8 Mile (film)
|Directed by||Curtis Hanson|
|Written by||Scott Silver|
|Edited by||Jay Rabinowitz|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$242.9 million|
8 Mile is a 2002 American drama film written by Scott Silver and directed by Curtis Hanson. It stars Eminem in his film debut, alongside Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon, Anthony Mackie, and Kim Basinger. The film, which contains autobiographical elements from Eminem's life, follows white rapper Jimmy Smith Jr. aka B-Rabbit (Eminem) and his attempt to launch a career in hip hop, a music genre dominated by African Americans. The title is derived from 8 Mile Road, the highway between the predominantly African American city of Detroit and the largely white suburban communities to the north that Eminem originally lived in.
8 Mile was a critical and box office success. It opened at No. 1 in the US with $51.3 million grossed in its opening weekend and an eventual total of $242.9 million worldwide. The album's accompanying soundtrack was also a commercial success, being certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The film garnered numerous award nominations and wins, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lose Yourself" win for Eminem, Luis Resto and Jeff Bass at the 75th Academy Awards. 8 Mile was named one of the best films of 2002 by several publications.
In 1995, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. a 23-year old, unhappy blue-collar worker from a poor Missouri family who now are residing in a trailer park near Detroit in Warren, Michigan. 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 chokes 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, after previously working at a Little Caesar’s Pizza in Warren. Desperate for money, he asks for extra shifts, but his supervisor bluntly dismisses his request because of his habitual tardiness. Later on, Jimmy befriends a woman named Alex, and he begins to take more responsibility for the direction of his life.
At some point, Stephanie receives an eviction notice, as she cannot pay rent. Despite her best attempts to keep the eviction notice a secret, Greg discovers it and confronts Stephanie. When Jimmy punches Greg for pushing his mother to the ground, they fight, ending in Greg leaving 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 Free World crew, which is disrupted when Jimmy's friend Cheddar Bob pulls out a gun and accidentally shoots himself in the leg; he survives after being rushed to the hospital.
During a lunch break at work, one of Jimmy's co-workers performs a freestyle rap insulting a gay co-worker, Paul. Jimmy raps a freestyle defending Paul. Alex arrives and is impressed by Jimmy's actions and they have sex. Wink arranges for Jimmy to meet with producers at a recording studio, but Jimmy finds Wink and Alex having sex. Enraged, Jimmy attacks Wink as Alex tries to break them up. 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 and threatens to kill him, but Wink dissuades him. After the group has left Jimmy alone, his mother arrives with enough money to pay to avoid eviction, having won $3,200 at a 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. Jimmy agrees, but his boss, having noticed improved effort at work, asks Jimmy to do a late-night shift. He agrees, but it conflicts with the battle at the Shelter. Alex unexpectedly visits Jimmy at work. She says goodbye, as she is going to New York, and she is hoping to see Jimmy at the Shelter later. This motivates Jimmy to do the battle. He asks Paul to cover the start of his shift 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 Free World crew. After handily winning the first two rounds against Lickety-Split and Lotto, he faces Papa Doc. Going first, Jimmy pre-empts Papa Doc's potential insults, acknowledging his own "white trash" roots and difficult life, while also exposing that Papa Doc, despite posing as a thug, had a comparatively stable and even privileged upbringing. Embarrassed and with nothing to say in rebuttal, Papa Doc hands the microphone back to Future, conceding the battle.
After being congratulated by Alex and her friends, Jimmy is offered a position by Future co-hosting battles at the Shelter. Jimmy declines, saying that hosting is Future's thing and he needs to do his own, and leaves alone to return to work.
- Eminem as Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr.
