8 Mile

Jimmy Smith Jr.: Eminem
Stephanie: Kim Basinger
Alex: Brittany Murphy
Future: Mekhi Phifer
Wink: Eugene Byrd
Sol George: Omar Benson

Central Theme
If you want to escape a bad situation and move to a better one, you need to persevere through all the bad stuff and you’re going to have to do it your own way.

Jimmy Smith, ¢â‚¬Ëœrabbit’, is a white boy in the predominately black 8-mile neighborhood of Detroit. His dream is to rap but his reality is a trailer park home with his little sister, their mom and her unemployed, abusive boyfriend. Rabbit has a job at a loser factory, disastrous relationships with the women he tries to connect with and a white friend who is so lame he shoots himself in the leg during a fight.

His friends think he is the most gifted and vocabulary-rich rapper on earth and urge him to battle with the other rappers at the Shelter, but when he finally tries, he chokes. Two guys want to represent him, both promise a contract and future and neither delivers. His nemesis is Free World, competing rappers who see him as he sometimes sees himself, a white guy in a black world who cannot win. They beat him up, steal his girl and reveal he lives with mom in a trailer park. They see no way he will ever stand up to them.

In the end “Rabbit” rejects the advice of both his “recruiters,” does the battle his way and prevails, and then returns to work so he can earn the money for studio time to make his own way in the world.

NYT says Eminem has a relentless unblinking stare while WSJ says “he’s an intense, often brooding presence on the screen not exactly profligate with his smiles, but adept at focusing his keen intelligence and vast energy.” I say this movie is so formulaic, predictable and over-the-top in it’s “I’m rabbit” watch me be me, that it is hard to take seriously one minute rabbit is tough (fights), the next he is sweet (don’t swear in front of Lilly), then he is hurt (watch me walk away from you), I’m a risk- taker (shoots paintball gun at cop car), I’m golden (trapped on the second floor of a burning building and I survive) seldom has a film vehicle been so self-serving of a ¢â‚¬Ëœstar’ pretending to be an actor playing a ¢â‚¬Ëœbudding young star.’

If this is semi-autobiographical why is this rapper so unlike the lyrics of his songs? In Eminem’s lyrics we get a mother hater, a guy who takes his daughter to dump a dead body in the lake, a gun-toter who is vicious in his attacks on gays; in the movie Eminem loves his mom, protects his younger sister, defends a gay co-worker and is opposed to the use of guns. Is Eminem fiction? The movie? The Lyrics? Does it matter?

Beliefs num
–The rapper sub-culture is really sweet once you get to know it.
–Some rappers like paintball guns more than real guns.
–Guys who say the “f” word every other word wouldn’t think of saying it in front of their little sister.
–Win by being honest about your weaknesses.
–Don’t accept help from your friends-do it your way.
–I’ve got a reason for my anger-I’ve had it really bad.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Is doing it your way the best route to success?
–Are rap lyrics creative?
–Can music deriving from anger create beauty?
–Do hostile lyrics require a hostile personal life to be authentic?
–How does Jesus offer good news to this sub-culture?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Bunny rabbit is a genius, a motherf—-ing genius.
–Future? I’m taking the f—ing bus to work man.
==Rabbit to friend.
–Once they hear you, it won’t matter what color you are man.
–Come on man, I can get straight with the Lord on Sunday.
==Future wants to party on Saturday night.
–That’s our problem, if we don’t respect our sisters who will?
==Rabbits friend when guys are hitting on one of the women.
–When are you recording your demo? I’d really love to be there. You’re going to be great. I’ve got a feeling about you.
–OK folks, enough of the gay jokes.
==Rabbit defending a gay guy.
–This guys a hillbilly, this ain’t Willie Nelson music.
==Rap line against Rabbit.
–We’re gonna get a record deal and get all the bitches.
==Rabbits’ buddy excited he wins the battle.
–I think I need to do my own thing.
==Rabbit leaves his friends.
–He sings about how hard his life was but now he makes millions of dollars. I’m working for $7.25 an hour, and I’m happy to have the job. I don’t think people are going to appreciate it much if (the movie) is just more whining.
==Chris Allen who lives in 8 mile and points out that Eminem never did.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in November 8, 2002 by | No Comments »

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