Two homies, Smokey &Craig, smoke up a dope dealer's weed and try to figure a way to get the $200 they owe the dope dealer by 10:00pm that night. In that time they smoke weed, get jacked, and they get shot at in a drive-by.
Aspiring emcee DJay works the angles to get his first record made with help from assorted people in his Memphis 'hood. And when he hears that hip-hop superstar Skinny Black is heading to his area, he throws together a supreme hustle to grab Skinny's attention. Written by
There are numerous references to Memphis-based musicians in the film: The character of Shelby was named after Shelby Bryant, a singer-songwriter from Memphis. In one scene, Shelby is wearing a T-shirt with the logo of Sam Phillips's Memphis Recording Service studio. In another scene, Shelby wears a T-shirt of Lucero, a local country-rock band. Many of the studio musicians who played for Stax Records, the legendary Memphis-based record label, play on the original score. Isaac Hayes, who plays Arnel, recorded for Stax Records. The cover of the 1974 Stax album "Victim of the Joke?" by Memphian David Porter is stapled to DJay's work table. Otis Redding, who also recorded for Stax Records, is mentioned in one scene. Al Green's song "Jesus is Waiting" is heard during one scene. Memphis native Josey Scott of the band Saliva, appears as a store owner. Members of the popular rap group Three 6 Mafia appear in the film. Paul Beauregard plays DJay's neighbor and Jordan Houston plays Skinny Black's brother. Haystak, Free Sol and Al Kapone are local rappers who appear in the film. See more »
After DJay buys the keyboard from the bum at the beginning, he is holding a paper bag in his right hand and the keyboard in his left. However, when he goes to play the keyboard, the bag is gone. See more »
Do you know what I do in the back of them cars? Do you? Everybody's got something to do, every body's got something important going on in their lives but me, D! And I want something!
What do you want?
I don't really know, but I want something.
What... do you want?
I don't know.
Tell me what the fuck you wanna do, man!
Not this, D!
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by Kevin Barnes, Corey Williams, Ryan Leslie, Gary Spriggs & Sean Marshall
Performed by Young City a.k.a. Chopper
Courtesy of Bad Boy Recods
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing See more »
A very good film. I have noted criticism that the film slips into formula in its second half; true. But the situation is so bleak for these characters, I doubt that American audiences would have accepted a more believable ending; and, after all, there were far worse "happy" endings that it avoids.
The gritty staging, the solid no-frills camera-work and editing, and some really excellent performances make this well worth the effort to confront dishonest characters struggling to find some sort of integrity in their efforts to survive and succeed. These characters are not likable - none of them are, they each have a tic that denies them total sympathy from the audience. But they are all very human for that, and so ultimately win our respect if not approval.
Among the actors, two performances especially shine. Terrence Howard as DJay shows timing and expression worthy of much older, more "schooled" actors. Anthony Anderson is a real and pleasant surprise; stuck in character roles for the past decade, Anderson has become a real annoyance to me, as the usual character he plays is really excessive, a caricature. In this role, he is allowed to just act, and he delivers a wholly believable multifaceted performance.
Hollywood has been producing such bad films that saying this film is among the best released this year may not be saying much (there are real and undeniable weaknesses to the film). Nonetheless, on the whole, the film is a commendable and rewarding effort to present a drama involving human beings living close to real life, and not cartoons. I credit that effort, and recommend a viewing.
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