Sunday, March 26, 2017
BLAXPLOITATION MONTH: Disco Godfather (1979)
What's Happening!!” and “The Jeffersons.” Other fad films had appeared to fill the grindhouses and drive-ins of America. Such as the disco movie. Ruby Ray Moore obviously still wanted to make his weird-ass movies. The once and future Dolemite pursued the disco fad as an excuse to gift the world with maybe his most gonzo production yet. “Disco Godfather” is one of Moore's most celebrated motion pictures. Not because it's actually, you know, good. People still talk about this one because it's completely fucking insane.
Tucker Williams runs a wildly popular disco club, a pillar of his community. His reputation is such that he's known far and wide as the Disco Godfather. One fateful night, his beloved nephew Bucky gets dosed up with some PCP. The boy freaks out, falling into a dissociative state that lasts for weeks. Tucker is so incensed by this tragedy that he's determined to get to the bottom of the local angel dust business. Williams uncovers a drug dealing ring controlled by Stinger Ray, a sports celebrity. As the Disco Godfather draws closer and closer to Stinger's operation, his friends and loved ones are put in even more danger.
angel dust” and “whack” are spoken so much, the audience can't help but laugh. (One of the actresses clearly cracks up while giving a speech about the dangers of “whack.”) After Bucky freaks out, Moore's shouts of “What has he HAY-AD?” are hysterical. A lengthy sequence is set in a clinic of kids broken from angel dust. Such as a babysitter who cooked the baby or a kid who thinks he's a caterpillar. Moore even seems to have soften his trademark ribald content, seemingly in hopes of reaching a younger audience. Granted, there's still a moment sweet love makin' and some profanity. Yet the violence, swearing, and sex jokes have been ratcheted way back. Moore really wants the audience to know that drugs are bad. And angel dust is the worst.
Truthfully, the anti-drug message is clearly the main purpose of “Disco Godfather.” Despite the title, the disco elements are secondary to the film's point. Don't be confused though. This movie still has a shit ton of disco in it. The first half is full of long sequence of people dancing inside Tucker's club. There's even a dance number on roller skates. Ruby Ray Moore overlooks the crowded dance floor, wearing a number of totally ridiculous disco suits. For some reason, Moore was convinced that “Put your weight on it!” was a common phrase uttered in dance clubs. He must have believed this, because he says the line roughly ten thousand times. Even when characters aren't dancing, a funky, disco soundtrack echoes out of your speakers.
An alternate title for “Disco Godfather” is “Avenging Disco Godfather.” Indeed, the disco godfather does do some avenging. Once again, Ruby Ray Moore attempts to perform kung-fu. Once again, he fails. His kicks, flips, and chops are as slow and awkward as they always were. Moore skips the sped-up footage, drawing more attention to his stiff movements. The most memorable action involves Moore stomping on the neck of a weirdo enemy who gets off on whipping his enemy. Near the end, a dosed-up Tucker squeezes a burly henchman's neck between his ankles. Amazingly, Moore actually scrounged up some actually talent martial artists for the supporting parts, leading to some competent fight scenes. Don't be too impressed, as these fights are shot in a shaky, incoherent fashion.
[THE BLAXPLOITATION CHECKLIST: 10 outta 12]
[X] Afros or Sideburns
[X] Brothels or Pimps
[X] Churches or Pastors
[X] Funky Soundtrack
 Homophobic Caricatures
[X] Inner-City Setting
[X] Night Club Act
[X] Plot Involving Drugs or Organized Crime
 Racist Authority Figures
[X] Sticking It to the Man
[X] Sweet Love Makin'
[X] Use of Street Slang