Dolemite (1975)

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Food: Over the holiday, I was with my family in Park City, Utah, where we tried a variety of local restaurants in the downtown area. One local spot, known for its chicken wings and pizza, is called Davanza’s. With simple, but eclectic decor (order at the counter style, and walls covered with a collection of about 100 beer cans), my mom and I split a meat lovers pizza and ceaser salad with beers and soda for the table. Unfortunately, it consistently had a long wait time, but would otherwise, be the perfect spot for a high-quality quick bite.

Film: Similar to the phenomenon of Tommy Wiseau, this is fun to watch for its cult-classic charm. Created by entrepreneurial orator Rudy Ray Moore as a passion project to capitalize on his comedic stage character, “Dolemite” follows a stylish pimp who has been framed by the cops. It is a hit 1970’s blaxploitation piece that covers everything from goofy melodrama to groovy disco tunes and shows us who the Queen B was before Beyonce arrived on scene. Oh, and there’s an army of kung fu fighting women.

With impeccable one-liners, like “Dance, motherfucker, dance!” Dolemite cruises through town in a collection of colorful leisure suits and fights against his enemies with his army of ass-kickin’ ladies (his “girls” were put through karate school while he was in jail). Moore is a true auteur here, creating a film with sensationalized action and such over-the-top characters, that you can overlook the low quality production value. The film fully commits to it’s vision without batting an eye the entire time.

The film is a ton of fun, plain and simple. It also reflects the humor and interests of a portion of  black culture in America at this time. Rudy Ray Moore’s titular character galvanized a following throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s, known for his crass, rhythmic tales of this alter-ego pimp and all his exploits. After making an unexpected impact at the time of it’s release, the films, stand-up routines, and the character of “Dolemite” himself, continue to influence pop culture.

In 1989, the band Beastie Boys mention Dolemite in their song, “Egg Man.” In 1993, Dolemite is mentioned in a Wu Tang Clan song called “Clan in da Front.” Bloodhound Gang, as well as Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre also mention him in a couple of their songs. Needless to say, the “Dolemite” effect stood the test of time, and with the new 2019 biopic featuring Eddie Murphy, it looks like it is staying that way.

 

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