6.6/10
9,884
33 user 28 critic

Mo' Better Blues (1990)

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

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Bleek Gilliam
Spike Lee ... Giant
Wesley Snipes ... Shadow Henderson (Sax)
Giancarlo Esposito ... Left Hand Lacey (Piano)
Robin Harris ... Butterbean Jones
Joie Lee ... Indigo Downes
Bill Nunn ... Bottom Hammer (Bass)
John Turturro ... Moe Flatbush
Dick Anthony Williams ... Big Stop Williams
Cynda Williams ... Clarke Bentancourt
Nicholas Turturro ... Josh Flatbush
Jeff 'Tain' Watts ... Rhythm Jones (Drums)
Samuel L. Jackson ... Madlock
Leonard L. Thomas ... Rod
Charlie Murphy ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Love Supreme See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,153,600
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Spike Lee goes over his bets with the bookie, they review a real New York Post from Friday, September 29, 1989. 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: I may have been born yesterday, but I stayed up all night.
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 »


Soundtracks

Say Hey
Written and performed by Branford Marsalis Quartet and Terence Blanchard
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Classic Insight Into The NYC Jazz World
12 December 2006 | by youngman44See 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.


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