8 mile: Lose yourself in the movie

When I first heard Eminem was starring in a movie, I was skeptical. My initial thought was that this movie would end up being an other failed crossover attempt. I figured I’d be renting the movie a month after its failed release. Upon seeing “8 Mile,” I was left to wonder if I should stop jumping to conclusions.

“8 Mile” portrays a young white rapper in Detroit who struggles to be accepted in the hip-hop world. After breaking up with his girlfriend, Jimmy Smith, Jr., (Eminem) goes home to live with his mom (Kim Basinger) in a trailer. His friend (Mekhi Phifer) urges him to display his rapping talents at the weekly hip-hop battles he hosts, but Jimmy chokes the first time and is not willing to perform again. Brittany Murphy plays Alex, his love interest.

Though some might be shocked to hear that Eminem can actually act in this role, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. This movie has been termed semi-autobiographical, so it’s basically Eminem playing himself. John Popick, an Internet movie reviewer, said, “Expressing shock about his acting skills would be the equivalent of astonishment over Emeril packing you a nice lunch.” Even if he’s only playing himself, the pure fact that he can act in this movie makes it more than just a crossover flick.

“8 Mile” can actually be considered an inspirational movie. It shows his character overcoming the hardships in life. It’s a cliché, but it works. We like seeing the underdog succeed. But it’s not overdone. Jimmy doesn’t get a record contract and go on to be a big superstar, like you would think. Instead, he overcomes personal struggles, and that should mean more to the audience than the obvious Hollywood ending.

Overall, the movie’s plot, characters and, of course, the music combined are worth the $8.50. Besides, who can resist catching Eminem free styling to “Sweet Home Alabama?”

When the Best Actor Oscar is announced in March, the presenters might be asking “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”