8 Mile

Bomb Rating: 

"See there! Eminem is really a great guy!"

There's a gay black guy working at the same plant where Eminem's character, Jimmy "Rabbit" Smith, Jr., works pressing what looks to me like bedpans for really fat people (they're probably not bedpans, but I think the image is apropos). The first interaction "Rabbit" has with the gay guy is a "rap defense" he performs in the parking lot to fend off a "rap attack" by another guy. Later on, miraculously, he has an actual conversation with the gay guy, establishing that Eminem may not, in fact, be homophobic. The whole interaction lends itself to the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling one gets when a nasty venereal disease goes into a temporary remission. Hell, I screamed out in the theater: "See there! Eminem is really a great guy!"

This film is the "Rocky" of rap music. Rabbit starts out the film engaging in what's called a "battle," where two rappers square off against each other to see who can come up with the most dope lyrics. ("Dope," in case you're unaware, is a street word for "cool" or "hip." "Lyric" is an academic term for a series of words that make up the spoken parts of music.) Rabbit freezes and walks off the stage, which means that we must then bide our time watching Rabbit learn stuff about people until he gets back on stage and doesn't freeze and proves to the world that he truly is the dopest rapper of all time.

Here's the kind of mind-numbing stuff Rabbit learns between choking and not choking: He learns that his mother (Kim Basinger) is a great lay for everybody but him and that she's not very self-reliant and that her boobs still look good from the side. He learns that just because a chick will do you standing up in a factory does not mean she won't do a different guy who's trying to get her a record contract. Rabbit also learns that his friends Future (Mekhi Phifer), Sol George (Omar Benson Miller), Cheddar Bob (Evan Jones) and DJ Iz (De'Angelo Wilson) are pretty good friends, though Cheddar Bob is a complete imbecile and has a really stupid name for a guy who is never seen eating cheese.

"8 Mile" is about how far I wanted to get away from the theater after seeing this film.

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