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Mo' Better Blues (1990)

 -  Drama | Music | Romance  -  3 August 1990 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 7,449 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 22 critic

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

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Title: Mo' Better Blues (1990)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Shadow Henderson (Sax)
...
Left Hand Lacey (Piano)
...
Butterbean Jones
...
Indigo Downes
...
Bottom Hammer (Bass)
...
Moe Flatbush
...
Big Stop Williams
...
Clarke Bentancourt
...
Josh Flatbush
Jeff 'Tain' Watts ...
Rhythm Jones (Druns)
...
Madlock
...
Rod
...
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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was dedicated to actor/comedian Robin Harris who died after the film was completed. 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 ...
See more »

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

Pop Top 40
Written and performed by Branford Marsalis Quartet and Terence Blanchard
Vocals by Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Classic Insight Into The NYC Jazz World
12 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a very entertaining movie and it is underrated. The characters, story and music are captivating.

However, I think part of the reason for the lower ratings is the the poor camera effects. Lee focuses in on characters at times, as though they are standing and talking to a camera by themselves in some sterile room, such that it actually cheapens the film. There is a real lack of realism to this technique - it reminds me of 1960's style TV shows like Batman. It gives a feel that they ran out of money and when they had to go back and re-shoot the scene, they did so on the cheap. A minority may find this unique or appealing, but no great movie or director will use this technique. The filming with multiple characters in the shot is generally very good. But, the movie could have been better without these flaws.

The writing at times is exceptional. There are great lines, as well as very entertaining dialogue. The scenes between Denzel and Snipes are exude an extraordinary power and they offer an exceptional dynamic to the movie as a whole. The female characters are also very compelling. "Clark" (Cynda Williams) is extraordinarily attractive and the movement of the character through the course of the movie is well done.

It is difficult not to be captivated by this film. The positive cultural dynamic it captures is one that Americans can only hope to be present. Yet, one gets the feeling that reality is closer to the darker elements the movie exposes. Yet, there is ultimately a very positive message of love, responsibility.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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