December 10th, 2023

dolemite is my name spotlight reviewRudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) prepares to entertain a crowd as Dolemite in this scene from Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


This past weekend for was a rather quiet one compared to the past couple weekends and in that spirit, I spent my weekend watching some stuff on Netflix and otherwise just hanging out. In my Netflix viewing adventures I came across the movie “Dolemite Is My Name,” a biopic starring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, best known for portraying the character of Dolemite in both his stand-up routine and a series of feature films, starting with “Dolemite” in 1975. The movie starts with Moore finding his rhythm in stand-up and then most of the movie focuses on the filmmaking process for “Dolemite.”

When I saw the trailer on Netflix when the movie came out in October, I must admit I thought it looked rather silly and crude and didn’t think too much of it. During the past couple months, however, I’ve heard a bit of the buzz surrounding the movie (including multiple Golden Globe nominations) and this weekend I finally clicked on it to see if it was worth watching. And ultimately, like with many of my viewing adventures the past several months, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

The first thing that caught my attention about this movie was the costuming. The movie takes place in the mid-1970s, which saw much in the way of crazy fashion (I have evidence of this from some of my parents’ childhood photos) and this movie definitely captured the crazy fashions of that time period. Much like when I saw “Rocketman” last year, I was amused by the costume choices in the movie and wondered how hard the costume crew had to work to find clothing that would fit into that era’s style. My hat is off to those people and they did a great job. 

jumanji the next level spotlight pageThe Jumanji gang prepares for a new challenge in the game in this scene from the recently released “Jumanji: The Next Level.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Many of us come to a point in our lives when we feel like we’re in a rut and rather unsure of what that next step in life should be. When that happens, there can be a variety of emotions experienced including fear, anxiety and even anger. 

New movie “Jumanji: The Next Level,” which I got to see with my brother, Alex, while I was home for Christmas last week, tackles this topic to a degree and surprisingly does a good job at it. The movie picks up three years after its predecessor “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” in which teenagers Spencer, Bethany, Martha and Anthony, along with an old friend and two unwitting additions, again become trapped in the video game “Jumanji,” where they must face new challenges with both old and new avatars while having to save the game from a new villain in order to win. 

One of the things I liked about this movie is how the chemistry between both the teenage actors and the chemistry between their “Jumanji” avatars remains from the “Welcome to the Jungle” installment. The younger actors work very well together and play off of each other in an awesome way, and their video game alter egos also work great together in the many scenes that take place in the game. I also really liked how the newer additions to the cast, including Danny Devito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina, fit in nicely and actually complemented the main cast instead of drawing attention to just themselves. Overall, everyone in the ensemble worked very well together and I enjoyed seeing them all come together onscreen. 

avengers endgame spotlight pageCaptain America and victims of Thanos’ “Avengers: Infinity War” snap return for battle in the final act of “Avengers: Endgame,” which was released earlier this year. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


2019 was a great year in entertainment for me in terms of both what I’ve seen on Netflix and at the movies and with the live shows I’ve been able to see this year. So with it being basically the end of 2019, I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite entertaining moments from this year. This list will include favorite moments from TV shows, movies and live shows/performances I’ve been to see this year. 

So let’s take a look back!


Broadway fun

As those who read my column know, I’m a big Broadway and musical theater fan and there are so many shows on my list to see if I ever actually make it to New York. I actually got to see a couple Broadway-caliber shows this year, starting in January when I traveled to Oklahoma City to see “Phantom of the Opera.” I had a great time seeing this show and I was mesmerized by nearly every aspect of the show from the music to the set design and everything else in between. My favorite moment from the show was the “Music of the Night” number, it was very well performed and I loved it. 

My Broadway journey continued in August when I traveled to Oklahoma City again with my mom to see “Hamilton.” I had a great time seeing this show also and my mom and I were both absolutely blown away by the vocal performances and the choreography and everything else in the show. I can honestly say this was the coolest live musical I’ve seen, with my favorite moment in the show being the “My Shot” number near the beginning of the show. If everything ends up right, I’ll consider seeing it again if another tour comes nearby. So overall, not a bad year for musical theater for me.