I rented Cadillac Records this weekend and even though I loved all the actors I don't like the movie. Now I love the director Darnell Martin. The Sista keeps getting better and as the First Afrikan American Female to helm a Major Motion picture (I Like It Like that) she gets my respect but she is listed as the screenwriter of Cadillac Records. This is a story about Leonard Chess and Chess Records.
Miss Martin, let me ask you before you wrote the screenplay did you actually RESEARCH your subject matter? Did you read any of the biographies or interviews from that time? I gotta know! I read Jerry Wexlers Autobiography and in it Mr. Wexler ( A Jewish Man) describes The Chess Brothers, Leonard and Phil (Also Jewish) as anything but benevolent and fair.
I quote, " I walked into a local bar and the Chess Brothers and the Behari Brothers (another famous Jewish set of Record Company owners) were sitting at a table and called me over. "Jerry! We hear that you guys over at Atlantic Records are promising them five cents a record and playing them five cents a record! Why not just give them Five Hundred dollars and be done with it? " The Chess Brothers made alot of money off of Willie Dixon, Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters. Muddy Waters once told biographers that Leonard Chess said "Muddy you'll always have a job with me....when you get old you can paint the walls of the studio." The Rolling Stones visited Chess Records and found their HERO, Muddy Waters, doing just that. Mick Jagger stated that they walked in and there was Muddy Waters, who they named their band after his song Rolling Stone, is painting the walls.
Mick: What are You doing here doing this?
Muddy Waters: I gotta Eat!
The Rolling Stones took Muddy Waters on tour and it gave him a boost to his career. You kinda mentioned this but the movie overall is a big untruthful puff piece made to look like a feel good story that really is the story of another record company shark who bilked alot of Musicians out of their royalties and publishing.
There may have been alot of good in Chess and his Brother but Muddy Waters was not wearing a suit and driving a Cadillac like your movie makes it look. And as for Bee as Etta James. Well, I don't believe that there was no big love affair between the two that you alluded to. I don't think Leonard Chess was that Loving of a Dude.
I know that movies allow for literary and artistic license but Damn Darnell! Damn Darnell!
Then we watched Spikes Miracle of St. Anna. I enjoyed the film. The only real criticisms I have is the waste of Michael Ealy in the role of Bishop. I know Michael Ealy can play a hustling pretty boy well but I've watched Showtimes Sleeper Cell and There Eyes were Watching God and know for a fact the boy has alot more range. It's a shame he's limited and reduced to Bishop.
Derrick Luke will grow as an actor but I do believe that he was miscast in this role. He was simply too young to have been a Sgt in the Army. He looked in and he acted it! Alot of those guys were Men at that time and had been Men for a long time. But I ain't getting down on Spike cause Hell, at least he has tried to stretch over the years.
And it don't hurt that I Like Spike!
BE Careful! BE Mindful! BE Prayerful!