It wasn't so much me succumbing to the ad campaign as being very aware of a strong desire to not sit in a hot house combined with the fact that Thursday prices at my cinema of choice were ONLY $5.75 (which means you have $14.25 change from your twenty, which coincidentally [probably not coincidentally] is the price of a "large combo" (enormous popcorn + enormous drink) - anyway, with a "sneak preview" showing toight, I opted in. I think the last movie I PAID to get into was "Pacific Rim" so it's been a while, but I guess I'm a sucker for nostalgia of a certain time (30 years ago, I was getting ready to start high school) and we grew up as N.W.A did. I didn't own any, but my friends did and Aaron eventually had his own copy of "Straight Outta Compton" as well which I borrowed a few times. ANYWAY.
The victors write history, or the folks still alive, and with Ice Cube executive producing, you might wind up detecting certain biases in favour of certain people and against certain other people - and you'd probably be right. At the VERY end of the credits is the helpful disclaimer that although this motion picture was based on true events, several scenes were fictionalized...that's probably JUST good enough to avoid a defamation lawsuit or two. A few of the minor players didn't make it into the story, a few key moments were omitted (for time concerns, I'm sure) and a lot of their seamier side is glossed over or also omitted altogether - thinking here that a lot of the more homophobia-tinged stuff that felt more OK in the late eighties (along with the misogynistic stuff - "A Bitch Iz A Bitch" or "Just Don't Bite It," for example) just wouldn't fly in 2015, so why even bring it up, I guess? But all that is mostly irrelevant if you're going on not knowing much about the story behind the story...
And it's a good story! It went over two hours and into a good chunk of the third, but for me it never dragged, lagged or got too over the top. A lot of ground was ambitiously covered, yet I felt like sometimes only the surface was scratched, and when they zoomed from "then to now" as the credits rolled, I felt like I wanted a bit more.
Everybody was pretty good - Paul Giamatti was pretty good but maybe I have higher expectations for him? Ice Cube Jr. as Ice Cube was quite good! The kid playing Eazy E was very good.
As entertainment, it was a good movie and I recommend it. It clearly doesn't claim to be a documentary and/or straight biopic, but it's hard not to come into it hoping it would be a bit more - if you can set aside that it ISN'T, going on, you will still definitely enjoy it. It might make you want to learn what actually happened and what was made up afterwards, though. I'm going to do some reading.
Oh, and to be sure some of the police stuff is just as relevant in 2015 as it was back in 1984-1991...sadly, you kinda hope some of THAT was fictitious, too, but it's probably closer to the truth than we're comfortable with. I would have liked a little more First Amendment stuff, but that might be MY political biases showing.
Great music, of course.
Good crowd for a Thursday night, very diverse, not TOO much talking back to the screen and only one kid who I thought might have been better served by not seeing it with his dad until he was way older.
For a more spoilerrific take (but also says what I want to say much better than I said it), hit up Lady Miz Diva's review (thedivareview.com).
From reading around, it looks like we should expect a much longer director's cut when the Blu-ray is released...hopefully some of the missing pieces will be filled in then. (Mind, it's STILL worth seeing in a theatre right now.)
Originally posted by Guru ZimIs the D.O.C. featured at all?
He's a character in it; I don't know if you could say he rises to "featured" or not.
I haven't looked into this yet, I will be watching this.
There needs to be an Ice-T Biopic.
I'll try to get his people to call your people, but seriously, if this is a smash, I would think somebody trying to option other acts from the same time period with similarly interesting stores (and Ice definitely qualifies) would be a no-brainer....which would be good for Hollywood, given their lack of brains sometimes. This film took A LONG TIME to make, though, so we probably wouldn't see such a thing for years.
That's another thing about this film I meant to touch on - again, this is probably more a result from trying to tell the story you had in the time you had, but while there was at least an attempt to place NWA within the context of the America of their times, MUSIC-wise, there wasn't nearly as much of a glimpse into what was happening outside of Ruthless (and later Death Row) - it would have been nice to travel outside that bubble a little more beyond what essentially amounted to cameos for the heads to ID.