ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

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DJ Qualls Weekend – The New Guy (2002)

Director: Ed Decter

Writer: David Kendall (Screenplay)

Starring: DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooey Deschanel, Jerod Mixon, Parry Shen, Lyle Lovett, Eddie Griffin, Sunny Mabrey

 

Plot: A high school senior branded uncool in the ninth grade gets himself expelled so he changes his image to cool kid at the town’s other high school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: The New Guy starts on the first day of senior for Dizzy (Qualls) and his band mates Nora (Deschanel), Kirk (Mixon) and Glen (Shen), they are blips in the social group but in the end he gets fully embarrassed in front of the whole school. Continuing his spiral out of control Dizzy ends up in prison where he meets Luther (Griffin) who teaches him how to be tough and al Dizzy needs to do is get expelled.

Starting his new school, with a new look, he makes an instant impact taking out the big dog of the school yard. Dizzy uses this new image to help change the school, grabbing the attention of head cheerleader Danielle (Dushku) along the way but how long can he keep this up.

 

Thoughts on The New Guy

 

Characters/PerformanceDizzy is the typical outsider in high school, he dreams of fitting in but the truth is he never will, he does all he can to make himself stand out and he does make an impact but he also faces the idea of leaving him friends behind to be popular. Danielle is your standard cheerleader dating the high school asshole but also designed not to have her own mind and just date the popular kid. Nora, Kirk and Glen are the old friends that are there to support Dizzy but also be part of the band. We have the full group of typical high school students which all make for the laugh for the story.

Performance wise, DJ Qualls followed up his scene stealing performance in Road Trip with this lead performance where he once again builds on the idea of an outsider changing a mentality. Dushku fits the role very well but isn’t the most developed character. We also get an early from Zooey Deschanel who brings her quirky style to this film and shows off her singing abilities.

StoryThe story follows the idea of one boy wanting to fit into high school, he changes to fit in only to turn on his friends. He learns from his mistake to make a difference at the high school showing everyone that they need to treat each other with respect to achieve everything you could in the early time of life. This is a good look at high school life but is one people could learn from.

ComedyWe have plenty of comedy in this film which is all enjoyable for the audience watching even if most of the humour is based on teen comedy.

SettingsThe high school settings are great because of the morale in the story as the characters learn their lessons about how to treat each other.

Final ThoughtsI grew up watching this film, I loved the story so much that I made the film my username on most things I used, it works on every level it aims for.

 

Overall: This is a worthy addition to the teen comedy genre.

Rating

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – Road Trip (2000)

roadDirector: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Tom Green

 

Plot: Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Teen Comedy

 

Story: Road Trip starts as Josh (Meyer) and Tiffany (Blanchard) childhood sweethearts who have gone their own separate ways with college, they communicate through phone and video messages, yes this is a movie from 2000. When Josh doesn’t hear from Tiffany he stats getting worried and with the beautiful Beth (Smart) flirting with him Josh is pushed to enjoy the college experience by his friends EL (Scott) and Rubin (Costanzo).

When a drunken night where Josh records his night of sex with Beth he finds out Barry (Green) has sent the wrong tape to Tiffany. Josh finds out why he hasn’t spoken to Tiffany and now must travel 18,000 miles in 3 days with EL, Rubin and Kyle (Qualls) the shy student that hasn’t come out of his shell, but he has a car. What follows is the wacky adventure the four students travelling cross-country.

 

Thoughts on Road Trip

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters we get to see the traditional college students, Josh is the ‘good’ boyfriend who has planned his life, EL is the party animal that will most likely just make it in life with minimal effort, Rubin is a student that isn’t challenge by college and whose genius is above them all, while Kyle is the shy timid student that gets to be let out of his shell on this adventure with EL pushing him the most to enjoy his life. Beth is portrayed to be the new girl in Josh’s life, she doesn’t know he has a girlfriend but feels just as used by the night, we don’t really get to learn enough about this character all around.

Performance wise Meyer is good in the leading role, with Seann William Scott continue his highlight performances in the teen comedies, Amy Smart is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. Tom Green does bring his unique form of comedy that you are either going to love or hate. This is the first film performance from DJ Qualls and you can see him breakout in this performance.stars

StoryThe story is simple, guy records sex tape sends to girlfriend and must travel cross country to stop her seeing it. Yes, we do get a road trip that only student get to experience with partying going on through the trip. This is easy to follow and you do get moments of self-discovery for the guys on the trip.

Adventure/ComedyThe cross-country adventure is all good but I do feel like I would have liked to have seen more than just colleges, the comedy I would say is hit or miss, when I was younger I loved it but now certain jokes just miss for me.

SettingsWe get to see a lot colleges across America but considering how far they travel they seem to miss all the major landmarks.genre

Final Thoughts – I was a big fan of this when I was younger and being released the same time as American Pie this fits in the boom the teen comedies had, with this easily being one of the better ones.

 

Overall: Teen comedy that hits all the point it needs to for the target audience.

Ratingrating

 

 

The Core (2003)

Director: Jon Amiel

Writer: Cooper Layne, John Rodgers

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hillary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci, DJ Qualls, Richard Jenkins, Bruce Greenwood, Tcheky Karyo

Story After a group of sudden deaths Dr Josh Keyes (Eckhart) and an old friend Serge (Karyo) are taken to an undercover government facility to figure out what happened. They work out what happened but a bigger problem has come about, the core of the Earth is slowing up causing magnetic fields to change and increasing electrical storms. Meanwhile a routine space mission is returning to Earth, Captained by Robert Iverson (Greenwood) and they find that the coordinates they were given don’t match the landing zone. Major Rebecca Childs (Swank) figures out an alternative-landing place for a safe landing.

Josh arranges a meeting with the government with his connection Dr Conrad Zimsky (Tucci). The plan to go to the core of the Earth and restart the system, but getting there will be a difficult journey. Dr Ed Brazzleton (Lindo) has designed a machine, which lasers holes through rock almost instantly he also has created a material in which to not get the effects of the laser. The government fund Braz to build a craft that will take Josh, Serge, Zimsky, Braz and the pilots Iverson and Childs into the middle of the Earth.

Can the team make the unknown journey and restart the Earth core before the world gets destroyed? This action thriller will race through all environments for a great edge of your seat thriller

Verdict A disaster movie that has it all and some of the best destruction scenes around including Rome with a listening storm and Trafalgar Square having a pigeon attack. The journey to the middle of the Earth has some good sequences be it what is in the surfaces below the surface to a diamond cave in the middle of nowhere. The characters all play into each other strengths and weakness very well. Having a few characters given a little bit of comic relief makes the action breaks less talk more enjoys the ride. A must watch for all Disaster movie fans and action fans alike.

Story Mark 8/10 The story is good but not always the most believable as in the plan would have a better option offered to the solution

Action Mark 9/10 Strong actions sequences that will keep the edge of the seat warmer than the back

Special Effects Mark 8/10 Good special effects in the whole journey to the core part

Star Performances Aaron Eckhart as the school professor who must use his knowledge to save the day and good leader, friend throughout the film

Favourite Character Theodore Donald ‘Rat’ Finch the computer hacker who watches over the Internet to cover up any story that could give away what is going on in the mission.

Best Part The lightening storm through Rome

Best Quote Josh ‘ I am married to my work’

Serge ‘ So I am, Which makes my wife my mistress. That’s why I’m still in love with her’

Similar Too – Armageddon, Day After Tomorrow and Deep Impact

My Rating 85%