“Cadillac Records” Could have, Would have, isn’t

Genres: Drama, Musical/Performing Arts and Biopic

Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.

Release Date: December 5th, 2008 (wide)

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language and some sexuality.

Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing


Directed by: Darnell Martin


JJ Rating: B -


Chess Records started low, went high and then just went away. It was created by Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) who found such acts as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Etta James (Beyonce Knowles) and Chuck Berry (Dante 'Mos Def' Smith). Cadillac Records.


This movie just flirted with greatness but never reached it. Acting wise it seems to be top bar. But story wise it seems to be on first draft with lots of things that could have been altered to make it far better. It went a little slow and it put me to sleep.

The singing was fantastic. They could not have done better than what they gave. The cars were awesome. I enjoy seeing classic cars on screen. Makes me wish they would bring those back. Maybe if they did so the “Big 3” wouldn’t die off, they’d be revived via past creations.


The acting was superb. Adrien Brody and Beyonce Knowles showed their great talent. They preformed very well. Knowles has a withdraw scene and I think that was done like she’s been in that position before (that’s how well it was preformed) and then there was the scenes where she had to sing and her eyes would water up. Those were engrossing and emotional scenes. But it was Jeffrey Wright that just stole the light. He wasn’t outrageous because that was not Muddy Waters. He was calm yet powerful, smooth yet jagged, dark yet bright. He was, without a doubt, Muddy Waters. He should be considered for Best Actor nod when Oscar season trots along. He made me forget I was watching a movie. He made me forget that I was seating down. He pulled me into the film and convinced me that he WAS Muddy Waters and not Wright acting as if he was. He was simply impressive.


I learned something that I had not known before I saw this film. I’m good with history but I’m not so good with music history. Seeing that Chuck Berry was arrested was news to me. I didn’t know that happened. I knew about police brutality. I knew that white acts would still black acts music. That was interesting to see how the Beach Boys took from Chuck Berry. Oh and 'Mos Def' does a smooth job as ol’ Chuck Berry. People do it today as well….Coldplay. (Though apparently there is a reasonable explanation. I just wanted to be witty and hip by mentioning their plight.)


There was too much drama in this film. There were not enough lighthearted moments. It brought me down instead of inspire me with these inspiring artist. I wanted to feel like they were passionate instead of impassionate and impersonal with, not only themselves, but each other. Maybe that’s how they really were with one another and if they were then that’s really sad. Cadillac Records my have been nicknamed because of the amount of Callillacs given out to their artist but that doesn’t mean the movie itself is as smooth looking and fierce as its namesake. The edge that it should have had felt like someone took a sandpaper of boring and just molested every corner of good into drab-lackluster corners of what could have been.

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