News Worth Sharing: Gangsta, Gangsta! A new “Scarface” and an N.W.A. biopic are on their way

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So. During the blog’s impromptu “Lebowski Fest” the past couple of days, I didn’t get an opportunity to share the news about two upcoming movies I’ve heard about. Both involving gangsters.

The first is a new “Scarface” movie planned by Universal.

The second is an N.W.A. biopic, tentatively titled after their debut album, “Straight Outta Compton”

One of these makes me giddy with anticipation, the other tests my gag reflex. See if you can guess which one is which. The answer, after the break.

According to Deadline.com, Universal is planning to reuse the title “Scarface”. They are currently avoiding calling it a remake or a reboot, and simply saying that they’re once again going to tell the tale of an immigrant gangster who makes it to the top of the underworld.

Recently, in regards to the upcoming “The Thing” prequel, I’ve been quoted as saying “If your movie itself is a remake, you logically forfeit all rights to complain about being remade.” Which makes nice, logical sense, but I failed to think of all the movies it would apply to apparently. The lesson? I’m an idiot.

Whether or not the movie bears any resemblance to the 1983 Brian De Palma movie, by virtue of sharing the same name, they WILL be associated with each other. And even though that movie is approaching 30 years old it is still a movie that is deeply, deeply rooted in the popular consciousness. Movies that are THAT ingrained in our culture should NOT be regurgitated.

Period.

Even if it was a remake itself. Logic be damned.

What studios SHOULD be doing is seeking out stories like N.W.A.’s.

Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, and MC Ren formed Niggaz Wit Attitudes in 1986. In 1988, they released their seminal rap album, the multi-platinum legend “Straight Outta Compton”. I still recall the first time I heard it. Blog regular Digger was playing it in his dorm room.

I remember it so vividly because it scared the crap out of me.

With its shocking, violent lyrics and music by Dr Dre, “Straight Outta Compton” was an undeniable tour de force. It put the hardcore reality of the gang filled streets right up in your face. It was one of the first albums ever to carry a “Parental Advisory” label. It may be commonplace nowadays, but in 1988 it was controversial, revolutionary and sensationalistic. And all the more so because these guys weren’t making it up. They had lived it, and you could tell.

Gang movies are nothing new. Rap movies are nothing new. Hell, gangster rap movies are nothing new. But THIS story? This is the real deal. And presuming the soundtrack will be fueled by the album, it all adds up to a movie I’m legitimately excited about. And evidently, New Line has it in the pipeline, to be produced by Ice Cube and with the blessing of Easy E’s widow.

Now, if we could only talk Universal out of a new “Scarface”.

9 thoughts on “News Worth Sharing: Gangsta, Gangsta! A new “Scarface” and an N.W.A. biopic are on their way

  1. Looking forward to NWA’s biopic, we were all well into them when they released …Compton and had some great beats to their music-yeh they were the real deal. Scar Face ‘remake’ who knows?

  2. I have to wonder what studios are thinking when they remake (or “reuse the title of”) a movie as big as Scarface. While people may not remember Scarface: Shame of a Nation, they do remember Pacino’s Scarface. Even people who haven’t seen it remember it, which is always a pretty good acid test for something having become a part of the pop culture consciousness. Heck, they even made a Scarface video game as little as four years ago, so they were actively relying on the assumption people, including those younger than the movie, still give a damn. I can only conclude that on some level, they think drawing comparisons to the earlier version is a good thing, even though that largely hasn’t panned out in the past, at least as far as public and critical reception (True Grit being a notable exception.)

    And while it’s probably not my kind of thing, I agree that if you’re going to do a gangsta rap biopic, N.W.A.’s story is the way to go.

    • It’s a marketing thing.

      Take “Avatar”. Completely original. (well, lol, NEW let’s say) So they needed to do a ton of marketing not only to promote the movie, but to educate people on what it is.

      With remakes, half of that is taken care of already, so they can scale back the promotional expenses.

      Add in the fact that there’s already a certain percentage of people who will see it to see how the “New ____” is, and it adds up to a bigger bottom line than they’d normally see.

      As sucky as it is, Movie Studios are in it to make MONEY, not movies. Quality movies are one avenue for them to do that, but so is recycling everything they own.

      • I wonder, though, if it really does add to the bottom line. For everybody who wants to see what the “New X” is like, there are people that refuse to see it. I know there are some successes, but there are also a lot of bombs. I guess some day or other I could see if I can chart out the hits and misses, but I have to say, the idea doesn’t really thrill me.

  3. Ahh, N.W.A. One of the best rap albums ever. So good, that even crazy little white kids were running the streets screaming, f#$% the police like they were real gangsters. At the time, I thought MC Ren was the most talented, but it looks like Cube and Dre were the true marketing geniuses. I will definitely be checking this one out, not only because I loved this album, but they turned the rap world upside down and to this day, rappers still want to be them. And with lyrics like, “strawberry is the girl selling pu$$y for crack to the dopeman”, how could you disagree? And Fogs, someone had to give us a break from “Mindcrime” every once in a while. We love ya Jay, but wow how we ever forgot that cd was on repeat for about 8 hours straight that day, I’ll never know.

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