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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "8 Mile" (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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8 Mile





Studio: Universal
Year: 2002
Rated: R
Film Length: 111 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English




Look, What if You Had One Chance to Seize
Everything You Ever Wanted? Would You Capture it?
Or Would You Let it Slip?



By all rights I should have quickly dismissed
8 Mile. I am not a fan of Hip-Hop music,
and I am certainly not a fan of Eminem. Despite
the preconception I had before watching this film,
I came out of the experience both elated and
emotionally drained. While 8 Mile is at
times a gritty film filled with raw energy, it can
also be a rather touching drama. In short, you don't
have to be into rap music to appreciate the raw
authenticity of Eminem's fictionalized biography.



8 Mile follows the exploits of a poor white boy
and his journey from the obscurity of working in
a steel mill to local rap fame while still working
in a steel mill. Named after a road that serves
as a physical and psychological boundary between
black inner-city Detroit and its white suburbs,
8 Mile is set in 1995. As the film opens
we meet Jimmy Smith, Jr. (Eminem) who is referred
to by his friends as Bunny Rabbit, choking on his
first "rap battle" performance at the local Shelter.
Jimmy is a middle age man with a dream of getting
signed by a rap label. He recently broke up with
his possibly pregnant girlfriend, who now owns his
car. With no money or means of transportation,
Jimmy moves into his mother’s (Kim Basinger) trailer
home, an environment that does the young wannabe
absolutely no good.



Rabbit is poor in spite of working at a factory
pressing car bumpers, but his sights are set on
saving for studio time to record a demo that could
break him into the black-dominated world of battle
rap, where two rappers face off in an effort to
out-rap each other amidst hollers of a riled-up
audience. Rabbit and his friends talk about
making it big, and making it out, but none of
them seems to know how to make that dream real.
Nevertheless, Rabbit has the support of Alex (Brittany
Murphy), his new girlfriend who believes in him
like no one else.

8 Mile plays so much like a Rocky
movie that you can almost see it's star, Eminem
running up the museum steps. But you know what?
That's okay....director Curtis Hanson makes this
into a really different compelling coming-of-age
tale that draws in the crowd and gets them cheering.
Eminem really shows he can strut his stuff, giving
a focused, intelligent performance. It's almost a
shame that it's co-star, Kim Basinger is wasted
with her minimal amount of screen time.


How is the transfer?


Though the film is mostly low-lit and full of
gritty images, the transfer sports outstanding
sharpness and detail. The transfer has some of the
deepest black levels I have seen, giving this film
the kind of depth and texture that you don't
regularly see. Colors are accurately rendered without
any oversaturation and flesh tones are dead-on
accurate. Simply a superb transfer!



Get ready to rock 'da house! The DTS mix is one
of the most kick-ass soundtracks I have heard in
the past few months. What else would you expect
from a film that features killer rap tunes?! The
DTS audio provides ultra-rich sounding dynamics
backed by bass-thumpin' LFE support. The louder you
turn this baby up, the more it kicks. Despite all
the punch in this soundtrack dialogue comes across
clearly and distinctively so that you can better
understand the music lyrics. In fact, audio is very
even across all the channels. The surrounds do a
audacious job of immersing you in a crowd-packed
room during the various rap battles as well as
providing the ambience of the Detroit city streets.
TURN IT UP! TURN IT UP!


Special Features



It's surprising for a film that made so much money
for Universal last year that they kind of skimped
on the extras on this disc. Notably absent is any
real "in-depth" making=of material or even an audio
commentary.



Although The Making of 8 Mile is just another
one of those ordinary promo pieces, I did find it
sort of educational when it came to understanding the
dividing line between city Hip-Hop that is considered
authentic and the less-than-authentic suburban version
of the music. You know, when you're a white boy like
me, you just don't readily understand these things.
This featurette is filled with lots and lots of film
clips alongside snippets of interviews with its
stars, Eminem and Mekhi Phiferas well as director Curtis
Hanson and producer Brian Grazer. We learn about
Eminem's own personal contribution to the film,
given the fact that he is so well rooted into Detroit
and its Hip-Hop music scene. Very nice indeed --
especially for positive message that the star brings
to this featurette.
(length: approx. 9.5 minutes)



Exclusive Rap Battles is a fun watch. It
begins with director Curtis Hanson giving background
on "rap battle" where two opponents square off and
use rap instead of fists to throw jabs at each other.
Sit back and enjoy the 15-second auditions that many
of the extras performed. Watch as the many are
narrowed down to a few finalists who vie for a
starring role in the film via some deleted scenes.
(length: approx. 24 minutes)

The music of 8 mile is a shameless plug
for the two CD soundtrack offsprings from the film.

Holy boobies! An uncensored music video,
Superman is featured here.

We also get the film's original theatrical trailer
as well as Production Notes and Cast and
filmmaker
filmography.

DVD-ROM content is mostly devoted to an
exclusive 8 Mile website.

For review purposes, Universal sent me a copy of
what seems to be the CENSORED version of
this film. I look forward to hearing more about
how the UNCENSORED version differs from this.


Final Thoughts



8 Mile is a straightforward, honest look at
the basis of an art form that gives one a reason
to escape and a reason to dream. Eminem gives us
a character who is somehow likeable in spite of his
mouth. Let's hope there are enough of you out there
still young enough at heart to enjoy this film as
much as I did.


Release Date: NOW


All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality
 

David Glenn

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
331
Great review Ron. I purchased and watched it last night. In a way, this film reminded me a lot of one of our favorites, Saturday Night Fever.
 

