I finally saw Hustle & Flow, this weekend. It's terrible. I stopped it with 30 minutes left because sleep attracted me more than suffering any more. Why did John Singleton finance this? Why did anybody enjoy it? Why does the white writer/director find amongst black folks such a preposterous and miserable story, and now this preposterous and miserable story, "Black Snake Moan"?
I won't bother seeing Black Snake Moan. I hadn't intended to see Hustle and Flow, but a movie snob friend insisted it was great. We watched it together, and upon that his second viewing he was rightfully embarrassed to have recommended it. Never mind that the story routinely violates many rather well-known pimping credos (pimps never sell drugs nor permit their bitches to consume drugs). If you know nothing beforehand about pimping, plenty of universal false notes should repel any intelligent viewer.
Would a pimp really take two of his bitches to right to the door of a married church-going family man -- unannounced -- and dress, behave, and speak to that man and his wife IN THEIR HOME, exactly as he does in the street? Would those bitches (WHY DID HE BRING THEM?) also dress, talk, and in all other ways behave in that house just as they do in their own disgusting apartment amongst themselves? You don't have to know about pimps and hookers -- say, from watching the excellent and authentic documentaries "Pimps Up, Ho's Down" and "American Pimp" -- that these disturbed, sick people are, well, people. They do not have a single way of speaking, behaving, and dressing and employ it at all times in all places in the midst of all people.
Would a pimp, seeing a an old school chum in convenience store purchasing batteries, honestly believe, or even as a joke (either is equally preposterous) inquire, that they guy is purchasing batteries FOR A DILDO? No, he would not. And what is such a man -- affluent, married -- doing in the roughshod, shabby ghetto store in the first place? Would we ever find him there? Absolutely not. Even visiting his grandma back in the old neighborhood such a man would do no such thing. And would such a man let a pimp and his two bitches -- dressed exactly as that -- into his home (not that such a cast would ever appear there) DURING DINNER TIME WITH HIS WIFE when he appears UNANNOUNCED? The levels of absurdity just pile on.
And would such a man, agreeing to work with a pimp on the pimp's rap music, perform this work in the pimp's disgusting low rent ghetto house... with his wife knowing this is where here is (after having met the pimp and two of his hookers, both acting exactly like they do in the street)? No, if a real human living a nice affluent married lifestyle were going to work on music with a very lowdown, lowclass pimp/drug dealer (ignore that absurdity), he would do it in his own nice suburban basement and the pimp (without being told) would act UNLIKE a pimp in front in the man's nice suburban house.
The pimp and the whores acting only a single way reminded me of Driving Miss Daisey where the black servants acted the same way in front of the crackers in the dining room as they did amongst themselves in the kitchen.
Then there's Hustle and Flow's horrible and illogical music. The music figures into a judgment of the film because lies at the center of the story. The first song we hear created by the pimp is a rap song, "Smack that Trick", or similar words. First of all, it's terrible. I hate rap music, so maybe that explains why I prayed for the song to end, and why it struck me as so preposterous that such a mediocre or even horrible song had characters in the movie gathering around and nudging each other in enthusiastic approbation. But even if only my disdain for rap is the real problem, nothing can save the song from its illogical title: pimps and hookers don't slap tricks. These sick people consider themselves to be business people with their own set of scruples. Those scruples omit mistreating tricks.
Just as preposterously that song in the film started with a different title, "Beat that Bitch." Mostly pimps pride themselves on not beating bitches. Those that do beat their bitches perceive themselves as doing it only in rare cases, and derive no joy from it. Only a completely ignorant and silly person who has conducted no meaningful research into this subject would think that a ghetto pimp would rally about either slogan, "Beat that Bitch" or "Smack that Trick."
And then there's the theme song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." That song has melody and did not repulse me, but led to yet another absurdity: nowhere in the movie do we see anything "hard" about being a pimp. We see that it's disgusting and low, but not hard. We don't see the pimp waking at 4am to sell his stereo to bail out his bitch, we don't see him short on rent because one of the bitches has secretly snorted up drugs (hey, in preposterous world, the pimp purchases drugs for his bitches!).
One more thing: Could the writer/director resist inserting a white character into the movie? No, of course not. I don't mean the white hooker. That's plausible enough. But can't the dorky keyboardist be a dorky black guy? No, not in this mess. Now the disgusting ghetto pimp den has a fine upstanding black family church husband and a pencil neck white nerd working with a drug-selling pimp (who sings about beating his bitches and his customers and cranking up his bitches on dope).
Spare me the new movie from this writer/director about a black blues musician who's poor and down and responds to his lot by kidnapping a sexy young white girl. Doesn't the world already contain a cornucopia of authentic unfilmed stories about black music-makers? The cineplex only has a limited number of screens. If one is going to house a story about a black musician, is this what we want? I hope not.