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|Index||206 reviews in total|
The "upward economic and social mobility through musical talent" genre
has never been one of my favorites. This is, remember, the genre that
begot "Glitter." In the past three years, however, the genre has risen
high in the ranks of populist entertainment in both its fictional ("8
Mile") and non-fictional ("Ray" or "Walk the Line") forms.
"Hustle and Flow" crackles and pops onto the screen in its first frames as a throwback to character-driven 1970's movie-making that explored a certain criminal or non-traditional subculture of society (ala "Taxi Driver" or "Mindnight Cowboy"). The filmmakers do a great job early on of giving us an intimate and sympathetic, though never glorifying, look into the life of a Memphis pimp and the relationships he has with his environment and hoes. A great ensemble cast and hyper-intelligent script give it a surprising emotional resonance and moral complexity, much in the same way P.T. Anderson peered into the dysfunctional family of adult filmmakers in "Boogie Nights." The characters in "Hustle & Flow" use music in the same way the characters in "Boogie Nights" used filming sex, as an abstract way to connect and communicate with the people around them.
Terrance Howard (previously seen in a pivotal supporting part in the socially conscious "Crash") gives a powerhouse performance in the lead role. He displays a certain gravitas few performers possess, and it's truly put to the test as he is still able to carry the film even as it descends into a series of gangster-rap clichés in the final thirty minutes. The filmmakers really missed a golden opportunity to put out something that could've served both as a grandiose tragedy (ala John Singleton's "Boyz in the Hood") or biting social commentary (ala "Network" or "Bullworth"). After displaying such promise in the first three quarters of the film, it's ashame they copped out, as their amazing cast and lead performer never did.
This movie taught me that if you are a stupid worthless high-school
drop-out pimp who abuses women, swears frequently and kills people, you
can turn on your past and become a stupid worthless high-school
drop-out rapper who abuses women, swears frequently and kills people.
Thank you for such a stirring and emotionally resonant film, guys. I
really appreciate it! "Everybody gotta have a dream" is the tagline.
Notice the incorrect grammar. That's because it's "cool" to spell
things wrong in the gangsta world (note that the "er" in "gangster" has
been replaced with an "a," too).
I'm so glad I live in a world where films about disgusting people can contain a moral as important as this: You're somebody too, even if you're a scum of the earth. So become a rapper, make loads of money and be an even more important scum of the earth.
I mainly went to see this film because I like Terrence Howard and he got a great review from Ebert and Roeper. At first, the movie was bombarded with the stereotypical images seen before in black flicks. People fighting in bars, pan handling, of course the drugs and prostitution. It seemed to only show the negative sides that I was hoping wouldn't be seen as the norm in the community. But, as the movie unfolded it showed the birth of a dream, a coming together of friends for a common cause, and true emotion. It showed that even the dregs of society can be lifted up somehow, by their dreams being fulfilled. DJay began to be a man to root for. He started to put in the necessary work, drive and effort to be a team leader and then to go out on the limb -- though not in the most respectable ways, to achieve an end. The cast did a phenomenal job. Based on the diversity of the audience that was with me, I think many will understand the process in getting a recording heard and also appreciate rap or hip hop, more. Terrence is a good actor and has played mainly the 'tough guy' roles but he really showed an emotional side. As one poster eluded -- we are now giving credit to a Pimp and feeling sorry for him. It doesn't make sense because a Pimp should be looked down on and shunned by society. Who cares if they reach their goals or dreams. They don't deserve it --- leading the life they do. It is comparable to how some like "The Sopranos" -- killers that they are, but we somehow see that they have a heart and somewhat normal family dynamics as everyone. The movie wanted everyone to have that common denominator -- realizing that everyone has a dream and may want to validated, heard and improve their life. This was a very unusual vehicle to make that point, via the "Pimp Mobile," but Terrence may have nailed it.
I have only seen two great films this year. "Crash" and I just saw
"Hustle and Flow". It just so happened that Terrance D. Howard is in
both. Now that is absolutely great acting. Not just by him, but by the
other actors too. What a raw and real film. After watching this, my
husband said he has a better understanding of RAP also. There better be
some awards around the corner for this film and this actor. Brewer has
captured something both in the writing and directing. An athlete would
call it "Being in the Zone".
Kudos to Brewer and the crew.
Jo Ann A. , Huntington Beach, CA
Hustle and Flow is fiction.
Howard does a great job of making a dirt bag seem human.
It is a workable film for its audience -- I (a white dude that believes "Saving Private Ryan" is the most incredible movie ever made) saw it in a theater that was 99% young black movie goers.
The music is good -- expect MTV to work a couple of those in their mix soon.
Of all the characters, Shug was the most believable. That girl is the only Academy Award nominee that might emerge from this easily overlooked mood piece. The humor and anecdotal twists are nice additions, but the underlying message should be: "don't be a pimp in the first place".
I don't mind if you go see it. It's harmless.
This movie was so gritty and real, it touches upon the human condition
so well. I did not know what to expect and it blew me away. Not only
did Terrance Howard provide a great performance but the storyline was
excellently done. Terrance you alway have been a great star and with
this performance you have truly made a serious turn.
