If the excellent soundtrack wasn't enough, this flick also manages to nail every other aspect you could think of for a great film. Director Craig Brewer proves himself like a pro delivering an awesome 70s style smoothed over the movie's gritty look and feel. The actors are just as good. In a career defining performance, Terrence Howard amazes to no end as the asshole pimp who is (somehow) staggeringly likable. I cannot give enough props to this guy, as he honestly made the movie for me. Then you have the costars, all of whom are equally terrific. I don't want to discuss them all though (way too many to name!), so I'll just make some quick observations. Firstly, Anthony Anderson proves that he's more than just the loudmouth comic relief, and to terrific results. Secondly, Taryn Manning does an astounding job as the fragile, pregnant hooker, and really brings a whole new view on people living in similar positions to her. And lastly, Ludacris' acting didn't suck. In fact, he did a damn fine job in the film (shocking but true).
I really need to start rapping (heh heh) things up about now, but I don't want to. There's just so much greatness to discuss concerning this movie, and I feel like I should address everything. But alas, I cannot, so I'll leave you with this... Forget everything you've come to expect about movies with rappers, underdogs, and everything else along those lines, because HUSTLE & FLOW will blow your freaking mind!
Commentary (with writer/director Craig Brewer): I would love to meet this guy. He conveys everything I believe in, and as such, it makes his commentary that much more interesting. In this excellent commentary, Brewer explains his movie thoroughly on all levels, including the many stages it went through, its eventual production, the characters, the story, and so much more.
Behind the Hustle (27:19): An outstanding making of featurette that gives detailed background information on all of the important characters from the film. I'm not talking about simply explaining who the characters are either. Brewer and co. discuss their development, how some of them were based off of real people seen on the streets, and other interesting tidbits.
By Any Means Necessary (14:39): This extra communicates the movie's message of "you gotta have a dream" in real life, with the making of the movie. It shows the development of the movie, and how the filmmakers had to do everything themselves since nobody would do it for them. A powerful piece to be sure (especially since I'm an aspiring filmmaker).
Creatin' Crunk (13:40): A fun and entertaining look at HUSTLE & FLOW's music development. There is also some information discussing the Memphis style of music in general, plus lots of coolness added in by the musicians themselves.
Memphis Hometown Premiere (4:53): This cool extra includes footage and some red carpet interviews for the film's premiere. There's even a tender moment with Brewer, who you can feel is really touched by the whole thing. A pleasant addition to the DVD.
Promotional Spots (3:37): While normally useless, these promotional mini-trailers have exclusive footage that make these worthwhile. There are 6 in total.
There are also 4 Previews.
If you, like many others, also passed up on this film when it hit the cinema, I highly suggest you check it out. And when I say "highly suggest", what I really mean is that "I'm carrying a bat and I ORDER you to check this film out this very instant, b*tch!" You heard me.