Sunday, December 7, 2008

Review: Cadillac Records

Beyonce is a fabulous musical performer. I think she was born to sing. Act? Not so much.

Why start the Cadillac Records review with a review of Beyonce? Why not just review the movie? Because Beyonce is the only reason I rushed to see Cadillac Records last night. I like my black musical history as well as the next person, but I doubt that I would have made it my business to be at the movies if it didn’t star Beyonce Gisselle Knowles.

Bey comes in during the last 44 minutes of the film. She plays a foul-mouthed, yet pretty and downright Deena Jones-in-a-wig-ish looking Etta James. Hearing Beyonce cuss made me cringe and that’s when I knew she wasn’t supposed to be on stage acting. When an actor’s real persona shines through and beyond the character they are portraying, it’s a bust.

There were positives in Beyonce’s character, however. I thought it was kind of cool to watch her strutting around with Etta James’s cowboy gait, and she even made me raise my eyebrows once or twice during an exceptionally angry moment in the film—but for the most part I was just watching Beyonce play dress up. And I only enjoyed the drugged out intimate scenes because of the close ups of Bey and my sick fascination with her. :-)

Mrs. Carter gained a little weight for the movie but it just wasn’t enough. The physical transformation was too slight. Why couldn’t she have just went from:

This to This?

I watched Monster and completely forgot Charlize Theron was in it. If you are as pretty as either of these ladies, you really do need to make more of a physical change than just stomping around, Beyonce.

As for the rest of the characters, I thought Mos Def was very entertaining and I wanted him in every scene. He played a very good Chuck Berry and I really appreciated that kind of talent in the movie.

Jeffrey Wright played a fine Muddy Waters, but I wish he would have spoken up a little more. (Or, I might just be deaf. You tell me.)

Gabrielle Union was cool. Yes, her top lip built up a steady sweat as usual, but she played a convincing role as Muddy Waters’ woman.

Columbus Short played Little Walter and he was an interesting character. He definitely made the physical transformation and he almost pulled off the whole tragic character. I blame the Director for not telling Columbus to remove some of the “retarded” from his voice.

As far as the story line and truthfullness of the movie, it was all over the place and it could have been a lot better. But all in all, Cadillac Records was OK. I give it a C.


  1. ok then fine..i will have no issues viewing via bootleg

  2. Dear Smokie,

    Nice 'Cadillac Records' review! It was definitely an interesting read, especially bringing up 'Monster.' My name is Peter Ricci, and I am a college student and writer who currently contributes to 'Too Shy to Stop,' an upstart online magazine focused on culture and the arts.

    I found you entry, as it would turn out, while doing research for my own article on the film. My review focuses on how the film's ambitious source material overwhelms the final product, but, as I discovered, it may still be worth a watch.

    If you have the time, check it out! I’d love for you (and anybody else who reads this) to read it and comment.


    Peter Ricci


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