Straight Outta Compton (2015)

straight outta compton poster 2015 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Strong, film that passes two and a half hours quickly through strong storytelling

Some spotty acting

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Straight Outta Compton

Studio:  Legendary Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  August 11, 2015 (Premiere)/August 14, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

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Have I got a deal for you

In 1986, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell) decides it is a time for a change.  With his friends Adre “Dr. Dre” Young (Corey Hawkins), Lorenzo “MC Ren” Patterson (Aldis Hodge), Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby (Neil Brown), and O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), he forms NWA.  Finding support from long-time producer Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), success begins for NWA, but the feuds also start.  As NWA begins to break apart, the group finds going on their own might even be more difficult than finding fame.

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What the police?

Directed by F. Gary Gray, Straight Outta Compton is a biopic telling the story of the formation (and subsequent break-up) of the gangsta rap group NWA.  The film faced criticism due to a casting controversy looking for female extras rated on an A-D ranking that was primarily based around skin tone.  The movie was released to critical acclaim and a strong box office draw.  The movie received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay but also was cited as an example of the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards by people who felt that it should have received more nominations.

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Don’t mess with my Dogg, Shuge

Gangsta rap was the big thing in high school.  Coming from one of the whitest of white schools, it was more of a defiance than alternative music and rather amusing to hear The Chronic coming from really nice cars in the high school parking lot.  With this background, I looked forward to Straight Outta Compton.  It was a rather enjoyable film, but it did have moments that could have been improved.

The story is a long one and the film follows the course.  The original cut of the film was over three hours and even more in depth.  You could argue that the movie is almost a biopic of just Eazy-E since his character gets the full life and death treatment, but the movie does flesh out Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as well…some of the other players aren’t as focused.  I feel the movie really picks up once Ice Cube leaves the group and I wish that they could have continued on after Dre’s departure from Death Row and the increasing war…unfortunately, the movie has too much ground to cover for that to work.

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Let’s set this off!

The acting is sometimes good, but sometimes it does struggle.  Films aren’t generally filmed in order, but it almost seems like the actors are much more comfortable with their roles by the end of the movie than in some of the beginning scenes.  Some of the tougher emotional scenes are a little rocky as well like the death of Dre’s brother.  Paul Giamatti also runs the risk of type casting since he seems to play the same character every time.

The movie does have a very slick look to it.  Despite being two and a half hours, the movie smartly blends performances with the story to keep the movie moving.  The concert scenes have a great energy that goes a long way in capturing the feel of the time.

Straight Outta Compton actually probably should have been more represented in the Oscars.  I don’t know that there should have been any acting Academy Awards, but it definitely could have bumped something like the “safe” choice of Bridge of Spies out of the running.  It definitely is an age thing involving this movie since viewers over fifty will probably not be able to associate with the film.  There is talk of a sequel and I’d be excited to see it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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