Coming to America (1988) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(all-purpose SPOILER ALERT there may be some in this review)

acting 10*

directing 9

effects 7

editing 8

writing 10


5 out of 5 🐙


How can I give a raunchy 80s comedy a perfect score on acting? Because as far as comic acting goes, you can do no better. This is Eddie Murphy at the height of his powers. I’ve quoted so many lines from this movie so many times that I probably have had people stop talking to me over it. I don’t blame them. But besides the array of hilarious characters played by Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, and Eriq La Salle deliver strong comic supporting roles. And look out for one of Samuel L. Jackson’s first roles. He only had one scene but even then you could see his singular charisma.

I was only 14 when this movie came out. That’s depressing in and of itself. It’s no fun getting older. There was a movie theater in my area that didn’t ask for IDs to rated R movies. That has to be the way I got in. For me, then and now, Eddie Murphy is the funniest standup ever. Yes, there are parts of his act that wouldn’t fly today. So for 14-year-old me, this was seeing the funniest movie by the funniest person in the world. And with high expectation, it still delivered.

I’m worried about the sequel coming out. If it’s as good as ‘Dolemite Is My Name’, then it will be amazing. But even if it’s shitty, that’s ok, too. It happens. And even a subpar sequel won’t dull my memory or opinion of this laugh riot.

(Oh and look for a dialogueLess cameo by Cuba Gooding Jr.)







(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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