All Eyez On Me Gives Younger Gen-Xers, Older Millenials Chance to Relive Youth

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All Eyez on Me, the much hyped Tupac Amaru Shakur biopic that opened on what would have been Shakur’s 46th birthday, had a mixed bag opening weekend. It did well at the box office, finishing as the third highest grossing film ($27m) behind only Cars 3 ($53m) and Wonder Woman ($40m).

However, it’s been ABSOLUTELY EVISCERATED by critics. The only real explanation for this is the generation gap between hip-hop fans and most movie critics. All Eyez on Me, named for the first and best ever hip-hop double album ever (and arguably the best rap album of all time), is yet another example of the ’90s nostalgia craze taking over pop culture.

all eyez on me

If you were born somewhere in between the early/mid 1970s and the mid/late 1980s you’re classified in the late Generation X/early Millenial bracket. If you’re a younger Gen Xer or older millenial, you can certainly recall, quite vividly, the tremendous impact that 2pac had on pop culture in the early to mid 1990s.

This overlapped with your junior high/high school/college years, and that’s the time in our lives when near all of us are the most engaged with whatever the most popular music of the time happens to be.

Musician biopics are a genre that’s nearly impossible for Hollywood to get wrong. You have the reliable formula of tortured artist+Horatio Alger+Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll working for you, and Tupac Shakur the man had a short, but dramatic life story that is compelling even to people who hate rap.

Why so many movie reviewers got this one wrong, and just didn’t seem to “get it” is baffling, but hey, to each their own I guess. Or as Shakur would “I ain’t mad at cha, got nothing but love for ya.”

Well, maybe they were right about that first sex scene, the one set to R. Kelly’s “Honey Love.” It was so overly cheesy and ridiculously cliche that it may have passed up another rap biopic, “8 Mile,” for the worst sex scene in movie history.

Unless the idea of getting it on in a Detroit auto stamping plant makes your toes curl for some reason, and hey, if so, whatever floats your boat.

At the very least, All Eyez on Me gives the viewer a chance to recall landmark moments in their very own real life bildungsroman that coincided with the music, life and death of 2pac.

Or at least I heard songs that brought me back to my first slow dance, phrases I signed high school year books with, my intro song when I performed at The Laugh Factory, the song I played to celebrate getting my media credentials approved for the Rose Bowl, and so much more.

If you love ’90s rap, you’ll create your own personal list in your head. On top of all that, the theatre experience of hearing almost all of his major hits on a booming sound system, surrounded by a crowd of other Pac fans is worth the $13 price of admission all by itself.

There’s ’90s nostalgia in this movie on a sociopolitical level as well. You’ll see music videos that would never be made in today’s climate, and hear lyrics that would never get approved by record companies today.

That said, all links and video embeds here are to the dirty, explicit versions of those songs. Pac, as well as the people who made All Eyez on Me to life would have wanted it that way.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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