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Baadasssss! (Special Edition)

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Critics and audiences alike have gotten behind Mario Van Peebles' candid portrait of his father Melvin's struggle as a young, black director during the society-shifting early '70s. Determined to make a film that matters, Melvin (played by son Mario) deals with two-faced backers, a rag tag crew, threatening creditors and various shades of Hollywood hypocrisy. Obsessed and with everything on the line, including his failing eyesight and family, his only choice is to stick to his guns and do whatever it takes to get his neo-blaxploitation epic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song to the audience for which it was envisioned. The real-life father and son dynamic brings an intimacy to this inspiring and often hilarious tribute to the father of black cinema. The result is a seamless layering of entertaining drama and poignant documentary that mirrors itself from every angle and never loses itsedge.

Amazon.com

Baadasssss! is actor-writer-director Mario Van Peebles's best film since 1991's New Jack City; more accurately, it is a mature and often dazzling work beyond previous expectations of Van Peebles' skills as a filmmaker. Certainly he was inspired by the autobiographical subject: The making of his father's 1971, independently produced Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, in which young Mario made his acting debut amidst a frantic, high-pressure operation that paid off when African American audiences embraced the film. Playing his ownhard-nosed dad, Melvin Van Peebles, the younger talent explores--honestly, but not ruthlessly--Melvin's rocky relationship with an ever-disappointed Mario (played by Holes' Khleo Thomas), but he also portrays the elder man as a stubborn idealist against a backdrop of Hollywood cynicism about black entertainment. The film is a whirlwind of action and innovative scenes recreating personal history but without the insistent discursiveness of memory. With Nia Long, Ossie Davis, and Saul Rubinek. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • "The Birth of Black Cinema" featurette
  • "The Premiere" featurette
  • American Cinematheque Q&A with Melvin Van Peebles
  • Poster explorations

Product Details

  • Actors: David Grier, Paul Rodriguez, Nia Long, Khleo Thomas, Ossie Davis
  • Directors: Mario Van Peebles
  • Producers: Mario Van Peebles
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002JZT50
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Baadasssss! (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Burns on October 26, 2004
Format: DVD
There are some movies that fascinate you only by what's happening on-screen, and then there are movies like Baadasssss! (and Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives) that get you thinking just as much about what in the hell is going through the director's mind. I imagine a lot swam through director/star Mario Van Peebles' head as he portrayed his own father, Melvin Van Peebles, in this gritty tale about the making of the 1971 black cinema landmark, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. In Baadasssss!, Van Peebles portrays, thanks, skewers, criticizes, and analyzes his father all while a great true story unfolds before your eyes. This is interesting stuff.

By the time the '70's rolled around, it seemed that African Americans were out of the worst of it, but still had a long way to go when it came to the world of cinema. Baadasssss! opens like an assault on the senses, a wild musical score grooving in the background, Van Peebles narrating in a cool baritone, and images of offensively cliched blacks thrown onto the screen. Back in 1970, Melvin Van Peebles was the token black director, who had just penned a comedy called Watermelon Man, but this time wanted to do something different. Something radical. Something "serious as cancer," he says. A story about a badass rebel brotha' who grew up in a brothel and got laid at 12, grows up to brutally beat two white police officers who harass and assault another black man, and then goes on the run...well, you can imagine what the old fat white men at Van Peebles' production company would have said. But he doesn't care - Van Peebles wants this movie made, so he goes independent.

There's a great scene in the beginning of the film that reminded me of the opening hotel room sequence of Apocalypse Now.
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Format: DVD
"Baadasssss!" tells the story of making "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song", Melvin Van Peebles' 1971 independent film that created the "blaxploitation" genre and put independent cinema on the economic map. "Baadasssss!" is based on Melvin Van Peebles memoir and directed by his son, Mario Van Peebles, who acted in "Sweet Sweetback" as a 13-year-old and was present for the duration of that film's making. Whether "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" was a good film or a bad one is still a point of much contention. Melvin Van Peebles intended to make a movie that reflected the experiences and attitudes of real black Americans at a time when Hollywood was ignoring popular culture and counterculture altogether. Sweetback is no more an average Joe or realistic character than the later blaxploitation heroes would be. But the film's energy and message must have been true-to-life, as it became the biggest grossing independent film of 1971 and went on to make over $15,000,000.

"Baadasssss!" is an entertaining film with a terrific ensemble cast that not only tells the story of how the first blaxploitation film came to be, but also creates a terrific sense of the culture that spawned "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" and of the relationship between father and son that grew as "Sweet Sweetback" was made. This is one of the best films about filmmaking that I have seen and is sure to appeal to fans of movies about movies. Director Mario Van Peebles pays homage to his father and "Sweet Sweetback"s cast and crew by making a well-written, funny, interesting movie about them and by making "Baadasssss!" in much the same fashion that his subjects made history. "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" was filmed in 19 days on a shoestring budget by a barely qualified crew. "Baadasssss!
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This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It's the story of Mario van Peebles' father making the first "Black" independent film in 1971. It's funny, dramatic, touching and intense! And, all at the same time! It had a limited run in LA and NY and opens around the country on June 25th. It will open in more cities in July and August.
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I was very hestitant to pay $9.00 at the movie theatre to see this film after seeing the original movie " Sweet Sweetback Baadass Song" by Melvin Van Peebles. Though I am a hugh fan of African American Cinema of the 70's, that was one movie I just could not get into. Mostly throughout the film, all you see is the Elder Peebles(Melvin Van Peebles) running from the Po-Pos. I was lost entirely after watching that film because the film was to have supposed to be about him finally standing up to the white man, demanding respect and better treatment, not running from him.

Now the remake "Baadasss" by his son Mario Van Peebles was definately a much better film. Mario Van Peebles plays the Elder Peebles (His dad). This film shows how he and his son handled the setbacks in trying to complete and bring his first independent film to the big screen in which started the Blaxplotation Era . After watching the rental copy of "Baadasss" I was really impressed with this film. It was very well written, exciting, and it's definately worth adding to the movie collection.
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The son's love song to his dad and watching him reenact his own life and memories touched me. He set out to make me believe his father wad genius and that in a world of inequality had things been different then the movie industry would have been also. The message that it was the oppressive practices in Hollywood that gave way to Exploitation films was an intriguing one. It made me want to watch the original (bad move) but it was understanding that you see your parents in one light while the rest of the world sees them in another that kept me watching. It was a history lesson indeed but after watching the original I wondered just whose history?
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