Eddie Murphy picked up two Golden Globe nominations for “Dolemite is My Name,” a bio flick about black filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, nominated “Dolemite is My Name” for best motion picture in musical or a comedy category. Murphy, who plays Moore, was nominated for best actor in a motion picture in a musical or a comedy category.
I take issue with categories in which Dolemite and Murphy were nominated. There are funny scenes in the movie, but it is definitely not a comedy.
Other than the Sly & The Family Stone number “Thank You Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again,” which opens the film, and a couple of other songs placed throughout the movie it definitely is not a musical.
Since the Golden Globes were announced on Monday, the African American Film Critics Association has named Murphy best actor for “Dolemite,” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, best supporting actress, for her role in the film. Randolph, who graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, plays Lady Reed in a breakout scene.
The film is about Moore, a serial entrepreneur, who refuses to give up in pursuit of his dream, which evolves from being a shake dancer, singer, making comedy albums and making a movie.
Along the way, he works as a not-too-funny master of ceremonies at a Los Angeles night club. He also makes Triple X rated comedy albums with pictures of tits and asses on the covers that he sells out of his car trunk because no store will display them.
His main gig is working as assistant manager of a record store. He laments how disappointing his life has become.
“How did my life get so small” he says to a friend played by actor Mike Epps.
Fortune, however, strikes when he learns how to rap from some homeless winos living in an abandoned building that once was a high-class night club.
Eventually, he works the chitlin circuit—a series of black-owned night clubs in the segregated South– telling classic jokes like “Why do ducks fly upside down in Mississippi?” “Because there’s nothing worth shitting on,” he answers to howls of laughter.
The nightclub scenes are delightful. Black men and black women are seen smiling and laughing with each other, enjoying the music and the comedy.
When he pitches his movie, every movie studio turns him down, but he keeps trying until he succeeds. He keeps a record, crossing off the companies who tell him no.
In the film, Murphy surrounds himself with a great cast that includes Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Snoop Dog, Mike Epps, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Craig Randolph, Titus Burgess, Barry Shabaka, Keegan-Michael Key and others.
“Dolemite” is a surprise nominee because all of the black and white critical attention was focused on “Harriet,” a bio flick about abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
At the Toronto Film Festival, the host said he was seeing an Eddie Murphy he didn’t know about.
Dolemite is a message film for black men. It is not billed as such, but it is. The film tells black men to find what they want to do and to stick with it.
“Dolemite” is streaming on Netflix.