At the end of 2015, the Popmatic Podcast did our best of the year movie picks. My third favorite movie of the year was Straight Outta Compton. The problem with that pick was not all the racial issues and requisite language, but the fact that I HAD NOT ACTUALLY SEEN IT! Sigh. I’d seen the previews and it was one of a few that I actually wanted to watch. Plus my friend saw it and loved it. DOUBLE PLUS I used to work in the music business so I was curious from that point of view as well. So I picked it and the boys razzed me about it, but I stuck to my guns.
And I’m so glad I did because the movie was awesome!
Yes I finally saw it and it was everything I thought it would be. I was never a big NWA fan growing up. That’s shocking, I know, coming from a white girl who was raised in the rural, cookie-cutter Midwest. Their music was just something I had no idea how to relate to. But I remember when “beep tha Police” was causing such a big stink in the media – especially after the incident in Detroit (which is in the movie). At the time, I probably agreed with my parents who thought they were hoodlums.
But now that I’ve got a few years under my belt (just a handful, here and there, let’s not get crazy), I have a better idea of the reality of their situation. Their music really was just an expression of their reality. That’s what music is supposed to do so violent life = violent music. And if you listen to the production of the original release, it really is amazing what they achieved with the resources they had to make it.
I thought the casting of the movie was good. All the characters look like their intended representation. Especially with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre – who have both gone on to have monster careers – Dre as a producer and headphone maker and Ice Cube as a musician and actor (he also gets a writing credit - as O’Shea Jackson - for the movie Southpaw which I also just mentioned on our Valentine’s Day podcast). My favorite cast member was Aldis Hodge as MC Ren because I loved him on Leverage. Also, fun fact – Hodge would have only been 1.5 years old when the original album was released.
If you have issues with language or violence, then maybe this movie is not for you. But it is definitely a reflection of the reality of Compton, CA in the 1980’s and 90’s. The world gave them violence and they gave us art. Even if you disagree, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t a great story.
And I'm Straight Outta Nashville...sorry, I had to say that...yo...