Petey Wheatstraw (1978)
In this slapstick blaxploitation feature, Petey Wheatstraw is a candidate to become the devil's son-in-law. Beginning life as the afterbirth to a watermelon, the young Wheatstraw becomes a martial artist but is unable to best the evil comedy team of Leroy and Skillet, who also indulge in wholesale murder.
as Petey Wheatstraw
as Scarface Willie
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Critic Reviews for Petey Wheatstraw
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Audience Reviews for Petey Wheatstraw
I've admitted many times my love for 70s blaxploitation films, often giving them pretty high marks, being very forgiving, and that sort of thing. However, with this one, I think I'm not as with the groove as I once was. Oh sure, I liked this, and it is watchable. but it's rather boring actually, and it amazed me to think how lenient I've been with these movies.
Hmm. Maybe this one really does suck, or perhaps I've finally matured and am starting to see these movies for the the crap they are instead of insisting that they're unfairly maligned for one reason or another. Or maybe I'm just more of a fan of Dolemite, even though it's just as cheap, shoddy, and laughably terrible as this.
Maybe it's because that one's so absurd is why I enjoy it. This one's absurd too, but it feels more forcably over the top, campy, and silly. However, exploding watermelon jokes will always be funny. Also, the opening irthing scene is admittedly so stupid it's brilliant.
There is a plot here, and it is the old deal with the devil routine, and what the heck, it works I guess. I think I had a hard time with this one though mostly because I'm not a fan of the overtly slapsticky stuff (unless it's self aware parody like Black Dynamite). Maybe this is one of the first blaxploitation parodies? It could be, but I doubt it. Let's just end on a rather kind note and call Rudy Ray Moore the black Ed Wood (even though Moore didn't direct this or Dolemite, or his other films that I'm aware of), and call this one of his lesser works.
Moore's third film makes the mistake of playing for intentional laughs rather than the unintentional ones that make the rest of his movies so compelling. Some movies are so bad they're great and some are so bad they're unwatchable. This is of the latter variety and makes the Wayan's brothers look like comic geniuses. I do recommend checking out Moore's brilliant opening monologue which features classic lines like "I'm gonna take the Fourth of July 'n put it in June". Don't attempt to view any further though. I'm glad this wasn't the first of Moore's films I watched or I wouldn't have bothered with the others.More
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