8 MILE

United States, 2002
U.S. Release Date: 11/8/02
Running Length: 110 min.
MPAA Classification: R
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Cast: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning, Michael Shannon, Proof, DJ Head, Chloe Greenfield and Paul Bates
Director: Curtis Hanson
Screenplay: Scott Silver
Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto
Original Score: Eminem
Studio: Universal Pictures

 

 

Prince did it better with “Purple Rain”. But, that’s not to say that I don’t like self indugent biopics about the living. Nothing beats an overdone and grandiose flick that clocks in at thirty minutes longer than it should. Especially since we need that extra time to learn why we love this musician, actor, soldier or politician. When it was announced that Curtis Hanson and Eminem were teaming up to produce an inflated biopic for Eminem, I was slightly disappointed. I love this kind of dreck, but I was disappointed that Hanson had sunk low enough to associate himself with it. But, we all do things for fun and easy money.

Prince did it better with “Purple Rain”. But, that’s not to say that I don’t like self indugent biopics about the living. Nothing beats an overdone and grandiose flick that clocks in at thirty minutes longer than it should. Especially since we need that extra time to learn why we love this musician, actor, soldier or politician. When it was announced that Curtis Hanson and Eminem were teaming up to produce an inflated biopic for Eminem, I was slightly disappointed. I love this kind of dreck, but I was disappointed that Hanson had sunk low enough to associate himself with it. But, we all do things for fun and easy money.

“8 Mile” opens on wannabe rapper Rabbit (Eminem) as he tries to make his way through the world. He’s a skinny young guy who lives in a trailer park until his girlfriend (Taryn Manning) kicks him out. So, he heads back to his mother’s house only to find her having sex with a guy that he knew in High School. Things are looking down for Rabbit, until he finds way into local rap battles. A local DJ named Future (Mekhi Phifer) takes notice of him and tries to help him out.

But, this doesn’t work that well since Rabbit chokes during his first time onstage. Rabbit is laughed at by the predominately black crowd and is sent off the stage. But, Rabbit works on his material and finds ways to strengthen as a performer. All the while, he becomes a hero at his job by protecting people from a local bully. Then, he bonds with his younger sister Lily (Chloe Greenfield) over their distrust and mutual hatred of their mother.
The flick offers up a Ghetto Oedipal fantasy that only brings our hero the slightest bit of adoration. His new girlfriend Alex (Brittany Murphy) is so incredibly manipulative that you’re not sure why he’s even with her. She seems like a harder version of Rabbit, as she’s willing to go that extra step that he won’t. He might find this an attractive quality, but he doesn’t realize that it’s just a different degree of what his mother represents. They’re both women that don’t care what consequences their actions bring.

It’s all about the self-gratification that comes from saying that you’re better than the rest of the trash in the trailer park. It’s not a lot to aspire to be, but when you’re dirt poor that’s all you have. This by itself invalidates my opening statement about this being a grandiose biopic. Nothing wonderful happens to Rabbit or Eminem in this flick other than the fact that life gets a little less horrible. It’s almost as though Eminem was being modest when it came to the slightly fictionalized retelling of his rise to fame.

 

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