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In at least a couple of cases, I included titles that aren't documentaries at all, rather they are actors portraying Tupac in dramatic roles, as noted, which I included at the bottom of the list for good measure.
Also found mixed in at the bottom are documentary TV shows in which Tupac was the focus for an episode.
I listed them in chronological order. The quality varies, they can't all be winners.
Finally, if you know of any others not listed here, let me know so I can update the list.
I tried to arrange it in order of prominence, considering both their acting and their music, gave 'em a rating, add 'em up & graded on a curve. Would've preferred to base those ratings on HipHop skill / acting talent rather than success / quantity, but opinions clash and it would be far too subjective for a list like this. That said, disagree with a rating I gave? Argue your point, I'm listening, #'s not set in stone and subject to change, but again, judgement call.
Finally, I added a good number of 'honorable mentions' at the bottom, however I couldn't rate them the same way. Essentially, those honorable mentions consist of actors who aren't exactly HipHop artists, but still contribute to the culture in some way, or represent the HipHop community in their acting work regularly.
NOTE: not saying all these movies are good, or even a good representation of the culture necessarily. Some are downright terrible and exploit the culture to be honest, but they all fit the subject matter to qualify.
I left out documentaries, that's a whole other list, found richtchere - http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075334111/
NOTE: Obviously I'm no authority, I can only speak for myself. Don't like it? Don't read too much into it then, or make your own list. I'd view a list like this more as a way to see how much our tastes match rather than anything definitive. I'm no critic but I know what I like, or something.
Keeping in mind I was born in 1978, so anything released before, say, 84 is gonna be a little more sparse. I'm well aware of this. That said, I have watched a good share of so called critically acclaimed type classics, some I liked, some I loved, some I hated and some I simply couldn't get into. More than likely it's a generational thing, but not all of them are gonna hit home, just how it is.
Chronological order, this list is a work in progress. While I may be a fan of many of these, and often might include my own personal review or footnotes, this is not a "best of" list of any kind, and I don't claim it to be 100% definitive in any way.
Finally, when compiling this list I realized there is a very large number of Tupac documentaries, some good some not so good, some down right exploitative. While this list may seem incomplete if I don't include all of them, I opted instead to include only the highlights (again, aesthetic reasons) and make a second list dedicated to all those Tupac docs - titled 'Pacumentaries' - found rightchere ... [link]http://www.imdb.com/list/ls077534289/[/link]
Why Kevin, Why?
Kevin Smith obviously hates the true fans. If he really cared about us, he would have given us the real He-Man with the beefy, rippling muscles, pageboy haircut, and the tiny loin cloth getting into sweaty fights with the Evil Warriors. That's what we all love and grew up on, not this LGBTQ version of the story. Teela was a threat to masculinity with her antifa haircut, she obviously hates America. Woke culture is a joke, canceling everything we love, we should all get together and boycott MotU, Mattel, and Netflix. That'll show 'em! Then they'll have no choice but to write a new He-Man story just for us real fans. I waited 35 years for He-Man to return, it's not fair, Kevin Smith is no fair. Childhood ruined, Kevin Smith is a crybaby.
... Nah, it was OK. I watched He-Man in the 80's when I was a kid, practically every single lunch period in grade 1 & 2. I loved it, but really, it was just OK back then, too, the more I think about it. Revelation probably deserves a 6/10 (great animation, solid voice work, yada yada yada), but watching these dorks endlessly cry about it earns this an extra couple of stars for me. Can't wait for Clerks 3!
Beat Street (1984)
Watch for that 3rd rail ...
Beat Street felt a little off track. It's a movie that took elements from an emerging culture and tried to fuse them with typical Hollywood fluff. As a result, it was sort of a glamorized version of Wild Style in how it was produced and presented, but it lacked the same authenticity. I've heard more than a few 'purists' denounce it over the years. Personally speaking I tend to agree with them. I will cut it a little slack for a solid effort, keeping in mind that in 84 they didn't exactly have a tried and tested template to work with when it came to HipHop cinema.
Still a classic though, in certain respects. With many great cameos and HipHop moments nobody else was giving us at the time, even the most die-hard purist might have a hard time writing it off completely. The Melle Mel title track comes to mind, as does the Treacherous 3 featuring Doug E Fresh 'Santa's Rap' performance. At six years old when this came out, HipHop was still new to my young ears. I do recall 'Santa's Rap' in particular being a playground favorite. While they may have been trying to cash in on a rising star, they did manage to introduce HipHop to a broader audience.
Wild Style (1982)
The first HipHop movie
To start, Wild Style is not a documentary despite what it says on IMDb (just saying ... minor gripe), although it was sort of shot like one and it does a fantastic job of documenting HipHop in 83 quite lovely.
With that said, Wild Style doesn't look like your typical Hollywood type movie (those came later). Younger generations may have a hard time understanding the praise it receives, or the reasons for its cult following status. It doesn't have the big budget, or hit all the familiar notes casual moviegoers are accustomed to. It's far too gritty and raw for that. Charlie Ahearn took the conventional rule book and threw it out the window, but that's all part of the charm. For us Old school, New school, True school, or Too cool for school HipHopers in the audience, our culture was never represented on the big screen like this before, and though a few may have tried, nobody had done it quite like this since.
