Welcome Message - From Filmmaker Tim Alexander

Welcome to the "Diary Of A Tired Black Man" Movie Blog. Please visit: www.tiredblackman.com for more info.

I created the "Tired Black Man" (TBM) Blog to focus on the impact this film has on people after viewing it.

Please share this blog with friends. Together we will change this world we live in (at least a little) - because change starts with you.

For Private Group Screenings or Speaking Engagements I can be contacted at 818-623-0057 or by email at tim@tiredblackman.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

Film Review - From DVDTalk.com

Reviews » DVD Video Review » Diary of a Tired Black Man

Diary of a Tired Black Man
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // February 3, 2009
[Buy now at Amazon: & Walmart]

Review by David Walker | posted March 1, 2009

The Film:
I liked Diary of a Tired Black Man. In fact, I really liked it a lot. This comes as something of a surprise, because to be perfectly frank and honest, it really didn't look that good to me. And to take that frankness and honesty one step further, the film does have some problems that will likely turn some people off; but that's neither here nor there, because what this film does have is a raw honesty that is as entertaining as it educational as it is uncompromising.

Writer, producer and director Tim Alexander's Diary of a Tired Black Man is an interesting mix of documentary and dramatic reenactment. The project started out as a three-minute short that Alexander posted on the Internet, where it garnered millions of hits and sparked considerable debate. In the short, a group of angry black women are sitting around Tonya's (Paula Lema) living room bashing black men. When Tonya's ex-husband James (Jimmy Jean-Louis) arrives to pick up their daughter, with a white woman in tow, he is on the receiving end of the fury of Tonya and her friends. But rather than fall victim to the verbal lashing the women dish out, James stands up for himself, and puts the women, and especially his ex-wife, back in their place.

With the original short as a springboard, Alexander traveled all over the United States, showed various men and women his film, and then interviewed them on camera about their feelings. Diary of a Tired Black Man consists of those interviews inter-cut with more scenes depicting the relationship between James and Tonya, starting with the beginning, and culminating in the destruction of the marriage. The final film is a compelling, and often no-holds-barred examination of how black men feel about how some black women treat them--and it ain't always pretty. In interview after interview, the men offer well thought out--and often hilarious--explanations about why some black women treat some black men so terrible. Meanwhile, even though some of the women interviewed by Alexander have valid things to say, some are complete idiots.

Diary of a Tired Black Man works for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is honest--brutally so at times--but certainly more honest than the vast majority of other depictions of black men in the mass media. This film stands in direct defiance of shows like Jerry Springer or Maury Povitch, which choose to represent the worst of black masculinity. But the film also works as a refreshing break from the hackneyed films of Tyler Perry, whose faith-based minstrel/drag shows are favored by many of the same women who need to watch this movie.

Alexander's film is at its best when he is interviewing real people on the street. His staged scenes are okay, and he deserves credit for creating something with almost nothing, but at the end of the day, those scenes are not compelling enough to carry the film. And to his credit, if Alexander had simply made a conventional film, he would have likely made something that had no real bite to it. But as it stands, Diary of a Tired Black Man goes for the jugular (in a loving way designed to spark conversation and promote emotional growth).

Diary of a Tired Black Man will not be for everyone, that's for sure. But if you have ever endured bad relationships, or multiple bad relationships, then it is a film well worth watching, as it raises some very valid points. And what is also very important to realize is that while the film specifically deals with black people, its overall subject matter is universally human.

Diary of a Tired Black Man is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The movie was shot on consumer grade digital video, but it looks far better than one would expect. And while the picture quality is not great, it is good, and the quality remains consistent.

Diary of a Tired Black Man is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital. The sound quality is good, especially considering that most of the interviews were shot outdoors. The sound is clear, audio levels are good, and the overall mix is clean.

Bonus Material:
Writer/producer/director Tim Alexander provides one of the best commentaries I have heard in a long time. Not only does he offer insight into the production of the film, he also elaborates on his personal feelings about the subject matter. His tone is very casual and matter of fact, often funny, and though the film itself is not the sort that might make you want to listen to the commentary right away, it is well worth checking out. Alexander has also included a reel of extended interview footage (73 min.) that is almost as compelling as the film itself. Finally, there is a profanity-free version of the film, but I didn't watch it, because I don't give a shit about things like that.

