Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Movie: Hustle & Flow (2005)

There’s plenty to love about this Sundance award-winner. Terrence Howard’s incendiary performance as DJay, a small-time pimp and drug dealer driven to make a name for himself as a rapper. Terrence Howard’s hair. The sultry vibe of backstreet Memphis. And the music; the lethal hook to DJay’s record (“It’s hard out here for a pimp ...”) will be playing in my head for the rest of the summer.

Best of all, writer/director Craig Brewer actively embraces the conventional aspects of his story, and in so doing gives them new power. He combines two schools of ‘40s melodrama, Up-From-The-Streets and Let’s-Put-On-A-Show, for a potent mix. The movie reminded me of the short Charles Willeford piece “An Actor Prepares,” about a dishwasher who turns to the stage so he can make “a small sound,” because “everyone wants to make one before he dies.”

Like all American movies, H&F includes scenes in a strip club. Here they not only make sense (DJay runs one of his girls out of the club) but are sharply observed (the dancers have to work around buckets because the roof is leaking). The location is so common in films now that it’s become boring. When the clones go to a sleazy bar that’s a half-step up from a strip club in THE ISLAND (Keenan’s One Word ReviewTM: air-conditioned), I found myself tuning out of the action. This raises the disturbing possibility that I’ve watched entire movies set in strip clubs and simply don’t remember them.

Miscellaneous: Urban Legend

According to Hollywood Elsewhere, there’s an episode of THE ODD COUPLE in which Oscar and Felix visit a talent agent. A family is leaving the office as they arrive. The agent tells the boys, “They’re called The Aristocrats. What an act!”

I badly, badly want this to be true.

Miscellaneous: Link

Bill Crider becomes a SLIGHTLY SCARLET fan. There’s a cult building for this movie, I can feel it.