First Shabbat Dinner at Ruby's house,(as per Blog on 4/8/06 Entitiled On the Seventh Day..... Oh the Polyglotness Of It All)
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Then there were the women. They were perhaps the most outstanding of all the characters . There are three main women in DJay's life and though they were mostly treated in a demeaning fashion, they were portrayed as important characters in their own rights, with human characteristics that made them not only likeable, but dignified. Paula Jai Parker pllays one of DJay's hookers and is, I believe, the one with whom DJay has a baby. She is the least likeable of the trio and when he throws her out of the house, you are not left with much sympathy for her. The second woman, more like a child-woman in her presence and style of speech, is DJay's main prostitute. Nola (Taryn Manning) is seeking a way to feel important, to contribute, and not to be only what she does with men. During the recording sessions, though the women's presence is initially spurned, they soon become a part of it and you see Nola donning ear phones along with the others. I was never sure if she did so as per request, or she just took it upon herself to wear them to be a part of the process. In either case, it did make her a part of the sessions and you felt her pride. Thus my third reason for enjoying Hustle and Flow
The real treat of the movie for me was the third woman in DJay's life who is his girlfriend and is pregnant, though I am not sure that she is pregnant with him, but I think she is. Shug (Taraji P. Henson), has an innocence that I can only explain as what you would see in a character from a simpler time, living in an environment, more like Appalachia than Inner City. She comes across as innocent and vulnerable. Yet, it must be remembered, this is all taking place in the hood, where there is not always a lot of innocence to be found. She is asked to sing a background part for DJay's song and does so with obvious trepidation, even, embarrassment. But as she goes on, she gets into it and in time begins to belt out her part as if she were Queen Latifah, herself. She is as surprised as anyone, yet you can see the pride and accomplishment in her face. Her face, especially her eyes are her expression.
Later, in a scene where DJay is heading for his car, to drive to meet with this ex- big-time rapper, Skinny Black (Ludacris, also plays in the movie, Crash), he suddenly turns around to run back into the house where he runs into the arms of the unexpecting Shug. The look of love and appreciation in her eyes is worth the price of admission to the movie (or in this case, DVD.)
Another draw to this movie is the appearance of Isaac Hayes. Terrence Howard, Ludacris AND Isaac Hayes. Really, what else could you ask for? And, if that weren't enough, during a practice session, either Shug or Nola interrupts them to bring in a gift, a lava lamp. I know lava lamps have become popular again in recent years, perhaps never really went out of fashion, but to me it was a perfect symbol for what I will call, Generational Crossover. Classic ROCKRAP....oh, yeah!
OK, so Blogger is making me crazy by not allowing me to upload any more pictures, so I will go ahead and post this, even though there are a few more pictues I reallly wanted to include. I'm afraid if I wait any longer, Hustle and Flow will become a movie Classic and rap music will be just "classic rap". Oooooh, now that would be nice. ;-)