GO BACK TO WHERE IT ALL STARTED.
Eminem is surprisingly good in this film, which is based on his own life story, about a white Detroit kid who has the talent needed to succeed as a rapper. The problem is young Jimmy’s lack of confidence, as well as the burden of virtually having to take responsibility for his kid sister and their unstable mother (Kim Basinger in an excellent performance). The run-down Detroit districts are convincingly portrayed by director Curtis Hanson, and the writer largely does a very good job concealing the formula of his script. It’s all very engaging, including the final hip-hop battle… even though some may object to the silliness of using music as a macho “sport”. The Oscar-winning song is dynamite.
2002-U.S. 110 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Curtis Hanson, Brian Grazer, Jimmy Iovine. Directed by Curtis Hanson. Screenplay: Scott Silver. Song: ”Lose Yourself” (Eminem, Jeff Bass, Luis Resto). Cast: Eminem (Jimmy Smith, Jr.), Kim Basinger (Stephanie Smith), Brittany Murphy (Alex), Mekhi Phifer, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller… Michael Shannon, Anthony Mackie.
Trivia: Quentin Tarantino and Alan Parker were allegedly considered for directing duties. Mackie’s first film.
Oscar: Best Original Song.
Last word: “One cannot hold the screen for a long period of time without conveying some kind of inner truth. I knew going into it that [Eminem] had experience performing and also adopting a character, Slim Shady. What I was looking for was actually the opposite of that. When you adopt a characterization, that’s artificial. You hide behind that. What I needed in this story was the appearance of a complete lack of artifice. I needed the appearance of one more or less exposing himself emotionally. And, so in my getting to know him, I had to assess and then make an educated guess of whether he would be able to do to that and whether he would trust me and the environment I would create enough to do that.” (Hanson, Rolling Stone)