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Straight Outta Compton | 2015 | R | - 8.6.10

The story of the rise of rap group N.W.A: In 1988 the new group revolutionized music and pop culture with its first studio album, "Straight Outta Compton," which addressed life in South Los Angeles and especially police harassment of African-Americans. With O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, R. Marcus Taylor, Neil Brown Jr., Aldis Hodge, Marlon Yates Jr. and Paul Giomatti. Directed by F. Gary Gray. [2:27]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A few scenes depict implied sexual activity: in an apartment party scene, several men are shirtless and many women are nude or topless and wearing skimpy panties (we see breasts and buttocks) while a nude woman lies under a man in bed and we see him thrusting between her legs under a sheet until her boyfriend pounds at the front door and asks for her, causing her to kick the other man off her and when she jumps out of bed we see her in full frontal and back nudity (including pubic hair and we also see the man's bare chest); on a band bus in the evening, shirtless men kiss women wearing bikini tops (revealing cleavage) and short shorts while they bump and rub rear ends together to music and the scene ends (sex is implied).
 We see several scenes where many nude women are present at apartment and pool parties; full frontal and rear nudity of many women is evident. Two topless women wearing skimpy bikini bottoms are shown swimming underwater in a pool and the camera provides a close-up of their buttocks and thighs and the side of one breast. At pool parties topless women and women wearing skimpy bikini tops and short shorts dance and writhe. A scene features a row of six women's buttocks (in bikini bottoms) and thighs twerking toward the camera, while a man holds his face close to a set of jiggling buttocks and smiles. Many semi-nude women lean against clothed men's shoulders as the males sit at parties and the women's bare breasts and abdomens are shown close to the men's faces. Women wear skimpy V-neck tops that reveal cleavage, with short shorts that reveal fully bared legs to the upper thighs. An album cover in an office shows an ink drawing of four nude men with their abdomen and groin areas covered by foliage and musical instruments (we see bare their upper chest). At an apartment party, men push a woman wearing only tight panties out into the hall and lock their door and the scene ends and a woman standing inside the door nude (we see full frontal nudity, including pubic hair).
 A clothed man sits on a bed as he speaks into a phone while a woman wearing only skimpy panties is kneeling beside him and trying to get his attention; we see her bare breasts, her navel and bare legs.
 A wife kisses her husband on the cheek. A wife kisses her husband briefly on the lips. A man asks a date if he can come inside her apartment, and she says she has a lot to think about in their relationship, and then kisses him goodnight at the door.
 A man refuses to pay child support for a daughter he conceived with a woman who is not married to him; she angrily leaves town with the baby girl. We hear that two women are pregnant. We hear that a man is HIV-positive (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details); a doctor tells the patient and his wife that HIV can be passed through unprotected sex and the woman rushes from the room as the doctor says he will run tests on her and her unborn baby. A man tells a male friend three times not to fear high heel shoes or the women wearing them.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - During opening credits, we hear that Los Angeles in the 1980s is the scene of increasing drug trafficking and arrests, with 47 murders in one week. The film focuses on the culture of violence and the brutality of the LAPD against residents of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods during the 1980s and 1990s.
 Footage of the Rodney King beating plays twice and a reporter announces that the four officers we see beating a man with police batons were not charged with any crime. LAPD officers are shown pushing, punching and clubbing African-Americans, grabbing unarmed men and arresting them. Protestors are seen with signs decrying police brutality as the march through streets, while entire blocks of the inner city burn with large flames and smoke; looting includes smashing storefront windows, a shopping cart thrown through one of them and men stand on top of an empty police van and beat it with baseball bats.
 A man receives a phone call that his brother died and he cries, then he shouts in sorrow and cries more strongly; he and his mother cry at the mausoleum in a later scene.
 Two rap groups meet in a hotel lobby and fistfight: we hear loud punches and see men fall and roll while other men break up the action as the scene ends. A man beats a parking attendant in a parking lot repeatedly with hard punches for no apparent reason; the victim curls up and whimpers, but we see no blood. Four men threaten another man over his music contract and he says he quits; one man slaps him hard twice, bloodying his mouth and then pounds him down behind a long console where we cannot see him and all four men punch him from above and the camera cuts to the hurt man sitting on a curb with a bloody nose and a bloody mouth as a handgun appears at his temple (the man with the gun recognizes the injured man and puts away the gun).
 A few scenes show bullying by police officers of African-Americans and in one scene, seven officers attack three young men on the sidewalk near their home and adults appear and start yelling; the officers harass the youth and adults and then let them go; another sequence shows LAPD officers harassing a rap group on the street outside their studio, taunting them, pushing them and denigrating their music as the officers push the rappers face down on the ground and accuse them of being gang-bangers until their manager approaches and berates the officers, one officer says that rap is not art or music, the manager and the officers shout profanities and the manager threatens to call the mayor.
 A man rushes from a studio and into a parking lot and pulls a second man off a third man who are fighting: the police pull up in a cruiser with lights and siren and arrest the first man, who was not fighting, because they told him to walk away from his car and go home and he would not do so; they slam his face onto the car hood and the camera cuts to the next morning with him walking along a sidewalk, carrying his possessions in a plastic bag from jail.
 An angry man with a handgun and his friend pound on a hotel room door, searching for the first man's girlfriend; men inside the room come out the other door in the hallway, brandishing handguns and a handheld cannon (the boyfriend and his friend run away). Young men on a school bus hold up a three-fingered gang sign to a man in a passing car; the man cuts off the bus with his car and enters the bus with a handgun drawn, tells the youth he could kill them and they need to study their books instead of putting up gang hand-signs in the windows of their bus. A few men make another man remove his shirt and pull down his trousers (we see his bare chest, thighs and knees) and sit under the ledge of a bar as a pit bull barks at him until another man walks in and tells the cowering man to get up and he shouts at the other men for their behavior.
 A mother and her adult son argue and she slaps his face hard (he leaves home). Two men argue in a studio, another man picks up a liquor bottle as if he will use it as a weapon and the argument ends abruptly. Several scenes feature men arguing about the direction their group should take. Two men curse and argue loudly and one man finally quits a musical group. A group writes an insulting song about a member who quit and he retaliates with a song condemning them with homophobic slurs and he makes anti-Semitic remarks about the group's manager who goes into a rage shouting and asking why his clients are not as upset as he is.
 A drug dealer is shown (please see the Substance Use category for more details) demanding money from clients whose home interior is full of gang graffiti and the dealer argues loudly with a man and a woman who hold a handgun and a shotgun on him; an LAPD urban assault tank sounds a siren and pulls up to the house, uses an automatic battering ram to smash through a door and slams a woman into a wall, screaming, while men and women in the house hide bags of powder and leaves in ceiling stashes and the refrigerator as the dealer kicks a woman to the floor and jumps out a window; a pit bull chases him as the scene ends.
 Recording and performing a number called "F*** Tha Police" causes the FBI to start watching a group for subversive activity and crime; the group receives a warning letter from the FBI, telling them that lyrics threatening police are illegal; a police officer threatens the group with jail if they sing or say any "profanity in a public place" or perform the number "F*** Tha Police" and during a performance of the number, a racially diverse crowd of over 1,000 extends obscene hand gestures at the police standing around them and loud gunshots sound off camera (men and women run, screaming) and the group runs outside and into a line of police officers who place them into a police van, handcuffed.
 A man rushes outside his business, jumps in his car and drives erratically, swerving around traffic as a cruiser follows him; four other cruisers cut him off and a police helicopter appears overhead and he is arrested as the scene ends.
 A man develops a worsening cough and he collapses on top of a musical keyboard, which smashes; his wife screams and friends gather around as the camera cuts to a hospital room where the man lies in bed with an oxygen line clipped to his nose and a doctor tells him and his wife that he has pneumonia, is HIV-positive and has six months to live; the wife screams and rushes out of the room and the patient cries and we see the patient in a coma later with a mask and heavy breathing tube connected to it and his eyes are swollen shut; the camera cuts to a memorial outside his home, where people put flowers and hold up lighted candles. We hear that a rapper was in an auto accident in which he was thrown from his car when it hit a tree (it is unclear whether he had been drinking or not) and we see him unconscious in a hospital bed and is wearing an oxygen clip in his nose (we see some bruising on his face).
 White men and white women lay a large number of N.W.A albums in a street, and then stomp on them and drive cars over them. A man takes a baseball bat into another man's office and smashes gold and platinum records, glass cases and glass tables as the second man screams until his voice breaks (glass shatters loudly several times).
 We see a news conference in which rappers tell reporters that police violated their First Amendment rights. Two rap groups fire their managers for stealing money from them; both managers shout and threaten, to no avail.
 At a party at a recording studio men bet on pit bulls that they hold (the dogs do not fight).


