When I saw the trailer for All Eyez on Me, the film about the life of the late Tupac Shakur, I thought it looked like a big-budget version of the movies Lifetime made about Aaliyah and Whitney Houston. That is not a compliment. In fact, Aaliyah and Nippy are probably high-fiving each other in heaven right in front of Pac and saying, “Damn, and we thought they did us dirty!”
Even if the film can boast of having a noted director in Benny Boom and a budget of $60 million, something about it just came across as silly. Plus, many of us of a certain age have never had the slightest interest in seeing a movie about the life of a man who played a pivotal role in our childhoods or young-adult lives. It didn’t help matters that the film, which was announced in 2011 but didn’t actually begin filming until 2014, suffered a litany of problems.
Those problems included losing three directors before settling on Boom, as well as constant delays—including overuse of some of 2Pac’s music. One of those former directors, John Singleton, made his views on the project quite apparent late last year, saying, “I know that they fucked it up, so I’m not even trying to give it any attention.” Now that the film is out, it seems as if it has, in fact, been fucked up.
For starters, there are questions of its accuracy from people who knew the late rapper quite well.
Taking to Twitter to air out her grievances, Jada Pinkett Smith had this to say about All Eyez on Me:
There are some who would say that a movie—even if a biopic—doesn’t have to be completely accurate. After all, it’s not a documentary. To those who would say this, I have a request: Stop saying that. Put that thought into a trash can, grab a match and light that thought on fire. Take the ashes and spread them in the water of the nearest toilet. Thank you for your service to humanity.
A biopic—notably one about one of the biggest figures in both hip-hop and pop culture overall—ought to be correct in its depiction. To that end, if you have access to someone who played an integral role in the life of 2Pac, why wouldn’t you let them assist in telling the most accurate story possible?
This film cost $60 million to make and Jada Pinkett Smith—whose celebrity commands widespread attention—is publicly blasting the film for getting the life of Tupac Shakur wrong in a movie about the life of Tupac Shakur.
I’m not sure why production didn’t take a “Pick up the phone baby (ooooh)/I know your home, baby (oooooh)” approach with Pinkett Smith, but they are certainly paying the consequences now. For those who have been on the fence about seeing All Eyez on Me, Pinkett Smith’s string of tweets may have convinced them to take the $45 and two pints of blood it costs to see a movie in most major American cities and spend their money and time elsewhere.
Way to go, guys.
Also not helping the cause is 50 Cent, who had this to say about the movie:
50 Cent may be a lot of things—many of which are not complimentary—but I trust the person who produces the fantastic drama Power on a quality production. And most critics appear to agree with 50. Presently, All Eyez on Me has a 26 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Granted, the fan rating is higher, but the movie just came out, so that could be the seven people who are kin to the crew giving that favorable score.
It remains to be seen how the film will perform at the box office, but undoubtedly All Eyez on Me is off to a rough start—and the movie itself took several years to make. Frankly, through documentaries, several other movies made in recent years and so many posthumous releases of his music, the story of 2Pac has already been told.
And so, if a big-budget film about his life is being panned by critics and blasted by those who knew him best, it ought to send a message: If you can’t do right by 2Pac’s story, stay far, far away from it.