Dolemite is My Name (2019)

Movie Info

General Info

Rating
R
Run Time
1 hour 58 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Violence
1 / 10
Language
8 / 10
Sex / Nudity
7 / 10
Star Rating
★★★★

Movie Review

movie:
Craig Brewer

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On January 25, 2020
Last modified:January 25, 2020

Summary:

The true story of how Rudy Ray Moore rose from obscurity in a record store to make his film Dolemite.

“Dolemite” & his crew. (c) Netflix

This is one of Eddy Murphy’s funniest movies, but due to its extremely vulgar language and nudity, not one that I can recommend for any faith group to discuss. Director Craig Brewer and the scriptwriters seem to be trying to outdo Quentin Tarantino in the use of the “F” word, so be forewarned.

This is an interesting “making of a movie’ movie, Murphy playing Rudy Ray Moore, a real life Los Angeles entertainer back in the 1970s. The film tells the story of his rise from a wannabe stand-up comic to recording artist to unlikely Hollywood filmmaker. The latter portion of the film reminded me a little of the film Ed Wood, though Rudy Ray Moore’s humor is intentional compared to that of the inept Ed Wood. (Actually screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski wrote that film too!”

Rudy Ray works by day at a record store and at night as an MC for Ben Taylor (Craig Robinson) and his musical group at a club. He asks the club owner to be allowed to go on as a comic, but is turned down. One day at the store, a homeless man goes into a rhyming rant in which he uses the name “Dolemite.” Rudy Ray is inspired to create a stage persona telling hilarious stories. Dressed in a bizarre pimp outfit and backed by friends, Rudy Ray’s rapid fire stories are a hit with the audience at the club. Next, financed by his aunt’s money, he manages to produce a comedy record album, first selling it locally out of his trunk, then through a company. He goes on a tour of the South, picking up others for his act, fast talks his way into producing and starring in a movie, and more. (The most memorable of his crew are Wesley Snipes as actor/director  D’Urville Martin and Da’Vine Joy Randolph is delightful as Lady Reed.)*

As a film about outsiders trying to make it, it is at times very moving. One of the most poignant moments is when the large-bodied Lady Reed, after their film is made says to Rudy Ray, “I’m so grateful for what you did for me, cause I’d never seen nobody that looks like me up there on that big screen.” Even Rudy Ray’s last act at the theater where his film is being premiered drives home this theme—there is a large crowd outside unable to get in to the sold-out movie, so instead of going back into the auditorium, he devides to stay with them.

The crazy plot sounds entirely implausible, similar to 2018’s “true story” film about a filmmaker The Disaster Artist, and yet it too is based on truth—and by going to the IMDB site of this film, you will see a link to the actual Blaxploitation movie—Dolamite— that Rudy Ray, said to be “The Godfather of Rap,” and his motley crew made. It’s true what they say about scarcelybelievable but true tales, “You really can’t make this stuff up.”

*Also worth noting is the film crew hired by Rudy Ray consisted of UCLA film students. The  cinematographer identified only as “Nick” in the film, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, is Nicholas von Sternberg, son of famed director Josef von Sternberg.  He shot sequels to Dolemite and, subsequently, a long string of badly received low budget movies.

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The true story of how Rudy Ray Moore rose from obscurity in a record store to make his film Dolemite.

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