8 Mile (film)
8 Mile is a 2002 American drama film written by Scott Silver, directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon, Anthony Mackie, and Kim Basinger. The film follows white rapper B-Rabbit (Eminem) and his attempt to launch a career in a genre dominated by African-Americans. The title is derived from 8 Mile Road, the highway between the predominantly black city of Detroit and the largely white suburban communities to the north. It was filmed mostly on location. 8 Mile was a critical and commercial success. Eminem won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lose Yourself".
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Curtis Hanson|
|Produced by||Curtis Hanson|
|Written by||Scott Silver|
|Edited by||Jay Rabinowitz|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$242.9 million|
In 1995 Detroit, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. is a young, unhappy blue-collar worker from a poor family. Jimmy has moved back north of 8 Mile Road to the run-down trailer home in Warren, Michigan of his alcoholic mother Stephanie, his younger sister Lily, and Stephanie's abusive live-in boyfriend Greg. Although encouraged by his friends, Jimmy worries about his potential as a rapper. One night, Jimmy freezes during a rap battle at a local venue, the Shelter, and he leaves the stage humiliated.
During the day, Jimmy works at a car factory. When he asks for extra shifts, his supervisor rudely dismisses his request on account of his habitual tardiness. Later on, Jimmy befriends a woman named Alex. Jimmy begins to take more responsibility for the direction of his life. When he exhibits an improved attitude and performance at work, his supervisor grants him the extra shifts that he requested.
At some point, Stephanie receives an eviction notice as she can't pay rent. Despite her best attempts to keep the eviction notice a secret, Greg finds out about it and confronts Stephanie. When Jimmy attacks Greg for threatening his mother, they fight and Greg leaves Stephanie for good.
Jimmy's friendship with Wink, a radio DJ with ties to a record label promoter, becomes strained after he discovers that Wink does promotional work for Jimmy's rivals, a rap group known as the "Leaders of the Free World". At one point, Jimmy and his friends get into a violent brawl with the Leaders, which is disrupted when Jimmy's friend Cheddar Bob pulls out a gun and accidentally shoots himself in the leg; he survives but is confined to crutches.
At work one day when on lunch break, Jimmy witnesses a rap battle in which an employee insults a gay co-worker, Paul. Jimmy joins the battle and defends Paul. Alex is impressed by Jimmy's actions Wink arranges for Jimmy to meet with producers at a recording studio, but Jimmy finds Wink and Alex engaging in intercourse. Enraged, Jimmy attacks Wink as Alex tries to break up their altercation. In retaliation, Wink and the Leaders of the Free World assault Jimmy outside his trailer. The leader of the gang, Papa Doc, holds Jimmy at gunpoint - threatening to kill him until Wink dissuades him. Once the group has left Jimmy alone, his mother returns with enough money to pay for the eviction - having won it at the Bingo tournament.
Jimmy's best friend and battle host, Future, pushes him to get revenge by competing against the Leaders of the Free World at the next rap battle. However, Jimmy's late-night shift conflicts with the timing of the next battle tournament. A goodbye visit from Alex, who is moving to New York, changes his mind about competing, and Paul agrees to cover his shift at work as a favor while Jimmy goes to the battle.
In all rounds of the rap battle, Jimmy has to compete against one member of "the Leaders". After winning the first two rounds, he faces off against Papa Doc and ultimately wins by preemptively pointing out his own "white trash" roots and difficult life and then exposing Papa Doc's comparatively privileged and stable upbringing. With nothing to say in rebuttal, Papa Doc hands the microphone back to Future, embarrassed. After being congratulated by Alex and his friends, Jimmy is offered a position by Future - hosting battles at The Shelter. Jimmy declines, saying he has to go his own way, and walks back to work.
- Eminem as Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr.
