Hustle and Flow

Last weekend a bunch of friends and I went to see the movie Hustle and Flow. Several of us had seen trailers and thought they looked good. How often is it that trailers look like you’ve just seen the whole movie? How often do trailers completely lie? Well, not this one. Hustle and Flow is awesome! Quentin Tarantino WISHES he could make something this good!

For starters the round yellow title credit was a beautiful throw back to 1970’s independent film. The words were superimposed on a moving shot of our main characters cruising in there ride. I knew right away what genre we were in for. This movie about a pimp and his hoes was more than a imitation of Dolemite and Shaft. As the character Shug sings, “It’s hard out there for a pimp. When ya trying to get money for the rent.”

This movie is a drama. It was shot and directed to achieve reality. This movie is violent, sexist, full of drug abuse, gun violence, child abuse, etc., etc. But like a lot of good art it’s mirrors real life. Unfortunately our world is so much more violent than this movie many times over.

There are a few happy times but mostly it’s one super sad scene after the other. The oppression just oozes off the screen. If it makes all us privileged white people uncomfortable… it should. This is what has become of the violent racist country our founding fathers created. But with their heads held high people overcome.

The characters in this movie live in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon buying tickets I exclaimed. “This must be the summer of movie segregation”. With the Dukes of Hazzard and Hustle and Flow at the same movie theater at the same time. It always amazes me how art imitates life.

I’ve heard tell of quite a bit of controversy in the African American community over the fact that a white man made this movie. The director Craig Brewer has delivered a serious labor of love about some people in a town he obviously loves. This isn’t just a blaxploitation style picture of stereotypes. We have middle class blacks, impoverished blacks, and poor whites working together to make beautiful art and rise up to make a dream come true. This situation is as much about class as it’s about race.

All in all we were moved. It’s amazing how big the solid gold carrot is hanging in front of the mule. It drives those with out to grab by any means necessary the cash to live the great American lie. What a drama.