Hustle & Flow (2005)
DJay is a small-time pimp eking out a meager living with a small
stable of hookers and a street hustler's gift for selling his product.
He is also a reflective man who realizes that he's nearly 40, and has
created a life that is nothing like what he ever imagined for himself.
He has a chance encounter with an old schoolmate who has become a
small-time music producer, and together they conclude that DJay's
verbal gifts could work in a hip-hop format. They create a makeshift
studio, bring in some other people they know (including one of the
hookers), and have soon created the hip-hop equivalent of a garage
band, and a demo tape. The next trick is to convince somebody with
some influence to listen to the tape and promote it.
This is one of those films after which I sat back and thought, "I
can't believe I liked that." Hell, I not only liked it, but I found it
mesmerizing. Yet there's basically nothing in it that appeals to me.
I'm a 57-year-old white man, and have no interest in your average
"urban film" story about pimps, hos and gangsta rap. I don't mind
hip-hop, but I'm no big fan either. Despite all of that, I genuinely
liked this film, and that's a testament to its crossover appeal. It is
not just targeted at people who love urban films and gangsta rap.
First of all, it was written and directed by a white guy and it's
basically a modernized version of an old-fashioned rags-to-riches
yarn. Second, it's just plain entertaining. The acting is great, it's
emotionally rich, it's surprisingly funny (very few reviewers noted
this), and it offers an absolutely fascinating look at the detailed
process of creating a song.
There is also a tremendous and completely
unexpected musical bonus in Hustle & Flow. In addition to the hip-hop,
there is a rendition of a spiritual in
this movie by a classically trained mezzo soprano named Jennifer Bynum
Green. Her solo, and Terrence Howard's reaction to her performance,
are worth the price of admission alone. It's one of the best scenes in
any 2005 movie. And, Lord, can that woman sing!
Although this film has a lot of the feel-good
elements of a traditional rags-to-riches tale, it does not allow us to
pull away from a realistic view of prostitution and poverty. By the
end of the movie we are rooting for DJay to succeed, but that empathy
has to be earned through the depth of our understanding of the man,
because on the surface he is a complete lowlife, a pimp and drug
dealer who exploits and abuses women. That the film succeeds at all,
and it does, is a tribute to one of the most effective actors on the
planet, Terrence Howard, who delivers DJay as another variation on his
"soft-spoken yet filled with emotion" character, albeit a version less
sinister than he has been asked to deliver in the past.
Terrence is now on the verge of superstardom,
but back around 1998-2000, I was just about the only one who noticed
what a great talent he was. He's been the best thing in a lot of bad
movies. (Glitter, anyone?) Here's what I wrote about his performance
in the silly film Big Momma's House:
"The strange counterpoint to all
the slapstick is the always effective Terrence Howard as a menacing
bad guy. And I mean this is one scary man. He doesn't play the role
for any laughs at all. No exaggeration, no comic effects, just plain
realistic tough and bad, and strangely charismatic. If I were
casting a movie and I needed a criminal that would scare the hell
out of the audience, this guy would be my choice, because his style
is unlike anybody else's. He has kind of a soft manner, and he's
handsome, but his polish and good looks just make him more evil. He
comes off cold as ice, and you just know you better not cross him. I
know one thing. I ain't writing any negatives about this man, just
in case he reads it, because he scares my tired old white ass. I
strongly recommend they give him an Oscar. Or even, if he asks
Paula Jai Parker - playing the same character she always plays
This zipped .wmv shows Traci flashing the goods on "Celebrity Big
Brother UK," a show which demonstrates how desperate the TV execs
are for reality programming.
complete archive of Bill Maher's New Rules
screenplay for Croupier, one of the more literate noir
"Broadway can be a gamble for Hollywood's hot stars"
- "David Schwimmer makes his Broadway debut in a
revival of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny
- C'mon, headline-writing guy. No "gamble" there!
The first review of the Colin Farrell Sex Tape (or not)
Starbucks is now officially in the movie business
Catching up on this week's movies:
Tristan & Isolde - 24% positive reviews
- "A tepid, tinny modernist recasting of the epic
romance...something like a WB Network twentysomething
soap opera in medieval dress."
- "He freezes his face and half-fills his eyes as
lovelorn fighter Tristan; the very Madame Toussaud
effigy of Andy Gibb in a tunic, he lets his leonine mane
do the emoting."
- "With a bizarre coiffure that makes him look like
the lead singer of an '80s New Wave band, Franco flares
his nostrils and pouts -- his performance riddled with
so many Anakin-isms you'll think he's auditioning for
The Hayden Christensen Story."
You knew that Australia had some strange fauna, but did
you know of the giant hard spider?
Man breaks leg while kicking spider
Enter the Popular Mechanics Earthmover Sweepstakes
- Some magazines give away 12-piece cookware sets or,
if you're lucky, a trip to Hawaii. We're giving away the
RC-30 Posi-Track, a track loader made by ASV."
The trailer and four clips from End of the Spear
- "The story of Mincayani, a Waodani tribesman from
the jungles of Ecuador. When five young missionaries are
speared to death by the Waodani in 1956, a series of
events unfold to change the lives of not only the slain
missionaries' families, but also Mincayani and his
Several clips from Glory Road, Disney's latest sports
flick. (1966 NCAA - first all-black starting lineup)
The trailer from Ultraviolet
- "Set in the late 21st century, a subculture of
humans have emerged who have been modified genetically
by a vampire-like disease (Hemophagia), giving them
enhanced speed, incredible stamina and acute
intelligence, and as they are set apart from normal and
healthy humans, the world is pushed to the brink of
worldwide civil war (a war between humans and hemophages)
aimed at the destruction of the diseased population. In
the middle of this crossed-fire is - an infected woman -
Ultraviolet (Jovovich), who finds herself protecting a
nine-year-old boy who has been marked for death by the
human government as he is believed to be a threat to
Colbert rants on about his coinage of the word "truthiness"
"Colbert Report: Cuteness/Elmo/Kareem"
- "You've never known true euphoria until you've done
a line of puppies off a stripper's ass."
