Melvin Van Peebles Stars in Semi-Autobiographical Vanity Pic
Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha
Running time: 99 minutes
Studio: Yeah, Inc
Film Review by Kam Williams
Fair (1 star)
Melvin Van Peebles has enjoyed an enviable career as an internationally-renown filmmaker, actor, singer, producer, playwright, scriptwriter and composer. The 77 year-old Renaissance man might be best remembered for both starring in and directing Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassssss Song, the groundbreaking drama which gave rise to the blaxsploitation era of the Seventies.
If it sounds a little like I’m vamping to avoid discussing his new offering, you're right. For I hate to have to knock a revered icon for what is likely to serve as his swan song. The principal problem with Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha is that Melvin decided to play himself in this semi-autobiographical vanity pic covering critical events in his life from his formative years through middle age.
It’s simply impossible to buy the idea of a graying septuagenarian as a teenager in the bloom of youth, whether he’s rolling in the hay with a buxom, barely-legal babe or just hanging out with hustlers on the streets of Harlem. Yes, Mr. Van Peebles throws himself into the role with an admirable gusto for a geezer, but in the end this patchwork quilt of slapdash sketches is less a fully fleshed-out cinematic concept, than a mediocre piece of performance art.
Sorry, I simply can't recommend this impressionistic bio-pic in good conscience, even if the subject is a worthy ex-doofus-itchyfooted mutha.
Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha (Graphic Novel)
Click to order via Amazon
by Melvin Van Peebles
Paperback: 72 pages
Publisher: Akashic Books (September 1, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.4 x 0.1 inches
Nearly forty years after breaking his way into public consciousness, the indefatigable godfather of African American cinema presents a graphic novel version of his latest film (of the same name). Beholden to no one but himself, Melvin Van Peebles vividly brings the big screen alive on the printed page in this delicious romp about a soul-searching globetrotter.
The immaculately illustrated, bawdy picaresque details a lonely man’s search for love in all the wrong places’an odyssey of a man (’played’ in the film and in the illustrations by Van Peebles) whose restlessness keeps him constantly on the move. Replete with film stills, all-original illustrations, crackling dialogue, and trademark wit (recalling the best of Richard Pryor as funneled through an oversexed Miguel de Cervantes), this madcap adventure reflects an artist-provocateur at the peak of his creative power.
About the Author
Melvin Van Peebles established his legacy as the iconoclastic founding father of Black American cinema from directing, writing, producing, and acting in such groundbreaking films as Watermelon Man (1970) and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971). He has been equally prolific across several media as a novelist, musician, and composer. His numerous achievements include the French Legion of Honor, the 1999