Hustle And Flow

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Year: 2005

Writer: Craig Brewer

Director: Craig Brewer

Budget: $8 million (estimated)

Gross: $22 201 636

one of the films i had been most looking forward to seeing last year was  craig brewer's Black Snake Moan.  those trailers and the music and huge big block yellow letters got me good and i was there opening weekend.  and i was disappointed.  for me that film was a great idea that didn't have a full movie in it.  i was with it for about half the film and then it lost me - but i am not here to talk about Black Snake Moan, although i will say the music in the movie was great and used beautifully, which takes us to the film we are talking about, craig brewer's previous film, Hustle And Flow.  and this one did not disappoint.

for those of you not familiar with the story or the academy award winning song from the film, 'It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp', Hustle And Flow is about a low level pimp who wants to be more.  he is going through a bit of a 'mid-life crisis' contemplating life and death (his father died at the age he is now).  he has a dream to be a song writer/rapper and he goes after that dream.  okay, so that makes it sound like Pretty Woman meets Rudy meets Boys In The hood all disneyfied, but that is far from the case.

this is not a film that tries to pretty anything up. it is a film that portrays its characters the way they are and tends to do it without placing judgment on them (which would be so easy to do). 

craig brewer is very much a product of the 90s and 2000s film generation and the likes of tarantino, john singleton and others.  the opening scene is this slow pan out from a guys face (terrance howard as d jay - the pimp) ala Godfather as he gives us a monologue about how man - mankind - is not like dog.  it has that modern film hip dialogue feel to it that i associated, when watching, with that generation i mentioned.  that is not to say brewer doesn't have his own voice, because he sure does.

i mentioned music when talking about Black Snake Moan and it is just as vital a part of Hustle And Flow.  not only are the songs that he writes just pretty good songs, but they really feel like they are coming from his character - the way howard spits the lines with such truth and anger - and not just rap songs thrown in to make a cool soundtrack.  Also, there is a great scene in which we see a song coming together from lyrics to the finding of the beat and the hook, which just gets you in the gut.

Hustle And Flow is about having a dream and going for it.  it is about how, to quote my favorite line from the movie, "every man has the right to contribute a verse".

i am not a pimp, and i can't relate to d-jay's specific circumstances, but when it comes to the idea of persuing a dream and wondering where your life is taking you, those ideas are universal and ones that we can all relate to in some way.