|Index||3 reviews in total|
30 for 30: Straight Outta L.A. (2010)
*** (out of 4)
Another entry in ESPN's series, this one here takes a look at how gangster rap and the Oakland Raiders went together and turned a popular team into one of the biggest merchandise sellers in the world. Director Ice Cube, who was there when most of this broke, explains how the violence of the city was just right for the violence of the Raiders. I was pretty surprised to see how many people Cube gathered for this documentary as we get members from the original NWA group, Ice-T, various Raiders players including Marcus Allen and we even get Al Davis. I was shocked to see Davis who is still hard as nails in terms of doing things his own way and it's still rather funny to hear him try to explain how he's doing stuff his way and how it's the best thing for everyone. I think, for the most part, this is a pretty good documentary, although at times it seems to be all over the place. Part of it wants to cover the Raiders. Part of it wants to cover the early explosion of gangster rap. Then we get into the more political stuff of the L.A. riots and whether or not rap was causing people to be killed. There's a lot of stuff that tries to get covered in 50-minutes and at times one thinks things could have played out better with a little more running time. With that said, what's here is an interesting story and with all the familiar faces being interviewed things never get boring.
I have enjoyed many of the "30 for 30" documentaries--even though I am
really not a sports fan. Mostly it's because they often tell very
compelling stories and are exceptionally crafted. However, I had a
really hard time getting myself to watch "Straight Outta L.A." and I
think I should point this out because I did have a bias against it. One
of the reasons is that I don't like rap music-- especially gangster
rap. And, the film was made by Ice Cube from NWA (I would love to say
was 'NWA' stands for but IMDb won't allow this--I could get banned or
at least get this review removed if I did this). But the biggest reason
is because I absolutely hate what Al Davis has done with the Raiders
and think his actions have done a lot to hurt the NFL and hurt many
fans. Let me explain. He owns the Raiders and they'd been a very
successful team in Oakland. Then, he decides to move the team to Los
Angeles and he sued the NFL to do this. I had mixed feelings about this
at the time--LA was the second largest market in the US and they had no
team and I sure think they deserved one. But the Raiders were supported
by the fans in Oakland and I didn't want to see Oakland screwed.
Ultimately Oakland AND LA ended up getting screwed, as after a few
seasons in LA, Davis packed the team up and moved BACK to Oakland!
Wow...talk about contempt for the fans!! So, understand that I hate
what Al Davis has done to football. And, this surely must have impacted
my feelings about "Straight Outta LA"!
Despite all this, I like the documentary for several reasons. First, while it was made by Ice Cube, it was professionally made and compelling--so he did a good job. Second, it didn't 'whitewash' the story. It did admit that the image of the LA Raiders had become so thuggish that fans were afraid to attend the games. Heck, ex- players admit that they wouldn't let their families attend. So, you could understand Davis' decision to move the team...at least to a degree. On the other hand, some folks thought Davis was a bit nuts and some of the criticism of him and his actions is pretty harsh. I also appreciated that. So overall, despite my preconceptions, the show is well done and worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, I get it that the Raiders were a law unto themselves, but the way
ice-cube tells this story is that the Raiders became renegades as a
result of gangsta rap?? Also, I can see no value whatsoever in having
snoop dog in this film..he is an imbecile and makes no contribution to
the story at all except dumb it down .
The Raiders were outcast and bad-asses LONG before ice cube could even speak. his lyrics promoting abuse and violence didn't give the raiders an 'edge', and the Raiders could and did exist quiet happily with their surly persona long before the existence of NWA.
There is a legitimate story here,though, and the machinations of Al Davis and the character of his Raiders entering a new city is one worth telling, but lets keep it real, Ice-cube..the ONLY thing NWA did for the raiders is sell more starter jackets and caps.
It's a shame as there is real potential here for a REAL story about those renegade Raiders. ESPN missed a huge trick here.
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