Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Ray Moore’

Dolemite Is My Name

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME is a dream come true – topnotch director, writers and cast making a beautiful, warm, well produced triumph-of-the-underdog epic about Rudy Ray Moore, the small time club singer who reinvented himself by selling dirty comedy records out of the trunk of his car and then strutting his way into independent filmmaking. The script is by kings of the oddball biopic Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, MAN ON THE MOON, The People vs. O.J. Simpson) and it’s got a whole lot in common with their best film, ED WOOD. It’s another story about an L.A. misfit perceived as a failure who, through tenacity and lack of self consciousness, puts together a family of people to will their silly, awesome dreams into reality.

ED WOOD glorifies people whose work was and continues to be made fun of, arguing that the passion and personality behind these works imbues them with an artistic purity and value that they hadn’t previously been given credit for. Moore and friends work with a similar scrappily amateurish zeal, but they in fact made a hit movie that, at least in some parts, was intended to be laughed at. So the happy ending in this one is real! (read the rest of this shit…)

Penitentiary II

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

PENITENTIARY II (1982) is that thing we love where a director has been burning it up on the fringes and then they get a little more resources behind them and they really go for it. Still low budget and outside of the mainstream, but more professional than the first PENITENTIARY (1979) or the two other features writer-director Jamaa Fanaka made while still a student at UCLA. So he’s still hungry and crazy, but able to accomplish more. It’s one of the beautiful parts of life.

And you know this shit is gonna be good when there’s an opening scene and then a full credit sequence set to grimy DOLEMITE-esque blaxploitation funk and then a long STAR WARS style scroll explaining in more detail than necessary what’s going on.

The score is by Jack Wheaton, additional music by Marvin Gaye’s guitarist and musical director Gordon Banks. I tend to think that outside of the electro stuff like Zapp and “Atomic Dog,” funk no longer existed in the ’80s. Tell that to these opening credits, though: (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dolemite Explosion

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

tn_dolemiteexplosion“Ron, now you know, I’m a great low budget filmmaker now. So when we bring somethin it’s got to be devastatin. I don’t want no bullshit.” –DOLEMITE EXPLOSION director Ron Hall, recounting what Rudy Ray Moore would always say to him

About a year and a half ago Xenon Pictures released the Dolemite Total Experience box set. I thought it was the same as the old box set I already had, except with more compact packaging and a better cover. I didn’t realize that it included Rudy Ray Moore’s unreleased final film, THE DOLEMITE EXPLOSION.

When I put the DVD in my first thought was they didn’t make this shit anamorphic? This is 2012! But in retrospect even the shitty transfer fits the home-made, do-what-you-can, sell-it-out-of-your-trunk ghetto tradition of Rudy Ray’s entire career.

It was hard for the fringe icons of the ’70s to recapture the magic even in the ’80s or ’90s. There was that SUPERFLY RETURNS movie with a different actor playing Priest for the hip hop age. There was the last Curtis Mayfield album with beautiful songs interrupted by terrible rapping, there were pretty good George Clinton albums trying a little too hard to cram in guest appearances by Ice Cube, there were attempts to remake DOLEMITE as a studio movie starring LL Cool J. Always trying to use what’s popular at that moment to try to legitimize the O.G. shit for the kids. Sometimes it’s okay, but it’s never a home run. It’s never devastatin. (read the rest of this shit…)


Friday, November 28th, 2008

Josef von Sternberg was an Austrian-American director whose first film, 1925’s THE SALVATION HUNTERS, is considered by some to be the first American independent film. He worked with Charlie Chaplin and Howard Hughes, he discovered and bedded Marlene Dietrich, Robert Mitchum threatened to throw him off a pier, he directed 25 movies including THE LAST COMMAND, THE BLUE ANGEL and THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN, and his influential films and stubborn dedication to directorial vision made him a hero to proponents of the auteur theory. Also he had a son named Nicholas Josef von Sternberg who was the cinematographer for DOLEMITE.

