“Dolemite Is My Name” is a biopic film about Rudy Ray Moore and his quest for stardom. Moore, played by Eddie Murphy, began his career in show business as an aspiring singer. The film begins with Moore struggling to promote his music.
His regular comedy bit at a nightclub continues to fall flat; He is a starving artist.
Eventually, Moore finds inspiration from a homeless man who often frequents the record store he works at. The homeless man recites rhyming lines of what seems like folklore and tall tales. Moore builds off of the homeless man's style of delivery to refine his own comedic style and develops a character named Dolemite.
Upon making a complete change in his comedic style, Moore tries his new persona at the nightclub. His act is successful and he continues to push the boundaries of his explicit material. Moore then begins to self produce comedy records and tours the southeastern United States for stand up gigs.
Moore eventually believes that he has a large enough fan base to warrant the production of a Dolemite movie. Moore invests all of his money into the amateur film and eventually finds a company that distributes his film nationally.
It is important to note that “Dolemite Is My Name” could have easily been a flop if Murphy had not been cast as Rudy Ray Moore. It is hard to find a comedian with a resume as polished as Murphy’s. He has always been a great character comedian who can seem to take on any role and bring it to life.
Murphy brings decades of talent to the role because he is essentially the link between past and present comedians. The release of this film is significant because it coincides with Murphy’s comeback. Murphy will host Saturday Night Live for the first time in 35 years in December. He’s also slated to go on a stand-up tour and will release “Coming to America II” all in 2020.
The film is heavy with blue comedy or sexually suggestive content. It also pokes fun at everyday life. Moore’s material was not as mainstream as other dirty comedians of the time, like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor.
In fact, Moore’s material was largely distributed underground. In other words, his material was deemed more explicit than his contemporaries’ work. Moore’s rhyming talents, however, did inspire subsequent generations of rappers like Snoop Dogg, who stars in the film.
Believing in yourself no matter what others say is a major theme of the film. Furthermore, Moore pushes himself to be a better performer anytime he faces a setback or is told no. This motivates him to push for greater heights. He finds a small group of people that are willing to go along with his plan to make Dolemite into a film.
This embodies a set of leadership qualities, in which you first believe in yourself and then convince others to work alongside with you. In fact, in the film, Moore helps mentor a lady to better express her comedic sense of humor and they become a comedy team.
“Dolemite Is My Name” focuses on a genre of film called blaxploitation that was highly prominent during the 1970s. The film was released in select theaters in early October and was released on Netflix on Oct. 25. Moore’s actual career included subsequent films through the latter half of the 1970s. He died in 2008 at the age of 81.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.