Ice Cube Movies
One of the most powerful and uncompromising artists in rap music, Ice Cube
enjoyed a surprisingly smooth transition into a career in motion pictures, first distinguishing himself as an actor and later branching out into writing, producing, and directing. Born O'Shea Jackson
in South Central Los Angeles on June 15, 1969, Ice Cube
came from a working class family, with both his father and mother employed by U.C.L.A. Ice Cube
began writing lyrics when he was in ninth grade; a friend in a high school typing class challenged him to see who could come up with a better rap, and when he won the contest, Cube
began honing his hip-hop skills in earnest. Before long, Ice Cube
had formed a rap group called CIA with a friend, a DJ known as Sir Jinx. CIA began playing parties organized by Dr. Dre
(born Andre Young
), a member of a popular local hip-hop group called The World Class Wrecking Cru, and Cube
both got to know Eazy-E (born Eric Wright), a rapper with a group called HBO
who had started his own record company, financed by his successful career as a drug dealer. In time, Ice Cube
, Dr. Dre
, and Eazy-E joined forces with DJ Yella (born Antoine Carraby) and MC Ren (born Lorenzo Patterson) to form the group N.W.A.
With their 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A.
's profane and provocative lyrics (particularly the infamous "F -- -- Tha Police") made them one of the most controversial groups in the history of rap music, and if they weren't the first gangsta rappers, they certainly brought the sound to a mass audience for the first time.
In 1989, Cube
, dissatisfied with N.W.A.
's management (and the fact he had been paid a mere 30,000 dollars for writing and performing on an album which sold three million copies), decided to leave the group and strike out on his own. He released his first solo album, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, in 1990, and the disc's blunt, forceful sound and aggressive blend of street life and political commentary proved there was life for the rapper after N.W.A.
. The following year, after releasing the follow-up EP Kill at Will, and a second album, Death Certificate, Cube
made his acting debut in John Singleton
's gritty look at life in South Central Los Angeles, Boyz N The Hood
, which drew its name from an early N.W.A.
received strong reviews for his performance as ex-con Doughboy, and a year later starred opposite fellow rap trailblazer Ice-T
in Walter Hill
. In 1995, Cube
reunited with Singleton
for the drama Higher Learning
, and, later that year, expanded his repertoire by starring in Friday
, a comedy he also wrote and produced.
With his career in the movies on the rise, Cube
spent less and less time in the recording studio, although he often contributed to the soundtracks of the films in which he appeared, and recorded with the L.A. all-star group Westside Connection. In 1998, Cube
added directing to his list of accomplishments with The Players Club
, for which he also served as screenwriter and executive producer, as well as played a supporting role as Reggie. The same year, he released his first solo album in four years, War and Peace, Vol. One: The War Disc. Cube
went on to write and produce sequels to both Friday
and All About the Benjamins
, which co-starred his Friday
sidekick, Mike Epps
. He also continued to work in films for other writers and filmmakers, including Three Kings
, Ghosts of Mars
, and the extremely successful urban comedy Barbershop
In 2004, Cube
's career continued to pick up steam. He appeared in the motor-cycle action thriller Torque, as well as Barbershop 2: Back in Business. By the next year, he was taking over for Vin Diesel, starring in XXX: State of the Union, as well as branching into the realm of family comedy with Are We There Yet?. Both were box office gold, and Cube
went on to follow up the latter with 2007's sequel Are We Done Yet?.
