The student weekly of St. Olaf | Thursday, October 2, 2014 | Subscribe
ISSUE 116 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/15/2002

Critic's Corner: 8 Mile

By Molly Bayrd
Executive Editor

Friday, November 15, 2002

"Man, that 'Leave it to Beaver' line almost killed me!" said Jimmy Smith, Jr., (rapper Eminem), after he has just faced off in a round of stream-of-consciousness, lyrical dueling aptly called "battle." The line, thrown at Jimmy from his hard-hitting “battle” competitor, is one of many typical "white boy" digs that he receives throughout the new drama "8 Mile." However, the dismally gritty life lead by the struggling, underground vocalist  who raps under the alias "Bunny Rabbit"  is as far from a '50s sitcom as it could possibly get. This well-done, gloomy movie is a poignant "rags to riches" story that pays solid tribute to Horatio Alger's timeless motif. Though the movie's ending never presents Jimmy "poppin' Cris" in a brand-new Bentley, Director Curtis Hanson strongly alludes to the young man's imminent success. By the film's closing scene, the rapper has finally come to the realization that he can make it big if he just adheres to the genius of his own instincts. He tells his wannabe-famous pals, "I just kinda need to do my own thing, you know?" Eminem carries himself well on screen, though he relies too heavily on his searing, icy-blue eyes to carry him through several scenes in which he has no dialogue. His raps, however, are thoroughly enjoyable – especially one in which he and his friend Future, (Mekhi Phifer), break into a stylized rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama." Do not expect Lynyrd Skynyrd here, however. The lyrics are specific to Eminem’s temporarily bleak living situation in a trailer park. His oversexed mother and her ridiculously young and impudent beau provide an example of the comic relief strewn throughout the film. I expected the film to carry a little more energy than it did, and I admit that I constantly found myself waiting for the movie's pace to quicken. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that this semi-autobiographical glimpse into Eminem's life was not exactly what I had anticipated. Jimmy, unlike the caustic and homophobic Eminem, actually defends a gay coworker within the film. Furthermore, he forgives love interest Alex (Brittany Murphy) after she cruelly and deliberately cheats on him with one of his close friends. His refreshing candor, however fictional it may be, is certainly a step forward from Eminem’s trash-talking, ex-wife and mother hating days. The moral of "8-Mile"  that one should be true to oneself  remains as hokey and cliché as it ever has. The difference here, however, is that the message is not delivered in a classically prepackaged, Hallmark Card type of way; instead, it is proclaimed by the unlikeliest of characters  a misunderstood white rapper. I would take the mic against Jimmy Smith, Jr. any day, if only to tell him, “Don't're nothing like the Beav.”

Printer Friendly version of this page Printer friendly version | E-mail a Copy of the Article to a Friend Email this | Write the editors | More articles by Molly Bayrd

Related Links

More Stories

Page Load: 47 milliseconds