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The most common thing critics said to trash Harlem Nights
that it was too profane to be set in 1938. Well, this
statement here was completely without logic. Two points to
1. In almost every 1930's/40's/50's gangster movie, the characters
are very profane. Look at any movie directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci for evidence of this
2. What do you expect from a movie starring Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Redd Foxx? If you expect these three men to watch their language, you are truly a stranger in the ways of their material
As for the movie's sexist feel, I cannot dispute this. However, I can defend it. I am not a sexist young man despite being only
twenty-one years of age. I feel that women should have the same rights as men. However, I think Eddie Murphy was young and dumb and only felt the way he did because he was not mature enough to understand women. Now he is happily married and expecting his fifth child, so I think he is a little wiser today.
As for one review I read that said every white man was a bigot in this movie. Guys, come on, it's Harlem in 1938!
Despite all of this, the movie is a well-made, well-characterized, entertaining film. It was taken too seriously when it was first released, and I'm glad many people here seem to agree with me.
The plot concerns Sugar Ray (Pryor, who was sadly the only disappointing performer here) and his adopted son Vernest Brown, a.k.a. Quick (Murphy) owners of the hottest nightclub in Harlem. It becomes the target of gangster Bugsy Calhoune (an impressive performance by Michael Learner) and his buddy Sgt. Phil Cantone (A terrific Danny Aiello). They plot with their employees to scam him out of his money by placing a fake bet on a boxing match and leave Harlem.
The movie is not without plot holes and the occasional bad line of dialogue, but other than that, it's funny and entertaining. A particular highlight are Foxx's nearsighted Bennie Wilson and Reese's Vera Walker, who exchange profane banter throughout the film, which is hilarious. A cameo by longtime Murphy friend Arsenio Hall (whom I usually dislike) as a crybaby mobster is also very funny. Don't listen to the critics, this movie is funny as hell!
Yeah, yeah this movie is full of profanity and I see other users saying
Eddie couldnt decide if it was a comedy, drama, etc. I personally thought
the movie was hilarious and quite clever. I never really thought it was
anything other than a comedy. Tell me how a movie this good gets a rating
4.8, when an awful movie like The Thomas Crown Affair (the remake) gets a
7.0!!! Try this everyone, sit down, relax and don't try to "read" anything
into this movie......just enjoy it...
Harlem Nights is a great that stars the funniest three black comics to ever grace a comdey stage. Eddie Murphy knew what he was doing when he decided to cast Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor in the other two male leads. The film has great one-liners and a amusing fight scene between Eddie and Della Reese. If you've never seen this film, you're in for a treat.
A lot of people have commented on the violence and profanities in this movie. I guess it could have gotten by without so many foul words. But this movie is still funny! The most hilarious scenes are Eddie Murphy's fistfight with Della Reese, and his shootout with Arsenio Hall. Say what you will about Eddie Murphy, but he can still crack you up!
...Thats right the best. This movie was a hallmark for standup comedy. For the first time you had all the greats in one movie, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Robin Harris. Especially since the last 2 have passed away and Richard Pryor is too ill to do a movie again. When he made Nights he had to sit in his wheelchair when he wasn't filming, hence you never see him do anything physical in the movie. I first saw this movie one I was 10 with my dad, uncles and my grandmother. Of course she was turned off by the profanity but we all were laughing untill our sides hurt. I also remember all the things the great voices of cinema said about this movie. And to that i say how can you look down at this movie for profanity and praise movies like Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction (great movies by the way) when they have twice the vulgar langauge. And to those that say, well why did they portray the white mobsters as the bad guys? Well its Harlem in the 30's and ask any black person who owned a place of buisness then how hard it was. To me this wasn't just about Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, this was an epic for comedy and I hate to use the clinche but "Black" movies as well. The only other Murphy movie that comes close is Nutty Professer. I hope the sequel to that is half as funny as Nights. One last point that I think why critics panned this movie is, we all now Eddie is a comic genuis, but people were so use to seeing him play to a white partner or sidekick (i.e. Trading Places, All the Beverly Hill Cops and 48 Hours) But to a comedy standup fan like me, Murphy, Pryor, Foxx, Hall, Harris in one movie was like giving a Star Wars fan (as I am) premire tickets to Ep. 2 & 3. If you haven't seen this I recommend it just for the fact that half the cast had passed on and this was their last work, but its also a fun take on the mobster movie craze of the 30's and 40's.
Three of the greatest (and dirtiest) comedians ever together in this
one movie. Funny, hilarious, yes at bit off color with the many uses of
the f word but still a great movie with a nice sting at the end. Get
over the F word! If you haven't seen this movie in a while, go back and
watch it. The first time I watched it, I was lukewarm about it. Now I
go back and watch it, grateful that it was made especially since the
passing of Richard Pryor (and Redd Foxx).
If you haven't heard any of their stand up, go listen. It's awesome. Richard Pryor is the best.
My only complaint is that Arsenio Hall's character was stupid.
This is one of Murphy's best works. Ignore what the critics say. They
just didn't get it. I am a mid-aged white woman - and even I get it. It
is a misogynistic as any stylized Western you may have seen. And the
language is just what you would expect from Murphy and Pryor. This is
stylized Harlem, guys.
I do not think Murphy set out to break ground plot-wise. Its meant to be a very traditional good vs. bad mobster movie. In this rare case we get to see the other side of tracks version. Why not??
This movie is a rare joining of a classic team of talents including Richard Pryor, Della Reese and Red Foxx. Della was my favorite and her rapport with Foxx is classic.
I found this movie to be very enjoyable. I do have to say there was a lot of profane language but that was probably why it was made for adults. I would recommend this movie to the comedy lovers,(that don't mind the language), and give it a solid 7. If you give the movie a chance you will probably like it...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Contrary to popular belief, this is actually a pretty good movie. The
problem is that people go in expecting a goofy comedy. If so, you will find
this movie to be terribly boring. The movie is more of crime and drama
mixed with a little comedy here and there.
The cast is excellent. The acting is superb, though its expected with names like those. The set is also good . You feel like your in the time period that the movie is supposed to be in, there are no goofs. The first half of the movie will seem a little boring with few laughs, but then the second half is much funnier. The best , and funniest line of the movie was when Dela Reese is hounding Red Fox for only leaving a "swallow fill of orange juice". He responds by saying "Well swallow it and shut the F*** up".
The plot really picks up in the second half. Murphy and Pryor attempt to pull a sting on their enemies and in the end are successful. The plot is very interesting, with twists and turns here and there. You never know who to trust. Overall I would give the movie a 7. If you go in not expecting laughs, you will find it to be a very enjoyable movie.
Some might think that this effort from Eddie Murphy (who wrote, directed, executive produced and starred in) might not be up to his and the co-stars efforts. They might be a little right, but it isn't a waste to say the least. The talent is still vibrant even with a not too great script from Murphy including him, Richard Pryor (who gives his best, most recent performance to date), Redd Foxx (one of his last) and Danny Aiello. So sure it may be profane with a story that isn't too credible, but that's fine. Not great, but in truth, not to be missed either. B-
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