- Mekhi Phifer as Future, Jimmy's closest friend and the rap battle host
- Brittany Murphy as Alex Latourno, Jimmy's love interest
- Kim Basinger as Stephanie, Jimmy and Lily's mother
- Anthony Mackie as Clarence "Papa Doc"
- Michael Shannon as Greg Buehl, Stephanie's abusive boyfriend
- Eugene Byrd as Wink
- Evan Jones as Cheddar Bob, Jimmy's friend
- Omar Benson Miller as Sol George, Jimmy's friend and Iz's brother
- De'Angelo Wilson as DJ Iz, Jimmy's friend and Sol's brother
- Taryn Manning as Janeane, Jimmy's ex-girlfriend
- Proof as Lil' Tic
- Xzibit as Mike, Male Lunch Truck rapper
- Craig Chandler as Paul
- Obie Trice as Male parking lot rapper
- Chloe Greenfield as Lily, Jimmy's sister
- John Singleton as Bouncer
- Miz Korona as Vanessa, Female Lunch Truck rapper
- Brandon T. Jackson (uncredited) as a Chin Tiki club-foe
- E'mund Duke Mareno (Extra) as a Shelter Battle Club-goer
- Esethu Mingoz Qakaza J.R as MINGOZ, B-Rabbit's fan
The film began shooting in September 2001 in Detroit.
Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile is the soundtrack to 8 Mile. Eminem features on five tracks from the album. It was released under the Shady/Interscope label and spawned Eminem's first number 1 US single "Lose Yourself". The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums Chart that year with over 702,000 copies sold and 507,000 sold in the second week also finishing the year as the fifth best-selling album of 2002 with US sales of 3.2 million, despite only two months of release. It also reached No. 1 on the UK Compilations Chart and the Australian ARIAnet Albums Chart. It also spawned a follow up soundtrack, More Music from 8 Mile, consisting of songs that appear in 8 Mile that were current singles during the film's time setting of 1995. The album was also made in a clean edition removing most of the strong profanity and violent content.
8 Mile opened at No. 1 with $51,240,555 in its opening weekend, the then second highest opening for an R-rated movie in the U.S. The film would go on to gross $116,750,901 domestically and $126,124,177 overseas for a total of $242,875,078 worldwide. The film's final domestic gross would hold the film at No. 3 in Box Office Mojo's "Pop Star Debuts" list, behind Austin Powers in Goldmember (Beyoncé) and The Bodyguard (Whitney Houston).
The 8 Mile DVD, which was released on March 18, 2003, generated $75 million in sales and rentals in its first week, making it the biggest DVD debut ever for an R-rated movie and putting it in the all-time Top 10 for first week home video sales for a movie. A VHS version was also released on the same date.
8 Mile received positive reviews, with critics praising the music and Eminem's performance. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film is "Certified Fresh", with 75% of 213 professional critics giving the film a positive review and a rating average of 6.71/10. The site's consensus is that "Even though the story is overly familiar, there's enough here for an engaging ride." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 77 based on 38 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave 8 Mile was B+ on an A+ to F scale, with the core under-21 demographics giving it an A.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. He said that we "are hardly started in 8 Mile, and already we see that this movie stands aside from routine debut films by pop stars" and that it is "a faithful reflection of his myth". He said that Eminem, as an actor, is "convincing without being too electric" and "survives the X-ray truth-telling of the movie camera" In the At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper review, both Ebert and Richard Roeper gave the film a thumbs up; Roeper said that Eminem has a "winning screen presence" and "raw magic" to him. He was happy with Rabbit's "tender side" presented through his relationship with the "adorable" Greenfield as his sister, but felt that Basinger was "really miscast". Roeper said: "8 Mile probably won't win converts to rap, but it should thrill Eminem fans."
Peter Travers gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars. He said that 8 Mile "is a real movie, not a fast-buck package to exploit the fan base of a rap nonentity" that "qualifies as a cinematic event by tapping into the roots of Eminem and the fury and feeling that inform his rap." He praised Hanson's directing and the performances, and compared the final battle with Papa Doc to the fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed in Rocky.
8 Mile has been named in various year-end and all-time top lists:
- 2nd – Billboard (Erika Ramirez): Top 10 Best Hip-Hop Movies Ever
- 7th – The New York Observer (Andrew Sarris): The 10 Best English-Language Films of 2002
- 9th – Time (Richard Schickel): Top 10 Movies of 2002
- 10th – Rolling Stone (Peter Travers): The Best Movies of 2002
- N/A – The Daily Californian: Best Films of 2002
Awards and honorsEdit
In 2003, Eminem won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards, for his single "Lose Yourself" from the soundtrack of 8 Mile, becoming the first hip hop artist ever to win an Academy Award. He was not present at the ceremony, but co-writer Luis Resto accepted the award. The film has been nominated for 32 awards, winning 11.
|List of awards and nominations|
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
8 Mile was first released on VHS and DVD on March 18, 2003. It was later released on Blu-ray.
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