‘8 Mile’ is a movie that goes the distance

Rapper Eminem as James "Bunny Rabbit" Smith at work at a sheet metal plant in "8 Mile," currently playing at Premiere Cinemas.

For some reason, I went into the theater trying hard not to like
the new movie

8 Mile,

currently playing at Premiere Cinemas. But I came away a
believer.
Movie: 8 Mile

Starring: Eminem, Mekhi Phifer

Director: Curtis Hanson

Studio: Universal Pictures

Running Time: 111 minutes

Rating: R

Summary: In a heavy drama, a young man who lives in a deeply impoverished section of Detroit looks to his friends and his talent as a rapper as he struggles to escape his dead-end existence.

For some reason, I went into the theater trying hard not to like the new movie “8 Mile,” currently playing at Premiere Cinemas. But I came away a believer.

Although Eminem is not nearly as talented as James Dean, his presence on the screen is undeniable and the youths of today appear to be recieving him much in the way youths of the mid-1950s recieved Dean.

The controversial, multi-platinum-selling rap star commands many of the scenes he appears in, which is almost every one.

He plays a brooding and deeply troubled young man, Jimmy Smith Jr., affectionately nicknamed “Bunny Rabbit” by his alcoholic, promiscuous mother, Stephanie, played by Kim Basinger.

If there’s one problem with this movie, its the total misuse of Basinger. She’s too much actress for such a scaled-down role.

Jimmy, who works at a plant pressing sheet metal into auto parts by day, spends his nights hanging out with three of his long-time friends, Cheddar Bob, Sol George and DJ IZ and his best friend, Future, played with great depth by Mekhi Phifer (“Clockers” and “O”). They go on a journey with Jimmy to find his way out of the life that they all hate so much, but first he must face a slew of personal trials that will put everything he believes in to the test.

Although the settings are different, “8 Mile” feels a lot like a rapper’s version of “Purple Rain,” another successful movie that featured a budding music star named Prince.

This semi-autobiographical picture gives a rare insight into the pain and anger that drives Eminem’s music. Although I don’t agree with everything he says, this film forces you to at least listen to what he has to say before you can dismiss his rhymes as obscene or hateful.

This one-hour and 51-minute movie is too graphic and violent for children, and the continually depressing surroundings may make it too difficult for many viewers to watch.

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