I saw two movies again over the past week, and didn’t have much time to write reviews for both of them, so I’m going to put them both into one handy FAQ review to help you decide what to potentially pay to see. Those two movies are Straight Outta Compton, which chronicles the rise of a hardcore rap group in the 80s and 90s, and then The Man From U.N.C.L.E, which might be the whitest movie I’ve seen this year.
First of all, what’s with all these acronyms?!?! They’re driving me N.U.T.S.!
For the life of me, I have no idea what the U.N.C.L.E. stands for. I get the uncle reference from the movie, because there was a literal uncle in it (like a dad’s brother), but I never heard the explanation as to what the abbreviation stood for at the end. Especially considering that they are declared U.N.C.L.E as literally the last line of the entire movie. Fine, I’ll look it up. It’s “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement”. I’m pretty sure I never heard those words uttered in the actual movie.
N.W.A., of course, stands for Nice Wholesome Artists.
Can you describe the plots of these movies with a series of buzz words for me? All these years of internet overuse have caused my attention span to be whittled down to a nub.
The Man from UNCLE (I’m not writing those periods anymore): SPIES. GUNS. SUPERMAN. ARMIE HAMMER. RUSSIA. SUNGLASSES. GUNS. SPEED. BOATS. EXPLOSION. DOUBLECROSS. SPIES. UNCLE.
Straight Outta Compton: DRUGS. COPS. DJS. RAP. LADY BUTTS. ICE CUBE. RECORD DEALS. GUNS. DOGS. LOUD MUSIC. BOOBIES. TUPAC. DISRESPECTING AUTHORITY. JERRY. GUNS. MORE LADY BUTTS. HIV.
So in UNCLE, they got a British guy to play the American, and American guy to play the Russian, and a Swedish girl to play a German?
Yeah, but they all commit to the accents really well. I’d probably let Henry Cavill read me furniture assembly instructions in that accent.
Does Straight Outta Compton have dumb accents?
No, not really. The dumbest thing they did was cast a guy who doesn’t really look or talk at all like Snoop Dogg. Oh wait, I remember now that I laughed pretty much any time the N.W.A. guys talked to their manager Jerry (Paul Giamatti), because they would *always* say his first name when talking to him, and *always* emphasize his name in the sentences. “You tell me, JERRY.” “What would you do about it, JERRY?” “Where’s my contract, JERRY?”. There was one scene towards the end, when I got really aware of the whole “JERRY” thing, and Eazy-E had about six lines in the scene, and he said JERRY’s name in four of them. I didn’t mind, because it was kinda funny. JERRY.
How weird is it seeing Ice Cube’s son playing Ice Cube?
It’s definitely weird. It’s like I was looking at Cube, but it… wasn’t him? Same eyes, mouth, and mannerisms, but it just wasn’t quite him. It was like looking at Joseph Gordon Levitt playing Bruce Willis in Looper.
What happened to Alicia Vikander’s body? I thought she was a robot?
No, that was just a character she was playing in Ex Machina. It was fiction.
Which movie has a scarier villain, the fictional spy movie with over-the-top action and stereotypical over-characterizations, or the true story about a music group?
While the Man From UNCLE’s lady villain was reasonably intimidating, nothing even comes close to comparing how scary Suge Knight is. Good lord, that guy knows how to intimidate. He’s scarier than most literary villains.
Were either of these movies boring?
Man From UNCLE got a little boring in the middle. Probably towards the end of the second act, when it was like 15 minutes of exposition before the big finale, I maaaaayyyyyyy have fallen asleep a little bit. But only for a few seconds at a time, I don’t think I missed an entire scene or anything. But still. The plot of the movie was slightly too complicated for its own good, but the action kept me very entertained.
Straight Outta Compton on the other hand was like two and a half hours long, and I don’t think I got bored at any point.
So, you’d probably cut out about 15 minutes of talking from UNCLE, would you cut anything out of Straight Outta Compton?
I mean, there were some things that seemed a *little* too unnecessary. Like the scene where Dr Dre meets his future wife. And then the other random scene with his wife. I assume if you have Dr Dre producing his own movie, he better include the scene where he meets his wife or he’ll probably end up in the dog house; even if that aspect of his life really didn’t factor into any other aspect of the plot of this movie in any way.
It was at least neat how both movies were aware of what they wanted to accomplish, right?
Yeah, UNCLE pretty much knew what kind of spy movie it wanted to be; sort of a fun alternative to a normally gloomy Bond genre (though, Kingsman did it better). And Straight Outta Compton was a pleasingly entertaining biopic movie, which actually had the power of *three* biopics! But if you want a funny meta moment in Compton, it doesn’t get much better than when Ice Cube’s son (playing his dad) is writing the screenplay for Friday, saying “This is really funny”, in a scene in a biopic movie directed by F. Gary Gray… who also directed Friday. Lots of (well deserved) back patting going on right there.
Which lavish party would you rather attend, UNCLE’s Italian race car soiree, or Eazy-E’s Wet and Wild pool party?
Even if the Italian party wasn’t run by a sociopathic supervillian, how can you not choose Eazy-E’s pool party? I mean, as an added bonus, Paul Giamatti is floating around in a windbreaker! Not 100% sure which party you’re more likely to get shot during, though. I kid, I kid.
Which song would you say you’ve listened to more, Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day”, or Eazy-E’s “Sippin’ on a 40”?
Hmmm, that’s a tough call. I think since “Sippin’ on a 40” was a common staple of my collegiate life, I’m going to go with that one. #mickeys
Alright, let’s wrap this up, people have Buzzfeed articles to read, what are your scores?
Man From UNCLE is probably the low end of a 7 out of 10, and Straight Outta Compton is a solid 8.5 outta 10.