Final Thoughts:
I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed Diary of a Tired Black Man, and it is definitely one of nicest surprises I've had in a long time. It definitely is not a film for everyone, and it's up to you to determine if this subject matter interests you; but if you do watch it, make sure you take the time to also listen to Tim Alexander’s audio commentary and watch the extended interview footage. But as far as recommending it, I'd be hard pressed to sing the film's praises anymore than I am.

4 of 5 Stars - Highly Recommended

David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Film Review - AllMoviePortal.com

Diary of a Tired Black Man (2009)
Doug MacLean

Documentaries are a very special branch of the art of cinema. It’s purpose can range from entertainment to instruction usually based on some true events or controversial subject. The documentary can put you in the middle of history or show you the lives of regular people that otherwise you would never be aware of. The genre grew out of the old theatrical newsreels. Back in the day long before television took hold of almost every home in the country, people would go to the movie houses and stay for the entire evening. During that time you would get to watch a feature film, a secondary flick, a few cartoons and a newsreel. This was the way that facts and opinions were expressed, and lead directly to a lengthier version that we now call the documentary. Now it is one of the only genres to get it's own category in many award shows - including the much lauded Academy Awards; the genre is that special and different. Over time, the documentary would take on many varied forms. Some documentary film makers keep a distance from their subject. Others insert themselves directly into the action. It may seem that the format has become routine and some may say even hackney, but there is hope in the horizon. Independent film maker Tim Alexander has come up with an extremely fresh and novel approach to this type of film with his work ‘Diary of a Tired Black Man’. He uses professional actors to play out a situation to invoke an emotional response in his audience. Many documentaries have used actors for reenactments of scenes that occurred in history but this movie combines the documentary with the comedy drama with stunning results. The uniqueness of this film does not stop with its construction and presentation. The marketing involved a model that will certainly become heavily used as time goes on. A three minute clip was posted on the internet and soon made its way around the world. This served to tease the viewers and greatly increase the anticipation for the full film. The film had some showings in various Indy film festivals but its wide release will be through its DVD premiere handled by Magnolia Home Entertainment. They have always managed to locate the little gems out there in the independent film world and bring them into the house of movie buffs everywhere.

This is the first film for Tim Alexander and like many new film makers has taken on more than one hat for the production. He is a true renaissance man capable of handing just about every job function needed in a film crew. It is not unusual for one person to take on writing, direction and production but that is only the tip of the iceberg for Alexander. He wrote the musical score, designed the sets, handled the makeup, wardrobe, sound and worked the camera. It isn’t mentioned in the credits but I would not be surprised if he also cooked and served at the craft service table. To say this was an ambitious undertaking for Alexander would be a gross understatement and a disservice to the man. What is most amazing is this was his initial foray into all of these jobs. If you looked at his resume with all these jobs on a single film you most likely wouldn’t believe it at all. The most incredible thing is the fact that Alexander wildly succeeds in each of these functions; he is a one man film school. Needless to say this movie is a work of love for him. This is something that jumps off the screen and pulls the audience in; the sheer love for cinema that Alexander possesses. This is completely his project.

As the title of the film lets on, this movie focuses on relationships in the African American community. While the viewpoints are somewhat specific to this portion of our society, the issues at the heart of the film are universal in nature. No matter what ethnic group you happen to belong to themes such as passion, love, hate and revenge are part of your emotional makeup. The movie examines the difficulty between black men and women in maintaining a healthy relationship. It does touch on some of the unique and very specific circumstances, history and obstacles that face African Americans, but can be translated to one degree or another to anyone. It treads the fine line between being so general as to lose its impact and being overly critical of a single group. This is a raw and at times an emotionally draining film to watch. There is purity to the way the actors let loose on each other that are captivating even if painful at times to view. Alexander certainly knew that he was going to stir up a hornet’s nest with the release of this movie. Members of the black community are sure to be divided with what they take away from viewing this film. The part of the focus that is less universal in the most important to the production in many ways. Alexander wanted to expose the effects of tradition, media expectation and prejudice on the black relationship. While all groups have their own variations and will be able to use that to appreciate the film it is targeted and acts as magnifying glass to bring all the harsh details to light. It is this juxtaposition of the highly specific to the general that makes this a brilliant work.

