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Rapper Eminem’s story on screen

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th March 2003 03:00 AM

Do you really want to hear the story of a very bad man who beats his wife, insults his mother, and blames everybody but himself?

Do you really want to hear the story of a very bad man who beats his wife, insults his mother, and blames everybody but himself?

Film: 8 Mile
Stars: Eminem, Kim Basinger
Director: Curtis Hanson
Screenplay: Scott Silver
Running time: 110 mins.
Rating: R for strong language, sex, and violence
Showing at: Cineplex, Garden City from today
Preview by: Kalungi Kabuye

Do you really want to hear the story of a very bad man who beats his wife, insults his mother, and blames everybody but himself? And makes a lot of money while doing so because all the kids in the West between 10-16 (and a few black adults) adore him? And then he went on to turn it into cinema and make even more money?

Welcome to the upside down life of hip hop, where the bad are good, and the good are taken as stupid. And where a white man has made it to the top of a music genre that owes it’s roots to the suffering of the black man at the hands of white people.

The film 8 Mile, opening at the Cineplex Garden City today, is a sort of autobiographical sketch of the life of rapper Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers).

He plays Jimmy Smith Jr., a.k.a. Rabbit, a high school student living in the inner cities of Detroit, Michigan. (Quick question, how many white people are there living in inner cities across America?)

Rabbit has just moved back to the trailer park he shared with his mother Stephanie (Kim Basinger) and little sister Lily (Chloe Greenfield), where he finds that a former schoolmate is having an affair with his mother. In addition, Rabbit has just broken up with his girlfriend, who claimed she was pregnant.

Rabbit has decided to join the rap contests held in a Detroit nightclub ran by his black friend, dread-locked Future (Mekhi Phifer). What’s a white boy doing in a rap contest? What’s a white boy doing living in the ‘hood’?

According to the film, 8 Mile is the demarcation in Detroit between the rich, suburban, white Oakland County (where Eminem actually lives) and the poorer black neighbourhoods. And of course, in places like Oakland County live the kids who buy Eminem’s CDs and made him the millionaire that he is.

Is the film based on the real life of Eminem, or is it some kind of version designed to get him acceptance from the places where hip hop came from? That he was there, done that?

Although critics generally agreed that his acting debut was nothing to write home about, they nevertheless praised the film. Wonder why Purple Rain (Prince) was not that successful?

“Eminem comes across as very genuine. It is his charisma, and his music, that make 8 Mile worth seeing,” writes Mary F. Pols of Contra Costa Times.

“Eminem summons things from deep inside himself to shed away ego and portray a calm, frustrated, worried kid who doesn’t even talk too much,” Ian Waldron, UK Critic.

And finally, a critic of another kind: “It’s disappointing, sort of like if Madonna had released her Sex book without the sex,” Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News. (Maine).

Rapper Eminem’s story on screen

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