While DOLEMITE is arguably not as accomplished a picture as THE SCARLET EMPRESS, it does follow in von Sternberg’s spirit of independence, and that’s part of what appeals to me so much about the works of my man, the legendary Rudy Ray Moore, who passed away last month. (read the rest of this shit…)

Long Live Dolemite! Vern on Rudy Ray Moore

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Friday night I saw Rudy Ray Moore perform at The Funhouse in Seattle. If you’re not familiar with Rudy, he’s a legendary comedian, maker of x-rated comedy records, who paved the way for his contemporaries like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx to do their thing by carving words like pussy and motherfucker about ten thousand times into vinyl. But it was his string of self-financed, low budget blaxploitation comedies like Dolemite, The Human Tornado and (my favorite) Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-in-Law that put him on the map for most of us. Those movies are built around his persona, the arrogant, unbelievably shit-talking chauvinistic badass with a knack for hilarious insults and rhymes. Like his movies, his act is mostly built around the traditions of the dozens and toasting. He tells stories in rhyme and picks out people in the crowd to talk shit about (which most people take as a great honor).

I never saw Rudy Ray in his hey day, but I did see him here a few years back. That was a polished, old fashioned show with a band of local musicians who he probaly hadn’t met, but he handed them sheet music and they knew what to do. He did all his classics (Dolemite For President, Signifyin’ Monkey, Shine, Petey Wheatstraw, etc.) to the music and even sang a few songs. At first the pure filthiness and sexism of the whole thing was almost overwhelming, it kind of felt like he had gone around slapping people at random, everyone was in shock. I remember there was a young woman playing in the band who didn’t look too happy at all this talk about pussies and dicks. And there’s a joke he does about “a deaf and dumb bitch” that is about the worst thing anybody ever said. But then slowly it seemed like that woman in the band started to get to a point where it was so ridiculous she started to laugh and by then most of the audience couldn’t stop laughing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lil’ Pimp

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

No, seriously. The one and only Vern has returned with a new review of the seemingly in-limbo animated film, LI’L PIMP. Dig in:

Howdy boys,

Dark days have descended upon the Vern compound here in the bright blue upper left corner of the American map, and they hit me like a basketball to the nose. Just sitting here naively preparing for one of them ewok celebrations they used to have. Fireworks shootin off everywhere, a bunch of little dudes dancing around playing drums on Homeland Security helmets. I was high off publishing my first book and was feeling real optimistic. I felt the world was gonna change for the better and I looked fondly forward to the future, to a day when my fellow countrymen and women could hold their heads high and swell their chests with pride. Also to BLADE 3 next month.

Then, not sure what happened, somewhere around November 2nd or 3rd I just plunged into a bottomless funk. Not the good Clyde Stubblefield kind. The bad kind, where you’re sad and crap. The kind where you stumble around aimlessly and start behaving strangely. Maybe you watch GARFIELD and write a bizarre, rambling essay about it, to name one example. Who knows what could happen while you are in this state of the blues. (read the rest of this shit…)

Shaolin Dolemite

Tuesday, February 19th, 2002

Every so often a picture comes along that is so good as a concept, who the fuck cares if it works as a picture. This is a type of picture that may not be that great to watch, or may even get boring as hell by the end, but you are so happy it exists that you want to own it, memorize it, hang it up on your wall, make it into a t-shirt. You want to tell everybody it’s your favorite movie even though you’d be lying your ass off, because you fell asleep at the end and didn’t even feel compelled to rewind and see what you missed. But still, you loved it.

That picture is, of course, Shaolin Dolemite. (read the rest of this shit…)

Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-In-Law

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

I always wanted to see this one but never got around to it back in the day, and now it is available on DVD for the first time since its original release, as well as the first time ever. And it was worth the wait, because this is the best picture I have seen Mr. Rudy Ray Moore involved in.

Rudy plays Petey Wheatstraw, a famous comedian and rhyming Badass much like Dolemite without the criminal record. In the introduction he is a godlike narrator in some netherworld rhyming about all the great things he can do because he’s the devil’s son in law. Then it shows him being born on a stormy night. First thing he does is bite the doctor. He comes out looking about 13 years old and beats the doctor’s ass for slapping him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rudy Ray Moore: Rude

Saturday, January 1st, 2000

I’m sure most of you motherfuckers know that Rudy Ray Moore is one of the pioneers of independent Cinema, one of the greatest orators of our times and easily the rawest presidential candidate of the last two decades. What you might not know is that in addition to his fine collection of pictures (Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw, Avenging Disco Godfather, etc.) Mr. Moore has a live concert film in the style of the Eddie Murphy standup pictures he did back when he was trying to copy Richard Pryor instead of dress up in a bunch of funny disguises and fart. (read the rest of this shit…)