Finally, the art in Wild Style is presented to us, not by actors, but by the artists who were there when this phenomenon was emerging. The viewer comes away with a good understanding of HipHop's four elements and how they define a culture. If nothing else, Wild Style serves as a great time capsule piece during HipHop's infancy.
World's Greatest Dad (2009)
Never judge a box by its cover
When World's Greatest Dad first came out I knew nothing of it. Completely slipped under my radar. Judging by the box however, I automatically assumed it was going to be a silly Robin Williams family comedy along the lines of Old Dogs or R.V. and I avoided it. How wrong I was on that assumption .....
Recently I read an interview with Bobcat where he talked about this, plus another movie he made concerning bestiality (Stay, or Sleeping Dogs Lie, depending on who you ask I guess) and I was like "really? Bobcat made this?" so I looked it up. With positive memories of Shakes the Clown, plus a good understanding of Bobcat's twisted side (Post-Police Academy days that is) World's Greatest Dad became a must see title for me. Coincidentally a couple days later I found it for $4 in a clearance section so I grabbed it .....
I went in not knowing what to expect, but from the Bobcat interview, I had a basic idea of its dark tone. I knew there was gonna be some unexpected twists, and that it was not going to be a typical family comedy as the title/box art might suggest, but I had no idea it was gonna be quite like this. For the record, I say that in a good way. It would be difficult for me to say anymore without giving away any spoilers, so I'll leave it at this: World's Greatest Dad was incredible, and refreshing for its originality. If you can appreciate comedy with an unforgiving cynicism and a dark side then watch this movie with a clean slate and an open mind, you won't be disappointed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Where do I start? Let me say I don't usually write reviews (this is my first on IMDb) and I'm not a "fanboy". I liked the original NOES, loved part 3, the rest I could take or leave. While my expectations weren't exactly high, I did go into this with a positive attitude. I don't have a problem with remakes in general, but I do when it feels like no more than a quick money grab. So, without spending all my words comparing it to the original, this is my review ...
First, with the exception of Jackie Earle Haley (Freddy), the cast was terrible. The characters were uninteresting. Not one of them made any impact on me or added anything special to this movie whatsoever. The acting ranged from mediocre to bad. Kyle Gallner (Quentin) has that sickly aids patient look to him, much like the dude from Twilight, so I can only assume he was cast in an attempt to bring in that crowd. He wasn't terrible, but he's like a bootleg version of the Twilight guy, who is average at best in his own right. Rooney Mara (Nancy) was okay but she doesn't have the charisma to play the lead role, or she didn't here at least. The other kids were forgettable plus most of them looked too old to still be in high school. The parents were almost nonexistent and very robotic. Now, being a slasher flick, I don't expect anything Oscar worthy. I do however expect a little emotion and some charm from time to time.
Second, the writing felt like it was thrown together. Paint-by-numbers script. The dialog was boring. The story was only decent due to it's source material, but even then they dulled it down. There's really not much else I can say about that because they really didn't offer much to begin with. Very flat.
Third, and probably what I disliked most about this movie was the editing. It had ugly special effects for the most part, which in 2010 there is really no excuse for. The quick jump scenes added for cheap thrills mostly felt out of place, but what's worse, it's an already overused gimmick these days and done poorly here. The pacing while not slow exactly, although quite boring, didn't make a whole lot of sense at times. Not in a confusing way, more in a pointless sort of way. There was no intensity or build up. Sometimes the pacing of certain movies benefit greatly from a directors cut (think Daredevil or the Rob Zombie Halloween remake. Those directors cuts were superior to the theatrical). I'd recommend it for this movie as well if I didn't think Samuel Bayer sucked so bad as a movie director.
Forth, I like when remakes or adaptations, with respect to it's source material, can bring something new to the table and stand alone. Dawn of the Dead is a great example of that. Super Mario Bros is a good example of what not to do. NOES falls somewhere in between. It mostly stayed true to the original, but it offered nothing better. No fresh take. Blown opportunity. I've already forgotten the new music score completely, whereas the original movie had one of the greatest horror scores I ever heard. I don't mind that they changed Freddy's origin around slightly or how they changed it, but they did a lousy job of incorporating it. I don't mind the use of modern special effects, in fact it's encouraged, but again they missed the mark. As for Jackie Earle Haley, I liked his version of Freddy. It's pretty much the only redeemable factor in this movie. Still, he wasn't as cool a Freddy as Robert Englund (not many could be I suppose), though that's probably due to having very little to work with. The best comparison I can make is this : the original was a cultural icon, the remake was lazy, forgettable, formula film making.
Bottom line, I give this a 2 out of 10. Call me unreasonable all you you like, but really when I struggle to find a single positive thing to say about a movie (especially a movie that would normally be right up my alley) then what would you expect me to rate it? By the way, that extra star it gets was earned by Jackie Earle Haley alone, otherwise I'd give it a 1.