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LANGUAGE 10 - About 290 F-words and its derivatives, 12 obscene hand gestures by a 6-man group twice and a crowd scene of about 1,000 hands with their fingers raised, 122 scatological terms, 34 anatomical terms, 25 mild obscenities, 38 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 3 derogatory terms for Jewish people, 1 derogatory term for gays, name-calling (crazy, stupid, punk, fool, sucker, traitor, liar, thief, sandbag reporter, ignorant), exclamations (shut-up), 10 religious profanities (GD), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus Christ, For Christ's Sake).


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SUBSTANCE USE - An opening scene features an angry drug dealer demanding money from clients and we see a man and a woman smoking marijuana cigarettes in a house (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), a man in a house lines up a line of white powder with a razor blade and another man inhales a small portion of it from his finger, two men approach a drug dealer for money to fund their proposed record label, a drug dealer sits in his living room behind a pile of quart-sized baggies of marijuana and argues with his music manager about selling the drugs, a man lying on a bed takes a puff of a marijuana cigarette that a woman sitting beside him had just puffed, and a man in a recording booth smokes a marijuana cigarette as he sings and smoke is visible in a large cloud. A bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne are seem on a kitchen counter, men and women drink from large cans of beer, men and women hold bottles and large cans of beer but do not drink, a woman hands a bottle of whiskey to a man who says he does not want it, men and women drink beer and some drink cocktails in several party scenes, men and women in a club drink cocktails and short glasses of whiskey, a man holds a bottle (likely alcohol) inside a brown paper bag in a yard, a man at a hotel drinks a small glass of wine, a man asks another why he is drinking all the time and the second man walks away with a beer bottle, a man in a studio drinks from a 40-ounce can of beer, a man holds a bottle of beer but does not drink it, a man held at bay by a pit bull (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) makes a toast with a glass of wine in a room full of men and women as another man enters the room and tells him to stop, and a man slaps a glass of whiskey off his dining room table. Several scenes feature men and women smoking tobacco cigarettes in a bar as well as in a dressing room at a show and on the street, a man smokes in a driveway and tosses the glowing butt toward the camera, a few women smoke cigarettes outside a concert venue, and a man smokes a cigar in four scenes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Racism, First Amendment rights, misogyny, white privilege, police brutality, gangsta rap, violence, anger, revenge, death, loss, regret, determination, courage, friendship, conflict, respect, responsibility, starting over.

MESSAGE - It is dangerous to speak out against violence and abuse, but it is necessary.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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