Rachel D, Peter Fenzel, Ryan Sheely, and Matt Wrather are joined by special guest D. J. Bean to overthink Straight Outta Compton, the new film about Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and N.W.A.’s seminal album.
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D J Bean is a sportswriter and pop culture enthusiast. Check him out on WEEI and on Twitter @dj_bean.
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- F. Gary Gray on IMDb
- Casting Call for Straight Outta Compton
I’d like to try to summarize this week’s podcast using OTI lingo because there was a lot discussed and I want to make sure I’m hearing you all correctly. Hopefully I’m faithful to the original text and not taking you out of context…
1. In the Donkey F-ing Conundrum, the audience wants to say that they are in the theatre to watch a story unfold, but in reality, they are there to be titillated by the party lifestyle and shocked by institutional violence. S.O.C. seems to sell itself as a historical document, but in reality, the reason people watch is to see NWA perform. Whether or not Ice Cube really is a good kid in a bad city misses the point. You watch this movie to see NWA occupy a certain space in the culture. You want to see NWA respond to shocks by performing. You’re not there to see Ice Cube F the Police, you’re there to see him perform ‘F the Police’ [Suggested title, the Police F-ing Conundrum].
2. S.O.C. produces an Anchorman solution to a Public Enemy problem. There are institutional pressures acting against NWA. There’s violence and racism all around them. Rather than explore how these shocks rippled throughout the industry, the geography, or the time, S.O.C. focuses on NWA as characters. Although these pressures are going on at the same time as NWA is coming together, the movie is using that as a palette for showing these characters as they develop into the group we know today, not to propose solutions to those problems.
3. Along the Anchorman thread, but on a different subject, S.O.C. is a historical farce masquerading as satire when it comes to gender politics. It wants to chuckle at the objectification of women, while surrounding Paul Giamatti in a halo of butts. It doesn’t say anything about what caused or solved this behavior, or even dissuade others from repeating that behavior; it DOES want to mention that behavior in passing and then get right back to sexual spectacle.
“[Suggested title, the Police F-ing Conundrum].”
Long time readers of Overthinking It may remember that we used to highlight a “comment of the week.”
It may be worth brining back just to give this one a shout out.
Yo homies, for the question of the past week I’m Straight Outta South Central LA, straight up ;)
enjoyed this one, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been XD
Sadly I didn’t really grow up with NWA, I listened to Ludacris and DMX more. Speaking of Ice Cube’s changing image, like the Boondocks joke went, I remember Ice Cube as the family movie guy. I remember him mostly from the movie Are We There Yet?