Josh Sieg

Second Unit
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Oct 27, 2002
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Bought it last night, and I loved it. It's so true that you don't need to like Eminem, or hip-hop to like this film. Nice review!
 

James Edward

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Messages
855


Do I ever agree on that! I could not believe how fantastic this film looks. Nothing flashy at all, just perfect.

Excellent character study too. True or not, very entertaining.
 

Rob Willey

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Rob
I recommend this one too. I haven't gotten through the extras yet, but it's a fine transfer of terrific movie.

Two things:

1) The version of the film on both the censored and uncensored discs is the same. It's the extras that are not rated on the uncensored version.

2) If Jimmy (Rabbit) is a "middle age man", I'd hate to think what that makes you, Ronbo.:p)

Rob
 

Joshua_Y

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Sold me...Im gettin it...I wasnt sure of it...never seen the flick...but I'll get it now...
 

Kyle McKnight

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As I mentioned in this thread, the uncensored Superman video is actually censored for about one minute. During that minute they drop audio on a couple of words, and replace two curse words from the chorus with replacement words.
 

Kenneth Cummings

Supporting Actor
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Aug 7, 2001
Messages
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Not a big fan of rap, but since my mom (don't ask) bought the widescreen verison, I give it a try. Thanks Ron once again.
 

Blu

Screenwriter
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Messages
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I still ponder why they didn't include the Lose Yourself video with this set.
That would have made it so much better!
 

Scott_J

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Question: I bought my copy of the WS "uncensored" disc today at BB. I just opened it up, and there is no chapter insert. There are 2 inserts: 1 is the form for the B2G1 offer, the other has pics from the film on the front and an ad for other Universal DVDs on the back - no chapter listing. Is this the same with everyone's or did I get screwed? Thanks.
 

LaMarcus

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I AM a fan of hip-hop, basically all I listen too, even though that's true, I was'nt really interested in seeing this movie. Though I'm a strong hip-hop listener I'm also a big movie watcher, but I do not like hip-hop movies. Because 8.5 times out of 10 hip-hop movies suck big time. And I can't stand bad acting or bad directing.

But I haven't been let down yet by one of Ron's reviews so I will rent this this weekend (if they have the widescreen version), if they don't I'll be forced to buy it like I was forced to buy Insomnia.

Ron definitely has me wanting to hear the music from the movie, he was getting me excited saying turn it up, I was like " WORD?!! It's bangin like dat? I can't wait ta hear dis at da crib kidd! Fa-sho!" Just A lil' bit of slang/Ebonics to go with this thread ( don't seem right to not have any talking about hip-hop and all :D).
 

Justin Lane

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Ron is keepin' it Gangsta.

This review has intrigued me to at least give this film a rent. I am thinking there will not be much rewatchability, but it should be entertaining.

J
 

JustinCleveland

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Ron_L:

A song sucks because it's over played? Odd logic. Either a song is good, or it is not. It does not become bad because of rotation on the radio. There are plenty of bad songs that have never been played, and tons of good ones you hear several times every day.

Sorry, DJ in me just snuck out there for a moment. I won't let it happen again.

Nice review, Ron. I'll have to check this one out... I avoided it in the theater because of the young punks I knew would be there for their hero Eminem... but this will be a rental for sure!
 

Zen Butler

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Ron, another great review. I too enjoyed this film in theaters more than once. It is a simple formula, but sometimes I don't care and just jump on the train. Ron, from youe review it seems you truly like this one? Any reason for the no "HIGLY RECOMMENDED" tag? or are you just keepin' it real?
 

MarkWC

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 12, 2001
Messages
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I bought it on monday, we get a jump start on US release dates by a day. I thought the transfer was very sharp and true to life. I was thrown by how deep this movie digs on an emotional level. It has your average street fights, gun slinging, and I stopped counting F words after about 100, but you really feel bad for Rabbit and get excited when things rarely turn his way. All in all, I think it was a great flick, one that took two full days to sink in before truly appreciating the movie.

The rap battles are intense, they do not saturate the emotional aspect of the movie, rather they are the result of emotional rollercoater of day to day living in da hood.

To be honest, I like Eminem, not the killing my girlfriend and raping my mother aspect, but his ability to draw you in and keep you there on many of his tracks. Big fan of Lose Yourself and was also thrown it wasn't included as a stand alone featurette.

Whether you are a fan of Eminem or hiphip, appreciate a good urban drama, or flat out want to be entertained for two hours I would say to pick it up to buy or at least rent. You will end up watching it again sooner than later.

Oh yeah, as Ron said, not a good movie to watch when everyone is sleeping. It just begs to be turned up. Also, make sure your rears are accurate because they get some good use too.

Enjoy...I did.
 

Nate Anderson

Screenwriter
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Jan 18, 2001
Messages
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I picked it up yesterday at Target for 14.99 as a blind purchase, which was pretty ballsy considering I'm not a real big fan of hip-hop or rap, but the price was too good to pass up and decided to give it a try, figuring if I didn't like it, I could I always pass it on to my brother, who likes Eminem.

To my surprise, I liked it. Go figure.

Besides, I figured if Epstein liked it, it had to be worth something.
 

Bruce Hedtke

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It's almost a
shame that it's co-star, Kim Basinger is wasted
with her minimal amount of screen time.
I was actually glad when she wasn't onscreen. She was miscast and her "accent" was a rambling mess. She pulled me out of the film with every appearance she made. Aside from that, the film was superb. While it's a world and a lifestyle I'm not familiar with, I was absorbed by the story and how it played out. One of the few blind purchases I make anymore and I'm certainly glad I did.

Bruce
 

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