: : : Mo' Better Blues

Story

With Mo' Better Blues, the story of a young trumpeter's rise to jazz-world stardom, Spike Lee set out to counter Clint Eastwood's cliché-ridden biopic of Charlie Parker in Bird. But the final product, a slick, glossy drama (with hip-hop jazz provided by Gangstarr no less), is just as superficial as the numerous Alger-esque stories of music stardom to which movie audiences are accustomed.

Denzel Washington gives a typically charismatic performance as the trumpeter in question, as does Wesley Snipes as his sax-playing rival. And as with most Spike Lee films, there are numerous solid performers in small roles such as Bill Nunn, Latin-music star Rubén Blades, and comedian Robin Harris. One character, however, attracted unwanted attention: John Turturro's role as an unscrupulous music-industry exec. Critics called the Turturro character, who is at once money hungry, swarthy, and perpetually shrouded in darkness, a classic anti-Semitic caricature. But the charge seems almost irrelevant in Spike Lee's cartoonish, overstylized world of impossibly hunky jazzmen, curvaceous hangers-on, and incessant bebop. --Ethan Brown

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Denzel WashingtonBleek Gilliam
Spike LeeGiant
Wesley SnipesShadow Henderson
Giancarlo EspositoLeft Hand Lacey
Robin HarrisButterbean Jones
Joie LeeIndigo Downes
Bill NunnBottom Hammer
John TurturroMoe Flatbush
Dick Anthony WilliamsBig Stop Williams
Cynda WilliamsClarke Bentancourt
Nicholas TurturroJosh Flatbush
Samuel L. JacksonMadlock
Doug E. DougJimmy the Busboy
Flavor FlavImpatient Movie Patron

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Producer: Universal
  • Length: 129 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaAug 3, 1990
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaJan 30, 2001
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