As always, I'll be honest. I didn't think this would be much of a movie, so I put the trip to the theatre on pause. Sure, there'd be some nice breastage, lots of profanity, and a the possibility of a cinematic circle jerk between the surviving members of NWA bordered the line of more probable than not; while it was pretty much everything I figured it might be, it still managed to be a legit film. I put the credit on F. Gary Gray, SOC's director.
I admit that aside from F$#@ the Police, I never listened to NWA because I wasn't feeling the shootem up jheri-curl thing. (NOTE: No offense, but Pop dukes was a firm believer that real men do not have "hair-dos" and they certainly don't use "activator" in it if they did.)
Whoever did this graphic, did my job for me - but poorly... As usual one of the most critical components to any movie-making process was excluded from the above graphic. THE WRITERS!!! My favorite part of any decent film is the writing. So, the forgotten vitals are -
F Gay Gray (Friday, Law Abiding Citizen, Italian Job) - Director
Jonathan Herman (well, from what I can tell, he's a rookie, so...) & Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center) - Writers
**Okay, fine. I see why they didn't mention the writers filmography, but still... they're important.
Also not included in the graphic are Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller (pretty pivotal figure in the whole NWA saga), Lisa Renee Pitts as Verna/ Dre's Mom Dukes, and Marlon Yates, Jr. as D.O.C.
IF YOU MUST KNOW
Dre (Hawkins) was a a DJ with a love for hip-hop, but a passion for the intricate details musical details that make songs, Cube (Jackson, Jr) was high-schooler and wannabe rapper hopping the school bus back and forth from the hood, and Eazy-E (Mitchell) was a dope dealer of some sort with gang affiliations and some bread, but they were all from or living in Compton in the 80s. For the youngins reading this (all 10 of ya), the 1980s was a terrible decade: it was the height of two of the greatest plagues in US history - the crack epidemic & the AIDs epidemic, both of which feature in the makings of the groundbreaking group N.W.A. (If my name was Quentin Tarantino, I'd say the full name 150 times in this review for the sake of "reality" and call it art, but I'm not, so I wont.) Also, prominently-featured in this film are also other images that I remember vividly from my own youth - police brutality, racial and social inequalities manifesting in judicial injustices (oh wait, that could easily be snatched from the recent news headlines).
Here's the story... Dre, Eazy, Cube, along with MC Ren and DJ Yella combine forces and funds to create NWA. They are the West Coast's version of irreverence hip-hop (a less activist, more gutter version of PE, some might say... hell, I DO say) and they end up fighting battles against everyone from themselves, to their management, to the Po'lice and even the federal government. While it should have been hard for any brown person in this country who had a microphone and a voice to not have spoken up in the midst of the Rodney King incident, Eleanor Bumpurs, Yusef Hawkins (the list goes on...), not every rapper, writer, movie star, or singer had the intestinal fortitude to so speak. If for no other reason than, FTP - I give Ice Cube (the primary writer for most of the music I know from them) and NWA a ton of credit for vocalizing that frustration felt by so many. (NOTE 2: I have several friends and family in law enforcement, I love them... I hate badge wielding, gun-toting, chumps with a god-complex who justify their violence by pointing at their shield. See... talking all this NWA and Public Enemy stuff got me tapping into my Huey Newton/Freeman side.)
IMTHATDUDE gives Straight Outta Compton: 4
5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.