Straight Outta Compton

Finally!  It’s hard to say there was a downside to TIFF but it monopolized my movie-watching for its entire 11 days.  And since Jay and I were busy before that doing Amazing Races and Oddball Festivals and other summertime stuff, I didn’t get to see Straight Outta Compton until yesterday.  Which was making me itch a little because I had heard really good things, and I am happy to report that those good things were accurate.  Straight Outta Compton is a very enjoyable history lesson/tribute to some of hip-hop’s founding fathers, most notably Eazy-E.

Having been a 12 year old small-town Canadian kid whDr.DreTheChronic.jpgen N.W.A. broke, they were a little fuzzy to me at the time. But now I’m older and wiser, and since turning 13 I got into mid-90s hip-hop, Ice Cube made a lot of movies, and as my record collection grew I got Straight Outta Compton and The Chronic (and All Eyez on Me), so this movie brought N.W.A. into sharper focus.  It’s really staggering to think of how much talent was in this group and how soon it all ended.  It’s  also staggering to think about how much more to the story there is in the Aftermath, which gets hinted at in the end, and which was a nice touch.

I thought this movie flowed really well and was grounded enough in reality to feel authentic.  Again, since I was 12 at the time, I don’t know much about Eazy-E aside that he died from AIDS when AIDS was just becoming real for me because Magic Johnson had it.  So it was really neat to see him be the focus of this movie along with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.  I expect that DJ Yella and MC Ren had more to do with the group than just being faces in the background but if you are fans of theirs, you will have to wait for their version of this story to get greenlit in order to learn anything about them.  Fortunately for me, I am a Dr. Dre fan primarily and Straight Outta Compton paid lots of respect to his genius.

It helped that O’Shea Jackson Jr. looks so much like his father, but a great casting job was done with the other roles as well.  Even cameos like Snoop Dogg and Tupac work, especially because the voices are eerily similar.  I felt like maybe there was some auto-tune trickery at play but whatever was done, it works to immerse you in this world if you are at all familiar with it.  And Suge Knight is well portrayed too, he’s a dead ringer for the real thing and comes off as bad as he should.  As Jay said while we were watching it, whoever thought it was a good idea to trust that guy deserved what they got.

If you like hip-hop at all, this is a must see.  And even if you don’t, this story is one that may grab you regardless.  It’s an enjoyable movie that captures a lot of N.W.A.’s ups and downs, and is more or less accurate as far as I can remember!  For that, Straight Outta Compton gets eight police brutality charges out of ten.

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17 thoughts on “Straight Outta Compton

  1. SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

    Great review. Glad you enjoyed the movie too. We have a similar background… I was around 12, a Canadian with a treefort, at the time of rap’s big boom. I think it was around then my cousin made me listen to the 1st Snoop cassette, which led to NWA and Dre, and me swearing a whole lot more 😉 This movie captures the time really well. Fan or not, I think everyone will enjoy the story. I hope they make Aftermath next.

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  2. A Tale of Two Dans

    Great review Sean. Seemed like you enjoyed the film as much as me. I got hooked to their music after watching Straight Outta Compton so this movie had a great impact on me. Make sure to watch Black Mass or Everest next. Both great movies.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I think it’s great you got into the music as a result of the movie. There is some amazing stuff to be found in the 90s, especially from Dr Dre and Tupac but there’s so much more than just them. The movie did a great job on the music, especially by including some big songs by others as background music, like Wu-Tang playing in the club while Ice Cube and Eazy-E reconnect.

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      1. A Tale of Two Dans

        Yeah there were so many fantastic cameos… it was like we were in a Marvel movie. Because of Compton they were thinking about doing a biopic about just Dre and some other hip hop stars.

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  3. Jay

    Good review!
    When the kid playing Snoop walked in, I knew IMMEDIATELY who he was supposed to be. I loved that part when he’s working on the hook and you know what it is, and he’s getting close, and it makes you want to shout it out!

    I did really like this film. I think having Dre and Cube be such a big part of its making probably led it to it going a little easier on them than is truthful.

    I was really touched at the reunion before E’s death and hope that it happend in real life, and wasn’t just a scene added in hindsight.

    NWA was pretty much over by the time I got around to discovering it (being so much younger than you) – at 12, I thought Vanilla Ice was a thug. But they have remained part of my personal sound track ever since, as you well know.

    I thought it was funny seeing Paul Giamatti be another shitty guy, having just seen him in the Brian Wilson one. Jeez, first he blows up the Beach Boys, and now NWA? Who’s next? No one is safe!

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