Mo Better Blues (1990) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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… Runtime: 129 min Release Date: 03 Aug 1990
One of Spike Lee's best, "Mo Better Blues" captures the atmosphere of jazz. The soundtrack flows with the acting like a song. Denzel Washington does a great job of portraying a jazzman's quest for perfection, while living in a "real world" full of problems. Being a musician myself, I appreciated the struggle Washington's character was going through. All of Spike Lee's trademark camera angles which I've disliked in some of his movies worked to perfection in this movie. Great music, good acting, and a solid plot. Recommend!
The first film in the Denzel/Spike Trilogy (by DunnDeeDaGreat)
Denzel Washington and Spike Lee remind me of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi when it comes to actors and directors.This is the first film they worked on together and it was a success. The storyline and music are all great and Spike continues to make good movie. I give this film ***8 out of ****.
Brilliant character study and portrayal of American Jazz (by gross-12)
I was surprised how much I responded to this movie. I have worked as a jazz trumpet player, and I thought Spike Lee's presentation of the darker side of jazz was brilliant. I myself have had to address many of the problems faced by Denzel Washington's character in this movie, and I think it should be required viewing for aspiring jazz musicians. Why? Not because of the entertainment value, but because of the Truth value with a capital "T". Jazz Musicians are artists at the heart, and any good jazz musician has to deal with the necessary tension between the somewhat <more>
egotistical act of creating one's art, and the cold realities and consequences of sharing it with an audience. Denzel Washington did a good job of portraying the conflict between his character's narcissism and his relationships. Admittedly selfish, his character is eventually transformed in a powerful and realistic way. Reminiscent of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Spike Lee has contributed to the popular lore and also to human understanding with this work. And he also is a good actor! To me the unique camera angles and choice of sets served to amplify the message of this movie, which transcends race. While I would have preferred a different ending, and I hated to watch the violence, I am forced to acknowledge the realism in the way this movie ends in a positive way. I believe I am a better person for having watched this movie.
Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues is quite a compelling jazz drama (by tavm)
Having just watched Do the Right Thing, I'm now reviewing Spike Lee's follow-up Mo' Better Blues which I also watched on YouTube. Spike plays Giant, manager to Bleek Gilliam Denzel Washington whose jazz band is the hottest in the club. One of those band members is Shadow Henderson Wesley Snipes who sometimes gets in conflict with Bleek over creative and other matters. One of those other matters is singer Clarke Bentancourt Cynda Williams who wants Bleek to hire her but he won't though that doesn't mean he won't share his bed. She's not the only one as another <more>
lady named Indigo Downes Joie Lee, Spike's sister also sleeps with him. That causes another conflict. I'll stop there and just say that while I liked the drama, it does seem to be a bit rushed toward the end. Still, it was enjoyable enough and the score by Spike and Joie's father Bill who cameos near the end was excellent. Also enjoyable was hearing Brandford Marsalis dubbing Snipes' saxophone and Terence Blanchard Wahington's trumpet during the musical interludes and Ms. Williams' singing was also fine. Now I've read and heard some debate about the portrayal of Jewish club owners Moe and Josh Flatbush John and Nicholas Turturro as stereotypical but I didn't notice or maybe I just wasn't aware so I wasn't distracted in any way. So on that note, Mo' Better Blues gets a recommendation from me. P.S. I thought it quite enjoyably bizarre to hear Samuel L. Jackson as his DJ Daddy Love character from Do The Right Thing and then seeing him as the bully character Madlock.
Surprised how much I liked it (by AndyInThePieWithAlmonds)
When this was on TV the other night, I expected to stick out about two minutes of it. Being a follower of Tarantino, all I'd heard recently of Spike Lee was wholly negative. In addition, I know nothing of black culture and/or jazz. Imagine my surprise then when, two hours later, I found myself entirely intoxicated by the blend of atmosphere, empathy, humour and pure depth of character and relationship in this exceptional movie. Next up, I'm watching all his other movies... Quentin, make your peace!
Great film (by davisdontaye)
One of the best film's Spike Lee has ever created. Denzel Washington plays Bleek Gilliam, a selfish musician who only listens to his music. He cheats on his women and wants the spotlight only to himself. On his road to redemption he encounters betrayal, lies, and greed before he finds happiness. A happiness that comes at a heavy price. Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes give superb performances in their roles. The supporting cast members also give terrific performances in this film. The supporting cast members include Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nunn and Spike Lee. Spike <more>
Lee gives these characters enough personality to keep this movie entertaining. Each member adds enough color commentary to the film making this a joyous event from beginning to end. Add this movie to your video collection if you haven't already.
Very Good, But Not On Par With Other Spike Work (by jzappa)
In Spike Lee's fourth film, Denzel Washington proves early in his career that he is capable of being funny and romantic in a more modest film than Glory or Cry Freedom, the music is breezy and romantic and consistent, jazzy and colorful cinematography, and another characteristic Spike Lee touch, which is his gift for drawing from his actors stunningly realistic performances. In some ensemble scenes, the dialogue seems like improvisation. Maybe it is.Mo' Better Blues is a good, steady, effective drama, a portrait of a complex and overwrought musician and the indecision and jealousy <more>
that gradually eat away at his life, but it lacks the passion and brazen provocative nature of nearly all of Spike Lee's other films.The cast, once again, is brilliant. Denzel is very very very authentic, faithful, graphic, and lifelike. My brother is a jazz musician and I've met several of his fellow musicians. I'm seasoned when it comes to jazz musicians. Take my word for it, Denzel's performance is entirely true. Snipes is brilliantly, swaggeringly audacious. Joie Lee comprehensively draws our sympathy towards her sensitive, self-conscious character and away from the elegant and subtly compelling Cynda Williams. Spike Lee himself is one of the most compelling characters. Samuel L. Jackson entertains in one of his millions and billions of early bit roles.If I were to say, "I'm in the mood for a Spike Lee joint," this would not be one of the first films I pick, but it's different and enthralling. I mean, it's directed by Spike Lee, so how can it not be?