8 Mile /
|Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany
Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd
|Directed by: Curtis Hanson
|Produced by: Curtis Hanson,
Brian Grazer, Jimmy Iovine
|Written by: Scott Silver
|Distributor: Universal Pictures
8 Mile is not a
comforting film, but itís a good one. It shows us the most realistic portrait of
life in the ghetto since last yearís Training Day; not that it is very
accurate. While many would hate to think about Eminemís debut film, I took the
chance of seeing it, and was shocked. It seemed impossible that such a disgrace
to music could have feeling towards filmmaking, and against all odds, perform
well. While Mr. Matherís had a huge crew behind him, he was excellent, and I was
actually able to like the film as a whole. There have been previous attempts at
film made by his fellow rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, but they were wasted
opportunities. Eminem falls into the same category as Ice Cube; he is just as
good on film as he is at selling c.d.ís, if not better.
plot is just campy enough to feel gritty. It's effective and spunky.
Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem), also called ďBunny Rabbit,Ē is a white man, in the
middle of the
ghetto. He strives for stardom, and wants to be a professional rapper, but his
constant misfortunes in life are stopping him from doing so. In the beginning of
the film, we see Jimmy rehearsing for an act in the middle of a tattered
bathroom; motioning with hand-movements, and mouthing the words to a song. He
exits the bathroom and then steps up to the microphone on a stage, in front of a
crowd of homeless people at a shelter. He has a DJ to back him, and he is
supposed to freestyle right into his competitors face (it is a competition
between about 10 rappers). The track begins and he starts to say ďYo-YoĒ
repetitively for about five seconds. After that, nothing comes out of his mouth.
He is frozen, and says nothing, and after forty long seconds of being
humiliated, he runs off the stage.
Jimmy is the constant victim of these types of unlucky situations, though he
tries to prevent them from happening. His girlfriend has left him, and he has
given her his car. This has left him without money, and nothing to sell, so he
must resort to living with his mom (Kim Bassinger) in the local trailer park. He
has problems with her boyfriend, who is about his age, and lives with her. Her
boyfriend constantly teases him about being fired from lots of jobs, including
one at a local Pizza place. One of the main things dragging Jimmy down is his
careless group of friends. Most of them are black, though the most careless one
is white, and pretends to be of another race. They shoot themselves on accident,
light vacant houses on fire, and get into fights on a regular basis. Jimmy is
constantly scowling upon what they do, but never chooses to abandon in them.
went into some depth about Eminemís performance in the introductory paragraph,
but now I would like to further concentrate on it, as well as the cast as a
whole. The role of a trailer-trash, two-timing mother was an odd choice for Kim
Bassinger, but she was excellent in executing it. Her emotionally needy
character was well-written, and she provided great support to what was already
there. Brittany Murphy was also terrific. She plays Jimmyís love interest, after
he breaks up with his other girlfriend. Mekhi Phifer was good, but not great;
though his role wasnít very well written. And once again, the leading man,
Eminem, was surprisingly fabulous. And I am in shock because of it.
Brain Grazer can make any normal flick a masterpiece. His inspirational work on
A Beautiful Mind was what made it so good. The way he dealt with the many
unique shots in Blue Crush was fabulous. His efforts on 8 Mile are
no different. Without a good producer the numerous grim (but corny) shots of the
ghetto would not be pleasurable to watch. With masterful skill he makes the
depressing area lively, and this makes it all the more better. Most think that
all a film relies on is the actors, but Grazer proves this wrong. Films like
Federal Protection, Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, and The Transporter
suffered because of this; but 8 Mile does not. I hope that Grazerís work
continues to be as magical in future years.
I can say is: what a surprise. I walked into this film thinking that it would be
as wretched as a Nazi prison camp. Similar to the recent Adam Sandlerís Eight
Crazy Nights, 8 Mile classifies as a guilty pleasure. It has a great
deal of truth to the material that it presents, all of the fiction seems quite
Murphy, and Kim Bassinger give ecstatic performances, and Mekhi Phifer dishes
out a good one. Grazer produces with style, and Hanson directs with confidence.
I canít say I walked out of the theatre with a newfound respect for rap music,
but I am able to say one thing: 8 Mile is a great movie.
-Danny, Bucket Reviews
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