Title: Straight Outta Compton Director: F. Gary Gray Year: 2015 Run time: 2hrs 27m
“In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking us back to where it all began, Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these cultural rebels-armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent-stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.”
3:31 – Heck of an intense way to start a film. 4:45 – That’s an actual tank! 9:21 – Aka Ice Cube aka the guy from 21 Jump Street. 13:41 – ‘Sup Cube.” 16:04 – Stay out of trouble, he says, as though they weren’t just picking on him for no earthly reason. 27:11 – We’ve just spent ten minutes trying to figure out who everyone is. Might have it sussed now. 29:36 – “Write the song Cube, shut the eff up Cube.” 33:17 – Loving the old style telephone hotlines. Lighting up they are! Literally! 43:20 – I want to hear more about the California Raisons! 51:08 – What is up with the bouncing car situation? 57:00 – “It’s a reasonably worded threat.” Eeek, the FBI. 1:05:24 – They do have an incredible effect on the crowds. 1:10:10 – Handcuffed high five. 1:12:56 – I think, if you feel like you want a lawyer, you should get a lawyer. 1:15:39 – “We NWA, they Ruthless.” Genius. 1:21:15 – Jeez, don’t mess with the Cube. 1:24:34 – Oh, we’ve progressed to CDs. 1:35:22 – D-O-DOUBLE-G!! 1:44:45 – The meeting of Dre and Jimmy is so exciting! The start of something major. 1:58:56 – Adding Boys in the Hood to the list of films we need to watch. 2:17:45 – No sign of Jerry at the end. Dickhead. 2:18:41 – “You can’t put a price on piece of mind.” 2:19:11 – Never thought I’d see Dre do the Godzilla pause!
I went into this with zero knowledge. I’m useless with music history, and although I like rap/r&b, my knowledge of Dr Dre extends to “ooh, the guy that made my headphones!” So it was a bit of a steep learning curve initially, and the first half an hour of the film was rough going - it felt like there was quite a lot of assumed knowledge, who the people are and why they’re important - but then again, I guess most people do know and I am in the minority.
Once the tour started, though, I was totally on board and hooked with the story. Bad managers, wild parties, rows about money and about music, it was utterly fascinating. And it was exciting to see some of the peripheral names popping up, Snoop and Jimmy Iovine.
It took us longer than the 2h 20m to watch this film, as it entailed a lot of pausing and discussing what we were watching, Mr C explaining things to me, and going off on musical tangents. But that, in itself, made it one of the most entertaining evening’s viewings that we’ve had in a very long time.