Jaded (not Dolemite) is My Name

I sincerely respect the time and effort that goes into screenwriting and movie making. And I appreciated the message behind Dolemite is My Name, follow your dreams, take a chance. And so I feel jaded saying that similar to Pain & Glory, I was non-plussed by Dolemite is My Name. Again, I appreciated the story, but just wasn’t moved or inspired.

Here’s why: The Disaster Artist to me was a fantastic movie. The cameos and writing were comedic, yet there were also touching moments. With Dolemite, it was all too breezy, I never felt the angst in Eddie’s character to make me want to root for him. And I love Eddie Murphy, I love his stand up, all of his SNL characters and his other movie performances.

I also fully realize the writing team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have a large body of work, specializing in biopics “The People Vs. Larry Flynt”, “Ed Wood” and “Big Eyes” to name a few. Yet Dolemite, like “Big Eyes” is simply likeable because the emotions involved are stifled.

Back to my sunny optimistic “What’s good?” self…the best acting in the film is actually done by Wesley Snipes, who plays the diva movie star Eddie cons into being in his movie. I also enjoyed the cameos: Snoop Dog and Chris Rock. Da’Vine Joy Randolph was gorgeous as the female lead and Tituss Burgess was also totally believable.

Back to my dark side: Craig Robinson stuck out like a sore thumb as did Keegan-Michael Key. They are just simply transparent, much like the wigs used in the film, just very artificial.

I’ll stick the landing, to use a gymnastic term, and end on a positive note. The costuming was out of this world, from the flashy suits Eddie wore, to the beatific outfits Da’Vine donned. And that’s about the only category I’d vouch for an award nomination.

Sure, Dolemite is My Name is entertaining, but when people start to go ga-ga over a film that doesn’t move me emotionally, I just have to speak out.

Hustlers: Despite the Thongs, Not All That it’s Cracked Up to Be

Not to sound cocky, but my blog title is better that the actual screenplay of “Hustlers”. Ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but let me count the ill begotten ways of this movie.

1. If you want us to feel empathy for a character, we have to have some back story…J Lo, for instance, how did her character become a money hungry man hater? Constance Wu, we understand is a sad sack and in the LAST 15 minutes we see one tiny NON-PEOPLED clip that’s suppose to explain. Frontload this, honey.

2. Men who frequent strip clubs might be pigs, but aren’t the girls also who profit? I digress, men might be pigs who…BUT they are also three dimensional humans. Again, we find out about Doug Stone in the LAST quarter of the film after we’ve already seen countless men who simply work on Wall Street and then go throw money at women every evening.

3. Fact checked by an actual man: men do not throw money at strippers like Snoop Dog threw at the Padres (https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/05/mlb-worst-first-pitches-50-cent-michael-jordan-snoop-dogg-carl-lewis-bababooey-videos-list). They actually want the specific girl to know, ‘hey this is for you’, so it’s not done from the pitcher’s mound.

4. Continuity and Character Development: J Lo’s character has one daughter who she’s a ‘fabulous’ mom to while she’s up whoring it up nightly, but then in a later scene she has another younger daughter…hmmm, a nine month sabbatical happened? And Constance has a kid she neglects, and we never see the child again for the last quarter other film. Poof, gone.

Three positive asides: J Lo’s body has to be the G.O.A.T., the music is good and I did appreciate the inventiveness of sound in the interview process with Julia Stiles.

Have I convinced you that YOUR money might be better spent at an actual strip club? (kidding) The best news for me is that I can cross off my list of highly respected critics (good to clear out the cache of heroes now and again), any of them who even dare mention the word Oscar and J Lo or Constance Wu in the same sentence. This may be a first; my anger at someone even got nominated.