8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop drama biographical film, directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, and Mekhi Phifer.
The film is a semi-autobiographical account of Eminem's early years in relative poverty growing up in Detroit, and his early career in rap. As such, the film is set in the underground Detroit hip hop scene in 1995. The film depicts white rapper Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. (based upon a younger Eminem) as he struggles for respect among his black peers.
The film was a financial success, was well received critically, and won an Academy Award for the Best Original Song for Eminem's "Lose Yourself", becoming the first film with a rap/hip-hop song to win an Academy Award.
The film begins with main character Jimmy "B-Rabbit aka Bunny Rabbit" Smith, Jr. at a local rap battle MCd by Smith's friend David "Future" Porter. A nervous Rabbit chokes at the mic in his first battle and is booed off stage as he exits the competition.
Jimmy, a young and unhappy blue collar worker, is struggling with different aspects of his life. He has moved back north of 8 Mile to the rundown trailer home in Warren of his alcoholic mother Stephanie, his sister Lily, and his mother's abusive live-in boyfriend Greg. Jimmy is focused on getting his music career started, but he seems unable to catch a break. Just prior to the events of the film, he ends a relationship with his recently-impregnated girlfriend Janeane, and during the film, begins a new relationship with Alex (Brittany Murphy), whom he meets at the factory when she shows up one day looking for her brother.
Jimmy comes to realize that his life has remained largely the same since he graduated high school. At first, he considers himself a victim of his circumstances and blames others for his problems. Over time, though, Jimmy begins to take responsibility for the direction of his life and realizes that he has a large degree of control over how it will go. He begins to question whether his group of friends, including Future, are holding themselves back from moving on to bigger things. With his onstage choke still fresh in his mind, he appears to decide that he will give up on or postpone his dream of a music career in favor of devoting more time to his day job and building a home life. Jimmy's newfound responsibility becomes evident to his supervisor at the factory as well. At the beginning of the film, when Jimmy requests extra shifts, his supervisor laughs at him (he's usually late to work), but by the end, Jimmy's improved attitude and performance earn him the extra work he had wanted. However, a late night shift conflicts with the next battle tournament. Jimmy initially doesn't want to go, but a visit from Alex changes his mind. Paul, a homosexual co-worker whom Jimmy stood up for earlier in the film, agrees to cover for him.
The battle acts as kind of a "final conflict" with the a rap group called "Leaders of the Free World", who have harrassed Rabbit throughout the film. This begins with the deterioration of Rabbit's friendship with Wink. The latter continually pesters Rabbit everyday with promises that he can help him "get big"- that he knows people with influence, and that Wink can hook Rabbit up with the support he needs. However, he is betrayed when Rabbit shows up at the studio and finds Wink having sex with Alex. A fight ensues, in which Wink is badly beaten. In revenge, he shows up with Papa Doc and the other members of "Free World" to attack Rabbit at his home in the trailer park, with the mob badly assaulting him, and leaving him with a black eye that's present at the final battle.
Rabbit's friends hail him throughout the film as an incredible rapper, but until this point the film only shows snippets of his skills. The tournament has three rounds, and in each of them Rabbit faces a member of the "Leaders of the Free World", a group that feuds with Rabbit and his friends throughout the film. Rabbit wins both of the first two rounds with progressively more impressive freestyle raps. In the last round, he is paired against Papa Doc, the tournament's most feared battler and Jimmy's main antagonist throughout the storyline. Rabbit is aware that Doc knows all his weak points, so he decides to address them preemptively with his freestyle. Rabbit acknowledges without shame his white trash roots and the various humiliations the Free World clique have inflicted on him, and then uses the difficult life he's had as a springboard to reveal the truth about Papa Doc: despite passing himself off as a thug, he has a privileged background. Doc, whose real name is Clarence, attended Cranbrook, a private school located in upper class Bloomfield Hills, and lived all his life in a stable two-parent household. Rabbit makes a reference to "Shook Ones Pt. II", the beat that the DJ is spinning, by calling Papa Doc a "halfway crook", which sends the crowd into a frenzy. Doc is left with nothing to say in rebuttal, drops the mic, and Rabbit takes the title. As Rabbit leaves the venue, Future suggests that he stay and celebrate his victory while also offering a position that would allow him to host battles at the shelter. Rabbit refuses, claiming he has to get back to work and do everything his own way, to which Future agrees. The final shot displays Rabbit walking away from the shelter, more confident of the future ahead of him.
Eminem as Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr.
Kim Basinger as Stephanie Smith
Brittany Murphy as Alexandra "Alex" Latourno
Mekhi Phifer as David "Future" Porter
Chloe Greenfield as Lily Smith
De'Angelo Wilson as DJ Iz
Evan Jones as Cheddar Bob
Omar Benson Miller as Sol George
Eugene Byrd as Wink
Anthony Mackie as Papa Doc
Xzibit as Male Lunch Truck Rapper (Mike)
Proof as Lil Tic
Michael Shannon as Greg Buehl
Taryn Manning as Janeane
8 Mile was generally well received among critics. The film currently holds a 74% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 77/100 on Metacritic. Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "two thumbs up" rating. The film was a surprise hit at the box office opening at #1, making $19,574,765 on its opening day and $51,240,555 over its first three days from only 2,470 theaters for an average of $20,745 per venue, making it one of the biggest opening weekends for an R-rated movie as well being as the biggest opening for a movie released in less than 2,500 theaters. The film made a total of $242,875,078 worldwide ($116,750,901 domestically, and $126,124,177 internationally). The 8 Mile DVD released in March 2003 grossed $200 million USD in DVD sales.
The song "Lose Yourself", with music by Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto and lyrics by Eminem, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Grammy Awards for Best Male Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song. "Lose Yourself" also placed 93rd on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs list. The song was later included on Eminem's greatest hits album Curtain Call: The Hits.
Stella Artois did a campaign called Smooth Originals where they claimed that most American cinema is ripped off from French New Wave cinema that was hidden from the public. The parody of 8 Mile was called 8 Kilometre, a black and white short featured in a beat club in Monte Carlo where two young poets have a battle of rhymes
Eminem's single Just Lose It and its video featured a parody of the film.
Scary Movie 3 heavily parodied many elements of the film.
Robot Chicken, which airs on Adult Swim, ran a short skit during the the eighth episode of their second season featuring the Looney Tunes characters during the final rap battle of the film. Bugs Bunny plays "B-Rabbit", Daffy Duck as David "Future" Porter, Porky Pig as DJ Iz and Elmer Fudd as Papa Doc. B-Rabbit wins the rap battle and is offered a record deal by Dr. Dre.
The soundtrack was released on October 29, 2002.
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