Bad As I Wanna Be: The Dennis Rodman Story (1998)
Reveling in his oddball behaviour, Dennis Rodman addresses the camera and asks, “Do I make you nervous?”. Well no, but such an opening does make me wary of what’s about to follow. Rodman reappears throughout the film, commenting on proceedings or offering a few lame bon mots, usually in front of a mirror. It’s where he seems most comfortable, unlike the version of himself presented for the majority of this biopic.
Providing the film’s narration as well, Rodman sums up his childhood as having no money, no father and no future. After blowing a few chances to remedy his lot in life, Rodman finds a possibility of gaining all three when he moves to Oklahoma. Despite receiving a welcome akin to Cleavon Little’s in Blazing Saddles, Rodman is adopted by the Rich family after striking up a friendship with 13-year-old Byrne. After having no father figure for most of his life, Rodman soon finds a second mentor in Detroit Pistons' coach Chuck Daly, but when Daly leaves the team a few years later Rodman’s life starts to spiral.
That’s when the new and improved Dennis Rodman finally makes his appearance, but the depiction still doesn’t gel with the weird looking dude who has been interjecting throughout. Perhaps this is due to the more titillating material from his autobiography being excised for the benefit of commercial television. The result leaves us with a sanitized Rodman who seems to have stepped onto the set of television's '7th Heaven'. The performances are similarly one note, from the angry mother who believes in tough love to the surrogate father imparting cliched homilies. The one bright spark is Terumi Matthews, who reprises her role as Madonna from an earlier biopic.
Spare a thought for Dwayne Adway, who is given the unenviable task of portraying a man who insists he himself was playing a character for most of his life… and that was before he became a clown!
as Dennis Rodman
"It's not the real story. It's all calm and laid-back, not raunchy at all and much nicer than it was."
Dennis Rodman, TV Guide
Biopic's timeline ends before Rodman's film career starts.