Is Colbert is trying to protect Jack Abramoff because they
are distant associates?
Stephen Colbert takes on Conan O'Brien face-to-face
Colbert discusses the baby boomers, and the strain they
are about to put on the economy
"Carl Bernstein and Stephen Colbert discuss what Nixon
could have learned from Bush."
John Stossel and Stephen Colbert discuss why kids are
"Unless a judge is an activist, he just sits there,
staring off into space, like a koala bear."
Stephen Colbert's "Threat-down"
- ROBOTS: They're not powering down, and they're
unkillable -- with clear survival instincts.
The Daily Show:
"Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito developed his own legal
forms? That is so f@*#ing hot."
Top Ten Signs You're In A Bad Sex Video
- 3. It's less popular than the Wilford Brimley sex
"Stung by a recent Associated Press article that didn't
credit him for coining the word 'truthiness,' Comedy
Central's Stephen Colbert has struck back
- The world's oldest news organization, Colbert says,
is the 'No. 1 threat facing America.' He has even placed
higher than (gasp!) bears.
"Kate Beckinsale is ditching Hollywood to come back to set
up home in London with her husband and daughter."
Following up on The Book of Daniel, Conan discusses the
additional TV shows to features Jesus as a character
Conan interviews Ah-nuld.
The trailer for 16 Blocks
- "16 Blocks is a character-driven action thriller
that stars Bruce Willis as Jack Mosley, a broken down NY
detective assigned to escort a petty criminal (Mos Def)
from the precinct to the courthouse. The seemingly
simple 16 block journey becomes a test of character for
them when Jack's ex-partners attempt to stop them. It's
the story of how two men change each other during a
tense 110-minute struggle between life and death."
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Internal Affairs (1990) is a testosterone contest between Richard Gere, the most respected police sergeant in the department, and Andy Garcia, a newcomer in Internal Affairs. He and his lesbian training officer, Amy Wallace, soon discover that the case they are investigating about a young officer using excessive force is just the tip of the iceberg, and that Richard Gere is the real problem. Proving it nearly costs both of them their lives.
IAD officers do not win popularity contests with other police anyway, and they are after a very popular policeman, who just happens to also be a womanizer, major crook, and possibly much worse. He has most of the cops in his division beholden to him, as he gets them moonlighting jobs.
Gere fights back by getting close to Garcia's young, attractive wife. He also eliminates anyone who might be able to testify against him. Since Garcia has so much ego involved, he is easy to manipulate by the clever Gere. Just in case you don't get it, director Mike Figgis has Amy Wallace saying, "Why don't you two just pull them out, and I will tell you which one is bigger."
Faye Grant shows her right breast in bed with Gere.
IMDb readers say 6.4, which is about right. It is a good enough Crime'Action/Drama, or a C.
Stricken (1998) is a film of superlatives. It is Judy Greer's film debut, and it features the worst idea for a film I have ever heard, the worst lightening I have yet seen, terrible acting, and the most inept editing of all time. For instance, when they had two version of a sequence, one with a deleted scene, and the other without, they left both version in the final DVD back to back. Instant De ja DooDoo (I have seen this shot before). They don't establish the characters in the beginning of the film, making it impossible to figure out who is who. The entire script relies on an unexpected death during a practical joke, but I never could figure out what the joke was supposed to be, or how it became fatal. There was also a whole story line about redneck locals who hated college students that, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do with the story.
Judy Greer shows breasts clearly, and breasts. buns and bush behind a shower curtain.
IMDb readers say 3.1. This is WAY too generous. eFilmCritic said, "It takes more than a Best Buy charge card to be a filmmaker" and awarded half a star. Give this one a very wide berth. F.
Pat's comments in yellow...
PAM PROTESTS COL. SANDERS' BUST
Taste The Thighs! - PETA spokesperson Pamela Anderson is demanding that
Kentucky officials remove a bust of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders from the
state Capitol. She released a statement calling the bust a "monument to cruelty
to chickens." The governor dismissed Pam's protest, saying that Col. Sanders
was one of Kentucky's most distinguished citizens.
* Although he must admit, Pam has a more distinguished bust.
* Ironically, Col. Sanders would've like Pam...He was a breast man.
* Pam is responsible for more chicken-choking than Col. Sanders ever was.
FAMILY FOR SALE ON EBAY
An Entertainer Would Lose Them In The Divorce - Engaged couple Jojo Gator and
Jackie Kidney of Warwick, Rhode Island, have put themselves and six relatives
up for lease on eBay. For $1.5 million, all eight will move into a rich
person's mansion in a tropical location to work as cooks, gardeners, mechanics and
so on for five years. They say they've had a few serious inquiries,
including an entertainer who might buy their family for the publicity.
* Dave Chappelle might find it amusing to own some white people.
* They finally figured out the problem with slavery: there was no money in it.
* If the relatives are all boys under 12, Michael Jackson might be interested.
* For that much money, I'd expect to own their descendants in perpetuity.