If you haven’t seen them, go!
I hate it when people spoil movies by telling me a lot, so I won’t do that here.
I’ll just tell you what you’ve seen in previews, or what will not take away from the core story.
Straight Outta Compton. I wrote a post years ago and included it in my diversity chapter in my book Everyday Leadership. It was about SWCG’s or “straight white Christian guys,” and how we tend to think we are “the norm.” We’re not evil or anything. We just don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know that we’re generally privileged, any more than a fish knows she’s in water, until she finds herself in the bottom of the boat, using her tail and powerful backbone and wondrous gills — in utter uselessness.
This movie had me flopping in the boat! I was without tail, vertebrae and gills, but not without un-examined stories that were so utterly useless for understanding this movie and our culture. Like most people of my race and age, I totally did not get Rap, especially the explosive late-80’s-hatched stuff with N-words and B-words and ubiquitous references to guns and drugs. I took it on my terms, with my stories, values, judgments, etc. Well, director F. Gary Gray did this awesome work of inviting me in to his movie, past my story lines and morals, to see in a new way. I’ll just say that if “black lives matters” seems to you like, “well, duh, of course, all lives matter,” then you really should see this movie. I can nearly promise that phrase won’t mean the same thing when you walk out. And you’ll feel better for it.
Inside Out. For lighter but no less deep stuff, treat yourself to Inside Out before this Pixar gem disappears from theaters. I wrote last week about how we have mixed feelings and mixed thoughts about nearly everything, and this animated movie dramatizes that by taking apart our thoughts and feelings so we can see them. Like other great “kids’ movies,” this one speaks to kids but is layered with content and humor that only adults can get. And the multiplicity of meaning continues because the story suggests in a way that seems indisputable that within each of us is a chorus of separate audiences, thinking — and especially feeling — multiple and inconsistent things. It is full of implications, not only the powerful ones of appreciating how twisted inside our kids can get, but also how conflicted we can feel. It will evoke the compassionate leader within you!
If you are one who needs reviews, you’ll find overwhelming critical and popular support* for these two movies that can really help us all to
Lead with our best self!
* Straight Outta Compton scores a 90 on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95 from their audiences (my moviegoing kids always like the “audiences” better than the critics’ scores). Insight Out from Pixar goes 98/90.