The film stars Jimmy Jean-Louis who plays the mind bending superhero Haitian on the NBC television series ‘Heroes’. Here he portrays James, a black man who is just trying to navigate the murky waters of relationships. The first shot of him is James sitting back having a cup of coffee as he reads an entry from the titular diary. In the time in point he went to pick up his daughter from the home of his ex-wife, Tonya (Paula Lema). Also there, however, were Tonya’s three friends. The big mistake that James made in the eyes of his ex and her friends was to show up with a white woman in the car. This is shown in the original three minute clip presented in the film window box format for effect. As Tonya meets James at the door, the attack immediately escalates. She is resentful not only that he dare to bring another woman to pick up his daughter but the fact that she is white is too much. Tonya taunts him saying that he couldn’t find a black woman who would lay down and let him walk over her. James does try to keep his composure throughout the heated exchange as the friends begin to chime in with their own sharp barbs. James does point out a bit of possible hypocrisy since one of Tonya’s friends is dating a white man. They twist that around on James in short order.

The film stays true to the documentary style throughout. It is gritty and realistic, with a power to it that is amazing. Some may argue that this is just another drama but it is far more. It is a documentary in the sense that it takes a real situation and presents it through the perception of the filmmaker. While the characters may be portrayed by actors and extremely talented ones at that, there is a reality here that is rarely if ever caught in a standard film. This is an important piece of cinema and one that should not be missed.

© Doug MacLean


Film Review - By Kam Williams


Diary of a Tired Black Man
Film Review by Kam Williams

Excellent Indie-Flick from Tim Alexander Finally Finds Distribution with Magnolia Pictures

Tim Alexander, this critic’s pick for best black indie director of 2007,essentially had to self-finance Diary of a Tired Black Man, which meant not a whole lotta folks got a chance to see it when he barnstormed around the country with it a year ago. Fortunately, based on the positive feedback from those who did view it, the film has recently been picked up by Magnolia Pictures which now plans to release it on DVD nationally sometime early in 2009.


In recent years, numerous revenge-themed Hollywood adventures have seemed to take a certain delight in portraying black men as unreliable womanizers undeserving of any respect, like the sort of losers always airing their dirty linen any day of the week on The Jerry Springer Show. From Waiting to Exhale to Two Can Play That Game to Diary of a Mad Black Woman, these female empowerment flicks have generally left brothers not only brow-beaten but in need of an image overhaul.

Now, help has arrived in Diary of a Tired Black Man, a fascinating half-documentary-half melodrama which marks the directorial debut of Tim Alexander. You may remember how he generated a phenomenal air of anticipation about this controversial picture merely by posting a trailer on the internet.

That three-minute teaser captured the explosion of lead character James (Jimmy Jean-Louis), a man who was frustrated about being dogged by his ex-wife, Tanya (Paula Lema), and her girlfriends because he showed up with a white woman to pick up his daughter during a custody exchange. Without reacting to their attack, he calmly pauses to address Tanya and her Amen chorus of supporters. Speaking in a measured tone of voice, he gets the last word, letting them know that he had been, and still is, an excellent though unappreciated provider.

The full-length version of the movie opens with this same scene, but rather than proceed with the rest of the modern morality play immediately thereafter, the ingenious director came up with a brilliant cinematic device which only heightens the already palpable tension. He freezes the action after this point of departure (and again periodically throughout the picture) for revealing man-in-the-street interviews featuring fan reaction to the commercial, comments culled from footage he shot while crisscrossing the country with a hand-held camera.

So, essentially half of what we see onscreen is an intriguing documentary of everyday folks from all walks of life, both male and female, weighing-in on the battle-of-the-sexes. And these remarks, ranging from the profane to the profound and from the silly to the sobering, prove to be every bit as telling as the fictional front story.

