dolemite quarantine

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Dolemite Is My Name.

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: A Blaxploitation Ed WoodDolemite Is My Name tells the true story of Rudy Ray Moore as he puts together a rag-tag group of amateurs to make a blaxploitation movie.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: There’s something so rewarding about watching a group of outcasts and misfits come together to achieve their dreams – at any cost. Especially now, when so many of us are literally stuck in a rut, completely unsure of what the hell the future will bring.

Eddie Murphy is funny as hell. I know it’s easy for some people to forget that, since he’s spent many recent years appearing in lackluster crap. But if you ever needed a reminder of how hysterical Murphy can be, look no further than Dolemite Is My Name. It finds Murphy back in fighting form, his comedic timing as sharp as ever, his line-delivery – and use of four-letter words – impeccable.

Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, a dreamer who just wants to hit it big. His career as a singer didn’t pan out, so Moore gets it in his head to try out stand-up. His comedy is crude and unpolished, but it actually finds an audience. And soon he’s cutting comedy albums with his own money – and becoming a cult sensation. But that’s still not enough – he wants more. And he thinks his true path to stardom lies in the world of movies.

So, with zero filmmaking experience, Moore pools together all his friends, all his money, and sets out to make Dolemite, an absurd blaxploitation comedy about a pimp who knows kung-fu. Moore and company are totally winging it as they go – and you know what? That’s fine. In fact it’s better than fine – it’s inspiring. Dolemite Is My Name is a movie that celebrates dreamers, and says that no dream is too stupid if you believe in it.

Dolemite Is My Name comes from writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the duo that also wrote Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. As a result, Dolemite Is My Name often feels like a Blaxploitation Ed Wood – it has that same spirit of losers following their big cinematic dreams, critics be damned. Sure, the story has been Hollywoodized a bit, but that doesn’t make Dolemite Is My Name any less rewarding. This movie is funny – laugh-out-loud, gut-bustlingly funny. And it’s also very sweet. The way Moore gathers like-minded outcasts around him – particularly Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who is phenomenal as Lady Reed – makes the overall experience all the more rewarding.

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