- Kim Basinger as Stephanie Smith, Jimmy and Lily's mother
- Mekhi Phifer as "Future", Jimmy's best friend and the rap battle host
- Brittany Murphy as Alex Latourno, Jimmy's love interest
- Evan Jones as Bob "Cheddar Bob", Jimmy's slow-witted yet loyal 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
- Eugene Byrd as Wink Harris, a radio DJ
- Taryn Manning as Janeane, Jimmy's ex-girlfriend
- Larry Hudson as Bouncer
- Proof as "Lil' Tic"
- Mike Bell as Mike "Shorty Mike"
- DJ Head as Battle DJ
- Michael Shannon as Greg Buehl, Stephanie's freeloading abusive boyfriend
- Chloe Greenfield as Lily Smith, Jimmy's sister
- Mary Hannigan as Mrs. Helgeland
- Anthony Mackie as Clarence "Papa Doc", leader of the Free World
- Gerald L. "Strike" Sanders as Lyckety-Splyt, the first rapper Jimmy battles against
- Nashawn "Ox" Breedlove as "Lotto", the second rapper Jimmy battles against
- Na'Keya Snoddy as Papa Doc's Girl, member of the Free World
- Malik Barnhardt as "Moochie", member of the Free World
- Day Golfin as "Day", member of the Free World
- Allen Adams as Omar, member of the Free World
- Hom as First Parking Lot Rapper
- Obie Trice as Second Parking Lot Rapper
- Njeri Earth as Third Parking Lot Rapper
- Jennifer Kitchen as Willing Girl
- Kyla Womack as Alex's Friend
- Melissa Zaglanikzny as Christine
- Rockey Black as Rocky
- Craig Chandler as Paul, Jimmy's colleague
- Paul Bates as Manny, Jimmy's foreman at the plant
- Miz Korona as Vanessa, Female Lunch Truck rapper
- Xzibit as Mike, Male Lunch Truck rapper
- Abdul Salaam El Razzac as Joe Lee Patton
- Steven Monroe as Plant Worker
- John Smith, Jr. as Lobby Security Guard
- Venicia Foreman as WJLB Receptionist
- Waverly Alford III as "Big O", male rapper interviewed at the WJLB Radio Station
- Bushman as WJLB DJ
- Adam Brook as Roy Darucher
- Brandon T. Jackson (uncredited) as a Chin Tiki club-foe
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 a further 507,000 copies were 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 being on the market for only two months.
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, after Hannibal. It topped the box office upon opening, beating The Santa Clause 2. During its second weekend, the film dropped into second place behind Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, making $21.3 million. 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 214 professional critics giving the film a positive review and a rating average of 6.70/10. 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 honors
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. 17 years later, Eminem performed the song in a surprise appearance at the 2020 Academy Awards.
|2003||Academy Award||Best Original Song – Lose Yourself||Won||Eminem, Luis Resto and Jeff Bass|
|Black Reel Awards||Best Original Soundtrack||Nominated||8 Mile|
|BMI||Film Award for Music||Won||Eminem|
|Most Performed Song from a Film – Lose Yourself||Won||Eminem|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Critics Choice Award for Best Song – Lose Yourself||Won||Eminem|
|CNOMA Awards||Best Make-Up Artist for a Feature Film||Nominated||Donald Mowat|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Most Promising Performer||Nominated||Eminem|
|European Film Awards||Screen International Award||Nominated||Curtis Hanson|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Original Song – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Eminem|
|Best Music||Nominated||8 Mile|
|Best of Show||Nominated||8 Mile|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Most Original||Nominated||8 Mile|
|Golden Reel Award||Best Sound Editing in a Feature - Music - Musical||Nominated||Carlton Kaller|
|Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards||Best Contemporary Makeup - Feature||Nominated||Donald Mowat, Ronnie Specter, Matiki Anoff|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Movie||Nominated||8 Mile|
|Best Male Performance||Won||Eminem|
|Breakthrough Male Performance||Won||Eminem|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Breakthrough Performance||Nominated||Eminem|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards||Best Original Song – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Eminem|
|Satellite Awards||Best Original Song – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Eminem|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Drama||Nominated||8 Mile|
|Choice Movie Actor: Drama||Won||Eminem|
|Choice Movie: Male Breakout Star||Won||Eminem|
|Choice Crossover Artist||Nominated||Eminem|
|Choice Movie: Liplock||Nominated||Eminem and Brittany Murphy|
|World Soundtrack Awards||Best Original Song Written for a Film – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Eminem|
|2004||ASCAP Awards||Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture – Lose Yourself||Won||Eminem|
|Grammy Award||Grammy Award for Record of the Year – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Eminem|
|Grammy Award for Song of the Year – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Jeff Bass, Eminem & Luis Resto|
|Grammy Award for Best Rap Song – Lose Yourself||Won||Jeff Bass, Eminem & Luis Resto|
|Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance – Lose Yourself||Won||Eminem|
|Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media – Lose Yourself||Nominated||Jeff Bass, Eminem & Luis Resto|
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- 2006: AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers – Nominated
8 Mile was first released on VHS and DVD on March 18, 2003. The DVD was released in four different versions in Widescreen (2.39:1) and Full Screen (1.33:1) formats with either censored or uncensored bonus materials. It was later released on Blu-ray on April 14, 2009. A physical and digital 4K release is scheduled for November 7, 2022; the 4K SteelBook will come with a 4K disc, a Blu-ray disc, and a 4K digital download code.
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Eminem holds the camera by natural right. His screen presence is electric. His sulk — hooded eyes that suddenly spark with danger — has an intensity to rival James Dean’s. And he reads lines with an offbeat freshness.
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