Straight Outta Compton
Unrated Director's Cut, Director's Cut
Blu-ray + 4K
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Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how five young cultural rebels—armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent—stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world's most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.
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For good beats and dope rhymes, stick with Puff Daddy, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Kid Rock! Peace out thugz!
1.This movie is an interesting, intelligent - and kind of revisionist - history of the rise and fall of revolutionary hip-hop group N.W.A., and the way they punched America in the face.
2. The movie starts in 1986, when five young men in Compton, California, form a loose group to develop and play what they call "reality rap" to play in local clubs. When music manager Jerry Heller discovers them, he helps to make them famous.
3. The movie is really about the clash of two ruthless cultures: urban black street life and the music business. It does a great job of weaving American music history, contemporary culture, and interpersonal relationships together. It is not preachy, nor is it angry. It's a real, legit movie.
4. The five main actors are pretty unknown, but they do a great job handling such iconic characters. I was especially impressed by Jason Mitchell, who played Eazy-E. And to be honest, I wasn't expecting much out of O'Shea Jackson, Jr., but he surprised me by how well he played his own real-life father.
5. Considering how much of the group's history and lifestyle is common knowledge, it is fascinating (and disappointing) to see it being re-written right in front of our eyes. This movie is also an attempt to romanticize and make a new hero-myth out of a legitimately controversial group.
6. The group was well-known for their song "F*** the Police", which became kind of an anthem for disaffected urban youth. It serves a prominent role in the movie. But they were also just as well-known for their horrific attitudes towards women - they really helped solidify sexist rape culture in hip-hop. The movie does not play the song "One Less B***h", which is about gang-raping and killing women.
7. Dr. Dre, who co-produced the movie, is receiving a fair amount of criticism for using the movie to erase the history of his own troubles with women. Perhaps the most infamous incident - when he picked up journalist Dee Barnes by the hair and repeatedly bashed her face into a wall - was not even mentioned.
8. The concert scene in Detroit, when the group was arrested after playing "F*** the Police", is a nice piece of cinema, and portrays the group as unofficial heroes of free speech. It also never happened.
9. If you can separate the screenplay from the history, and focus on the movie itself, this is a great film. It's a unique American epic, and shows that some of the issues America faced in the late 1980's haven't progressed very far. There is enough historical authenticity to be educational as well as entertaining. Just keep in mind that in the end, this movie is focused on entertainment.
I love a good musical, so when a friend said I simply had to see STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, I gathered up the wife and kids for a family night at the cinema. Not five minutes into the movie, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake, for instead of a cheerful Harold Hill or dutiful Nellie Forbush belting out show tunes our harmonizing heroes here are angry, thuggish characters with names like Yella and Eazy-E, struggling "musicians" living in a world populated by pimps, prostitutes, and crack dealers, and believe me, these streetwise wordsmiths aren't singing about geese and ducks and riding through the country in a fringe-covered carriage! Be warned -- this is no OKLAHOMA! and THE MUSIC MAN has packed up his troubles and moved on to more tranquil surroundings.
Now, to be fair, my children DID enjoy the booming bass and throbbing beats that serve as the movie's songbook, and I'll even admit that numbers like "She Swallowed It" and "I'd Rather F*** You" are catchy, unforgettable, endlessly hummable compositions once you've been exposed, but the breezy, light-hearted fun of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN or even STATE FAIR is wholly absent here. As such, I'd suggest skipping the movie and picking up the soundtrack just so the kids have something new to listen to when school goes back. As for me, I won't be planning a return to Compton any time soon…