8 Mile  (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white:

I think you could say that "8 Mile" is to Eminem as "Rocky" is to Sylvester Stallone. In both cases, the star played a working class white guy trying to triumph in a world normally dominated by black people. In both cases, the star essentially played himself doing something he was quite good at. Stallone played a down-on-his-luck club fighter headed for the world boxing championship. Eminem plays a rapper who lives in a trailer with his white trash mom. He is headed for the world's hip-hop championship.

Hey, naive me, I didn't even know that they had world's championship hip-hop contests. I have to get out more often.

I suppose many of you younger guys can even name the guy who holds the current belt.


Kim Basinger is seen naked from the rear, seated on a man during sex. In other words, only the top of her buns is visible. There might be a brief side-rear view of a nipple.

Anyway, since Eminem is actually a top professional rapper while Stallone was a mere dilettante at boxing, I guess it's fair to say that it's even a better vehicle for him to show what he can do than Rocky was for Stallone.

My advice to you is this. If you love rap, see it, because it is a good film directed by the supremely talented Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential), and Eminem is a surprisingly natural actor playing a character very much like himself. But be advised that more than half of the film is rap and only 25% or so consists of plot and/or character development, so if you hate rap this will be an unbearable experience, especially if you dislike the kind of rap that is just an outpouring of anger.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1 . It looks great

  • Exclusive, never-before-seen Eminem rap battles showcase Eminem free-styling against local Detroit rappers who auditioned to appear in the movie

  • Exclusive, never-before-seen uncensored Eminem music video of "Superman", not shown on television

  • Behind the scenes with Eminem: "The Making of 8 Mile"

  • The Music of 8 Mile

I like hip-hop in a lot of ways, but I'm not a major fan, so I found it a chore to watch at times.

Here's a thought - is rap a form of music? I don't know the answer to that, but assume for a minute that it is. I always hear people call it "rap music", and I guess it is music in the sense of pure rhythm without the melody, like a drum solo. In that case, this film is a musical, since (given the assumption), it has more musical minutes per total running minutes than movies like Brigadoon and Man of la Mancha.

Who would have thought that Eminem would be the guy to bring back the movie musical? Has Gene Kelly's corpse stopped spinning yet?


8 Mile (2002) is a completely standard sports film, basically a remake of Rocky. Substitute rap for boxing, and Eminem for Stallone, and you have it. Eminem lives with his trailer trash mother, Kim Basinger, who has her share of problems. Her unemployed boyfriend refuses to go down on her, and she is about to be evicted from her trailer. Eminem himself works in an auto-parts factory, where he catches a lot of crap as the only white employee. His way out is to be "discovered" and become a rap star. He has a support group of other wannabe rappers, and a group of rival rapper enemies.

Eminem's character stays very much within himself, which could have made it a long 110 minutes, but he was just the counterpoint to an entire cast of "dayglow colorful" characters. In the end, I cared about the Eminem character, and was rooting for him to score the final knockout. Thus, for me, the film worked. It was also a major financial success, proving that formulas exist because they can work when executed well.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: about three stars. filmcritic.com 3.5/5.

  • "Lose Yourself" was nominated for the Oscar for  Best Song

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It just about broke even from domestic gross alone. A success. $116 million domestic gross, about the same overseas. Production budget $41 million, advertising costs $30 million.
  • Cinema Score. There was no distinction between gender scores, but there was a strong correlation to age. The film appealed to young audiences (A's), with the scores declining in proportion to age.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "C+. I guess the genre is musicals, and the sub genre is "angry hip-hop musicals". If you like Eminem, this is essentially a concert film with a thin patina of plot and character development. It's a good movie, but if you hate rap in general and Eminem in particular, don't say I didn't warn you." Tuna seconds the C+, but calls the genre "classic sports movie." (see notes above).

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