An Outside Look at : F. Gary Gray's N.W.A Biopic STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

Friday, August 14, 2015


By Tinsel &Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay

If you're thinking, I don't wanna see STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON cause I've never been a fan of "Gangsta Rap" or "Reality Rap" as N.W.A referred to it in the late 80's early 90's, think again, cause you don't have to know anything about any of the players to appreciate the fact that an American story, defining a time period in the now accepted mainstream culture of hip hop, has been well documented.

F. Gary Gray’s movie is a feast for hip-hop connoisseurs and novices alike as it charts the West Coast rap superstars’ meteoric rise, fractious in-fighting and discovery that the music business can be as savage as the inner-city streets. - Scott Foundas  Variety 

Back when N.W.A. was blowin' up, I would have been listening to Prince, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and believe it or not, The Judds. Yet, I'd a had to been living under a rock not to be aware of Gangsta Rap and groups like N.W.A and Public Enemy, I just wasn't interested in paying them much attention.  Eazy-E's (played by Jason Mitchell) death from AIDS in 1995 is a vague memory at best, and before this movie, the names DJ Ren (played by Aldis Hodge) & MC Yella (played by Neil Brown Jr.) meant nothing at all to me. I started knowing Dr. Dre (played by Corey Hawkins) as a producer on his own label Aftermath, and Ice Cube (played by his son, O'Shea Jackson, Jr. ) I tend to think of more as an actor; although, my black friends want to take my black card away because ... and I guess my movie reviewer card should be revoked as well - I've never seen Boyz n the Hood or either of the Friday movies. I know, it's disgraceful, both have been on my Netflix queue for years, but I'm never in the mood to watch, but I will.  

My point being, despite not being a fan, I loved #StraightOuttaCompton because I love a good biopic, full of rises, falls, feuds, money, lawsuits, bad business etc... this one's got it all.

Of course, with biopics you know "they" in this case writers: Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berlof (screenplay) S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus (story) have to do their job and keep the story flowing without too many tangents or extraneous involvements. Therefore, timelines get fudged and things get shaped. For instance, according to the memoir of Jerry Heller (played by Paul Giamatti), manager of Ruthless Records, Eazy-E came to him and asked if he'd help start a record label. The first artists signed to the Ruthless label were Dre and Cube, adding later DJ Ren and MC Yella and another guy, Arabian Prince.  In the movie, the 5 guys are friends, hanging out, and it's Dre that convinces Eazy to put up his drug money to start the label. He also convinces him to cut the first single, although supposedly, Eazy-E had no interest in rapping ("I'm the Berry Gordy of this operation") had never spit a rhyme in his life, yet Dre is able to coach him through Cube's lyrics, who couldn't lay the track himself due to some conflict with another group, which is no longer an issue when they all go out on tour.  The scene with Eazy-E learning to rap on the spot, in the recording booth, is movie gold, but did this really happen?...

Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are Executive Producers of Straight Outta Compton. As Hollywood Moguls, upstanding members of society and fathers, they're not really gonna show how truly thuggish and misogynistic they were back in the day - but they don't mind throwing Suge Knight completely under the bus. They don't paint themselves as angels, but they are not shown as men of violence in any way. The one time N.W.A is seen with guns, has a humorous overtone.  In terms of the scenes of police brutality - Well,  I try not to give my opinion on things I'd have to live to know what's black, white or gray, but I thought these two journalists speak to the timeliness of the movie: 

The ferocious rhymes of hip-hop icons N.W.A.’s controversial 1988 anthem “F–k tha Police” scarcely seem to have aged when they blast on to the soundtrack of “Straight Outta Compton,” echoing into a world where the abuse of black Americans at the hands of law-enforcement officials remains common headline news READ MORE Scott Foundas, Variety
Given the tragic deaths of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown, the depressing circumstances of Baltimore, and the Black Lives Matter movement, “Straight Outta Compton” and its “Fuck Tha Police” sentiments certainly takes on a prescient resonance that will strike a chord with modern audiences. Police harassment, racism, and brutality is a cornerstone scar of the group’s angry sound and the Rodney King riots that hit in the middle of the movie are especially moving  READ MORE Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
Bottomline: Straight Outta Compton is a walk down memory lane for fans, a good overview for outsiders and totally entertaining for all!

T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5

Lauren deLisa takes you inside with an exclusive Q&A with Straight Outta Compton executive producer Bill Strauss (Note:video will not be visible to those receiving Tinsel & Tine via RSS Feed. Click HERE to view)  Great behind the scenes insight on the road to getting this movie made!

#StraightOutta Campaign - "It's about home or where you're being pushed to or where you're going to next."

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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