Hustle & Flow Craig Brewer

Craig Brewer's personal pet project is an inspiring independent film deserving of the praise heaped on it, which included winning the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Hustle & Flow relates the mid-life crisis of a third-rate Memphis pimp who decides to trade in his illicit career for one as a rapper, and in so doing he helps those around him realise their own dreams. The movie is perfectly cast, with Terrence Howard as pimp DJay, while Taryn Manning and (especially) Taraji Henson add layers of real personality to their roles of hookers, and comedic actors DJ Qualls and Anthony Anderson are superb in dramatic supporting roles as DJay's musical accomplices. Sure, the positive outcome plays like a potential cop-out, but the special features reveal the unique relationship that gives justification to that ending. Although the main character is a pimp, Hustle & Flow highlights the successful story of Brewer's attempts to make it in the film industry, and serves to inspire others to attempt to reach for their own dreams, whatever they may be. In fact, getting Hustle & Flow made was a struggle — when none of the studios wanted to finance the film, John Singleton finally stepped in with his own cash — but the cast and crew continued to support the film and have been rewarded with roles that stretch their acting skills. Hustle & Flow is a breakout movie for almost everyone involved! Plus, the bonus features stress the accuracy of the Memphis setting, especially the authentic blues and rap that would make for a must-have soundtrack, although it would have been nice to see some of the reactions from the hometown crowd during the film's Memphis premiere. The best hip hop-related movie to be released in the last few years, Hustle & Flow blows 8 Mile out of the water. (Paramount)