a Lynne's


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Keep Hustlin’, Keep Flowin’

My film "reviews" have been light this year. I watched Hustle & Flow earlier in the week and wanted to type some thoughts down before they flowed right out of my brain.

Writer/director Craig Brewer said, "There are more people struggling to get in then are in." That is the appeal of Hustle & Flow.

Sometimes we forget what our "in" is, but when we remember the dreaming begins. This film is populated with dreamers and I could not help being absorbed by them. There is a definite mood to this film, a rythm that is felt.
The film was inspiring and uplifting, not in a syrupy unrealistic way. The main character is a pimp, he lives in Memphis, and we accept him and everyone else on purely human terms. Why? Because there is a charm to this film, an honesty, a vulnerability. who can’t not relate to daring to dream? I think we all need a bit of that energy from time to time and for me when that energy is driven by music the feeling is that much stronger.

The cast could not be better. The Memphis setting and music were spot on, as was the lower budget (my preference these days) film making.

Read more about the making of Hustle & Flow here, here and here.


I'm going to be contrary and say that "Hustle and Flow" was one of the most offensive films I saw all year--mainly because of the gross misogyny in it.

If the main character managed to "uplift" himself, it was only because he used other people (women) in the most degrading way. Like the time he needed that mike and made one of the girls fuck a creepy old man for it. What an utterly despicable thing to do. And never once does he take any responsibility for his own actions.

And in the end what do the women get personally out of it? They're satisfied with so little. One gets to sing backup on his song. And she's just overjoyed cuz that creep finally "needed" her after treating her like shit for most of their relationship. The other one gets to go around trying to promote his music. They may not be hooking for him anymore, but they're still under his thumb.

Plus, what about the wife of his friend? To me she had every right to be pissed off at her husband for wasting time with that loser and hanging out at his place. Here she is a woman who was trying to make a career for herself and be her own woman and she's totally made out to be a bitch and a villain.

The message that film sends is horribly retrograde and antifeminist and just makes me furious (as you can tell!).

Sorry for ranting on your blog!
Thank you for being the contrarian. Please don't apologize for disagreeing with me. I am happy you felt comfortable enough to let it all out. I have no doubt that there are many people that feel the way you do.

Of course, I am not one of them. The protagonist of this film is a pimp, a Memphis hustler. I did not expect this film to take a feminist perspective, even when DJay rapped: like taking from a ho who don’t know no better, I know that ain’t right.

I don’t think the film communicated the lifestyle as glamorous, good or acceptable. It's was pretty clear to me that prostitution (and DJay) has not been the best life for these women. Even so, I still found myself caught up in the characters and their stories. If a movie is made well I find it easy to suspend judgements and just let the story tell itself.

Regarding Yvette, I did not think she was portrayed as a bitch. I thought she was professional, sweet, spiritual, and polite. She and Key were placed in the film so that the majority of us could have a character we could relate to. If anything, she was not bitchy enough. I believe that she will continue to make a career for herself and that she will succeed.
Yep. Life is really ugly for some people.
It's not just a sound it is a feel.
Pimpin ain't easy but somebody got to do it!
Seriously that creepy old man thing is gross.
I would never force that on one of my ho's.
Don't know if I want to see that ***t.
My main issue is that I definitely got the feeling that the filmakers wanted the audience to sympathize with the protagonist and be glad that he finally got a break. Sure, maybe he did deserve a break, but I can't get past the fact that one of the things he did to get the break was mistreat women. It would be one thing if they just told the story and didn't try to manipulate the audience into liking the guy. In my book, he's not a likeable or admirable person.

I have a similar issue with most mafia films. Invariably, the filmmakers try to persuade the audience that the goombahs are likeable fellows, when they are, in fact, cold-blooded murderers.

Anyway, that's my take on it. I'll shut up now.
anon - yes it is and i think it is a good thing to show the good, bad, and the ugly.

Crunk - that is what i am saying.

tha ice - good to know you have pimping ethics.

Rozanne - One thing I think such films try to say is everyone is not pure evil. we all have a 'human' side and hope and reflection for all is good. I take it you are not a fan of the sopranos? that is another show i love.
Definitely not a fan of the Sopranos.

I get your point about those films trying to get across that not every one is pure evil, but I've seen some films where I think it's done in a more balanced, objective way.

Sorry. Said I wouldn't keep belaboring this.
Rozanne - ...and I understand yours as did traditional Hollywood execs, because they did not want to make this film for much of the same reasons you site.
In my opinion this was a very good street study flick that wasn't typical and I still recommend it. :)

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