Gritty Inner City Drama On Streaming Is An Oscar Winner With One Of Music’s Biggest Stars Ever

By TeeJay Small | Published

8 mile

These days, Detroit rapper Eminem is best known for delivering jilted, shouty performances on poorly-produced rap songs and throwing numerous verbal shots at pop singers and up-and-coming rappers for fun. Back when his music career was first popping off however, Eminem was the subject of numerous extracurricular enterprises, including an Academy Award winning movie titled 8 Mile. 8 Mile is a semi-autobiographical tale, centering on Eminem’s struggles with poverty, romance, and gang violence before he became famous.

Cast And Crew

8 Mile was written by Joker scribe Scott Silver and directed by L.A. Confidential‘s Curtis Hanson. Eminem stars in the film as a fictionalized version of himself named Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith, alongside a number of talented performers such as Mekhi Phifer, Kim Basinger, Evan Jones, Taryn Manning, Anthony Mackie, Michael Shannon, and the late, great Brittany Murphy. Before Curtis Hanson officially signed on to helm the project, auteur filmmakers such as Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarantino were considered to direct.

The Story

The plot of 8 Mile centers on Jimmy, an aspiring rapper who lives in a trailer park in Detroit with his alcoholic mother and young sister Lily. Jimmy is a proficient wordsmith with a great talent at freestyling lyrics off the top of his head, though he suffers from stage fright, causing him to choke during his first attempt at a rap battle in the film.

When it seems that his life can’t get any worse, his mother moves in her new boyfriend, an abusive drug addict who is half her age, and actually graduated from high school just a few years before Jimmy himself.

Though Jimmy’s dreams of music stardom seem so distant, he does have friends with connections to the industry, such as Future, the host of the local battle rap venue, and Wink, who works for the local radio station.

Through their efforts to succeed, Jimmy and his crew become embroiled in a feud with a rival rap gang called the Leaders of the Free World, who frequently break into violent brawls and pull weapons on the residents of 8 Mile Road. After one particularly gruesome brawl, Jimmy’s simple friend Cheddar Bob accidentally shoots himself in the leg, causing the fight to disperse.

Things Get Dark Before The Dawn

8 mile

As the film builds to a thrilling climax, Jimmy is scorned by his newfound love interest, betrayed by his friends, abused by his mother and his rivals, and pushed to the brink after suffering humiliation in front of the crowd at the battle rap shelter. Eventually, 8 Mile concludes with the now-famous scene of Eminem freestyling a killer battle rap and displaying his skills with a newfound confidence.

A Smash Hit

8 mile

8 Mile opened to immediate critical praise, especially for Eminem’s surprising ability to perform in a dramatic role. The film made more than $240 million at the global box office against an estimated production budget of only $41 million, and even took home an Oscar for Best Original Song. Eminem famously skipped the Academy Award ceremony, believing he had no shot at winning, and instead fell asleep early while watching cartoons with his daughter at home.

Stream It Now

8 mile

Today, 8 Mile can be streamed through Starz, for those who haven’t yet seen the classic film, or those who are greatly overdue for a rewatch. Personally, this movie is a favorite of mine, dating back to my early years obsessing over Eminem’s music when I was probably too young to really be hearing half of what he was saying in the first place. The film is well worth a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.