Baadasssss! Movie Review

0
0
Subscribe Mario Van Peeples
Baadasssss! is a rollicking, high-energy, and monumentally-titled film re-creation of the trials and travails of the making of Melvin Van Peeble's 1971 black independent hit Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

The film, based mainly on Melvin Van Peeples' book about making the film, illustrates many of the difficulties that plagued it; from financial troubles and crew infighting, to the demanding logistics of the shoot and family dilemmas, all of which made the entire production nearly fall apart.

Mario portrays Melvin - his father - as a hard working, committed man with a dream but also as a dictatorial tyrant who sacrifices anyone and everyone to get his film made. Yet, despite Melvin's nastiness, he and his ideas are respected enough by the crew that they remain loyal.

As Mario presents it, the film becomes a minor sacrifice compared to the greater struggles that black people suffered at the hands of the white establishment for so long. Because of this, it seems no setback was worth worrying about. When part of the crew ends up in jail, Melvin leaves them there over the weekend not only because he doesn't have the money to bail them out but because to him it is a mere inconvenience that he can deal with in a couple of days. Even when Melvin begins to lose sight in one eye due to stress and strain, he simply puts on an eyepatch and gets back to work.

The other primary actor in the film is Khleo Thomas, who plays Melvin's 13-year-old son (Mario, for those of you keeping score). Mario develops a fractious relationship with his father, which is not helped when Melvin insists that he do a butt naked sex scene with the woman who is playing his mother. Other actors include Rainn Wilson, who plays hippie production assistant Bill Harris, Paul Rodriguez as one of the crew members, Nia Long as Melvin's girlfriend, Joy Bryant as his assistant, and Ossie Davis as Melvin's father.

In order to give the film an authentic feel, Van Peeples intersperses interviews of the actors playing the cast and crew with the movie, a la American Splendor. The technique is done so well it seems as though it is unscripted and, in fact, the final screen credits show us more interview clips with the crew.

Baadasssss! is a film about artistic and personal sacrifices as well as political defiance and personal triumph against the white film world that has long dominated Hollywood. But it is also a well-made and entertaining film, full of some of the best scenes that Mario Van Peeples has ever directed. It is a better film actually than Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song but not as timely, not as political, and perhaps not as vital to black cinema - it also plays more into the hands of the white film world than Sweet Sweetback ever did - therefore it might make money but it ultimately will not make as much of a ripple in the film world.

Aka How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass, Gettin' the Man's Foot Outta Your Baadasssss!

Barefoot badass.

0
0
Subscribe Mario Van Peeples

Comments

Baadasssss! Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2003

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Mary J. Blige Reveals How She Stayed Relevant for 25 Years

Fresh from being named the most successful R&B artist of all time by Billboard...

Mary J. Blige Reveals How She Stayed Relevant for 25 Years

American Music Award Winner Sam Smith: My Music Is My Diary

Having already won a string of MOBO Awards and a Brit alongside the buzz...

American Music Award Winner Sam Smith: My Music Is My Diary

The Steve Jobs Biopic Is Back On! Thanks To Universal Pictures

Less than a week ago the much talked about Steve Jobs biopic looked as...

The Steve Jobs Biopic Is Back On! Thanks To Universal Pictures

Rita Ora Stays Cool About 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Role

It's clear that Rita Ora has got a lot on her plate at the moment, with...

Rita Ora Stays Cool About 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Role

Breaking Bad Alumni Michelle MacLaren Will Direct Gal Gadot In 2017's 'Wonder Woman' Movie

After weeks of speculation Michelle MacLaren has been confirmed as the...

Breaking Bad Alumni Michelle MacLaren Will Direct Gal Gadot In 2017's 'Wonder Woman' Movie

Beyoncé - 7/11 - Video

Beyonce dances in her pants in the video for her current single '7/11'! The track features on her 2013 multi-Platinum...

Beyoncé - 7/11 Video

Star Wars Spin-Off Movie Could Focus On Bounty Hunters

It's a big week for Star Wars. The first trailer for The Force Awakens drops on Friday...

Star Wars Spin-Off Movie Could Focus On Bounty Hunters

Christoph Waltz to Play Classic Villain Ernst Blofeld (w/Cat) in Bond 24

Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is expected to play the classic villain...

Christoph Waltz to Play Classic Villain Ernst Blofeld (w/Cat) in Bond 24

Oscar Isaac Cast as Chief Villain in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

Oscar Isaac, the actor who rose to prominence after strong showings in Drive and...

Oscar Isaac Cast as Chief Villain in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'
Advertisement