Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trailer Trash XVII: Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore, 1975)

"With his all-girl army of kung fu killers!"

Rudy Ray Moore, 1927-2008.

First Bernie Mac, then Paul Newman. Now Rudy Ray Moore; Hollywood's lost a few of its greatest actors this year. The mushmouthed star of Dolemite, Petey Wheatstraw, The Human Tornado and Big Money Hu$tla$: The Movie passed away this week, and I can't really think of a better time than now to touch on his amazing but too-small body of work. Let me say now that I have never uttered two more truthful statements than these: Rudy Ray Moore made awesome movies, and Rudy Ray Moore made movies awesome.

Moore began his career as a successful stand-up comedian, releasing LP after LP of crude, foul-mouthed and hilarious comedy albums. His sense of humor was so vile and unique I can't even begin to describe it. Instead, I'll show you the cover of his Christmas Album, This Ain't No White Christmas:

I think that picture pretty much says it all, right? Rudy Ray was a real class-act.

You need look no further than the very premise of his masterpiece, Dolemite, to know that the movie will kick your ass. Rudy Ray Moore stars as the titular (heh) character. Dolemite is a pimp (a REAL pimp!) who's been framed for smuggling guns and fur coats. He's released from prison to help the FBI catch the evil mobster who framed him. Y'see, this pimp is out for revenge. Also, all of his ho's are masters of karate.

Question: Awesome?
Answer: Hell yes.

Here's a sort of origin-story for Moore's Dolemite character:

Moore, who started his career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1960s, heard around that time a rhymed toast by a local homeless man about an urban hero named Dolemite, and decided to adopt the persona of Dolemite as an alter-ego in his act. He included the character on his 1970 debut album, Eat Out More Often, which reached the top 25 on the Billboard charts. He released several more comedy albums using this persona. In 1975, Moore decided to create a film about Dolemite, using many of his friends and fellow comedians as cast and crew.

I'll save any further beating around the bushes and get straight to business. A word of caution: This trailer isn't appropriate for the workplace, unless you work somewhere where it's okay to watch videos of topless women during business hours. (Or a place where you can say 'motherfucker' a lot.)

At 0:01 - Any movie that shoots its title at you already scores points in my book.
At 0:06 - If you've never met fellow Leaguer King Suckerman in person, this is pretty much how he talks in real life. Just like Dolemite. No joke.
At 0:16 - Yep, another wika-chaka-waka soundtrack, establishing the setting for this film firmly in the 1970s.
At 0:20 - Oddly that's Suckerman's game, as well.
At 0:28 -DAAAAANCE! DAAAANCE! (Does he have any idea how dangerous that is? He could accidentally shoot that guy.)
At 0:36 - *I'd* like an all-girl army that knows what to do.
At 0:47 - What... did he just say?
At 0:53 - I've heard that one before.
At 1:14 - If you weren't already convinced Dolemite was the baddest motherf***er on the planet, that scene just did it.
At 1:23 - Surprise!!!
At 1:56 - Rudy Ray Moore: Badass, Genius, Lover, Poet.
At 2:30 - You don't see Dame Judi Dench introducing herself in movie trailers, do you?

If a screenwriter wants to establish a character as a badass, it's customary for them to have that character "make someone dance" by shooting a gun around his or her feet. I know I love it whenever Charles Bronson or Lee Van Cleef do it in a movie, but I have to wonder: does anyone ever "make someone dance" in real life? Maybe cowboys, or gangsters. I'm guessing cops probably aren't allowed to make someone dance. (Unless, of course, they've got "nothing to lose.")

And back to that self-introduction at the end of the trailer. How cool was that? Imagine if all actors performed a little rap and then name-dropped themselves for their trailers? "It's Last of the Mohicans, starring me: Daniel Day Lewis! Along wit' a bad motherf***er calls himself Russell Means, and that fine fox of a lady Maddie Stowe. Daaaaamn. Comin' soon to a theater near yo' ass!"

(Funny note: As of October 2008, Wikipedia's Dolemite page incorrectly cites Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and real-life counterpart to Mr. Burns, as Dolemite's co-writer. The actual screenwriter, Jerry Jones, is now a playwright in the Los Angeles area.)

"Noooo shit, baby!"
"I can dig it!"

Trailer Trash is a weekly tribute to oddball, cheesy and often just plain terrible movie trailers. Writers: These movies got made... so can yours! You can read through our archive by clicking here.