Worth A Look: 28.29%
Pretty Bad: 10.08%
Total Crap: 15.5%
9 reviews, 204 user ratings
by Erik Childress
Walking into 8 Mile, it was hard for objectivity to hold the door open for me. Itís already impossible for inanimate states of mind to physically hold open anything. Double that when itís a state of mind that, for the first time in my existence as a professional movie critic, I was not ready to engage. I hate rap. Double that hatred for Eminem. Whatís for me to see that I like? Walking out of 8 Mile, I was surprisingly not offended, not angry, notÖreally anything. So why all the hype? Why all the critical praise about Eminemís performance and the importance of this film? All of them questions I pondered upon reflection which reduced me to turning to my imaginary non-friend who calls himself Erikiminem who insisted on debating me in a rap/write-off as to what this film was all about.So why all the bile
"Another Director? This Film Gets The Rap-Off!"
About 8 Mile
Youíre treating this film
Like it were a piece of phlegm
I know that doesnít actually rhyme
But itís a nice try
My question to you is why?
Let me try to put it into actual sentences. The filmmakers of 8 Mile have sworn to us that this is not in any way, shape of form the story of one Marshall Mathers aka Eminem. Itís set in 1995 Detroit where white wannabe rapper, Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem) has just dumped his pregnant girlfriend, choked big time on stage at a ďrap-offĒ and has moved back into his momís trailer. Smoking may be illegal most places in California but it doesnít mean they had to blow it all up my ass.
Itís not his life story
Iím so fuckiní saw-ry
Bitch, this movieís about rap
So take yo bitch-ass to the gap
Again, nice to know you can pronounce words anyway you want to make a rhyme, but before I get back to the staw-ry, Iíll address that point. Yes, itís true, Iím not a fan of the rap. But pretend your average white man, black man or alien went into this film knowing nothing about rap. What they would pull away from it is that itís an ďartformĒ thatís the equivalent of calling someoneís mama fat. Anytime anyone in this film raps, its nothing more than a fast string of rhyming insults directed at someone. Thatís the whole point of the rap-off. Even when people are practicing on the street (with the possible exception of re-writing the lyrics to Sweet Home Alabama) itís relegated to putdowns and no reason to go with its rhymes. Iíve certainly thrown the criticism down on others before, but never did I get a record contract out of it.
You donít understand dawg
Get yo head outta the fog
This is about life on the street
A circumstance thatís hard to beat
Itís not about getting rich
Ya stank-ho bitch.
Oh I see, so this is some hard, tough new story that needs to be told to America like Boyz 'N' the Hood or Breakiní? I always hear critics bitching about ďblack storiesĒ being told through the perspective of a white guy. (Glory, Cry Freedom, Windtalkers Ė the list is endless.) Question: Since rap is an artform that was essentially started by African-Americans, where is the outrage now?
Bitch, you are the outrage
Get outta the cage
It ainít about black or white ya know
Youíre just a big homo.
Thank you for proving that rap is clearly about loving your neighbor. I find it interesting that the filmmakers went out of their way to make this a kinder, gentler Eminem. While his real-life lyrics reflect rampant homophobia not to mention more narcissism than Vanity Smurf in the Hall of Mirrors, in 8 Mile his character sticks up for the gay guy, looks out for others and is even supplied with a blond doe-eyed little sister (that he talks to like a puppy) so we can see how sensitive and caring he is. He tells others not to swear and yell in front of her, but then yells and swears and picks fights with the very people heís telling to cease and desist as she watches.
Did we watch the same movie
Or did you run out to take a pee
You know nothiní Ďbout rap
On your head I take a crap
I apologize. Let me get back to the story. This lead character chokes in a big competition at the beginning of the film. They have a best friend who also partakes in the same dream, but recognizes the talent of their friend and urges them to get back on the horse. (They will eventually fight over it and have a brief breakup.) The characters live in a worn-down white trash kind of area and want to break out and get something more for their family. Oh wait, thatís Blue Crush, that surfing movie that Universal put out this summer. Sounds a lot like 8 Mile though, donít it?
