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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'Big Money Hustlas'

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...  

'Big Money Hustlas' - 2000, Directed by John Cafiero

OK. So forgive me in advance for reviewing one of the Insane Clown Posse's theatrical works, but a) I'm not really sorry and b) We're all from Michigan (probably) so let's give these hardworking weirdos some love.

Back in 2000 when ICP were still hated and semi-feared by parents everywhere, they created their magnum opus, a feature-length blaxploitation throwback with costars that included funnyman Harland Williams  and legendary punkers the Misfits. 

Aside from the obviously awesome aspect of Williams playing a bumbling cop named Harry Cox and seeing the Misfits throw donuts at him, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope amp up the more comical elements of their personalities and turn in a good performance as well. 

What you're treated to in the film is a fairly accurate parody of 'Dolemite'-style 70's flicks including Shaggy's speaking-in-rhyme hard-nosed detective character Sugar Bear. In fact, Dolemite himself makes a lengthy appearance, and I don't think he'd lend his name to a film he saw as insincere. 

Sugar Bear comes to NYC to fight crime boss Big Baby Sweets (Violent J) and his clueless henchmen, played by ICP label-mates Twiztid. Sweets has Sugar Bear's 300-pound girlfriend killed, which sends him into a spiral of hard drug use. Dolemite, however, comes to the rescue and helps Sweets engage in a final battle against the evil gangsters.

Yes, it's cheesy, slapstick and foul-mouthed, and if you violently despite ICP you probably won't find anything to like here, but anyone with a taste for similar parody flicks like 'Hebrew Hammer' and 'Pootie Tang' should give this a go...it's much funnier than either of those.

ICP of course does the soundtrack as well, but they chose some of their least-alienating tunes, and can you really hate a couple guys who have about 2,000 love songs dedicated to fat women? I thought not.

Despite everything else, though, Harland Williams TOTALLY steals the show, and from the outtakes on the DVD it seems clear that he improvised a good deal of his dialog. If you loved him in 'Half Baked,' don't miss out on one of his best adult-oriented roles.

There's a sequel somewhere out there called 'Big Money Rustlas' that I have not seen, but it promises to be just as ridiculous.


VHS photo by Toby Hudson.