Straight Outta Compton

2015 biopic

Rating: 15/20

Plot: The rise to fame and collapse of one of hip hop's first gangster rap groups.

When N.W.A. hit, I was a white middle school student surrounded by a bunch of other white people. I liked rap music, but it was mostly the stuff where they sang about playing baseball with Dave Winfield or going to Mars in cars or how wonderful their shoes were. I didn't understand N.W.A. and couldn't figure out why they were so angry. It wasn't until an embarrassing amount of time had passed that I really got this.

This biopic tells their story well. What's likely the best thing about it is that it feels like archival footage a lot of times. At times, the actors who play Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and others just seem to really be those people. The concert scenes are electric, and so are the reenactments of the highs and lows of the career. It's not exactly an objective look at race relations in the late-80s, but it's not like this is telling the story of race relations in the 80s. It's telling the story of N.W.A., and there's little that happens here that makes you question the story's authenticity.

I don't want to sound as racist as the Academy Award folk, but although the performances of the young black ensemble cast were really good, Paul Giamatti really stole the show.

After this, I suppose the Gucci Crew II biopic is probably in some early drafting stages. It'll be called Everybody Wants Some.

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