DJay is a Memphis hustler who spends most days in a parked Chevy philosophizing about life while Nola (Taryn Manning), turn tricks in the backseat. He's not very good at pimping, but he can hustle almost anything or anyone... more » and makes enough to keep himself and three girls satisfied and housed in his shotgun home. DJay however is in the midst of a midlife crisis; he quietly harbors dreams of becoming a respected rapper. When he learns from a local club owner, Arnel (Isaac Hayes), that rap mogul Skinny Black (Ludacris), is rolling through town, DJay decides to record his flow with the hopes of slipping his demo to Skinny. With little help from his friends and "family" DJay sets in motion the hustle of his life, and galvanizes the lives of those around him as they learn that "Everybody's gotta have a dream."« less
"HUSTLE & FLOW, which I saw last night, is a terrific movie, both gritty and a hell of a lot of fun. Terrence Howard is terrific as DJay, a Memphis pimp with a dream of recording a rap demo. The supporting cast is really strong. The movie has one of the best screenplays I've seen in a while, too. Though there are stereotypical characters, nothing turns out the way you'd expect, and the dialogue and soundtrack are excellent. The good reviews this has received are deserved. HUSTLE & FLOW is a great movie.
For me, the entire movie was worth seeing just for the lava lamp scene."
Everyone Has to Have Dreams...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 07/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Memphis, Tennessee, is a location like any other where poverty and human struggle exist on any level. Some, unfortunately, where born in rough situations while others might have been born with a gold spoon in their mouth. Together with poverty ventures an undesirable travel companion known as criminality that spreads further dismay among the poor. It does not necessarily mean that the poor are criminals, but through criminal activities youth often discover their chance to accomplish their materialistic dreams often induced from television. The director Craig Brewer discloses his vision of a struggling pimp and drug dealer trying to find direction in his life while continue to hustle his business on others in Hustle & Flow.
A lengthy introduction of the main character DJay (Terrence Dashon Howard) and his background opens Hustle & Flow, which intriguingly gives the audience an understanding for his situation. It is obvious that DJay is a street smart and intelligent young man, as he in the initial scene gives an existential exposition on the nature of mankind related to his situation. In the light of his philosophical notions one could understand why he is where he is in life, pimping and selling drugs in his neighborhood. In addition, DJay does not get the feeling of satisfaction from his job, but it must be done as he seems to feel some form of responsibility to the women who work for him. Instead DJay dreams of making music and rapping his lyrics, but has never taken the opportunity to try.
DJay understands the simple functions of society, as people wish to themselves away from the poverty and never having to return to a life of poverty on any level whether it is a physical visit or through reminiscence. The mindset of avoiding poverty sadly allows for very few, if ever any opportunities for the poor to get out of poverty. However, an opportunity begins with a dream, which must be executed. When DJay meets an old high school friend, Key (Anthony Anderson), he sees an opportunity, but Key is hesitant for the same reason many others are in regards to people in poverty. Key gives DJay a lecture in walking the walk instead of talking the talk through which he wants DJay to understand to accomplish a dream requires much hard work. DJay finds a way to convince Key that he intends to work hard in order to achieve his dream.
Together DJay and Key begin to create a temporary home studio where they can record the music that they both love so much. Key also brings in Shelby (DJ Qualls), a skinny guy from the church, who helps out creating a great sound to DJay's lyrics. Much of the second act of the film revolves Key, Shelby, and DJay sitting in the studio trying to find the right sound and the right words to make a hit song. In between rehearsals and musical exploration DJay finds himself pimping and selling drugs to raise the money to make his songs, but it is hard as he cannot raise much money. Setbacks begin to affect DJay, and he must face his own demons through his insecurities and the fear of failing. All aspects of DJay's life begin to affect his music making, but he must remain persistent, or he will fail.
Hustle & Flow offers a truly terrific cinematic experience which deals with the notion of having dreams and hopes about the future. Brewer takes this notion even one step further, as he explores the idea of fulfilling the dreams which requires a large amount of hard work. Terrence Dashon Howard turns out to be the perfect actor for the part, as everything he does only makes the film better. To understand the quality of talent that Howard possess, one should understand the vast number of characters that he has performed. Recently, he was in Crash (2004) where he was a wonderful television producer and now comes across as a genuine pimp and drug dealer who has desires to becomes something else."
D. Lee | North Carolina | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gritty and raw!! It was refreshing to see an honest portrayal of poverty without the usual melodrama. All of the performances were great, and I found myself singing along with the soundtrack even though I could never imagine that profession. I see why John Singleton produced this movie. It was much better than many of the major studio releases. I would not recommend this for anyone under 17 (hence the R rating), but acting as if this behavior doesn't exist, won't make it go away. Anyone who says it glorifies prostitution/pimping missed the point entirely.
One reviewer asked why they were always sweating. I'm not shocked that reviewer gave it a negative rating - apparently they didn't understand much of anything. And considering the quality of most bootlegs, I'm surprised that reviewer felt qualified to write a review. See a 'real' copy for yourself!!"
Maybe the best new movie this year
Reid W. Wyatt | Austin, TX USA | 11/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't seen Jarhead yet, or Brokeback Mountain, but as of now, this is the best new movie of the year. Anthony Anderson establishes himself in his best major role and Terence Howard owns the screen, from the first shot through the ending. This movie is so good I just got the soundtrack, within half an hour of finishing the movie. Director Craig Brewer triupmhs with gorgeous shots of Memphis exploring the true life of DJay, an unsuccessful pimp who is left with two hoes. The raps are hard, the beats rock, the acting is amazing and the story may be a common one in "the game", but nothing about the way the story unfolds on screen appears insincere or trite. The dialogue probably makes the movie, with the semi-philosophical musings of a man approaching 35 with nothing to show for his life. The ending is a real surprise; don't let anybody tell you how it ends. Southern rap rules the charts and this movie comes at a pivotal time in hiphop. It's funny that the two greatest performances of the past two years have had great male leads in music movies: Jamie Foxx in Ray and Terence Howard in Hustle & Flow. Howard deserves an Oscar and if the movie is too real for some people, they just didn't feel it."
Justin Maldonado | Tallahasse, FL | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every dog has his day. So is true with most actors. Hustle & Flow is Terrence Howard's day.
He plays DJay, a pimp going through a mid-life crisis. He's 35, and has nothing to show for his life. He lives in a house with no air conditioning along with a pregnant Shug (Taraji P. Henson), skinny white Nola (Taryn Manning), and ungrateful Lexus (Paula Jai Parker). He runs into an old school pal Clyde (a surprisingly good Anthony Anderson), and convinces him to help him record some tracks for a demo he's hoping to hand over to Skinny Black (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), a former school mate who is now a platinum rapper. By handing Skinny over the tape, DJay hopes he can make it big and finally leave behind his life of failure.
Howard give an Oscar-nomination worthy performance in a role that requires a certain machismo yet a soul of pain and depth. He commands the screen with a power rarely seen.
First time writer/director Craig Brewer gives us a story of inspiration, hope, persistence, courage, and passion. It may not be totally original, but it has a heart many films nowadays are missing, and unfolds in unexpected ways.
I was absorbed by every second of this film. This is one of 2005's finest films. "