Make us your home page

Bark like a dog! 'Coming to America' turns 20



Coming_to_america_2 Anyone wondering why Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" has been playing non-stop on cable movie channels lately? It's celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!

I'm going out on a limb here by saying this: "Coming to America" might be Eddie Murphy's best film ... period. Sure, you want rationale -- in list form, of course.


10. HELLO AGAIN AND GOODNIGHT: After two slightly subpar showings (Golden Child, Beverly Hills Cop 2), this movie is almost Eddie's swan song. So far, Eddie's only watchable flick after "Coming to America" is "Boomerang" (1992). It's also the last great flick by director John Landis.

Eddie_saul 9. MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES: This would be the first time Eddie played more than character, tackling Prince Akeem, Clarence the barber, Saul (the old white guy in the barber shop) and Randy Watson, the singer of the band Sexual Chocolate.

8. A NOD TO HIS HERO: Richard Pryor was a big influence on a young Eddie Murphy. So when it came time to pick a name for his fictional African country, Eddie chose "Zamunda" -- a name Pryor used in an old comedy bit.

7. BEST FAKE PRODUCT EVER: "Just let your Soul-Glo!" I dare say just about anyone who ever saw this movie can still sing along to the TV commercial. "Feeling all so silky smooth!" [Watch it again]

6. THEY CAN BE FUNNY TOO: Still not convinced? What about James Earl Jones playing a comedy role? Or future "E.R." moper Eriq La Salle as the "Soul Glo" heir? Brilliant. And you gotta love the cameo performances by Samuel L. Jackson and Louie Anderson. (And the kid getting his hair cut in the barber shop -- Cuba Gooding Jr.)

Arsenio 5. ARSENIO CAN ACT: Even Arsenio Hall, the Bud Abbott of the '80s, shows some rare acting skills here. Whatever happened to him?

4. THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH HIM: Star Wars freaks out there, did you catch James Earl Jones' "Darth Vader" homage? When King Jaffe Joffer comes looking for Akeem, he tells Mr. McDowell, "Do not alert him to my presence. I'll deal with him myself."

3. THE SEQUEL FACTOR: Our fond memory of two other great Murphy flicks -- "48 Hours" and "Beverly Hills Cop" -- is tainted by the criminally awful sequels they spawned. Thankfully, at the end of "Coming To America," everyone lives happily ever after -- sequel-free.

Trading_places 2. "WE'RE BACK!" One of the funniest scenes: The "Duke Brothers" -- Randy and Mortimer -- from 1983's "Trading Places" are bums on the street until former co-star Murphy hands them a bag of money.

1. THE GREAT LINES OF COURSE: "There is a very fine line between love and nausea" ... "Bark like a dog -- a big dog!" ... "My buns have no seeds" ... "The royal penis is clean, your Highness."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:31pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours