Main Plot Points:
- In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking us back to where it all began, Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these 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.
- Straight Outta Compton stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, and is directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job). The drama is produced by original N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are joined by fellow producers Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez, Gray and Scott Bernstein. Will Packer serves as executive producer of the film alongside Adam Merims, David Engel, Bill Straus, Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.
What We Thought:
- Straight Outta Compton isn’t the film I was expecting, but that’s not a negative.
- I guess I was expecting more of a political/race based story and sure it’s touches on those subjects, but I found it to be less serious and more about kids trying to make something of themselves.
- There are scenes about the Rodney King riots and scenes with the members being arrested or racially profiled, but at its core, it’s a story about Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ren, and DJ Yella trying to make their type of music and trying to get paid doing it.
- I grew up around the time N.W.A. came about and how they shocked the music world. No one thought gangster rap would last and they were labeled as gangsters, hoodlums and far, far worse. The movie shows their rise and just what they went through.
- And that’s what I liked best about the movie, it showed an honest side to these kids, because they were just kids. It shows the first time Eazy-E steps into the booth and doesn’t know how to actually rap. Everyone sits there making fun of him and laughing and you never saw that before. You only saw the serious side or the political/racial side making the news. This is a little peek into a world most people don’t know about.
- I found the film surprisingly funny. In the scene where Eazy-E raps for the first time, Dr. Dre tells him he has to do it because he’s the only one who actually owns a ‘64 Impala. Dre asks Ice Cube if he has a ‘64 Impala and Cube answers “I don’t even own a car.”
- Speaking of Ice Cube, his son O’Shea Jackson Jr. portrays him in the film and is hands down the breakout star of the film. I thought he was fantastic. I thought they did a great job casting the film, but I’ll be shocked if O’Shea Jr. doesn’t get a slew of offers from this.
- The one major negative to me is it felt a bit long. I would have liked about 15 minutes shaved off to make it smoother. A lot of the focus ends up on Eazy-E and his manager and how they made most of the money. Despite Cube writing most of the rhymes and Dr. Dre producing the songs, Eazy-E and Jerry Heller made all the money which drove the group a part.
- You don’t have to know much about N.W.A. to enjoy Straight Outta Compton, but it does help. There are random cameos you expect if you know who has worked with Dr. Dre in the past, but even if you don’t know them right away, you can figure it out. The film does talk about what happens to Eazy-E, but for those who don’t know, I won’t even mention it. I thought I would enjoy the film, but I’m surprised at how much I did and how different it is from expectations. I expect it to win the weekend.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Director F. Gary Gray
- Paul Giamatti
- O’Shea Jackson Jr.
- Corey Hawkins
- Aldis Hodge
Recommended if You Like:
- VH1’s Behind the Music