January 24th, 2003



While waiting for a process to run, I've copied this from the review I did yesterday for Stanard Life's Film File:

I always have the problem when watching Shakespeare of a certain lack of context. It takes me a good 10-15 minutes to get used to the fact that most of the speech is in metaphor, based around the terms of the time, that usually turns out to be quite astoundingly rude once you understand the origins.

And so it is with 8 Mile. being the middle-class white kid who doesn't live in a trailer on the wrong side of the tracks and is infinitely more comfortable with Radiohead style dronings or Pink Floyd guitar solos than with rap's one-upmanship there was a fair amount of cultural divide to get over before I could get into the movie.

Once I managed that, I hit another problem; this isn't a complete story. The main character (Rabbit) has a life that is clearly following a certain shape, curving downwards through his youth before hitting rock bottom and curving upwards when he gets himself sorted out. Yuo don't get to see anything here except the week where he touches bottom, sorts himself out and starts his ascent. It's an interesting snippet, but the ending lacks any kind of hollywood feelgood satisfaction. You may like this, you may not.

However, once I focussed on what the film was, rather than what it wasn't, there was a lot to enjoy. The performances are all good, the plot doesn;t have any holes (largely because it's a sequence of events rather than a plot), the dialogue worked well (for a white kid who can't tell inauthentic rapping if Vanilla Ice was performing it) and Rabbit's progression was subtly put together.

Over the course of the film he goes from petulant teen (denying that anything is his fault, denying his situation (he's forced to move in with his mother, but constantly denies that he lives there), waiting for someone else to lift him out of his situation and allowing his temper to get the better of him) to a more mature position (realising he has to do things for himself if he wants them done, understanding the frailties of the people around him, refusing to fight pointlessly and ,in an almost zen-like moment of genius, using his own weaknesses against himself in order to take all of his enemy's weapons away from him.

So, if you have a penchant for rap (and the movie game me some insight into why rap is the way it is, obsessed with building yourself up and putting someone else down, by showing this in its natural habitat), admire Eminem or love movies about underdogs winning through, then add 2 points onto the score.

Which is 6.5, by the way.

Obquote:Do you ever wonder at what point you got to stop living up here and start living down here?

(no subject)

People are not robots.

People are not perfect.

Bodies are made of flesh.

Flesh is no perfection, but just good enough

It is not steel or marble, cast and carved into shape, but grown through experience and infection and bruising and hard work and every experience you ever had.

You will never look like the photographs you see of the beautiful people because the beautiful people themselves do not look like that.

Accept that you are who you are, imperfections and all.

If you do not, who will?