Balance January 2020 - 69

THE ONE THING THIS
MONTH TO TOP YOUR
TO-DO LIST

JANUARY 2020

BALANCE.MEDIA

URE

C U LT

S AY M Y N A M E
Eddie Murphy will make your soul soar in the sublime Dolemite Is My Name

WORDS James Gill

N

etflix goes into 2020 gathering Oscar heat with a gritty
biopic boasting a big-name star. Do we mean Robert
De Niro's epic gangster drama The Irishman? That's
good, yes, but we're actually talking about Dolemite Is
My Name, a hugely inspiring true story about Rudy Ray Moore, a
man with a plan as big as his heart.
Eddie Murphy gives - we're going to say it - a career-best
performance as Rudy, born into hardship and unhappy with his lot.
By day, Rudy struggles to make ends meet in a record shop, while
dreaming of the big time. When a homeless man wanders in and
starts shouting about a character called Dolemite, Rudy befriends
him and develops a thirst for more stories. Inspiration strikes and
Rudy creates the Dolemite persona as a stage act - think a smarttalking super-pimp - and becomes a hit on the nightclub scene.
Audiences can't get enough of his outlandish tales.
This is the sort of film that makes you think anything is possible
- it's just about finding the project that ignites the passion. Indeed,

the clubs prove just the start for Rudy; a cinema trip with pals to
see The Front Page in 1974 plants another seed. White audiences
lap up filmmaker Billy Wilder's wit, but Rudy and his friends fail to
see the funny side - and so they decide to make their own film, and
the often-hilarious shoot is lovingly recreated here.
One scene, in which Eddie chastises a superbly snotty Wesley
Snipes (as actor D'Urville Martin) on set, is the sort of moment
that causes the hairs to stand on the back of the neck, bringing to
mind the adage that there are two types of people: those who try
and those who sneer. Choose your side wisely.
Eddie and his team have created something special: an inspiring
story that resonates with everyone, regardless of background.
Come Oscar night on Sunday 9 February, that could count for a
lot. Given Rudy's life story, how fitting that the underdog is still
looking to upset the odds more than 11 years after his death.

Dolemite Is My Name is on Netflix now

69



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