There is certainly no comparison
Youíre outta yo league son
Iíll send over Charles Manson
To watch Sanford & Son
OK, I donít know what the hell that means, but you must be tone deaf, dumb and blind not to see the similarity. You want me to even get into Purple Rain with Prince?
Prince is a princess
Like a salad made of watercress
Eminem is the real deal
My favorite meal is veal
Fair enough, Iím not a big Prince fan either, but at least there was music in Purple Rain. You know music. Songs, melodies, instruments. But you truly think the overall film doesnít follow the ABCs of Blue Crush nor play like Purple Rain with a different breed of music? How about this? The tournament at the end? The rap-off. Jimmy Jr. vs. the black rappers who have harrassed and beaten him up for 100 minutes? Would you have been surprised if Eminem crane-kicked them on stage? It wasnít a bit too much Karate Kid for you?
Do you have a problem with that, Mr. Lawrence
Let me give you some insurance
Fifty-four million canít be wrong
Where the hellís my bong
I donít know, but what about the acting? Is Eminemís performance REALLY all that special? Itís a fine, serviceable performance (certainly not worthy of the Oscar hype) of a character that I felt rather indifferent about. Obviously there are some good intentions, but he picks at least three fights in the movie, decides to shoot a police car with a paintball gun when cops are never presented as ďkeeping the man downĒ, and the aforementioned maybe/maybe not knocked up girlfriend ditching (even though he leaves her his car.) Mekhi Phifer is quite solid in the Michelle Rodriguez role from Blue Crush. Kim Basinger is completely miscast as the hottest white trash, physically perfect mother with a thick Southern accent in Detroit. And was Brittany Murphy on cocaine during the entire shoot? Itís obvious she hasn't eaten since Clueless but was she supposed to be playing a coke whore or just a regular whore, because I never saw any drugs?
Brittany Murphy is hot
You are not
Iíd fuck Kim Basinger wearing nothiní but a jacket
You are clearly nothiní but a faggot
How original of you to dip into the gay well twice, but let me get this straight. So as long as the women are hot and are willing to screw, thatís enough for you? And anyone who offers a contrary position is gay? Youíre a stupid, angry young man, Erikiminem. And what is Eminem so angry about? Politics? Bad movies & music? Once you breakout of your crappy existence and become a gazillionaire, donít you forfeit your right to still be angry about how crappy your life USED to be? Unless its helping someone else or bringing attention to a bigger problem, you might as well just be stroking yourself off in the mirror because the only one youíre servicing is yourself.
8 Mile is about strength and growth
Movie critics are supposed to like stories Ďbout both.
You donít know cause ya never lived it
Everything you think you know
You donít know shit
Iíll tell you what I do know, or at least what I think I know. If this movie had been directed by someone other than Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys); Iím talking some nobody shmoe or some flashy music video director, critics would have dismissed this as just another singer-turned-actor star vehicle with no more depth than a shot glass. Seriously, a directorís name and reputation goes a long way. Imagine the ďA _____ __________ FilmĒ credit. Now fill in the blanks with Brett Ratner, Tom Shadyac or Rob Cohen. Does 8 Mile carry any more or less weight? Would it be any better than say a film called 1000 Miles starring the Proclaimers twins?
Yo...I...Yo Yo Yo FUCK yíall man. I bust a cap in your assWay to end an argument. Look, like it, donít like it, doesnít matter to me. The filmís far too absentee on the gritty ďedgeĒ front to truly keep it real and its not incendiary enough to warrant anger. 8 Mile isnít worthy of all the hype and buzz. I could just give a childís answer and say ďbecause.Ē I could have just keep my incoming attitude, the one prepared to simply rip the film, you know. But you know I wouldnít do that cause I write what I see and try to be a pro.
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originally posted: 11/12/02 12:59:58