What I’m Watching: Dolemite is my Name

Flicking through Netflix the other day I saw a film with Eddie Murphy in it. Usually I’d perhaps be inclined to steer clear of it as I’m not always convinced with Eddie Murphy films, especially ones where he plays practically the whole cast, but I was looking for some relatively light watching and this seemed to tick the box so I went for it. It’s safe to say I was certainly rewarded for it.

Released on the 25th October Dolemite is my Name is a biographical comedy that tells the story of Rudy Ray Moore. It’s a project Murphy had been keen to be involved in since as early as 2003 but it never came to fruition until 2018 when it was announced the film was in production being directed by Craig Brewer and starring alongside Eddie Murphy the likes of Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson and Snoop Dogg.

Set in the 70’s it follows Rudy’s (Eddie Murphy) life having taken stories directly from the real man himself prior to his death. We initially see Rudy trying to make it in the music industry as he tries to get radio DJ Roj (Snoop Dogg) to play his music. Roj rebuffs him as his music is either dated or not what the stations audience wants at the moment but this doesn’t deter Rudy.

Rudy also is the introduction MC at a club where he introduces Ben Taylor (Craig Robinson) of an evening while running a record store in the day. It’s at the record store that Rudy get the inspiration for his on stage persona Dolemite and the next time he MC’s at the club he is in full pimp suit with a cane and top hat. He begins to tell a humorous tale, partly introducing, partly entertaining and all the while captivating the audience who are laughing and finish up applauding Rudy.

Rudy’s not one to be told he can’t do something, even when it seems completely likely to fail, instead he pushes on and in this case starts out recording a Live Studio Album of his Dolemite character, audience and all. He tries to plug this to record labels who reject him over and over but he does a few white label presses and suddenly it’s everywhere, it even makes it into the charts.

The labels come crawling back of course, eager to cash in, they realise that Rudy is for the “black market” and so fund a few album deals. Rudy isn’t one to stop though and ultimately decides to make a film which he has to make on his own. The record company give him an advance on record sales but tell him it could ultimately see him working for them forever and not receiving anything, it a risk he’s willing to take.

Rudy wants to do a film he’d want to see but of course it’s far more difficult to execute than you’d imagine as a novice, even the director is left shaking his head. Again and again Rudy is nearly stopped but he continues, he pushes forward and in the end (In real life) he’s made five films.

It’s a real feel good film, a story of determination and realising your dream and Eddie is fantastic in it. It’s been hailed as his comeback film following three years of inactivity and it’s definitely clear this one is close to his heart, he gives an amazing portrayal of Rudy and has even left me wanting to watch the actual film!

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