Based on a true story: Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, the man who started the Chess Records label and recorded such artists as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Etta James (Beyonce Knowles), Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker) and Chuck Berry (Dante 'Mos Def' Smith). Also with Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Cedric The Entertainer, Tammy Blanchard, Norman Reedus, Jill Flint, Chyna Layne and Albert Jones. Directed by Darnell Martin. [1:48]
SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man and a woman, he just met, have sex: we see the man thrusting and he climaxes (we see his bare back, and her bra and cleavage are shown). A man sprays beer on women in an audience, he licks the liquid off the cleavage of one of the women and we then see them having sex in a bed with the man thrusting and kissing the woman's bare breasts. A husband and wife have sex: the man thrusts on top of her in bed (we see his bare chest and back and her arms lay across her bare breasts).
► A man lies on top of a woman, kisses down her chest (her dress is open and we see her bra and cleavage) and her leg raised to his side (her bare thigh is visible) and when they are interrupted the man pulls up his pants and the woman buttons her dress.
► There are several shots in quick succession of different couples having sex (one couple is in a bed under red satin sheets and we see the man's bare back while thrusting), or kissing and caressing (clothed) while listening to a song.
► Three topless young women (their bare breasts are visible) are in a car with a man and it is implied that they have sex. Three women enter a man's hotel room, they drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and dance, and one woman is shown wearing her full slip and dancing and the man bites her on the hip (it is implied that they have sex). A woman slips off a restaurant seat and under the table where it is implied that she performs oral sex on a man. Two young women (they could be teens) get into the back seat of a car with a man and it is implied that they have sex. A woman wearing a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage lies back on a bed and lifts her knee to the side (part of her bare thigh above her fishnet stocking is visible). Women wear low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage in club scenes.
► A woman talks to a married man, she caresses his face, they kiss and lie back on a floor (they are interrupted). A man tries to seduce a woman but she refuses him. A man sits in a bathtub (we see bare shoulders and chest) a woman enters the room and the man pulls her into the tub with him (she is clothed). A man admires a woman's clothed buttocks as she leans over a pool table. Two women sit in the back seat of a car and sway to music (we see their bare backs and shoulders (it is not evident if they are topless).
► A man is arrested for "transporting a minor over state lines for the purposes of prostitution." We see a man with many different women in different scenes.
► A man makes a remark about another man's music putting three women in his bed. A man talks about women taking off their underwear and throwing them on a stage. A man is described as someone "every woman wanted to love." A man tells another man that he would jump in bed with him if he had a top selling record (in a joking manner). A man talks about "losing two daughters to Blues men." A woman sings about lost love and heartbreak. Music is introduced on radio stations as "race music."
VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A man shoots a man and we see a bit of blood spray and the man falls to the ground. A man with a club beats another man in the head (we see the man with a lot of blood on his head, his mouth and his face) and the man dies (we see him being closed into a body bag and carried away).
► A police officer slams a man's head into the hood of his car repeatedly (we see the man's face bleeding and cut and the hood of the car is smeared with blood). A man is punched and kicked and thrown down a flight of stairs in an alley (we see his face bloodied and bruised).
► A man punches another man in the face, and a gun is fired and a chandelier breaks up in a crowded club; a man holds a gun on another man (no one is shot). A man pushes a man onto a bed and holds him down while threatening him (no one is harmed). A man shoots a gun into the ceiling of a crowded club (people scatter but no one is hurt). A man threatens to kill a man.
► A man drives his car into the front window of an office (glass shatters and we see the driver with bloody cuts on his face).
► A man has a heart attack and dies while driving a car (we see him slump over in the driver's seat and the car rolls to a stop). We see a dead man in a casket. We see a picture of two dead African-American men with blood on their faces and hanging from a tree.
► We see a photo of a woman being fingerprinted and arrested for sitting on a bus. A man puts a pistol in a guitar case (we see this a couple of times). A man becomes angry and throws things around and office.
► A woman lies unconscious on the floor with a syringe and a drug vial next to her and she is put in a shower in an attempt to revive her.
► We read about successful copyright infringement lawsuits brought by African-American artists against white artists for stealing their songs or music. We see an audience separated by color by a rope.
PROFANITY 10 - 64 F-word, 8 sexual remarks, 19 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, 9 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 1 derogatory term for a Jewish man, name-calling (schmuck, fool, fat, stupid), 4 religious profanities, 2 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A woman lies unconscious on the floor with a syringe and a drug vial next to her. People drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes in several club scenes, three women and two men smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol in a hotel room, a man drinks alcohol with a meal, a man and a woman drink alcohol, a man drinks alcohol from a flask, a man drinks alcohol to excess in many scenes, two men drink from a flask (one takes several sips), and a woman drinks gin from a bottle. Many people smoke cigarettes in many scenes throughout the movie. A man makes a remark about a man drinking too much gin and taking too much smack.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Blues, the recording industry, racism, copyright infringement, taking risks, love, infidelity, Southern plantations, children out of wedlock, prostitution, drug and alcohol use and abuse, integration of the airwaves.
MESSAGE - African-American artists' contribution to music and the music industry is tremendous. Success can come with a price.