I put off seeing it until now because the trailer had too many white people in it; it looked like it was being told from the businessmens’ point of view. Which made it pretty sweet when I finally saw it and they tore those devils up. But still what a weird trailer.
Even MORE weird how a movie whose plot is ‘ego fucks things up’ can be made by 2 guys who clearly didn’t learn the lesson.
Not because other characters didn’t get enough screen time, and not because the other characters were portrayed as suckers or marks. I’m claiming ‘egomania’ because the success of NWA was basically depicted as stemming from the sheer willpower of Eazy, Dre and Cube.
I mean yeah they were geniuses, but geniuses die every day without ever being appreciated or selling anything. Old men living alone, the relatives come to collect the body, find a lifetime’s worth of obsessive outsider-art.
NWA being geniuses kind of helped, but their commercial success happened because they had their city behind them, and later on, because of millions of junior high whiteboys like myself bought them. (To be fair, this applies to all millionaire rappers, yet Ice Motherfucking T is the only one with the integrity to admit it – he even TITLED HIS RECORD ‘home invasion’ w/ a picture of some aspiring school-shooting whiteboy being influenced by him. It wasn’t a good album, but taking the #1 rap taboo and not only admitting it, but making it your fucking album title has got to be the ballsiest move since Cop Killer. In fact, you could paraphrase the old witticism ‘Only Nixon could go to China’ as, ‘only the Cop Killa guy could admit a lot of his fans are white kids’)
In contrast, Straight Outta Compton shows all these mansions and lamborghinis and shit, with no mention of where the money came from. Like Heller (I don’t know the actor, but his Better Call Saul impression is fucking on point!) told Cube in the movie: “where do you think all this comes from?”
On one hand, who cares if the film doesn’t have teenage white kids in it. That would make it pretty boring.
But they even manage to take COMPTON out of the movie. All the South Central scenes are either in private houses or private clubs; there’s no community. Maybe 20 seconds total of the NWA guys walking through a low-rider event. Not one scene at a swapmeet or a cookout. Nothing about the history of Compton, nothing about the NWA guys as kids watching their parents’ friends listen to Stylistics or Marvin Gaye at a house-party.
Even the police-brutality scenes, as well-done and scary as they are, they can’t act as a stand-in for all the million NONviolent-but-unknown-to-privileged-people type of daily-life indignities, the closed opportunities and general disenfranchisement that made Compton produce the scariest musicians in the first place (rather than Paris Texas or Connecticut or Eureka or wherever). There’s no real context.
If I was making that shit, it would start in the 40s when WWII caused the Navy to build shipyards, and the desperation of war caused racist employers to hire African-americans for good paying work there. Which led to a lot of black families moving to LA. It would focus on economic violence as much as police violence. Reagan and shit.
It would be the story of how the problems facing the Black community used to be told by soul singers (organic, vulnerable, spiritual) and how that got turned into the problems being told by NWA (mechanical, materialistic, fuckkity bitch ho motherfucker fuck fuck).
My movie would, I guess, just use NWA as a metaphor, or a hook, for a story about the transformations both within the Black community of LA and American society generally which caused that shift (the shift from soul to hardcore rap). And the movie would end right after the release of the first album.
And it would DEFINITELY include a scene where they shoot the back cover of the ‘GANGSTA GANGSTA’ EP where they’re sitting on a bench reading the Wall St Journal while a whiteboy shines their shoes, and for no reason at all there’s an adorable little blonde girl in the corner EATING WATERMELON. That shit was FUCKING LENNY BRUCE-LEVEL AWESOME.
Also, not to take away from O’shea Junior’s acting, which was good, but I feel sorry for that guy. Not only will he never be as famous or as lyrical as Dad, but Dad seems to be controlling his life with an L. Ron Hubbard level of dominance: not just naming him junior, but actually encouraging him to copy Dad’s facial expressions and mannerisms for a living? Jesus, what kind of twisted fuck does that? I’m picturing Junior’s crib, instead of having a little mobile or play-toy dangling above it, the whole roof was a giant blow-up of the cover of AMERIKKKA’S MOST WANTED, with Dad’s eyes like 3 feet across (each) burrowing into the kid’s soul all night as it tries to sleep.