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Back to the Music Business With Cadillac Records

Published December 5, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of TriStar
Cadillac Records PosterCadillac Records
Yeah, musicians are f***ed up. That's what I've learned from Hollywood biopics. Whether they're jazz pianists, country-western rockers or blues hipsters, they're all druggin', whorin' messes.

Review: Cadillac Records


Every time I thought Cadillac Records was going to introduce somebody pure, they either get into drugs or adultery. So it goes for the music business.

It is nice to see a variety of different performers bring their style to an era's music. The actors do a wonderful job capturing the unique qualities of the artists they portray. Then they get coked up and sleep with minors.

There's a lot of muttering through cigarettes as the dialogue of the era. They deal with the racial issues only after establishing the character and the music, so it's not just playing the racism card, and they have a little fun with it, knowing that these artists are way cooler than the racists who persecute them.



Everyone got ripped off too. I found it interesting that this is the environment that created such great art, and I got more of that sense here than in Ray or Walk the Line where it's just: they're talented, then they piss it away, then they're talented again. These guys are talented and it takes some necessary evil to bring that to light.

It's a historical travelogue so it only hits key points. It can't linger on any particular era or style, but then you won't get bored with one either. Did I just miss when Leonard Chess got married? First he's dating a girl whose dad hates him, then he's married to a different girl.

The only other bummer, except for all the talented artists pissing it all away, is that the film ends with a Beyonce pop song in the credits. We've just heard her use her real unfiltered voice as Etta James, then they slap on a techno Pro Tools number? Please.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of TriStar
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