Tuesday, January 9, 2007

TBG Reviews: Hustle & Flow

And, yes, I am the last Black man to see the critically-acclaimed story of a pimp who aspires to be a rapper. With a full time job and 15 minutes of fatherhood every night, I'm lucky to see any movie during its initial theatric run, but it's the so-called "Black" movies that I miss the most.

I mean, was Soul Plane really as bad as they all said?

Anyways, we'll keep this one short since Hustle & Flow was so 2005.

Positives: Terrific performances by just about everyone involved…and, damn it, I mean everyone. Terrence Howard got the Oscar nod, but Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls are terrific in smaller roles, while Taryn Manning and Taraji P. Henson are phenomenal as a pair of hoes with heart.

Negatives: The music is terrible and the entire film is based around it. Watching everyone stand around slack-jawed while Howard's "Djay" is spitting garbage as if he's cobbling together a classic is awkward and embarrassing. The accomplished Elise Neal plays a poorly-written supportive wife, while Paula Jai Parker plays a L-O-U-D Black woman for the 100th time. And, the last 30 minutes nearly ruin the film.

Overall: Watchable, but somewhat disappointing, given all the hype. Howard's character is hardly sympathetic, so it's hard to connect with his struggle. If you like that Dirty South sound, you'll like this one more than I did. If you abhor Hip Hop, the strong performances still might not be enough to win you over.


mathan said...

Nope, I'm the last Black guy to have not seen Hustle & Flow. Thanks for taking yourself out of the race.

Hustle & Flow now ranks up with Scarface has "Black male faves I've never seen" and Titanic as critically acclaimed flicks I've never seen.

But I'm just glad to see the blog is "topical." Of course the good news is now you can unleash those Method & Red barbs I'm sure you've been saving.

c.j.s. said...

I'm surprised that you seem to completely gloss over Terrence Howard's performance. The fact that he's not "sympathetic" is kind of the whole point. He's a guy who *wants* to turn his life around, but keeps getting swayed by his old life and, ultimately, that violence ruins him.

There's more there than you're seeing, I think.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Math: How I've missed that rapier wit! Seriously, though, thanks for stopping by. I actually had to move Scarface off my "Black male faves I'd never seen" list in 2003, when I finally saw it.

Now it's firmly entrenched in my "Black male faves that I thought was garbage" category. Please don't tell The Nation.

And, speaking of "topical", we're only 2 months out from your annual "Where Math was when Biggie Got Shot" column. Will anything change from the last nine times you wrote this piece? Oooh, can't wait to see!

Joe R. said...

So nice to see the band back together.

That Bootleg Guy said...

J.A.M. is in full effect for the '07! (Do the kids still say that?)

Joe R. said...

Last I heard, Blackstreet was still saying "in full effect," and that's good enough for me.