8 Mile (2002)
The setting is Detroit in 1995. The city is divided by 8 Mile, a road that splits the town in half along racial lines. A young white rapper, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. summons strength within himself to cross over these arbitrary boundaries to fulfill his dream of success in hip hop. With his pal Future and the three one third in place, all he has to do is not choke.
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There is a close-up two-shot near the end of Eight Mile where Jimmy Smith (Eminem) is facing Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie). Both characters are in profile in a shot very reminiscent of Sly Stallone facing off with Mr. T in Rocky II. This is as it should be. When we look at the structure and theme of the film, Eight Mile could easily be described as Rocky does rap.In the Rocky movies (and for that matter in Flashdance), working-class nobodies in dead-end jobs are given a shot at the big time-a title match and admission to an elite ballet school respectively. While the formula is similar in all three films there are marked differences that make Eight Mile more than just another formula film.In this film, the American dream mythology is pushed to the background, and the lives of the inhabitants of the neighborhood are moved to the foreground. This movie also ends differently than the others, and the difference is important, but giving movie endings away is a major violation of the film critic's creed.I like movies where the setting becomes a character in its own right. Here the setting is just south of Eight Mile Rd. in Detroit. Eight Mile Rd. separates the poorer black community from the wealthy white suburban community, and Eminem plays a white rapper on the wrong side of the tracks. As the movie begins, we see him nervously preparing for a "rap" battle in which contestants go onstage and disparage each other in their rapping. Jimmy chokes and is forced to leave the stage in disgrace. Among his interracial group of supporters, Future (Mekhi Phifer) is the one who sees real talent in Jimmy's rap and continues to push him.Kim Basinger plays Jimmy's mom, a woman who attaches her dreams to empty promises, alcohol, and bingo games. When Jimmy's fortunes take a downturn he is forced to return to the trailer where his mother lives with her live-in boyfriend and Jimmy's younger sister.If the movie were primarily about rap music, I probably would not have seen it. When I do listen to rap it is usually in my role as sociologist (as opposed to my role of music lover). I am not a fan of rap, particularly the misogynistic, homophobic form that Eminem is noted for. But the film is primarily about social conditions in America's abandoned cities and the inhabitants who are trapped and disenfranchised. While I am not a fan of Eminem the rapper (or for that matter, Eminem the person) I am now a fan of Eminem the actor. His performance is solid and has a stamp of authenticity that serves the film well. His work is enhanced by solid supporting performances from Phifer, Basinger, and Brittany Murphy. If you are interested in an engaging, slice-of-life film depicting the part of American society that most citizens ignore or avoid this is worth a look.If, however, your primary moral/aesthetic criteria for art involve the presence or absence of the big three (the big three being language, sex, and violence) be forewarned. Because the film depicts rap artists the coarse language is a given and it is pretty raw. The violence is minor compared to other similar films, but there are several scenes depicting sexual promiscuity here. The sexual promiscuity is used to reveal character (or lack thereof) and while graphic it is thematically redemptive in that it does show the negative consequences and shallowness of these fallen encounters. While the sexual encounters depicted are more graphic than viewers will see in the upcoming James Bond film, they are more positive precisely because they don't glorify the promiscuity as the Bond films do. In the end, this is a powerful film that goes beyond the cliches to give us an interesting depiction of urban America, but it is a rough ride. If you are easily offended by depictions of fallen humans in all of their brokenness, this film may just leave you shaken, not stirred.
the Rags to riches and the underdog wins tropes in movies are overused in the common day and age, whilst many celebrities will create semi biographical films as vanity projects that are usually terrible this film is not among them.Eminem plays Jimmy B. Rabbit Smith Jr, a character based of his own life and a character that many can relate to, as it shows him at a low point trying to accomplish his dream hitting many rocks in the road, although you could say that a slight bit of vanity is that he's in every scene, but this is just because its a semi biographical story.The story details the life B. Rabbit for a week in his life with his friends showing how he mellows out and becomes more calm and realizes that his dreams are achievable and in a film that people can relate to.the supporting cast is commendable for there great performance, and if you're a fan of the hip-hop scene look for many cameos from numerous amazing rappers.of course the highlight of the film is the music, namingly the award winning "Lose Yourself" by Eminem just listening it, is it any wonder he won the award for it?.overall a great film and a must watch.
