How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) Image

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  • Summary: A chronological collage of Melvin Van Peebles, a beyond-Renaissance man. (Film Forum)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 80
    A loving tribute to one of the strangest and most enjoyable figures to emerge from American pop culture in its entire history.
  2. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Lively interviews from a wide range of people, a wealth of excerpted footage stretching over decades, and a story packed with legend are served up by helmer Joe Angio with a verve mirroring the restless creativity of the film's subject.
  3. 80
    If anything, one wishes the film would have spent even more time with Peebles in his personal life.
  4. The film chronicles an astonishing career...Mr. Van Peebles is that rarest of modern creatures: a free man.
  5. 67
    Angio captures the outlandish twists and turns of Van Peebles' life with humor, color, and a welcome lightness of touch.
  6. Melvin Van Peebles gets the idolatrous treatment in this documentary by first-time director Joe Angio that traces his subject's career as San Francisco cable-car conductor, rap pioneer, filmmaker, Broadway producer, stockbroker, and all-around womanizer.
  7. Angio's film is an excellent introduction, but it won't be long before you realize that his subject is too complex to be contained in a single admiring tribute. When you want to know more - and you will - you'll be glad there's somewhere else to go for a bigger picture.

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