Tuesday, March 24, 2009

8 mile review

"8 Mile" is the new film that features controversial rapper Eminem in his first starring role. The film itself is loosely based on his life growing up in Detroit. Eminem plays Jimmy Smith, Jr. a.k.a. "Rabbit", a young man who is struggling to make things better for himself through "battles", which are freestyling rap contests that are usually held at a local nightclub. Rabbit chokes when it is his turn to take the microphone for the first time. His best friend, Future (Mekhi Phifer) is the host of these battles and strongly believes Rabbit has potential, but the problem is that Future often makes his decisions before consulting with Rabbit first. Rabbit's home life is not much better. He's broke, has no place to live, he's stuck in a dead-end job at a steel mill, and his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning) has fooled him into thinking that she is pregnant. Rabbit's mother (Kim Basinger), is on the verge of being evicted from her home and is slutting around with a man who is about the same age as her son. Things in Rabbit's life take a turn for the better when he later falls in love with Alex (Brittany Murphy), an aspiring young woman who dreams of becoming a model and moving to New York to start life a new.

"8 Mile" certainly is a moving and very touching drama. Eminem proves here that he really can act and in fact may have a future in motion pictures. This does not mean we will be hearing him thanking his producer Paul Rosenberg next year at the Oscars, but we can expect to him to receive a lot of praise for future movie roles. It's quite obvious that some people will not like "8 Mile", just because of Eminem's controversial history. The film also has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a long time. Eminem's hit single "Lose Yourself" really does have a lot emotion put into it.

Eminem, since he burst onto the music scene in 1999 with his critically-acclaimed/lambasted album "The Slim Shady LP", he has been met with a lot of controversy, as well as praise. Despite the often humorous content of his songs, there are many dark under tones in them as well. In my opinion, too much has been made about his lyrics, most of which revolve around topics like homophobia, murder, and his failed relationship with his on/off wife, Kim. Despite all of this, I think that people have overlooked the fact that he said the only thing that truly matters to him is his daughter, Hailie Jade. Also, if people believed Eminem really was a homophobic, do you still think he would have agreed to perform "Stan" with Elton John?

As a longtime fan of Eminem and his music, I try not to let such criticisms get to me, but sometimes you just have to say "What the hell? Are they really necessary?" I don't think so. The problem is that people today are just too biased when it comes to people like Eminem. He's not another Vanilla Ice and "8 Mile" is not an attempt to cash in on his success like "Cool As Ice" was.

I have a list of grievances that people need to realize about Eminem:

- First of all, do not disrespect this man. I feel that many of the people who hate Eminem have never actually listened to one of his songs. In my opinion, they have only listened to small clips that have been played on some discussion about his controversial lyrics. If you actually listened to some of his songs, you'll realize that he is a very distraught young person with a lot to say.

- Don't watch "8 Mile" with a predetermined mindset. People who have already made up their minds about Eminem's talents are less likely to enjoy themselves much more than people who believe in him.

- To non-believers, if Eminem really did not have any talent, like so many people seem to think now, how is it that all of his records: "The Slim Shady LP", "The Marshall Mathers LP", "Devils Night" (with group D-12) and "The Eminem Show" together have grossed more than $12 million? I think that it is a clear sign of TRUE TALENT.

- Also do you believe had Eminem been black and rapping about such "controversial" subject matter, that he would be famous like he is now? No, because most likely no one would dare even produce him. That said, I'm African-American and I don't care that Eminem is white and is rapping about such things.

- I think that too many people have made his race too big of an issue. Eminem knows that he is white and will be nothing else. He does not display to us a "thuggish" image that some people think that any rapper should have. Also, he does not rap about the things that some people seem to think is destroying rap music.

Eminem does have quite a future in store for him. I'm sure that we can expect to be seeing a lot more of him later on.

8 Mile

8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop drama film, directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, and Mekhi Phifer. Set in the Detroit hip hop scene in 1995, the film depicts white rapper Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. (Eminem) as he struggles for respect among his black peers. The film won an Academy Award for the Best Original Song for Eminem's "Lose Yourself."

The film begins with Eminem's character Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr. at a local rap battle MCd by Smith's friend David "Future" Porter. A nervous Rabbit chokes at the mic and exits the competition.

After the initial scene at the music event, the movie focuses on Jimmy, a young and depressed sheet metal factory worker who is struggling with different aspects of his life. He has moved back north of 8 Mile to the rundown trailer home in Warren of his alcoholic mother Stephanie (Kim Basinger), his sister Lily (Chloe Greenfield), and his mother's abusive live-in boyfriend Greg (Michael Shannon). Jimmy is focused on getting his music career started, but he seems unable to catch a break. Just prior to the events of the film, he ends a relationship with his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning), and during the film, begins a new relationship with Alex (Brittany Murphy).

As the film progresses, Jimmy comes to realize that his life has remained largely the same since high school. At first, he considers himself a victim of his circumstances and blames others for his problems. Over time, though, Jimmy begins to take responsibility for the direction of his life and realizes that he has a large degree of control over how it will go. He begins to question whether his group of friends, including Future, are holding themselves back from moving on to bigger things. "All we ever do is talk shit," he tells them, as they bicker about the best way to become successful in the music business. With his onstage choke still fresh in his mind, he appears to decide that he will give up on or postpone his dream of a music career in favor of devoting more time to his day job and building a home life. Jimmy's newfound responsibility becomes evident to his supervisor at the factory as well. At the beginning of the film, when Jimmy requests extra shifts, his supervisor laughs at him (he's usually late to work), but by the end, Jimmy's improved attitude and performance earn him the extra work he had wanted. However, a late night shift conflicts with the next battle tournament. Jimmy initially doesn't want to go, but a visit from Alex changes his mind. Paul, a co-worker whom Jimmy stood up for earlier in the film, offers to cover for him.

The climax of the movie takes place at the battle. Rabbit's friends hype him throughout the film as an incredible rapper, but until this point the film only shows snippets of his skills. The tournament has three rounds, and in each of them Rabbit faces a member of the "Leaders of the Free World", a group that feuds with Rabbit and his friends throughout the film. Rabbit wins both of the first two rounds with progressively more impressive freestyle raps. In the last round, he is paired against Papa Doc, the tournament's most feared battler and Jimmy's main antagonist throughout the storyline. Rabbit is aware that Doc knows all his weak points, so he decides to address them preemptively with his freestyle. Rabbit acknowledges without shame his white trash roots and the various humiliations the Free World clique have inflicted on him, stating that despite it all, he's still standing in this battle - a bold move essentially stripping any opponent, Doc specifically, of all ammunition against him. He then uses the difficult life he's had as a springboard to reveal the truth about Papa Doc: despite passing himself off as a thug, he has a privileged background. Doc, whose real name is Clarence, attended Cranbrook, a private school located in upper class Bloomfield Hills, and lived all his life in a stable two-parent household. Rabbit makes a reference to "Shook Ones Pt. II", the beat that the DJ is spinning, by calling Papa Doc a "halfway crook", which sends the crowd into a frenzy. Doc is left with nothing to say in rebuttal, drops the mic, and Rabbit takes the title. As Rabbit leaves the venue, Future suggests that he stay and celebrate his victory. Rabbit refuses, claiming he has to get back to work. The final shot displays Rabbit walking away, carrying a garbage-bag full of clothes, now confident of the future ahead of him.