6.6/10
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31 user 26 critic

Mo' Better Blues (1990)

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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Indigo Downes
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Bottom Hammer (Bass)
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Moe Flatbush
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Big Stop Williams
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Clarke Bentancourt
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Josh Flatbush
Jeff 'Tain' Watts ...
Rhythm Jones (Drums)
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Madlock
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Rod
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Eggy (as Charles Q. Murphy)
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Storyline

Opens with Bleek as a child learning to play the trumpet, his friends want him to come out and play but mother insists he finish his lessons. Bleek grows into adulthood and forms his own band - The Bleek Gilliam Quartet. The story of Bleek's and Shadow's friendly rivalry on stage which spills into their professional relationship and threatens to tear apart the quartet. Written by David <DGOWERS6@CHECLABA.SCU.EDU.AU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Spike Lee joint.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Love Supreme  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$16,153,600 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the scenes take place over ten years apart, the same kids ask the exact same question in both the opening and closing sequences. See more »

Goofs

During the performance of Bleek's "Pop Top Urban 40 Funk Love ... Song", Bleek's headgear changes from hat to baseball cap. See more »

Quotes

Bleek: But the jazz, you know if we had to dep... if we had to depend upon black people to eat, we would starve to death. I mean, you've been out there, you're on the bandstand, you look out into the audience, what do you see? You see Japanese, you see, you see West Germans, you see, you know, Slabobic, anything except our people - it makes no sense. It incenses me that our own people don't realize our own heritage, our own culture, this is our music, man.
Shadow Henderson: That's bullshit.
Bleek: Why?
Shadow Henderson: [slurred] It's all ...
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Crazy Credits

Flavor Flave of the rap group Public Enemy spells out the letters in "Universal" as the studio logo appears on the screen. See more »

Connections

References Midnight Cowboy (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Mo'Better Blues
Written and performed by Branford Marsalis Quartet and Terence Blanchard
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User Reviews

 
all dressed up with nowhere to go
8 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spike Lee's latest 'joint' is a jazz variation of 'She's Gotta Have It', with the genders reversed: maladjusted trumpeter Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) juggles two lovers while indulging an almost neurotic addiction to his music. His compulsive behavior is, presumably, a consequence of strict childhood practice habits, but if all work and no play have made Bleek a dull boy, the same can't be said of the film itself: Lee's self-conscious homage to music and fatherhood suffers from a dizzy overabundance of distracting, Scorsese-influenced 'style'. The film has been criticized for its stereotypical supporting roles, but the primary characters are likewise only skin deep. Except for some early childhood Freudian motivation, Bleek remains more or less a cipher, and his contrived, fantasy redemption (after a series of false endings, each one more lame than the last) seems tacked on only to provide a neat, symmetrical resolution.


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