8 Mile (2002)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 60%
Overall Rating
Ranked #502
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The setting is Detroit in 1995. The city is divided by 8 Mile, a road that splits the town in half along racial lines. A young white rapper, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. summons strength within himself to cross over these arbitrary boundaries to fulfill his dream of success in hip hop. With his pal Future and the three one third in place, all he has to do is not choke. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: November 28, 2004
Starting up the movie, we find Jimmy Smith, Jr., aka Rabbit (Eminem) getting ready for a rap battle at a local place known as The Shelter. He's quite nervous and screwed up in the head though, as his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning) has just dumped him and taken his car. He's so nervous, in fact, that when it comes time for him to perform, he chokes and is laughed off the stage. His buddy Future (Mekhi Phifer), who also happens to be the host of the weekly rap battles, tells Rabbit not to worry about it and signs him up for the next battle that is set to start next week in order to get some street credibility for their group known as the Three One Third. Due to not having a car or a place to live, Rabbit goes to live in the trailer park with his mother Stephanie (Kim Basinger), her daughter Lily (Chloe Greenfield) and Stephanie's new boyfriend Greg Buehl (Mike Shannon) while holding down his job at the steel factory. Along the way, he meets a new love interest by the name of Alex (Brittany Murphy), has his buddy Wink (Eugene Byrd) try to get him some studio time, and has a few fights with rival rappers The Leaders Of The Free World, which is headed up by Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie).

This was a decent enough movie, but I don't believe that it was worth a quarter of the praise that was thrown all over it upon its debut in theaters. While it did have some great scenes, the overall movie just seemed to be a bit lacking. The main problem, in my view, was the extremely slow spots of the movie where things are dragged out for far too long. There's a number of scenes where the point that they were trying to make should have only taken a few minutes to get across, but it was stretched out to consume five to ten minutes of time. It wouldn't have been so much of a problem if there were just one or two scenes such as this, but they popped up much more frequently than they should have. I'm not a huge fan of Eminem, so I'm not sure how much of this movie is based on his life-story and how much was fabricated for the film; however, there was a number of twists and plot-openings here that I feel should have been cut regardless of whether they really happened in his past or not.

One thing that I found to be particularly bad about this movie was the ending. Yes, the rap battles were well done, but winning the competition, leaving the place, and going back to work seemed like quite the abrupt ending. I do see what they were implying with it, that ol' Em slaved away at his job and saved up the money to make it on his own, but throughout the entire movie, he refers to competing in said rap battles at this place as a waste of time and non-productive. Why then, after saying and implying this throughout the movie, is this the way it's finished off? Why not finish up some of the loose ends of the storyline, such as his relationship with Alex? Was Alex supposed to represent Eminem's real-life wife Kim, or was Janeane (or was neither of them)? Finally, if the Three One Third clique was supposed to be a group of rappers, why do we never see any of them in action (save for Future throwing out a few lines and Sol George (Omar Benson Miller) singing along with the radio)? There's so many loose ends here, and I feel that more than a few should have been finished up.

The cast here did tend to work out for the better, but in the end, this wasn't enough to make up for the other flaws throughout the film. Eminem (Rabbit) is shockingly good, much better than I would have expected him to be. While he didn't throw down an award-winning performance, he certainly didn't pull out anything to gripe about either. Kim Basinger (Rabbit's mother Stephanie), doing a good job with her role as the drunken slut of a mother. Evan Jones (Cheddar Bob, member of Three One Third) managed to pull off some of the best scenes in the movie, though it's a shame that he didn't get that much time to shine. Brittany Murphy (Alex) is the worst of the group, in my eyes. While she does do a great job of being hot, she sorely lacks in the talent department when it comes to that little thing known as acting.

Overall, it was a decent movie, but it definitely did not live up to the hype, not by a long shot. If you're a huge fan of Eminem, then you may get more enjoyment out of this than I did; otherwise, I'd wait for two-for-one night at your local video store. 6/10.
sharpie #1: sharpie - added 04/06/2005, 07:22 PM
i think this movie was pretty good being its eminems first movie
ScarsRstarS #2: ScarsRstarS - added 01/10/2006, 07:51 AM
Pretty impressed with this film.
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