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This article contains spoilers for the film, so be warned…
This weekend, the highly anticipated biopic, Straight Outta Compton, opened in theatres to audiences everywhere and made almost $25M on opening night, alone. The film tells the story of rap group N.W.A., members Easy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella, and their rise to fame in the 1980s. While their first album, “Straight Outta Compton” (1988) was a bit before my time, I made up for it by bumping it during high school in the 90s. Although I grew up in Los Angeles, I’m a prep school brat and was born and raised in the suburbs, only passing Compton on the freeway on my way to the beach or the airport. In my youth, the music of N.W.A. represented a culture I didn’t feel I necessarily belonged to, but wanted to understand. As a young person intrigued by the musical revolution of the 1960s, gangsta rap represented an unexpected cultural commentary that coincided with my teen angst perfectly. For my generation, N.W.A.’s “Fuck Tha Police” is as controversial as John Lennon’s “Imagine” was to my mother’s and just as meaningful.
When my friend Emmy text me to ask if she could crash on my couch this week so that we might make a pilgrimage to Misha Collins’ jogging path through the Hollywood Hills, I didn’t know what to say at first. Well, yes, I did. I called her crazy.
“Crazy good, or crazy bad??” She text.
“Both.” I replied. “Both.”
Emmy left her home in San Francisco to make the six hour drive to Los Angeles, arriving in time for a late lunch/early dinner at In ‘N’ Out and a movie night that consisted of “Saturday Night Fever” on Netflix, which was a much more problematic film than I remembered it to be, if I’m being honest. We went to bed at a decent hour because we planned to leave early enough to beat the SoCal heat on the hills, and set out before 9am to Hollywood, California to visit the Griffith Park Teahouse, a piece of installation art built by a group of anonymous artists from the area with reclaimed wood from the 2007 fires.
The June 30th sunrise unveiling of the Teahouse was covered by the Los Angeles Times and sparked the interest of our overlord, who tweeted the article, quickly causing fans to draw conclusions that our quirky, woodworking, GishWheS masterminding, Hollywood Hills jogging ringleader just might have something to do with the project.
I received the distinct pleasure of attending a special Los Angeles screening of Insurgent, the second film in the adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. The screening, held at the Pacific Theater at The Grove in Hollywood, was filled with screaming teens, social media influencers and radio station DJs hell bent on riling up the crowd more than they already were. I attended the screening with my daughter, a fan of the films and Ansel Elgort, and it seemed my twelve-year old is pretty much the demographic of the film’s target audience. Insurgent (PG-13), which opens nationwide Friday, March 20th, is a dystopic adventure film, featuring some of today’s hottest actors, including protagonist Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), flashbacks of her mother (Ashley Judd), twin brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), love interest Four (Theo James) and various other familiar faces from the first installment film, including Maggie Q, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, and Mekhi Phifer. As with any trilogy, it is necessary to have seen the first film in order to understand the themes and focus of this one. Without knowledge of the first film, the conflict between factions and family makes absolutely no sense, and the entire story loses power.
Some vague spoilers ahead…
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