One of my favorite films growing up was "Coming to America." If you're asking me (you aren't but let's pretend you are), that film is probably one of the best comedy films of all time and easily one of the best of the decade.
In fact, it's one of my favorite films of all time. I'm going to name my child Akeem, and one day he will be a King and/or in charge of the garbage.
Okay, maybe I don't love it THAT much, but it's still a great film. It's also the best all-around showcase of Eddie Murphy's talents, given that it's a romantic comedy that gives Murphy a chance to show range through his charming portrayal of Akeem while also being able to pull off dramatic moments. At the same time, it's juxtaposed with him playing side characters that delve into the absurd, including Clarence the barber and aspiring R&B singer "Sexual Chocolate" Randy Watson.
With so many great performances (from mostly two actors), there are plenty of great moments to choose from. Here are the top five, in no particular order.
Let Your Soul Glo
Source: Michael Ochs Archives
JUST LET YOUR SOOOOOOOOOUL GLOOOOOOOO! One of the running gags in the film involves Eriq La Salle's ridiculous geri curl. At one point, we see a commercial for the product he uses. Just hearing the song still makes me smile.
The Club Dating Montage
Eddie and Arsenio, rocking their best late 80s Cosby sweaters, peruse a New York City nightclub to find women. Among the women they encounter a devil worshipper, rapping twins, and Arsenio Hall as a woman who wants to tear Akeem apart…and his friend, too.
The Barber Shop Scene
Probably the most iconic scene of the entire film is the barber shop scene, where five men (two of them played by Arsenio Hall and two played by Eddie Murphy) get into a fierce debate about boxing. Murphy argues with himself over whether or not Ali had the right to change his name from Cassius Clay, the obsession white people have with name-dropping Rocky Marciano, and a hilarious bit about Joe Louis's real age.
Later, Akeem visits the Barber Shop to get advice on his hair and Clarence tells a story about meeting Martin Luther King. Great, great stuff.
Reverend Good Loves the Lord
Semmi brings Akeem to a local beauty pageant crowning "Miss Black Awareness." It's hosted by Reverend Good, also played by Arsenio Hall. Overcome by the sight of the women in bikinis, the Reverend launches into an impromptu preaching session in what is arguably Arsenio's shining moment in the film.
Samuel L. Jackson Robs McDowell's
Source: Buyenlarge/Moviepix/Getty Images
This actually is a lot more memorable in hindsight, since it features an actor who at the time was a regular in films but only later achieved iconic status. The man in question, the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson, attempts to rob Akeem and Semmi's place of employment with disastrous results. It's not a funny scene, as it isn't really played for laughs, but it's a great moment.
Here's Samuel L. Jackson talking about how Eddie helped launch his career in Coming To America
from Eddie Murphy: One Night Only
It's finally time to pay an all-star tribute to comedy's original rock star. Tune in to Eddie Murphy: One Night Only on Wednesday, November 14 at 10/9c on SPIKE.
Source: Getty Images/Paramount