He tried his hand at an inspirational sports drama producing and starring in The Longshots in 2008. His love of sports found full flower in his 2010 documentary Straight Outta L.A., which he made as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The film examined the relationship between sports and hip-hop culture in The City of Angels during the heyday of N.W.A. He appeared in the corrupt cop drama Rampart, and had a funny turn as the Captain to the undercover agents working out of 21 Jump Street. ~ Rovi
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Maverick director Walter Hill, who had a big hit with 48 Hrs., indulges his customary yen for violent and disturbing scenes in this overlooked action film, which was also released under the name Looters. Set in the economically-depressed town of East St. Louis, IL, the film's release was delayed several months because its riot scenes were too similar to those that actually took place in the summer of 1992 in L.A. Bill Paxton plays Vince and Bill Sadler plays Don. They are a couple of good-old-boy firefighters who are tipped off that some stolen gold treasures have been hidden in an old warehouse. They find and enter the building but witness a brutal murder. The gangland killing is part of a turf battle between two rival drug lords. When one of them finds out that the firemen have seen the execution, he orders the witnesses murdered. But they have found the treasure and have kidnapped one gang leader's brother. An elaborate and violent series of skirmishes and chases ensue. Rapper-actors Ice-T and Ice Cube have roles as leading gang members. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi
- Bill Paxton, Ice-T, (more)
This video from the Fox television rap music show Pump It Up! includes musical numbers that were cut out of the original program. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
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Director John Singleton's debut chronicles the trials and tribulations of three young African-American males growing up in South Central Los Angeles. When young Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a bright underachiever, begins to show signs of trouble, his struggling professional mother (Angela Basset) sends him to live with his father (Lawrence Fishburne), a hard-nosed, no-nonsense disciplinarian. There he befriends Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a burgeoning football star, and Doughboy (Ice Cube, in a standout performance), a would-be gang banger. Over the years, each chooses his own path: Tre seems bound for college; Ricky is a blue-chip running back with his pick of schools; Doughboy is a dope dealer and bona fide gangster who drifts in and out of the county juvenile facility. All is well until, without warning, a rival gang chases down Tre and Ricky with tragic results. Doughboy immediately prepares for revenge, forcing Tre to decide whether to jeopardize his future and, perhaps, his life for the price of revenge and self-respect. Sometimes riveting, Boyz'N the Hood is not without its problems. The film tries to cram every single issue facing the black community into an hour and a half of screen time, making the film seem at times forced. The symbolism seems forced as well, and the film is often unbearably heavy-handed. Also, the characterization often relies on cardboard cut-outs; every white character in the film is a one-dimensional bigot, and the black police officer with whom Tre and his father deal is even worse than his Caucasian counterparts. Still, the unevenness of the film is redeemed by some moments of true brilliance. ~ Jeremy Beday, Rovi
- Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morris Chestnut, (more)
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In this stylized adaptation of her 1988 off-Broadway show, singer/actress/comedian Sandra Bernhard explores celebrity, stereotypes, and her own childhood in a series of monologues and musical numbers. Although much of the material comes straight from the original stage show, Bernhard and co-writer John Boskovich updated many of her pop-cultural musings and added several new production numbers. They also turned a one-woman show into something of a mockumentary, staging interviews with Bernhard's fictional manager (Lu Leonard) and adding several additional characters. Most of the action is staged in a theater full of well-heeled African American patrons who slowly leave in disgust at Bernhard's performance, which includes her deadpan fantasies about an imagined gentile childhood, a dalliance with Warren Beatty, and a trip to Studio 54. Originally given a limited release by New Line Cinema in 1990, Without You I'm Nothing was quickly pulled from theaters when the company that produced it went bankrupt. Eventually, however, it made its was to home video and DVD. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi
- Sandra Bernhard, Steve Antin, (more)
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In this farcical comedy, Matthew Broderick plays Clark Kellogg, an aspiring director who arrives in New York City to attend film school. However, moments after he arrives in the city, he's robbed by Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby), leaving him no money for the $700 in books required by his instructor, Arthur Fleeber (Paul Benedict). A few days later, Clark runs into Victor and demands his money back, but Victor has already lost it (on a horse race in which he wasn't entirely sure the animal he bet on was a horse). Instead, he offers to fix Clark up with a job with his boss, an "importer and exporter" named Carmone Sabatini (Marlon Brando), who bears a stunning resemblance to Don Corleone in The Godfather. Clark's adventures with Sabatini are just beginning when he's instructed to pick up a package from the airport. Clark is expecting it to be contraband, and he's right, but not in the way he figured -- it turns out he's accepting delivery of a komodo dragon, which is to be served at a "gourmet club" specializing in dishes prepared from endangered species. Marlon Brando's hilarious comic variation on one of his best-known roles is the highlight of this film, but Bruno Kirby and Paul Benedict also deliver fine comic turns, and Matthew Broderick copes nobly with his role as the film's lone normal person. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Matthew Broderick, Marlon Brando, (more)