cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy


Click for full sized poster

8 Mile

Starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer and Brittany Murphy
Screenplay by Scott Silver
Directed by Curtis Hanson
website: www.8-mile.com

IN SHORT: Hardcore language. Hardcore excellent film. [Rated R for strong language, sexuality, some violence and drug use. 124 minutes]

Being that honesty is the best policy, let's get a couple of things straight. We dislike about 95% of whatever rap we've heard and avidly dislike 100% of all gangsta rap. Lyrical "content" excepted, it's a bastard form whose roots lay in ripping off hardworking musicians that had, in their own turn, been ripped off by scurrilous accountants and shady corporate music men. We don't have a high tolerance for attitude laden punks who, because for god knows what reason, have become "music" stars and we're more than bothered when these punks are worshiped like gods by pre-teen year old members of our immediate family. The language alone in this film justifies the [R] Rating.

When we heard the first grumblings of rap back in the mid 1980s, we knew it was time to get out of rock 'n' roll. So here we are, fifteen years later, with a story very loosely based on the origins of the rapper who would become Eminem -- emphasis on loosely as this is not a biopic. 8 Mile is the story of Jimmy Smith Jr., AKA Bunny Rabbit (Eminem). Living in the slums of 1995 Detroit, Rabbit is a white trash kid with a dull, sullen stare indicative of a building rage that you don't want to be near when it goes off. The kind of man who is the living embodiment of "Don't push me because I'm close to the edge". If you recognize that line from the earliest days of rap, then you're probably okay for 8 Mile, whose setting and events are so overwhelmingly negative that 100% of the folk we spoke with on the way out were astounded that they liked the film.

That astonishment includes us. Language aside, director Curtis Hanson (he of LA Confidential and Wonder Boys fame) and producer Brian Grazer (this time without longtime partner Ron Howard) have created a scenario, with writer Scott Silver, that allows any grownup to lock in on the absolute depression of living on the street. We've said it before and we'll repeat it now: you don't have to like what you see to understand why you don't like what you see. That you understand is the point of it all. We're not going to equate the acting talent of Marshall Mathers III -- Eminem -- to anything like a budding Olivier but it is more enough to make us believe the character he's playing.

When we first meet "Bunny Rabbit," he is about to make his stage debut in a Battle of the Rappers, emceed by David Porter, AKA Future (Mekhi Phifer), a friend and supporter and promoter at a local club slash dive called the Shelter. His girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning) has just become history. Since she may be knocked up, Rabbit gave her the car and stuffed all his stuff into a large Hefty bag.

Where, then, shall Rabbit go?

Like all his friends, it's time to go back to mom. Stephanie Smith (Kim Basinger), by the way, doesn't work in the traditional sense. She's applying her talents, and what's left of a drop dead gorgeous body, to making some lame-o called Greg Buehl (Michael Shannon) "happy". Greg's waiting on a big settlement check from a car accident and, once that comes in, Steph expects a ring and a better place to raise baby kidlet Lily, who's about four. In the meantime, there's always the hope of hitting BINGO at the local church.

As for Rabbit, there's a newer, hotter blonde giving him the eye, both at the club and at the metal stamping plant where they work. Alex (Brittany Murphy) tells the rapper in the making that she believes in him, even though she's boffing her way to the top of the modeling game and has set her sites on getting to New York, with the help of would be manager/promoter/ A&R slickster Wink (Eugene Byrd).

If it makes it easier to view 8 Mile solely as a battle of survival between street gangs, that isn't much off the money, though the "universe" created by this production is a lot deeper than that. Rabbit's crew, called "Three One Third" includes the emcee Future; oversized optimist Sol George (Omar Benson Miller); philosopher and big talker DJ Iz (De'Angelo Wilson), and comic relief (as in dumber than cheese) Cheddar Bob (Evan Jones), who that "third" of the crew. Cheddar would preferred to be called MC Bob even though he can't rap and he sure can't defend himself (as you'll see).

Opposite 3-1-3 in a kind of Jets versus Sharks way are King rapper Papa Doc (Anthony Mackie), and half a dozen or so gangsta types calling themselves Free World. The crews battle with fists from time to time, but mostly with strings of obscenities linked in rhyming raps flung from the stage of the Shelter.Like any poor gang, they talk the big talk. But when Rabbit's mom gets an eviction notice, it's just a matter of time until something will have to be done to get some cash. 'nuff said.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to 8 Mile, he would have paid . . .

$8.00

Considering how much I detest rap I was very pleasantly surprised that I actually was able to follow more than fifty percent of 8 Mile. Yeah, I know it's technically "English" but it's all a foreign language for this old fart.

When you break it down for logic of story, absence of continuity errors, characters that stand out and the overall effectiveness of the story, even laden with more [expletive deleted]s than anyone we know would care for, 8 Mile stands out. Like it or not, it takes a place on our Best of the Year list.

 

amazon com link Click to buy films by Curtis Hanson
Click to buy stuff by Eminem
Click to buy films starring Mekhi Phifer
Click Here!

music

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.