Van Peebles will not be Put Down by The Man

Baadasssss! (aka How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass) is not just an oddly spelt movie, it is a funny and engaging look at a real film that changed cinema.

Like Ed Wood and others, this is a docu-drama, a film that brings the history to life by recreating it. It is a technique that relies on the content matter being interesting, which in this case it is. In the early 1970’s the major studios were rocked by the success of a low budget independent film, Easy Rider, and they were looking to find a way to cash in, but they were looking in all the wrong places. Melvin Van Peebles was a small time player in the studio system, and his idea of a film where the main character was not only black but was triumphant was just too bigger a risk for them to take.
This film is the story of Van Peebles struggle against enormous odds to make this film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song, a reality. And it’s all true.

Joining the sexual revolution

Baadasssss! is made with the eye for detail and loving care that you would expect from someone as closely connected to the source material, Van Peebles son, Mario. The recreation of the wild times of the 70’s is a pleasure to watch. The mishaps of Melvin in trying to secure funding and then battling during production and post-production may be a little exaggerated, but only to make evident the difficulty that he endured.

The cast is fantastic, with the late Ozzy Davis, Adam West and Rainn Wilson as well as director Mario Van Peebles as his own father Melvin. Be watching during the closing credits for the real life characters, like Bill Cosby, giving their take on the story.

This is an important movie, if only to realise that there was a time where the content of a film was important. You can forget Jackie Brown as a tribute to Blaxploitation, this is a true telling of an underdog makes good, and a brother fighting The Man story. It is an exciting and true story of black Americans history.