avoid these

Sunday night I watched a movie. It was a movie I'd heard about ever since I was a small kid. It was made in 1971 when I was 10 years old and had some culture significance since it was the first self financed movie made by a black man. Or so goes the quasi-legend no doubt originated by the director (who was also the star, writer, producer--and he even co-wrote the score!)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song - Melvin Van Peebles

It was a movie that was ahead of its time here in the United States and copied many of the mannerisms of European avant garde films of the time. Not very well, I might add. I suspect Van Peebles knew what he was doing as a director though I didn't see any directing talent in this movie, just knowledge of what he should do. The execution wasn't impressive.

However directing isn't even the beginning of the story here. Van Peebles, at least in this movie, really sucks as an actor. There were times when I suspected he only made this movie so he could appear naked on the screen. Many times. Having sex. With many different women. And acting quite wooden every time. Scary stuff. Worse--he had his teenage son appear as his early self at the beginning of the movie and he was naked (the son) and pantomining having sex with a middle aged prostitute. That shit can get you arrested these days--it's called kiddie porn. And while I hope that young Mario wasn't really having sex with the woman, his father Melvin wasn't just acting. He contracted gonorrhea while making the movie so he was doing more than acting out the sex scenes.

At least he brought something away from making this film--even if it was the Clap. That's more than anyone else could say. Not a single person in the entire film could act at all. This movie is like Plan 9 from Outer Space without the unintentional laughs. At least Ed Wood was taking his movies seriously--I think Van Peebles was just trying to cash in.

My bad luck extended to books as well. I'm currently reading Stephen Frey's novel Shadow Account and while I like most of Frey's books, this is an exception. Frey specializes in novels that use the backdrop of the International finance world and in this book he spends far too much time using his characters to preach. Often pages will go by with one character sermonizing about problems in how companies use accounting to hide misdeeds and criminal actions, using a second character just to say the occasional "what do you mean?" or "could you explain that?". After a while that gets very annoying!


kenju said…
I have never seen that movie, and now I know I never will!
Teresa said…
I can understand you giving the book a try, but can't think of a reason for you to check out the movie. Is there a story behind this one? Hmmmm....
utenzi said…
Well, Teresa, mosly due to the fact that it was there. The library tends to have lots of selection during the week but not much on weekend. This movie just happened to be there. Also, the son, Mario Van Peebles, recently made a movie about Sweetback and seeing a review of that movie made me curious about the original one. BTW, the new one HAS to be a lot better than the one his father did back in '71.
Michelle said…
I like your genitals better :o)

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