Saturday, January 2, 2010

8 Mile (2002)

Whether you love or hate Eminem (is there another option?), he’s an accomplished hard-working musician and he’s Dreamin' got acting chops. I’d been curious about this movie, but hadn’t gotten around to it, until I saw it at Michelle’s and she recommended it. From the start, you’re drawn in. The cast includes several well-known talents as well as brilliant not-so-well-knowns that add the right amount of je ne sais quoi.

Jimmy ‘Bunny Rabbit’ Smith (Eminem) is a wanna-be rapper. The movie begins at a battle (a competition between rappers where they rap-off and the crowd votes for the winners during rounds), where B-Rabbit’s nerves win and he chokes in front of the almost entirely black crowd. He’s heckled ultimately leaves the stage. His most loyal friend, David 'Future' Porter (an excellent Mekhi Phifer) pushes him to get back on the horse but B-Rabbit isn’t having it. He gets beat up a few times and meets a woman of interest, Alex (Brittany Murphy—RIP). He starts working hard on his rhymes. He’s got problems that get in the way: 1) his mother, Stephanie Smith (Kim Basinger), and her economic woes, like paying the rent on the trailer he is back living at since his supposedly pregnant girlfriend kicked him out; 2) his mother is sleeping with a much younger Greg Buehl (played by always awesome Michael Shannon), a former peer of his from high school; 3) his little sister is neglected by their mother; 4) his own economic struggles and trying to not only hold on to his job but get more hours so he can cut a demo 5) Wink—who offers to help him cut a demo but B-Rabbit isn’t sure he can trust him. There are lively scenes in this movie but among the best is the second battle.

Movie takes elements from Eminem’s history but this is an excellent view of the world he comes from and still remains close to.

Director: Curtis Hanson

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 110 minutes

Scale: 4

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