My Half-Assed Review of Straight Outta Compton

I don’t go to the movies very often – on average, twice a year does it for me. A movie has to be really engaging for me to end up watching it in a theater. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a personal preference. I suppose I’d rather spend my money on mini-golf, bowling and dinner as far as date nights are concerned.

Before last night, the last movie I had genuinely enjoyed in the theater was Dumb and Dumber To in November. We had gone to see the remake of Poltergeist in the spring, but it was not enjoyable. I wanted to see Straight Outta Compton but I was doubtful that Estes Park would play it, and I wasn’t going to drive an hour each way to see it down in the “big city.”

So when I grabbed the Estes Park News on Friday and saw it was actually playing in my podunk town, I immediately texted Erik and asked to go. If he had said no, I would have gone alone for sure. That’s how bad I wanted to see it!

A total of nine people were in the theater. True, we went to the 4 o’clock show, but still. I sort of figured that’s what would happen. There were three teens, an older couple and a couple around our age (they scrambled out so fast at the end that they left their jacket behind).

I was extremely excited for the movie. I didn’t know much about NWA, except the most bare bones version of the he-said-[s]he-said story and that they were pretty notorious. But do you ever just see a preview for a movie or a show (Empire comes to mind) that just grabs you? That’s what I felt.

The movie was amazing. I left the theater literally squealing with excitement. I laughed, I cried, I tapped my toes, I dug my nails into my hands, I shook my head.

For one, the casting was amazing. I haven’t seen such great casting since the Harry Potter movies. Here’s a photo of the original line-up:

Photo from

Photo from

And here’s the casting:

Photo from

Photo from

The acting was superb. I’m not a film buff by any means, but I know what I like, and I can tell when people are genuine. They were believable, and likeable, and was easy to sympathize with.

My biggest takeaways were:

  • The living conditionsi in Compton. In my white bread world, I still get incensed by how blacks are forced to live. And I get even more incensed by people who say “that’s their own choice.” But that’s a topic for a different day. Anyway, the movie did a great job of communicating tension, nervousness and hopelessness to the viewer.
  • The Rodney King riots was probably the closest we’ve ever come to having a revolution against the government. The depiction of the riots was powerful.
  • How can you arrest people for singing a song? They did the same damn thing to Jim Morrison, and it’s wrong. I don’t understand how cops get away with that shit.
  • Tell your truth, no matter the consequences. Sure, I probably won’t get arrested for the kind of truth I need to tell, but I just went through a situation in my life where someone I thought was close to me flipped out and ditched me when I confronted her. I’m still struggling with that hurt, but this movie helped to confirm that I did the right thing and stayed genuine and true to myself. Sometimes that’s all you have, but it’s enough.
  • On that note, nothing is permanent. You watch E and Ice Cube battle each other, but in the end they come back together. You can have a falling out with someone and years later, you never know what’s going to happen. Tempers cool, people change. It’s never too late to try again.
  • I still hate Suge Knight, and now I hate him even more. They did a great job of vilifying him the way he deserves.
  • They took a story that could have been portrayed in a grotesque way and did it very tastefully. I’m really sensitive, and there were a few times that I cringed, but overall they didn’t make it gross. There was even a scene where it seemed like they were going to show a dog fight (which probably would have scarred me for life), but they showed enough build-up to get you upset and then they moved on without showing any violence whatsoever. Very well done. And of course, there was nudity throughout the movie, but none of it was senseless. For me to not mind nudity, it was definitely well done.
  • I really enjoyed Eazy-E’s character. I’ve always liked his voice the best, and I think he’s got the most interesting story. What can I say? “I guess I just have a thing for Erics,” I told Erik after the movie.

This is the type of movie I’d go see again, and those are few and far between for me: The Lion King (in the same weekend – thanks, Aunt Marlowe!) and The Dark Knight. I was the Titanic generation, and I even saw that only once.

If you want to go see something that will make you think, go see this movie. If you’re a cop lover, you probably won’t like it, but then again, you have more issues than this movie if you’re a cop lover.

Week 35

Much better last week! I only skipped two days. I held my planks at 3:20 and did two sets of 12 push-ups each. It’s hard to break away from the reps of 12 – my shoulders hurt by the end of it, as do my wrists. I guess I’ll stick with it for now until I can build up some more strength.

Sticking to a training plan for a race is helping with my confidence. Now, you all know I love training plans, so this is nothing new. As the training plan ramps up, I’m noticing improvement in my running times and it’s making me feel great. Sure, I’m not expecting miracles for this 15k that I run – hell, I might come in last place, but I’m OK with that. I keep reminding myself that right now, it’s about the mileage and now the time. I like watching my mileage creep up.

The true test will come later this week when I run 7 miles with my oldest friend, Caitlin. She is an actual runner, and even though I have the elevation on my side, I’m scared to run with her! I’m going to insist on being the one to set the pace. She may fall asleep beside me, but tough bananas.

At any rate, I’m excited to have a friend coming to visit!

Week 34

Ooh, another week of slipping? Shame on me! My mom was in town, and I just couldn’t be bothered with planks and push-ups. I skipped four days. My wrist started hurting really bad again, so I used that as an excuse. When I managed to do my planks and push-ups, I held them at 3:15 and did two sets of 12 reps each, respectively.

I kept up my running schedule (Mom walked and we’d meet back up eventually) and we even managed to do a hike to the Loch. I maintain that this is my favorite hike of all time! It’s so pretty and has a little bit of everything.

Now I’m somewhat back to normal before the next visitor arrives next week!

A Poem: Oil Slick

Are you ever afraid to start writing because everything inside you is going to spill out uncontrollably?

Here I sit
with an oil spill
seeping, spoiling
Oily fingers
finding purchase
Neurons firing
Belly roiling
Anger igniting
And the oil
carries my flame
into the veins
into the blood
into my heart
into my brain

Week 33

I slipped a little last week, but in my defense, I had a God-awful migraine that just wouldn’t go away. I took pill after pill after pill – I used up my entire prescription, actually – but the damn thing just wouldn’t die, so I missed a few days. I missed two days of push-ups and one day of planks, to be exact. I held my planks at 3:10 and stuck with two sets of 12 push-ups each.

My training plan for the 15k is cruising right along. I’ve noticed that I don’t care so much about my time lately. I’ve been poking along like a turtle but I’ve been enjoying it much more. This morning I ran four miles but went on a new route. What a simple difference that makes! It’s much more enjoyable to look at new scenery and new houses. I’ve been running through a neighborhood that I fantasize about living in. My goal is to be able to buy there in a few years.

One Inch at a Time

Grief is not a linear process. Here’s a cleaned-up version of what it sort of looks like:

Grief Map

I find myself bouncing back and forth between depression, anger and bargaining the most. I’ve found a new mantra to soothe myself with:

“It won’t hurt forever.”

Sometimes it feels like it will. Sometimes it feels like life will never be the same. Sometimes I still think it will turn around someday.

I think back to other relationships that have ended and remember that I don’t think of them every day. I think back to what it felt like when it first occurred: harsh, stinging pain like a new razor. They all start out that way, but over time you develop a scab and it just doesn’t bother you as much. The obsession lessens, the pain at not being included falls away and one inch at a time, you move on.

One glorious inch at a time.