Netflix Now: Dolemite Is My Name (2019) - Reviewed

There are some fundamental truths in film making. The two that most come to mind are this. The final chapter in a horror franchise is never the final chapter and everybody loves a comeback. I don't care who you are, we like to see someone who was down and out return in a major way. A movie or role so good that it reminds you of why we fell in love with an actor in the first place. It shows new shades or reveals hidden depths you didn't know they had. And in Dolemite is My Name, Eddie Murphy does that and more.

Dolemite Is My Name is the true story of Blaxploitation icon and legendary stand up Rudy Ray Moore. Rudy is down on his luck, trying to make it as a star in any way possible. Whether it's through music, comedy, or film, Rudy is determined to make himself a star and prove the disbelievers down through and that the raunchy, hilarious, kung-fu fighting Dolemite character might be his shot at success. 

Dolemite Is My Name is a film that is a loving tribute to anyone who has dreams of making a movie or a name for themselves. It is frequently laugh out loud hilarious while also filled with heart and soul. It is a film that treats it's characters with respect and dignity while also still being light on it's feet in the best possible way. The writers of Ed Wood wrote this film and you can tell. They have a shared DNA of love and affection for it's subject. 

After years of being trapped in family comedies and not doing anything else, Eddie Murphy comes alive as Rudy Ray Moore. This is one of the best performances of his career and reminds you of just how damn good Eddie can be. The film lives and dies on his performance and he helps bring it home. He is funny, charming, and the heart and soul of this movie. Age has made Eddie more reflective as an actor, selling not only the comedy but the film's emotional beats. The rest of the cast is terrific as well, especially Wesley Snipes as D'Urville Martin. Snipes is so funny in this movie, acting as the audience surrogate and as a counterpoint to Eddie Murphy. Just a quick shot of his eyes during the flubbed kung fu fights or sex scenes will make crack you up. 

Directed by Craig Brewer and written by the writers of Ed Wood, Dolemite Is My Name is one of this year's best films. It is written with so much love and affection for Moore and the films he made that you can't help but root for him. Every frame of this film is a love letter to Moore and to anyone who has dreams of making something out of themselves. Now streaming on Netflix and in theaters, this is a fitting return for a screen legend and should be watched ASAP. Put your weight on it! 

--Liam O'Connor