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8 Mile

8 Mile – 2002/dir. Curtis Hanson/Eminem/Kim Basinger/Mekhi Pfifer/Brittany Murphy

If you’re looking for a discussion of just how “authentic” or not this movie is, I am not your girl. I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to hip-hop culture. I am a shallow little girly-girl. Please remember that.

From what I remember, much has been made about how closely this movie parallels Eminem’s own life. With that in mind, I found myself thinking how the vulnerability he shows must work great with the chicks. Because let me tell you, it was working on me. I very much wanted to bake him some cookies to cheer him up. And that scene where he’s kissing and, well, screwing the girl in the factory – H-O-T-T! Frankly, I was a little light-headed there.

Obviously, I’mgetting sidetracked here. This movie is not about Jimmy Smith aka Bunny Rabbit aka Eminem’s love life. It’s about “battling” and uh, other stuff. While I can intellectually understand why it’s such a big deal, emotionally I’m not very moved. And I really don’t get the associated violence. For instance there’s one scene where our heroes are driving around and they see the Free World crew, the “enemies”, in a parking lot so they turn the car around and a fight ensues. Why? I just don’t know. Rabbit beating up Wink for screwing his girl? Okay, I get it. The Free World beating up Rabbit for beating up Wink? Understandable. Other times? Not so much.

Even if I didn’t necessarily get the whole emotional impact of the film, I can say that it truly managed to transcend the potential cheeze factor. I can’t help but compare it to dance movies where everything hinges on a big climactic battle/contest/audition. Those so often descend into Velveeta territory but this didn’t, maybe because the final battle wasn’t life-changing in the sense of ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’ It was simply a turning point in Rabbit’s confidence and drive.

To end on a final shallow note, I was really struck by the male-bonding half-handshake/half-hug that looks like you’re whispering in the other person’s ear. It’s not like I haven’t seen this gesture before but it happens so many times in this movie that I was kind of struck by its silliness. I have now dubbed it the “hip-hop air kiss.” Personally, I don’t think I have the street cred to be able to pull off such a move. In fact, I don’t even have the street cred to be able to use the phrase ‘street cred.’


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