For instance, a young woman quick to question whether there are any good black men out there refers to the married guy she dated for two years as “typical “and an “effed-up, trifling-ass Negro.” Yet, when asked why she even entered such an ill-fated, illicit liaison in the first place, her only answer is that she “fell in love,” leaving the audience to conclude that she’s just as much to blame for her lot in life as all the black men she’s just dissed.

To Tim Alexander’s credit, he does also include conversations with some African-American females who don’t absolutely go berserk when questioned about the behavior of brothers, like the one who forcefully makes the case that, “Not every black woman walking the face of this Earth is angry. There are plenty of sweet, sugary, syrupy sisters that I know that brothers don’t want.”

Overall, the movie does come down rather hard on sisters, even though it doesn’t let brothers off the hook entirely. Cleverly-edited to keep the audience on the edge of its seat, the movie flits back and forth between this sort of frank dialogue and the riveting tug-of-war between James and Tanya. With both the factual and fictional parts of the picture equally absorbing, expect to emerge from theater emotionally drained yet inspired to discuss the degree of dysfunction permeating African-American relationships among your friends and family.

Tim Alexander is quick to say that “Diary of a Tired Black Man is not a movie, It’s a message.” Well, I’d say it’s both, and if his aim with this message movie is to kickstart an overdue dialogue for change, I’d say congrats for more than meeting that challenge.

Excellent (4 stars) Highest Rating

Running time: 108 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Pictures


The Good - Email Comment

From a Woman - London, England

I was totally blown away by this film. The whole set up of the public reactions vs. the shorts - it was brilliant!

It just left me thinking so much more about how myself as a Black woman interacts with not only my fellow Black women but also relationships with Black men.

Is this going to be screened in the UK any time soon? There is a Black Filmmakers club that reviews films once a month at the ICA in London and this film would be perfect.

Again - kudos on what I think may be another one of my favourite films.

The Good - Email Comment

From a Man - Los Angeles, CA

Great movie! I'm afraid to admit that the movie has actually shown me the lasting consequences of being a bad black man (which I was on my way to being). The testimonials from other "older" educated black men changed my mindset. Thank you!

The Good - Film Review - The Kansas City Star

‘Diary of a Tired Black Man’ is bound to raise some issues

Like pebbles dropped in still water, some movies create ripples that spread to cover the entire culture.

“Diary of a Tired Black Man” is one of those ripple-makers. Except it’s more like a hand grenade tossed in a toilet.

Tim Alexander’s super low-budget film, fresh to DVD this week, is nothing less than a messy, sincere and occasionally savage dissection of male/female relationships, particularly as experienced by African-Americans.

Once people catch on to this movie — and it’s only a matter of time — it should have a major sociological and cultural impact.

This is not to say that “Diary” is great art … just the right movie at the right time.

It began with a three-minute Internet short Alexander wrote and directed a couple of years back. In it a divorced black father named James (Jimmy Jean-Louis, the memory-stealing “Haitian” on TV’s “Heroes”) shows up at his former home to pick up his daughter for a weekend.

His ex, Tonya (Paula Lema), is waiting with several of her gal pals. They’re livid that James has shown up with his current girlfriend, a white woman who waits outside in his car.

In response to their insults that he’s a typical black man and “too weak to deal with a strong black woman,” James announces that he’s not weak. He’s tired — tired of pointless fighting, tired of useless confrontations. He points out that he was faithful throughout the marriage, that he provided the luxurious home in which Tonya lives and that he’s never missed an alimony payment. Oh, and by the way, it’s nobody’s business whom he dates.

In short, he silences the angry women.

“Tired Black Man”— the short that opens this DVD package — became a viral sensation. Subsequently Alexander traveled to several cities showing the short to men and women and videotaped hours of their reactions and comments. Later he wrote and directed several additional scenes depicting pivotal moments from James and Tonya’s marriage.

All these elements have been loosely thrown together for the DVD package, a provocative mashup of fiction, documentary and cinematic essay.

If you really want the full experience, watch “Diary” with Alexander’s commentary track, in which he codifies his ideas about ABWS — Angry Black Woman Syndrome. There’s an epidemic of ABWS, he claims, and it’s threatening the very soul of African-American culture.

