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Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986)

Richard Pryor , Debbie Allen , Richard Pryor  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling + The Richard Pryor Collection (Which Way is Up?/ Brewster`s Millions/ Car Wash/ Bustin` Loose) + Richard Pryor - Live in Concert
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Pryor, Debbie Allen, Diahnne Abbott, Tanya Boyd, Virginia Capers
  • Directors: Richard Pryor
  • Writers: Richard Pryor, Rocco Urbisci, Paul Mooney
  • Producers: Richard Pryor
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UPFK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,380 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

JO JO DANCER, YOUR LIFE IS CALLING stars Richard Pryor as a well-known comedian at the peak of his popularity and the bottom rung of his self-esteem. Jo Jo has it all, Hollywood stardom, movie roles,platinum records. But the price he pays for fame and fortune is too great. He buckles under the pressures of success and suffers a life-threatening accident. Forced to examine his life, the film follows Jo Jo's compelling past through four decades from his upbringing in a brothel, to classic comedyperformances in cellar nightclubs, to ultimate stardom as a rowdy, irreverent comic. This film marks Pryor's directing debut with his personal vision of one man's odyssey of triumph and tragedy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most underrated films of all time August 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I've yet to read a positive review of this film. Let this be the first. This is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching film straight from Pryer's heart. If you're looking for comedy, you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for the result of one man's soul search--from hell and back--Pryor delivers here in spades. Pryor is not the best director in the world, but that matters little here. What matters--and what most critics fail to recognize--is that this is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally impactful autobioghapical film portraits ever set on film. Highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life and Times of Richard Pryor December 13, 2005
Basically, my title sums it up. Richard Pryor plays pretty much himself here (why he chose the non de plume "Jo Jo Dancer" was probably to change the names of all characters in the film to protect the innocent). Aside from his army days and getting kicked out of school, as much of the major stuff that could be compressed in 2 hrs is here-growing up in the house of prostitution, the effect this had on his psyche, his troubled relationship with his father (it's really sad and embarrassing to watch a grown Pryor get cursed and slapped around by his Dad in front of his young wife), his early struggles in showbiz, drking and dope problems, etc. etc.

But Pryor's sermon near the end is a relavation and would have been a perfect coda to end his comedy career in films (this film was made at the time he began to get the symptoms of MS). Sadly, later abominations such as "Another You," "Moving," "Critical Condition," and "Harlem Nights" (REALLY tragic considering the talent involved) did not do well for his legacy. But if you stop here, this is a great way to remember the genius that was Richard Pryor (RIP).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richard Pryor, up close and personal December 12, 2005
Watching "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling" is a bit like being in a bar, sitting next to a total stranger who begins to tell you his life story. It's an uncomfortable situation and you find yourself alternately embarrased and appalled, but totally engrossed and ultimately sympathic to this man's plight. You begin to wonder how a man who has suffered so much can produce so many laughs.

The movie is autobiographical, with artistic license taken from time to time, but it really gets at the soul of the man who was Richard Pryor. Many Pryor fans may be shocked -- not at the language, but with the emotional frankness with which Richard reveals himself. And he admits that he has brought much sorrow on himself and the ones who have loved him.

Casual fans will probably be put off by the lack of laughs, but those willing to dig a little deeper will come away with an understanding of Pryor and the pain that he was able to forge into incredible comedy -- comedy that exposed more truth about society than many artists, philosophers, writers, or social reformers of the 20th century.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling January 30, 2010
In this movie that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo's spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction. The movie has some very hard hitting moments and some touching ones to. A confession, and a true-from-the-heart autobiographical account of a life that was almost ruined through self-inflicted excesses, this is a one of a kind movie. An unbelievably brave movie. Richard Pryor was one of the funniest comedians ever. You must see this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film September 27, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm a true Richard Pryor fan from the time I was a child. I remember going to one of my friends house and his older brother would leave out the album (That N*****s crazy) and we would sneak and listen to it. I was hooked yI currently own most of his Vinyl records to this day.

What more could anyone ask but to have a entertainer tell his/her lifestory and also relive it all (good & bad) by playing the role of themselves. I haven't seen or heard of anyone doing this. other folks have either played them or it was a biography. Jojo Dancer is a true hit based on the life of the comedian. It really shows the depth of a man that grew up in hard times dealing with liquor houses, drug abuse, prostitution etc but he managed to be THE most influencial comedian of the 20th and now 21st century. I HIGHLY recommend this film. For true Richard Pryor fans I promise, you will not be disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic January 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Richard Pryor poured his heart&soul into this gem and it payed off fully for me. his life story is not the stuff of everyday kids. he overcame a lot to achieve.this film goes thru his changes highs&lows, race, relationships, rage, class, self-esteem& just trying to make sense of this life. his genius is all over this film. it's remarkable that he made the film. when one considers the challenges he faced thru out all of his life.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He Wasn't Happy Unless His Nuts Were In a Vise" March 5, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Mr. Pryor used filmmaking as therapy, I think, to take a look at his own often-troubled life. While it's difficult to put a lot of this together without knowing the background on Richard Pryor, it's still a fascinating, heartbreaking, and funny film. My only real complaint is that it's too short; I'd love to see the outtakes on a future (hope, hope) DVD release. Sadly, this was Mr. Pryor's only directorial effort (aside from a concert film).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story!
Good story that really explains a lot about a very talented and misunderstood man!
Published 13 days ago by Mental Melody
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love anything with Richard Pryor.
Published 26 days ago by linda eggenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
anything with Richard pryor is treasured even this sad event
Published 1 month ago by wilbur
3.0 out of 5 stars Go get it!
Interesting movie about Richard Pryor. R.I.P.
Published 2 months ago by Keta
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it. The true pioneer king of comedy
Really enjoyed it. The true pioneer king of comedy
Published 3 months ago by Errol M. Hicks
Published 3 months ago by JesusIsLordDLWC
5.0 out of 5 stars Jo Jo Dancer Your life is calling
This was a surprising movie, I know it was about his real life but what he went through was rather amazing!! Read more
Published 4 months ago by meaner
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie
Richard Pryor is a well known comedian anything he made is going to be funny and sometimes a little serious this one is about his life story so it is going to have some kind of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cheryl Bullock Danley
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Movie
The movie was great in showing how an individual who has it all loses it behind drugs and the lack of thinking outside the box.
Published 8 months ago by Byron J Barnwell SR
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME MOVIE
Published 13 months ago by Yvette
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