The story conveyed the longing of all the characters to live a better life in the face of poverty and few options. There are some very memorable scenes in this film. The first is when DJay (Terrance Howard) spits his first rhymes in the makeshift studio of his bedroom with Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls characters. As they layer the sound of his first song one begins to not only see but, hear the potential of DJay dreams of becoming a rap star. The second is through a series of flashes during a jail visit when the audience is treated to what the future may hold for DJay(that is the most I will say because I want everyone to experience the film without giving too much away). That scene brought me to tears and I was uplifted as I left the theater. They say the sign of a great movie is when you are left thinking about it for days. Hustle and Flow has done just that for me. Praise to John Singleton for finding a way to finance this movie and get it out to the masses and major praise to the writer and director Craig Brewer for not only telling but giving us one of our(African American)stories in such a profound manner. I know there are many more stories out there and if any studio heads are reading this, DON'T BE SCARED TO GIVE US MORE!!! We are multi-faceted people with universal stories that everyone can relate to when it involves the human condition. I only hope the buzz keep growing and that this movie is a great success. It needs to be put in more theaters by audience demand. Maybe then can we get more tales like this that reaffirm that even the lowest of low can dream. My final words get out and see this movie! It's a must see!!!
I must say that I really wasn't expecting a lot from this movie. The trailer and previews were interesting enough but I assumed it was just another "hip-hop" movie. To my surprise, the storyline and the actors were excellent. Terrence Howard is a great actor and he gives DJay such character. Actually, the entire casting was great. I was surprised that it only brought in $8 million but maybe that's pretty good since it was only showing on 1000 screens. I hope that people go out and support this film. When I heard that John Singleton financed this movie personally, I thought "he must really have faith in this film". It is an excellent film and it deserves all of the great reviews. This is a must-see film.
Take a look at Terrence Howard's performance in "Crash," and then go
see what he does in "Hustle & Flow." The guy does all the little (and
big things) a film actor has to do to be credible. Not only that, he
has an absolutely mesmerizing screen presence.
If he doesn't become a major superstar, winning accolades and awards along the way -- as opposed to the kind of superstar status of, say, Tom Cruise or one of the other lightweight pretty boys -- then we'll know once and for all that the system is totally gamed.
"Hustle & Flow"? I went to it the night it opened in NYC, having heard the buzz about it in reviews on NPR and in the NY Times. I was somewhat skeptical, yet I bought my ticket with an open mind, hoping I'd be entertained, enlightened, etc.
Maybe what I really wanted was something other than the Big Bucks Production Crap that the major studios turn out so routinely. I wasn't disappointed. Because "Hustle & Flow" didn't overwhelm me with effects. Instead it got me involved in a story about some downtrodden yet ever hopeful characters.
Craig Brewer's script crackled with wit, pathos, hope and rage, and his direction was blessed by so much verisimilitude that the part of Memphis he intended to portray became almost visceral on the screen, tiny elements (wisps of smoke from a cigarette, beads of sweat, the oily smudges on an old fan) adding volumes to the back story.
Brewer's casting decisions were inspired. Terrence Howard (DJay) will get all the "star" play, but he's got some terrific support in Taryn Manning (Nola), Taraji P. Henson (Shug), Paula Jai Parker (Lexus), Anthony Anderson (Key) and DJ Quails (Shelby).
All in all, this is a "don't miss" film. A breakout by its writer/director, star and cast. Will it win big in this year's Hollywood awards shows? Hard to say. It should, in my opinion. One thing is sure... it's infinitely better than the "5.9" rating it's been given up to this point in time.
Almost forgot... all hail John Singleton for producing the film! On NPR I heard that he put $3 million of his own cash into getting it done. Let's hope he cashes in big-time...
I loved it. It wasn't just about hip hop. It was about someone finding
who you are and working for your dreams. Terrence D. Howard was very
impressive. He showed the emotion that's rarely depicted of a pimp,
hustler, or rapper for that matter. Hopefully this is the type of role
that can propel Terrence into bigger roles , just as Collateral & Ray
did for Jamie Foxx. Hollywood need these actors.
Also as a hip hop lover it was cool to see the sound & way of life of the 'Dirty South". As a East coaster from NY that was a first where the Southern hood is represented well. I thought Taryn Manning, Anthony Anderson, & Ike Hayes were exceptional performances.
I recently viewed this film and the moment I walked out of the theater, I made phone calls to inform other friends and family that they should see this film, ToDAY(opening). I was amazed(not shocked because he is an excellent actor) at Terrence performance. I could really feel his spirit as he brought this character to life. The supporting cast was excellent as well. Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, and Taryn Manning. There were some excellent scenes between all three. This film reminds me of the origins of blues, the true blues. Although its coming from a pimp and his so called "hoes" it is his blues and his struggle. Very real to life. Of coarse some will look down upon this film because it deals with a pimp and his hoes, but this is the most real to life experience I've ever seen in the media about this lifestyle. This film showed the rawness of it all, that it was not "bling bling and slap a hoe". I suggest you check out this film, you wont be disappointed.
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