Disco Godfather: Put Your Weight On It And Attack The Wack
Article by Aaron Haughton
The glittery finale in Rudy Ray Moore’s cycle of 1970s blaxploitation gems, Disco Godfather is without a doubt one of the most batshit insane and bewildering blaxploitation offerings to emerge from the 70s. It's full of drug-induced hallucinations, wonderfully schlocky camp, and Rudy Ray Moore at his absolute best. It's tighter and more cohesive than any of the Dolemite films, and it veers into avant-garde experimentation with surprising success. The last ten minutes of this film are hilariously insane and take the war on drugs to an entirely new extreme.
Rudy Ray Moore stars as Tucker Williams, an ex-cop and resident DJ at the nightclub Blueberry Hill Disco. All is beautifully funky, until his nephew Bucky (Julius J. Carry III) flips out on a strange new street drug called “angel dust.” The Disco Godfather vows "to personally come down on the suckers that's producing this shit!" He slaps drug dealers, forces the kingpin (James H. Hawthorne) to inhale his own product through a gas mask, and still finds time to pilot the Blueberry Hill.
Disco Godfather is more mature film that knows when to become unhinged. The film is a confirmation of the moral shift within the blaxploitation movement toward the more politically correct and acceptable. In many ways, the film plays like a gritty PSA, and would play nicely as the double feature follow-up to Requiem for a Dream.
This film is more heavily sprinkled with the surrealist and absurdist oddities that make The Human Tornado pop, like the "PCP ward" (which must've served as inspiration for the insane asylum in Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams), but is more grounded in reality than any of Moore's other offerings. The bizarre and experimental elements, which mostly shine through the drug-induced hallucinations, make for some genuinely engaging moments and really enhance the anti-drug message exhibited throughout. One of my favorite examples of this is the urban legend about the mother who serves her baby to her family for dinner because she's strung out on PCP. This story, which is coupled with some of the wonderful surrealist visuals, is nonessential to the main plot of the film, but reinforce the true villain of the film: drugs.
Moore is in true form with this film and continues to deliver dialogue, which would not be perceived as comedic if read by anyone else, with hilarious verve and swagger. He manages to make dialogue like "Where is Bucky, and what has he had?" even more awkward and laugh-out-loud funny. A lot of the film is very overtly funny, and is amplified by the film's ability to play it straight.
The film's disco element marks its slumping points. Though the dance moves are hilarious, especially Moore's boogying, the sequences are drawn out and don't move the plot forward. Moore also doesn't run up against much resistance or pushback from the drug lord, aside from a very pathetically laughable kidnapping attempt.
The film comes to a head with expected force when Moore leads an assault on the drug lord's warehouse. Moore wipes the floor with the drug lord's henchmen and even gets help from a random pedestrian, who doesn't need much coaxing to jump into the fight. The warehouse conclusion is where the film slips in the outright crazy, and last ten minutes can only be described as: mystifying and batshit.
The film truly must be witnessed, and the good news is that you can watch it right now! The film is currently available on YouTube and can be watched here. So, what are you waiting for?! It's time to get your boogie on.
Rating: 4 Angels Against Dust outta 5.
What do you think? Is this Moore's strongest performance? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well, sucka!