Dolemite – Not Eddie Murphy but The Real Thing

I have this kind of love affair with the 70s. To me, it’s an ‘authentic’ period when life was fun and not too complicated.

Phones that rang, answering machines with tape, TVs that fit in clunky wood cabinets… not to mention aviator glasses, bell-bottoms and halter tops.

And the cars. Oh, the cars. If I could invent a time machine just to go back and drive those 70s wheels again…

I thought I had exhausted all sources of 70s nostalgia after revisiting shows like Starsky and Hutch, Bionic Woman, and Space 1999.

But I was wrong. So very wrong.

After watching the recent Eddie Murphy film I got curious about Rudy Ray Moore.

I could appreciate that he is seen as the grandfather of rap but I wanted to learn more. So when I found the original Dolemite movie on Kanopy, I was delighted. It’s also on Tubi if your library doesn’t subscribe to Kanopy.

For me, this film is a blast. If you don’t mind some rough language and pretty tame partial nudity, Dolemite is definitely worth your time.

It’s actually history. A history I wasn’t too aware of.

By that, I mean seeing through the eyes of black people in the 70s—or at least trying to.

The Eddie Murphy version of the story says this film originally hit with black audiences far more than with non-blacks. And that its humor and emancipatory wakeup call was something most non-blacks in the 70s just couldn’t get.

As for the music, well, there’s no big hit like in Shaft but the soundtrack is consistently solid wah-wah funk.

I loved this film. It’s a B-movie for sure, replete with clumsy timing, wooden and sometimes over the top acting. But it’s supposed to be, which makes it so much better than B-movies trying to be A-movies.

I’d say it’s really an A+++ movie.

Watch it with an open mind and hopefully, you’ll see what I mean.

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