Film Just before seeing ‘8 Mile’ I was listening to a radio review laud it for all the ‘gritty realism’. ‘Nil By Mouth’ had gritty realism. This is the Hollywood version. Yes, there are beatings, shootings and drub abuse, but director Curtis Hanson has brought a slick feel to them, dragging them into the mainstream, sanitizing them in a way for teenagers. This is supposed to be the semi-autobiographical story of Eminem’s early years.

Actually it’s ‘Krush Groove’ for the naughties. For anyone not aware of that opus beyond the reference in ‘Dogma’, this was an Eighties celebration of rap music which followed which followed a Run DMCian group on their path to fame via the corrupting influence of the record companies, featuring a host of genre stars including ‘The Fat Boys’ as comedy relief. Rewatching a bit of this movie puts everything ‘8 Mile’ is supposed to be in some kind of perspective.

Weirdly it also has the structure of a standard fighting arts film in the mould of ‘Rocky’ and actually clearly ‘The Karate Kid’. It begins with a fight (in this case rapping) which doesn’t go to well, and the sportsman (in this case Eminem’s character, Rabbit) has to train throughout the film until he is able to take on his most powerful of opponents in the final scene. In those films montage sequences feature shadow boxing, here we see Rabbit hunched over a desk memorizing rhymes. At some point in those films he will be betrayed by a close friend (check), romance some girl (check) and find himself beaten up (yup). Unfortunately this leaves you in little doubt as to who will win. Gritty realism is not this predictable. I was also reminded for some reason of ‘Coyote Ugly’ but let’s not go there.

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