Last, but most certainly not least, it’s finally time to discuss my favorite film of 2015. This was a movie which had no business being as good as it was…I mean, it was supposed to be good, but not this good. Compton came to play during the summer. Much like when NWA came to light in 1988, this film caught everyone by surprise.
In the city of Compton, California, a crime-stricken and repressed ghetto prominent in gang violence and police brutality, five young individuals set out to tell their story through the unrecognized musical genre of rap. These five artists (Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella) create the first mainstream rap group: NWA Though the subject of major controversy, infighting, and government threats during their time, this group’s rise and fall set the stage for a musical revolution which resonates to this day.
Some may say Straight Outta Compton is a strange choice for favorite film of 2015. I mean, I named a lot of good movies, many of which are considered at least a bit better than this one. Remember, I’m not claiming this to be the absolute best film of the year; it’s strictly my favorite. To me Straight Outta Compton is everything I love about movies wrapped into one, and that’s why it sits at #1.
Like Bridge of Spies, I can’t cite creativity as the source of this story’s brilliance (despite occasional creative liberty). However, like Bridge of Spies, it’s all in the way the story is told that is so worthy of praise. How amazing it is that the writing team created a film with everything: drama, comedy, action, thrills, you name it. This film has a surprisingly broad reach due to this. Odds are you’re bound to get wrapped up in one aspect of the film and enjoy yourself. I also like how the story was able to stray away from the band itself and venture into all of rap history. It’s not just about NWA, but of the members thereof: namely Eazy, Dre and Cube.
Probably the smartest aspect of this movie was that it came at the right time in history. This is much more than a musical biopic. Its themes transcend music in order to create the common ground between the early 90’s and now. Police brutality has a lot to do with NWA’s history as it does in the past few years. Due to this, they decided to dedicate a good amount of time to not just their struggles (most famously seen in the Detroit concert scene), but also to Rodney King. It’s so perfectly intertwined with the story that it seizes being just a biopic, but a social statement everyone should be reminded of.
Overall, the narrative is excellent from beginning to end. (And no, I didn’t have problems with the third act, but I see why others would).
The film is also well acted. I found every performance in this picture perfectly convincing. A lot of that has to do with aesthetics, admittedly, but everyone put on a good show. Most people already know of O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s portrayal of his father, Ice Cube, and how scarily similar he is to his dad. The same can be said for the other four leads, too. Additionally, Paul Giamatti is excellent as Jerry Heller, as is every other key figure in this film. If I had any qualm with the acting it would be the focus on only three-fifths of NWA. DJ Yella and MC Ren get almost no shine in this movie, and I do wish they had at least a bit more for them to do. It doesn’t take anything away from the film, but it would’ve been nice.
If I could just speak of one other great aspect of this film, it would be the music. Forget stereos, speakers, or headphones. The truest way to hear rap outside of a live concert hall is in a movie theater. I’ve been spoiled by the in-theater experience of hearing NWA’s music. If you’re watching this movie at home, make sure you have excellent sound quality, because your ears will thank you. If it’s playing in a theater near you one day, don’t miss the opportunity. It’s impactful and epic, not to mention the fact that they’re really good songs. Both “Fuck the Police” and “No Vaseline” are the film’s best musical moments by far.
I can go on forever, but you get the point. Straight Outta Compton is my favorite film of 2015 and one of the best biopics you’ll ever see. Unless you’re easily repelled by profanity, nudity or violence, you will most likely feel the same way I do.
Five months later, and I finally did it! I reviewed all 34 films I saw in 2015. I realize this went on three months over-schedule, but I made a promise back in January that I had to keep. Hopefully you all enjoyed my little adventure throughout the year of 2015. This was fun, and may I say worth it. Thank all of you guys for your patience and for following the Countdown and me for months now. I’m just glad I was able to finish it for you all.
In the mean time, I think it’s well past time we start focusing on new movies. 🙂
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!
For all entries in the 2015 Movie Countdown, click here!