Curtis Hanson. Release Date: November 8, 2002. DVD Release Date: March 18, 2003
It makes me a bit of a traitor to my generation to say this, but I didn't think that much of this movie. There's a certain grittiness to the film that I find appealing, and from what little I know of Detroit, there's a more than reasonable amount of realism in how this film portrays life for the people who live on edges of society within the "D." That's the part I really enjoyed. I think that as a kind of anthropological study this movie does better than as some sort of homage to hip hop.
The story is a bit of a throwaway here. I suspect most of this movie's budget went into casting, particularly the big three: Eminem, Basinger, Murphy. They barely spared a moment on actually putting together the story line. There's a heavy dependency on cliche, the whole story of the white guy trying to break into the hip hop business in a place where white guys are rarer than the unicorn. The underdog rising to victory, blah blah. By the end of the movie, I was more than a little ready for the trite story telling to be at an end.
This is a bit of a rarity for me. I don't like this movie, but I think the cast is outstanding. Eminem, whom I tend to ignore when he appears in the news during one of his blatant periods of fame-whoring, puts on a very good performance. The story vaguely begs the question as to the legitimacy of whether this is acting for him, or, as I tend to think, he's basically being himself on stage, living out his own life virtually through the camera's eye. Certainly, there are elements of his own life's story wrapped in this, but I'm not sure whether or not 8 Mile was intended to be a bio-pic or if the connection was made because of the similarities.
Eminem wasn't the only outstanding performer in this movie. I'm a Brittney Murphy fan, but this really is one of her better performances. Kim Basinger, who I rarely like, also puts on a decent face playing Eminem's mother (although she goes through the whole movie looking like she hates the idea of playing the mother of some guy in his 20s).
I'd mostly watch this if I was an Eminem fan, which I'm not, technically. But, there are several folks here giving worthy performances, so you won't be amiss to keep your ear peeled while you do something productive.
Oh, I also got the link for my latest podcast appearance. You can find me here. http://largeassmovieblogs.blogspot.com/2011/12/lambcast-95-holiday-films.html