Once again I'm not able to write an objective review. I've been listening to Eminem since I was twelve. Many of his lyrics are stored right in my brain. His Infinite from 1996. is what made me a hip-hop fan even to this day.This autobiographical music drama is going to exhilarate Em's fans as well as hip-hop fans. Some others may find this movie boring or even ridiculous. When it comes to acting Eminem did a pretty good job for a rapper. I remember him speaking how hard he had worked in order to impersonate B-Rabbit. He had very little sleep (maybe few hours a day), took sleeping pills, wrote lyrics on set in spare time, had to drive long mileage to his place and back to the set. His fans know him well: if he's passionate about something he'll act almost like an addict.Other B-Rabbit's crew members did a solid job in acting. They were fun to watch and looked like they knew each other for years; even his opponents! I can only imagine Em's fans seeing B-Rabbit (Eminem) going toe-to-toe in a rap battle with Lil' Tic (Proof, R.I.P.) who was Eminem's best friend and amazing hype man. His fans know Proof's death almost ruined Em's career and sadly almost ended his life. Seeing them on stage, years after Proof passed away, makes me melancholic about early 2000's when Dre, D12 and Em swept the whole world with funky and violent Slim Shady as a leader. Look at his raw energy when he performed Square Dance (his concert intro theme) on Anger Management Tour 2002! You can clearly see the difference now without Proof. Back to the movie.When I was a teenage boy I almost fell in love with Alex (Brittany Murphy, R.I.P.). She was just to cute and cool! That short haired blonde girl played B-Rabbits girlfriend and did it amazingly; who can forget her cool, mellow swagger? Kim Basinger played Stephanie Smith, Em's mother he wrote so much about. She played his mother exactly as I had seen her from Em's songs. He's now sorry for writing "Cleaning Out My Closet" and "no more plays that song on shows and cringes every time it's on the radio" (Headlights ft. Nate Ruess). Michael Shannon (now starring in Midnight Special, 2016.) played Greg Buehl, his mother's boyfriend for whom B-Rabbit sings "He's tapping my mom and we're almost the same age". In reality, Michale is two years younger that Marshall.Now the music for which 8 mile won an Oscar. Opening scene hi-hats from Mobb Deep's Shook Ones pt.2 stick with me permanently. Feel Me Flow played by Naughty by Nature as well. What about Outkast's Players Ball, The Pharcyde's Runnin', Wu Tang Clan's C.R.E.A.M, Biggie's Juicy and many others? Not to mention first hip-hop song ever to win Academy Awards - Lose Yourself. 8 mile's soundtrack will delight all hip-hop fans and make them nod their heads.Story itself will be very familiar to those listening to Em. It's truly inspiring and in that "stands head, shoulders and heart above other movies made that year" as Joe Morgenstern from Wall Street Journal notes. It's a story about passion for something. And that's Em's life story. Now, fourteen years after movie was made, Eminem's made such success and has won so many prizes that's it very hard to list all of them. Wikipedia notes he won 155 prizes and was nominated for 311 on them. He's won 15 Grammy awards and was nominated for 43 more. Sold more than 120 million albums. He's now 44 and still doesn't look like giving up or doing something else.In conclusion: 8 mile is a modern poetry in motion for which hip-hop fans will forever be grateful. Great punch lines and multies in wintry 1995. Detroit? You've gotta love it.
8 Mile is a great film with a reasonable plot and a terrific cast. Eminem certainly does an effective job in a movie that is essentially his baby, his performance is very deep and personal, he certainly does not hold back, bringing his story to life through a fictional character. However, the plot was missing something, every scene is somewhat formulaic and predictable, you know how each each will end as soon as it begins, it is short on surprises. The highlight of the movie is certainly the rap battles, I am a fan of Eminem's music, but I feel people who are unfamiliar with his art can still appreciate the drama and intensity of these scenes, the raw emotion of the cast is overwhelming at times. While it has its flaws, 8 Mile is well acted, with a superb soundtrack, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good drama. A young blue collar worker attempts to escape from his dead end life by competing in rap competitions. Best Performance: Eminem