Tag Archive: Saturday Night Live cast


Review by C.J. Bunce

When Oscar gets it right, it highlights something about the current zeitgeist, not necessarily a mirror image of the social, literary, artistic, political, or technological achievements of the day, but at least a taste of it.  Do many of the nominees for the Academy Awards have that this year?  Ford v Ferrari, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Parasite, or The Irishman?  Did they last year?  How about a story about a person trying to make a name for himself, barely getting by, trying to pay his bills, experiencing a tough go at it before he realizes his dream?  Perhaps the biggest miss of this year’s ballot is one of those timeless stories of self-made success: Dolemite is My Name.

Dolemite is My Name is a biopic and a classic underdog story.  The seemingly ageless Eddie Murphy has his best leading role and best performance of his career, playing comedian, singer, actor, and film producer Rudy Ray Moore, who found his niche in cinema in the 1970s.  Murphy as Moore is like Richard Pryor at his best.  Murphy plays Moore as Everyman, pulling together his own outgoing nature from his 1980s stand-up performances and finessing them with the benefit of years of experience into a real, believable, even heroic character.  This is the same character type we saw resonate so expertly last year with Brent Jenning’s lead character struggling to succeed after putting years into a failed career in TV’s Lodge 49.  Murphy’s range of emotion, his subtlety, his depth of struggle and effort in every look and word is exactly why you have awards for acting in the first place.  This film is a smartly scripted drama with comedy notes, written by dynamic writing duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Man on the Moon, Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt).  It’s backed up with costumes, hairdos, music, cars, language, and an all-around fashion fest of 1975.  If you didn’t know better you’d think this was a Quentin Tarentino film, because it gets the retro production design just right, as he has been able to do so well.  Instead it’s Craig Brewer directing, the director of Hustle & Flow, the Footloose remake, and Empire series.

Supporting Murphy is a fantastic cast, beginning with Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed, as an immensely entertaining and sympathetic single mom, brushing off her ex as Murphy’s Rudy Ray Moore watches and learns.  Moore invites her into his partnership.  He and his friends go to the movies for laughs and walk out nonplussed.  Moore knows he can do better.  So he tries to get financing and make a movie.  His selected production staff, and the actors behind them, makes for a dream assemblage.  Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator, Tomorrowland), Craig Robinson (Mr. Robot, Hot Tub Time Machine), Mike Epps (Resident Evil, The Hangover), Tituss Burgess (The Addams Family, 30 Rock), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Let Me In), plus familiar faces Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, and Snoop Dogg make for a top tier cast.  When these people are working together in an old abandoned hotel converted to a film set, you witness the same kind of camaraderie as audiences witnessed in those barber shops in Do the Right Thing and Marvel’s Luke Cage. 

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Ridiculous 6

Today we have three previews for coming theatrical releases of the comedy variety.  Two of them hail from two of the most financially successful former Saturday Night Live cast members, and one a coming-of-age zombie flick full of young actors.  Are they all dumb comedies, or will any of them break through the pack and be worth the ticket price?

The first film comes from Adam Sandler’s production company and will be a Netflix release.  It’s a Western comedy–a rare genre appearance for audiences–with a large cast that might make you think of big cast pieces of years past like Airplane!  Along with Sandler, The Ridiculous 6 stars Steve Buscemi, Terry Crews, Norm MacDonald, Danny Trejo, Will Forte, Luke Wilson, Steve Zahn, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Chris Parnell, John Turturro, Jon Lovitz, and Vanilla Ice.  That’s a lot of former SNL cast members!

will-ferrell-daddys-home-scene

The stars of the hilarious comedy The Other Guys are back.  Will Farrell, the most successful SNL actor since Eddie Murphy, and along with Sandler one of the big three of the box office grossing SNL elite shares billing again with one of our favorite actors, the versatile Mark Wahlberg, in Daddy’s Home.  Farrell is a step-dad and must contend with his wife’s tougher and cooler ex-husband, played by Wahlberg.  This is the film widely reported on earlier this year where Farrell and crew broke in on an actual basketball game and seemingly drunk Farrell beaned a dance group gal in the face (no worries, she was a stunt woman in on the gag).  Definitely one for the Farrell and Wahlberg fans out there.

Zombie Scouts

Finally, The Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is the latest zombie flick.  It’s a comedy and coming of age movie, but also seems like it has a bit of Steven Spielberg’s Super 8 meets American Pie.  Definitely a strange entry, it features a slate of young actors including Arnold’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger, plus comedic actors Cloris Leachman and David Koechner.

Here are the trailers:

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