd grade class to the point where she had to be rushed to the hospital (don’t worry, she is fine now), my car’s check engine light came on again, and the Padres got beat badly by the Rockies 10-2.

Staying at my parents’ house while my Mom was in a hospital bed with tubes in her face a few miles away was an unsettling experience because I couldn’t really do anything to make the day any better for her or myself. My Dad had passed out while I had just tried to introduce him to The Wire (the greatest TV show ever made), and the Padres had just blown a chance to make a simple one run comeback by giving up seven runs in the 9th inning. Have you seen the Cleveland Indians this year? I want what they have. In fact, their bullpen is what everyone wants: young, Latin, and deeper than the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Do you ever have those moments where you feel like the best thing you can do when you are having a bad day is to just ride it out and choose an activity that you think is equal to the bad things that have already happened? That kind of decision is about taking control of your own downward spiral, and sometimes it is very necessary. If there is a God, and he or she cares about us in these times, than he or she must have consciously said at some point, “When people need to have control of their own awful circumstances, let there be Tyler Perry!”

Trust me, if you are a white person, and you ever think it would be cool to sit down and watch a Tyler Perry movie; make sure you have your parents’ liquor cabinet ready.

Tyler Perry knows exactly what he is doing, and even though he seems to make questionable dramatic choices as a filmmaker, he does manage to let the truth peak its head through. The reason why Entertainment Weekly named him the 7th smartest person in Hollywood, is because he doesn’t care about anybody other than his focused audience. I found this out last night, but it was amazing.

God bless Bacardi, digital cable, and Rhythm Nation!

Perry’s latest presentation, Why Did I Get Married?, is about four struggling upper class middle aged African American married couples who decide to go to a huge cabin in Colorado to try to fix their problems. There is a couple that deals with working to hard in their careers to see each other (Tyler Perry and Sharon Leal, who looks exactly like a black Christina Ricci); a couple that is dealing with the death of a child (Janet Jackson and Malik Yoba, the black cop from New York Undercover); a couple that is dealing with alcoholism and infidelity (Tasha Smith and Micheal Jai White, or Spawn); and last, a couple that consists of an over weight woman and a husband who talks shit to her face about it (Jill Scott and Richard T. Jones).

The last couple is the most important to the story and their introduction during the opening credits is first glimpse of Perry’s disregard for reality. In the beginning of the movie, right before their plane takes off to Colorado, Jill Scott, her husband, and her husband’s hot female friend, sit down to take their seats. After a few moments a flight attendant comes up to Scott and tells her she has to buy two seats to be able to fly with their airlines. Her husband and his hot friend begin to laugh at her, and then suggest that she rent a car to drive to the cabin. She ends up doing it, and crying all the way, all while never thinking that something might up with her husband and a woman that looks like Angela Bassett in her prime.

The whole movie weaves extreme stories like that until a climactic dinner scene where it is exposed that Micheal Jai White got an STD from a mistress, Tyler Perry’s wife had her tubes tied with out his knowledge, Janet Jackson blames herself for her son’s death, and Jill Scott finds out that her husband has been cheating on her with the hot girl at the table who she had strangely been defending the whole time when the other girls got suspicious. Then Jill Scott breaks a huge bottle of wine over her husband’s head to end of the first act.

Yeah, it was a little bit better than the game last night.

The one “message” of the movie that really stuck with me was when The Black Cop from New York Undercover counsels Spawn on "The 80/20 Rule." When the fellas are sitting out back away from their “crazy” wives before the dinner scene fight, it comes out that Spawn has been cheating on his alcoholic wife (the actor playing the wife never really plays it drunk; she just yells more when she pounds wine). He basically says that in life, we only get 80% of what we really need, so when something at 20% comes around looking all fine and shit, it looks better than it really is because we think it will fill a hole that never should be filled.

Why did I get married to the idea that Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married would be a good idea? And more importantly, why do intentionally bad ideas that feel like good ideas on bad days, sometimes feel like good ideas, on the day after?

The Padres are 8-7 in the first fifteen games of the season, and this weekend they will go up against the best team in the division. They are at critical juncture right now because it feels like they need more than what they have. As fans, after seeing the Diamondbacks, and their extraordinary young talent, we will wish we have better players, and we will start to look around the league and be jealous (I will probably be a leader in this area).

The problem is that in baseball, mid season trades rarely work. If you see a player that is having a good year, there are many things that go into it. Right now, if we attained David Ortiz from the Red Sox, he would not do as well in our lineup because he would have Kevin Kouzmanoff batting after him instead of Manny Ramirez. Also, he would have to be a real baseball player and field an actual baseball. Nobody wants to trade within their division, so most deals require players to play in radically unfamiliar situations against competition they haven't gotten used to.

My first impression of Tyler Perry’s work was that it was ridiculous and focused on an audience that wasn’t me. After all, every white person in the movie comes on for one line and says something completely racist. But The 80/20 Rule is true in all aspects of life, and if Perry wants to do a remake of Major League, to show the truth about the Indians coming from The Willie Mays Hayes prospective, I will be there opening night.


Liz said...

Ortiz is a way better fielder than people give him credit for!!!

Red said...

hahaha. Liz.