TIFF19: Dolemite Is My Name

Rudy Ray Moore is a real-life man who made something of himself. He started from the bottom, begging people just to notice him, but eventually finds his niche, creating a character named Dolemite and telling jokes on stage and on comedy albums to very appreciative (mostly black) audiences. He’s a success by any measure, but after a lifetime of being told no, he sets his sights even higher, wanting to take his character to the big screen even though the studio system refuses to make room for him.

This is the role Eddie Murphy was born to play; he is truly at his very best here, more alive and in his skin than I’ve seen him in a long time. His joy is infectious. A long time passion project for Murphy, it’s clear all the cast has caught the bug as well. It truly feels as though everyone is proud to help bring this story to the screen, and to a new generation’s attention. The exceptional ensemble cast, including Keegan-Michael Key, Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Mike Epps, and the lovely Da’Vine Joy Randolph, has a shared energy and passion making for a veritable party on the screen. It’s easy to join in and feel part of the fun.

Dolemite was a character just waiting to be born from years worth of cultural stories and jokes passed down generationally in the African-American community. Moore tapped into this consciousness, giving Dolemite back to his people, and director Craig Brewer ensures that he will not be forgotten. Watching Murphy as Moore find the groove of this Dolemite character is pure magic, a privilege to see. Moore achieved fame as a blaxploitation star in his own right and on is own terms, and he reached back, creating opportunities for others as well as himself, recognizing and picking up spare talent along the way. It’s a remarkable story and kind of an inspiration – in a weird way, a lot like Tommy Wiseau and The Disaster Artist.

But Dolemite is such a unique character and Murphy such a massive talent that this film is simply undeniable. Also rude, crude, and vulgar – not fit for a dog to see, as they say. The best kind of dirty. Dolemite is his name. Fucking up mother fuckers is his game. And for a time, it can be yours.

16 thoughts on “TIFF19: Dolemite Is My Name

  1. ninvoid99

    So Eddie Murphy is officially back? Let’s hope so and let’s hope he doesn’t do anymore shitty family movies or anymore collaborations with Brian Robbins who is a fucking hack.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Oh that’s cool – I bet it would be really fun to watch this movie if you actually know the movie they’re making. In the end credits, they showed some scenes side by side which is always entertaining.

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  2. Snoskred

    I still cannot explain why no matter how hard I try.. why I loved that Bowfinger movie he was in. It was the most stupid thing I think I have ever seen but something about it just tickled us and we loved it, whenever it rains we decide whether or not the rain is chubby.

    I think a big part of why we loved it was the performance by Eddie Murphy. I had not heard of this film but I will definitely add it to my must see list now. 😉

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