Posted by: kfugrip | March 2, 2008

I dunno… because it was on.

I like movies about moviemaking.  It’s a weakness.  I contemplated creating a website devoted to the genre many times.  Some of my favorite films are of this genre, Fellini’s 8 1/2 and Living in Oblivion, to name a couple.  This is what prompted my desire to watch Badasssss!, directed by Mario Van Peebles.  I have no love for Mario Van Peebles and I’ve seen none of his father’s films, or any blaxploitation films at all, so Badasssss! ending up on a list of films that I want to see was derived solely on the basis of what it shares with the aforementioned genre.

Badasssss! is about the making of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.  It concerns itself with Melvin Van Peebles‘, the director who put his finances and his life on the line to make a revolutionary film about black people, a film that hadn’t been made until that point.

What I liked:  The subject matter, Van Peebles‘ struggle to make Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, was interesting.  Mario, being Melvin‘s son, had a take on it that surpassed what a random outsider could have produced.  The book is based on Melvin‘s book about the same, and Melvin was involved in the creation of the film.  That was beneficial and showed.

What I didn’t like: The film is weighed down with seemingly random injections of sentimentality and machismo.  I’m sure that Melvin Van Peebles was a tough customer and willed his film to the screen as much as any filmmaker but I didn’t find it interesting and it was mainly to do with the incorporation of the melodramatic elements with the mechanical bits about filmmaking.  Sifting through the bull is also part of it.  Melvin’s film is surrounded by a mythology that should create a more interesting film but I find some of it to be posturing.  Maybe I’m wrong but it ruined some of the most compelling aspects of the film, the filmmaking.

2 stars




  1. hearing this movie from the other room made it seem like it was maybe worth half a star…

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