A movie with a lot of heart and soul, but loses me when it comes to story.
We here at Story Sandwiches love to keep track of stories. The stories are the lifeblood of the movie and they tend to keep me coming back. Characters can be great pieces of the story. The setting is also incredibly important. Even the way they film helps to tell the story better for the audience. All in all, though, it is all about the story. The story of people who drive cars very quickly and angrily. A story about a baby that is the devil’s child. Or a story that is all about one of the more famous Blaxploitation actors of all time. Here’s my review for Dolemite is my Name.
Characters I Liked
When a movie has a character’s name in the title, you know it’s going to be about them. The lead actor is going to put in their best work and that’s going to be the story. Lincoln is an example of this. Or Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. These movies are all about the characters and even more importantly, the actor. That actor in this case is Eddie Murphy. The guy who did movies like “The Nutty Professor”, “Norbit”, and “Doctor Dolittle” (Let’s see Robert Downey Jr. do Doctor Dolittle and see what happens.). Eddie is now leading a movie that is a little bit funny, a little bit dramatic, and a lot of heart as the titular character Dolemite.
Eddie does his best to hold the movie up and does a rather good job. He’s got a great supporting cast with him, like Lady Reed and Titus from Kimmy Schmidt, but the one supporting actor that helped him so well, he almost Tucci’d (Stole) the whole thing, was Wesley Snipes. He plays a ridiculous character in D’Urville Martin who is the director of the movie being shot in the movie (Inception!) and is a star because he was an elevator operator in Rosemary’s Baby. His performance is erratic, aloof, and the perfect amount of peculiar for this role.
As talked about earlier, the story is what we are all about here (well, that and sandwiches). I want a good story and I’m going to seek out movies that give me one. Dolemite is my Name has a lot of chances for a good story. The whole plot is rife with conflict, but each time a piece of conflict comes up, a resolution comes up, as well. “I want to do comedy, how do I do it?” Quickly steal it from homeless people without a single repercussion or even after thought. “How do we shoot this movie?” Here comes the recording studio to pay for it. “Oh no, we’re out of money for this movie!” Studio here again, we’re good. The story is afraid to deal with the conflict and instead chooses to push through.
This story has some shining moments in it, however. The character Dolemite has one strong motive, to become famous. We see each action that he takes moves him closer and closer to this goal. That type of determination is not only fun to see, but something that we all hope to strive for. The supporting characters each have their own stories, as well. We really get to meet Lady Reed at a low point in her life and see her come out of it, although like other conflicts, very easily. The character’s stories are good, while the overall plot is more afraid of conflict than I was in middle school (And still am to this day).
Too often movies are rated on how good they are. As if there is some sort of objective truth to what movies are trying to become. Just like people, you can’t judge movies on one thing alone and shun all the movies that don’t fit into that. The Academy already does that and has made a killing off of it, so I’m going to do it differently. I’m, going to judge these movies based on how they made me feel. If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that I’m an emotional person and movies have the ability to tear those emotions write out of me.
Dolemite is my Name is just rife with heart. You see it in Dolemite as he tries and tries to become famous. You see it in his supporting team as they deal with the world around them, one that is quite unfair to them. You see it with Wesley Snipes as he becomes more and more disillusioned with the project as it goes along. But more than anywhere you see it in Lady Reed. She has a monologue to Dolemite thanking him for putting her on the screen, because there aren’t a lot of people that look like her on the screen. That really pulls at your heart strings. This movie made me feel excited for the future. Excited for how inclusive we have become, yet still how far we have to go.
This was a really great feel-good movie, but that’s where it stops for me. The lack of conflict that lasted longer than 5 minutes made it hard to really be pulled into the movie. The shining stars were Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed, and Wesley Snipes. I felt determined after this movie and am excited to move forward, despite what any of the critics are saying about me. I won’t take no for an answer after this movie. Just like Dolemite.