Alexander — he says he’s been a victim of ABWS — acknowledges that many women have reason to be angry after being abused and used by their men. (He also chides women for choosing “bad” boys when there are plenty of decent guys out there.) But so many women have become so angry that they cannot appreciate even good, upstanding black men, he maintains. And angry women rarely enjoy lasting relationships.

Some of Alexander’s comments are sure to stir controversy:

“Women will get into another woman’s relationship in a finger snap.”

Women “will attack like pack animals. They all come and circle around you and rip your flesh off.”

The older women get, according to Alexander, the more self-aware they become and the less likely they are to blame everything on men: “The second and third marriages are more successful not because we found someone better, but because we found ourselves.”

Fascinating insight into human relationships? Or just genteel misogyny?

Arguing those points is what makes “Diary of a Tired Black Man” so interesting. Expect “Tired Black Man” discussion groups to spring up in church basements and at community centers. Alexander — a fashion photographer who has never made a film before — even provides a “cuss-free” version on this DVD so that it can be enjoyed by those who cannot tolerate rude talk.

Rude talk or not, expect “Diary of a Tired Black Man” to raise voices and blood pressure.

Can a movie be a culture changer? If so, this is a prime candidate.

Posted on Wed, Feb. 04, 2009 10:15 PM


The Bad - Film Review - Womanist Musings

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Diary Of A Tired Black Man
By Renee

Well black men are fed up.  After dealing with the ways which they have been negatively stigmatized, economically exploited and generally relegated to secondary status they have decided to target the oppressor – ball busting angry black women.  The rage of black men is explored in Tim Alexander’s super low-budget film,”Diary Of A Tired Black Man”

According to KansasCity.com Alexander declares, “There’s an epidemic of ABWS, and it’s threatening the very soul of African-American culture.”   Seriously the man needs to give himself a shake.  With all of the issues facing the African American community, his fixation is on those evil black wimmin, who refuse to  hold their tongue.  Black men have historically equated equality with the ability to act in the same manner as the white male patriarchy.  Isn’t it convenient that the best way to uplift black people is to replicate patriarchy in all of its manifestations.  Now who would that really benefit? HMMMM excuse me if I am a little bit sceptical about the gender neutral nature of this desire.

Alexander — he says he’s been a victim of ABWS — acknowledges that many women have reason to be angry after being abused and used by their men. (He also chides women for choosing “bad” boys when there are plenty of decent guys out there.) But so many women have become so angry that they cannot appreciate even good, upstanding black men, he maintains. And angry women rarely enjoy lasting relationships.

Is it me, or does this man not seem like he has quickly become the master of double speak? ..The ministry of truth would be so proud. We have a right to be angry at the men that have abused us, BUT it is still all our fault because we chose them in the first place.  He manages a perfect combo of victim blaming and misogyny all in one sentence.  Gee, why is it all of angry women cannot get over the bruises, emotional trauma, and broken bones, and worship the men that manifest their male privilege in so-called benevolent headship?

Truly, I am sick of this shit.  If black women are angry, then we have a right to our anger; it is not as though we have been walking the earth with the most favoured person status.  Throwing a legitimate emotion like anger at us, in an attempt to discipline us into performing a passive femininity will not work.  Even if we were to morph into the most submissive women on the planet, it would still not alleviate the problems of the black male patriarchy because we do not function as the power behind the social hierarchy, elite white males do.

The major issue that Alexander fails to address is power.  Instead of seeing power as a creative force he can only envision it as coercive.  In a society that daily affirms a hierarchy of beings, the ability to express power functions as signification of worth and value.  The more one is able to oppress, the more the self becomes realized and since none are born outside of discourse, gender exploitation is often chosen by males.  What Alexander seeks is not uplift but power.  He can never claim it as such because to do so would be to admit that what he seeks means the debasement of the very women whom he claims to want a partnership with.  Privilege and power go hand in hand and it is only the intentionally obtuse who fail to make the connection.

