Straight Outta Compton – some thoughts

I’ve never done a movie review and this is not one, just my thoughts on the film and LA in general.

I finally got to see the movie! Damn life has been hectic but we have started to get on top of our evenings with our little boy now fast asleep by 6:30pm!

Growing up in the 80’s and in little NZ we were far from the NWA movement, although with a diverse culture here I would say we were pretty exposed to it in one way or another.

My first real taste of this music was once I attended  boarding school at age 13. Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Rage Against The Machine, DR Dre + Eminem etc were just a few of the artists I had never heard of. Hell, what an awakening from my early catholic school days..

My biggest draw card for this movie is my love of LA and the 80’s style & social movements.

I love the Palm Trees, the summer vibes, mixed in with the concrete jungle, the expression of tagging and art mural work. American Cars, The near ocean location & the other vegetation such as pine trees remind me of heading to local holiday spots.

Malibu 113Echo Park 4Echo Park 3Echo Park

Seeing all the 80’s period correct cars is just the ultimate for me in a movie like this. The white Ferrari Testarossa driven by Dr Dre was just beautiful and classic but also the hydro equipped low riders are what the car scene in Compton is all about.

miami-vice-ferrari-testarossa-heads-to-auction-4660_11417_640X470

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I love that people in LA are dreamers of making it big, movie stars, rock stars, sports heros, glitz and glamour all mixed with grunge and gangsters ..

Spanish and Mexican cultures just add another interesting dimension to me since they are far and few here. We only have a very small group of Mexican, Spanish & African American living in NZ either so its definitely an eye opener but I loved seeing the “new to me” cultures.

4_DxOFPVenice Skaters_DxOFP

The dark an dangerous side of Compton intrigues me. The struggles and the feud exist between races and even within own races. We have similar areas of struggle here in NZ just on a much smaller scale I would say.

We also had our own local issues of Police force on black society in the 70’s. The Group Black Panthers group formed to put a stop to it, inspired by the African American groups.

So in the movie we are shown this targeted race pressure,   We are promptly reminded with the recent Baltimore riots that tension can still exist in 2016. Obviously I can only take from what I see in the news to understand the level it is currently at.

BESTPIX - Protests in Baltimore After Funeral Held For Baltimore Man Who Died While In Police Custody
BESTPIX BALTIMORE, MD – APRIL 27: Demonstrators climb on a destroyed Baltimore Police car in the street near the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, who was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore’s west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Straight Outta Compton certainly paints a picture for how extensive the 80’s lifestyle was. Notably the party & drug/dealing influence.

The Battering Ram scene was pretty epic and quickly highlights the chaos & darkness in the hood as a low point of drug dealing and rife. Completely destroying the front of the house certainly took my understanding of police raids to the next level.

The party scenes were extravagant showing the pinnacle of NWA success. Naked woman, sex, alcohol, guns etc, all desirable objects. The rest of the movie was made up of recording albums and drama between the group members and band manager who had been bouncing cheques and the likes.

One day I walked a loop around  MacArthur Park & I heard it was full of drug dealers back in the 80’s so it looks like things are cleaning up. Without feeling too threatened even though I was the only European guy around. I did hear someone was recently shot near by so again the struggle is still real.

You only have to read the LA times homicide reports to understand how horrific the gang & or drug situation is. I truly can not process the amount of shootings happening. http://homicide.latimes.com/year/all

The actors were really good, some so very close in appearance which helped. I loved Eazy E & Dre the most, and probably disliked Ice Cube for his attitude & abusive way about dealing with the contract situation. I did not know the cause of Eazy’s death so that was a plot twist for me. Very sad and unfortunate.

Eazy-E
CIRCA 1990: American rapper Eazy-E poses. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eazy-E

After digging a little deeper I read that Suge Knight killed Terry Carter after a dispute on the filming of the movie by running him over in a burger joint parking lot. Perhaps not everyone has managed to move on from their Compton ways.

All in all the rap movement was quite a dark and chaotic period for the members of NWA. By the sounds of it,  growing up in Compton many residents who chose the thug life never made it out alive let alone go on to make it huge globally like NWA did. They certainly went to the extreme and achieved something that was never imagined possible at the time or to be widely accepted. Most notably they pushed back against racial pressure with their track “Fuck the Police” which saw them arrested mid concert in the film.

It’s hard to process that there is a very dark side to what is considered such a desirable place as LA. Perhaps we live quite a sheltered life here in NZ, thankfully guns are not common on the street but certainly I feel a small uprising from the news reports.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or even how you liked the movie!

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