Hustle & Flow

February 17, 2007 - Terrence Howard received an Oscar nomination for his performance in this 2005 drama. Other cast members include Ludacris, Isaac Hayes and Taraji P. Henson. The original song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" did win an Academy Award.

Howard plays DJay, a pimp in Memphis who works his main girl, Nola, out of the back of an old Chevrolet Caprice. He sells weed to supplement his income. DJay is a dreamer and a schemer. He sees his chance when he delivers some pot to the owner of a local bar (Hayes). He tells DJay that Skinny Black (Ludacris), a local rapper who hit it big, will be there for a private party on the Fourth of July. DJay claims that he knows Skinny from "back in the day" so maybe Skinny will help him get on his way.

So, in the months leading up to the Fourth, DJay works on his music. He hooks up with an old high school buddy. The buddy brings in another guy. Nola and DJay's main woman, Shug (Henson), help out and a demo tape is born.

When the Fourth arrives and DJay gives his tape to Skinny Black, things don't go exactly as planned. Still, in the end, it seems DJay's dream might just come true.

Overall review: *** The soundtrack is great. And, if you can get past all the references to bitches and hos, you'll find a movie about a man doing what he has to to change his circumstances. What he does isn't always very honorable but, like the song says, it's hard out here for a pimp.

The only thing I was disappointed in was the movie's failure to utilize Memphis as a character, if you will. There's no sense of what the city, especially the seedier side, is like. There's also no sense that this is a story unique to Memphis. DJay could be a pimp in any city. There's nothing wrong with setting the story in Memphis, but there's no particular reason why it should be set there, either.