Black women are not to blame for the problems facing black men.  We did not set up this system, we have only been assaulted by it.  What I find most irritating about this refrain is the ways in which it fails to acknowledge the work that black women have done to defend black men against lynching's, high rates of incarceration, drug abuse and racism.  We have stood shoulder to shoulder with them in defence of their rights, against a system that has seemed determined to swallow them whole because they are our fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers.  To be told once again that we need to shut up and obey is offensive.  Black men were not looking for obedience when we openly risked ourselves for their benefit. Black men were not looking for silence when we  howled in righteous indignation at their suffering.  Loving you does not entitle you to blind allegiance. 


The Good - Film Review - Black Entertainment USA

DVD Review: Diary of a Tired Black Man
By Michael Vass

Wow. 10 minutes into this film and I had to stop and write about this movie. This is a powerful film. This is the hidden voice of many Black men, just like myself, that has been drowned out by the perceptions promoted by the media and accepted by some Black women. This film is on the mark. It’s another side to being a Black man that can’t be packaged and sold like the “thug” image.

Those are just a few of the very first thoughts I had while watching this film from director Tim Alexander. An independent film, it does not fall into the cookie cutter standards of Hollywood and that is part of what makes this so powerful. The fact that this is based on true events and is something that Black men around the country experience is another. But this is not just a movie, this is a message whose intent is to spark discussion and motivate action.

There is no question that it will do just that. In fact at the website for the film, www.tiredblackman.com you can see that the forums hold over 50,000 comments discussing the aspects of the film and its topic. There is a lot to be said about a film that provides an indelible experience for those that see it.

Now I admit that I had not seen or heard of the 3 minute video that swept the internet some 3 years ago.

It was that video that inspired the creation of the feature length film. Not only are there vignettes in the film expanding on the original video, there is discussion from men and women from around the nation. And the impact of what is said openly and honestly is enormous.

Tim Alexander – the director and creator of the original video and movie – hits to the core of a part of Black culture that has been avoided in all aspects of the media all my life. I deeply relate to the main character and the experiences he goes through. But be prepared because some will be upset by this film. Its honesty is devoid of the usual distractions and imposed stereotypes found in most films discussing Black relationships.

It’s not the fact that I can recognize myself in the main male character James, played by Jimmy Jean-Louis. It’s not that I recognize some of my past relationships. Or in accepting both of those facts that I better understand my growth as a man from my early teens to who I am today. It’s that I think this film has value for those older and/or younger than me. That this addresses an issue that is eating away at the Black community, and it must be changed.

Suffice to say that this film will evoke a reaction from the viewer. And it does not matter if the viewer is male or female, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever. But it will be an even stronger reaction for those that are more closely tied to its theme and message.

It is the fact that the audience is left with a reaction that is one of the biggest positives of the film. There are far too many movies that try to entertain and are lost in a message, or just fail to do either. And we the audience are left with nothing, in fact often forgetting what we have seen the moment we stop watching. With Diary of a Tired Black Man, you will likely not want to stop watching and you will definitely remember it. And how can you not want to watch a film that can provide that?

One of the best things about the DVD, which is not available in the various bootlegs out there, is the bonus material. Specifically the expanded commentary of those that were interviewed and seen in the movie. Watching the raw footage of what is said and the full context of what some think is as engaging as the film itself. And the commentary by Tim Alexander is equally rewarding.

And I want to address something that is a bit separate of the film. Bootleg DVD’s. We all have owned on at some point. The thought is that the Hollywood studios make too much money to be hurt. But this is not a Hollywood studio movie.

This was the creation of Tim Alexander, and every bootleg copy takes money from his mouth. Some may want to justify a bootleg by inferring that director/creator Alexander is rich, but that too is a false justification. His passion went into this film, as did his money. And every bootleg copy takes money directly from him, excludes some of the best features of the DVD, and affects the ability of this first time director to create another film. And talent to bring this kind of honesty to the screen should never be blocked.

This last part I can say with 100% assurance as I spoke with Tim recently. I think my up-coming interview with Tim Alexander will be interesting for all my readers.

But right now I am focused on the DVD. I recommend it. I suggest strongly that if you are African American you need to own this. And if you are not you will still find the film captivating and will want to own it as well.