Welcome to this week’s installment of It Came from the Bargain Bin! This week’s review is of a film that I have passed up time and time again while digging through the DVD heap known as The Bargain Bin. I have seen parts of this film from time to time on cable but just never actually sat down and committed to it from beginning to end so this week it’s time to give it the time that I hope it deserves. Seeing as though it stars Terrence Howard who I’ve liked as a supporting actor in Oscar winning movies like Crash (2004) and Ray (2004) I figure that this particular movie has to be worth at least the 5 bucks it cost to purchase but one never knows until you actually watch the film, right. If anything, I think that Mr. Howard had been in enough solid films to earn himself this lead role and I am curious to see if he actually holds his own and turns out the great performance that he seems to be capable of pulling off. So, without further delay, lets delve into this week’s pick from The Bin starring Terrence Howard………..
Hustle and Flow (2005)
Director: Craig Brewer
Writer: Craig Brewer
Starring: Terrence Howard, Ludacris, and Anthony Anderson
Reviewed By: Joe Sikes
Djay (Terrence Howard) pimps out Nola (Taryn Manning) in Memphis, Tennessee to support himself and his baby’s momma, Shug (Taraji P. Henson). Struggling day to day without getting above water, Djay begins to feel like his life is leading nowhere. After hearing from local club owner and friend, Arnel (Isaac Hayes) that the big rap star Skinny Black (Ludacris) from Djay’s hood is coming back to town, Djay begins to wonder if he still has what it takes to make it big. Now in his forties, Djay knows that it’s now or never and approaches his old buddy and sound engineer, Key(Anthony Anderson) to express his interest in recording some songs to present to Skinny Black with hopes of rising out of the hole that he’s in. Key agrees to help his old friend, Djay and gets him into the recording studio.
Upon entering the studio, Key introduces Djay to Shelby (DJ Qualls), a scrawny white pianist from Key’s church. Although hesitant to accept Shelby, Djay goes along with Key’s instincts and hits the studio. With the assistance of apparent beat master, Shelby and sound engineer, Key, Djay hits the ground running and turns out jams that have the potential to make him a star. Although possibly on to something big, struggles persist for Djay while chasing his life-long dream of being a famous rap recording artist. While maintaining focus on his dream of making it big, Djay must still hustle on the unforgiving streets of Memphis to support himself and Shug. Surrounded by turmoil, Djay continues to work with Shelby and Key in the studio while awaiting the arrival of Skinny Black who holds Djay’s future in the palm of his hands. This may be Djay’s only shot to make it and he isn’t about to let this chance pass him by without a fight.
Although fictional, Hustle and Flow comes across as a very realistic story that inspires with the help of convincing performances by the whole cast and the musical talents of Mr. Howard as well. Terrence Howard does not disappoint in this classic story of struggle and the will to succeed despite the outside forces that may stand in the way of a dream. Hustle and Flow’s plot may sound cliché but do not be fooled, there is a lot more to this movie than just a story about making it out of the ‘hood. If you give Hustle and Flow a chance you will not be disappointed. I give Hustle and Flow 2 and 1/2 Guys. See you next week with another pick from The Bin.