This week:
Eight Mile

Filthy says:
"Marshall Mathers, All-American Boy."

As far as commercials go, 8 Mile is a pretty fucking long one. I thought they were supposed to last 30 seconds. But this Marshall Mathers fellow is as determined to hustle his shit as that ragged bonehag Madonna. He once had a point of view, but now he’s just selling shit.
8 Mile is a calculated sell out.

Actually, I think Mathers sold out a long time ago, but this time he’s got a bunch of infatuated Hollywood grassfuckers promoting him. The way an early Madonna wanted to diversify beyond her core audience of teen sluts, Mathers wants to expand his record-buying audience beyond white teen males with “Rumblefish” fantasies.

8 Mile’s Mathers’ character says “I say whatever I want to whoever I want whenever I want.” He forgot to add, “so long as it’s scripted and carefully chosen not to offend anyone and to expand my appeal. What a little fucking sellout pussy. His message is a load of hot horseshit.

The movie doesn’t make Mathers brave or fearless, it just makes him safe. He’s a man who made his fame by badmouthing gays, and ragging on the weak. But his movie goes out of its way to show him as the soft-sided protector of little children, and a sensitive guy who understands his retarded friend. On his way up, Mathers was a big homophobe. But the movie plugs an entire scene in that has nothing to do with the plot to compensate. In it, he defends the sharp-dressing gay man at his work. Why? Not because Mathers now loves gays, but because he’ll let Hollywood act like Ex-lax on shit and soften him up. Now, because it’s more palatable to Hollywood, he loves gays. I think he’s an asshole for making fun of gays, but I think he’s an even bigger coward for letting Hollywood do his explaining for him. If you hate gays, just say it and divide the population. Don’t let Hollywood spitshine you in some pathetic attempt for universal admiration.

The plot is completely predictable rags to riches nonsense. It’s the same damn plot as Glitter, Cool as Ice and a dozen other shitty Hollywood attempts to make rock stars into movie stars. Here’s a kid with untapped talent who has hit rock bottom as the movie starts. He has doubters and Svengalis all around him. He isn’t so sure about his ability but perseveres to get out of the ghetto. In the end there’s a big showdown and he successfully avoids all the pitfalls and makes it because he stays true to himself.

The story is a bit slow. The only character development is about Mathers, and that’s a series of scenes designed to brandish his new socially acceptable image. Mathers protects the little girl, Mathers gets along with gays, nothing is Mathers fault. All the bad shit happens around him, but he never does it and he’s never at fault. For a movie about a “genius” rapper we hear a lot more about his genius than we see him proving it. Unlike in real life where Mathers goes after anyone and anything, in the movie he only attacks the characters who are clearly defined as “bad guys.” See, they deserve to be called bitches and cowards. That’s safe.

The differences between this and the rock star movie predecessors are two. First, Director Hanson surrounds Mathers with some pretty good actors. Mekhi Phifer and Eugene Byrd are excellent as two wannabe rap moguls trying to ride Mathers’s coattails. The dialog around Mathers flows well, even if everyone is always saying “dog.” Really, do the hip-hop kids say dog this much? Are they that lackluster and unimaginative? If so, I’m gonna start saying it and get my parents to say it until it isn’t cool anymore. “Grandma, get yo ass in the house, dog. Wheel of Fortune’s on.”

The second difference is that Hanson does a really fucking good job of capturing a real city, not a Hollywood city where gritty is represented by new stuff with smudges of schmutz on the top. This is what Detroit looks like: steel gray, dirty and broken. Know what I’m sayin’, dog?

Another difference is that the bad guys aren’t nearly that bad, and the obstacles aren’t very insurmountable. The movie opens with Mathers having the ability to succeed. We just have to spend 110 minutes with him polishing his brand name before he achieves his dream. He has to get beat up a bunch and he has to overcome his terrible stage fright. Shit, that’s just like Mariah Carrey in Glitter. She had stage fright too, dog!

The big question everyone asks is can Mathers act? I suppose this is important because we have such a shortage of trained actors looking for work in this country. Maybe if this Mathers kid can act, we can stop giving roles to Jason Lee and he can get back to scrubbing toilets. Well, you bet your ass that Mathers can act. His range goes from pissed off to more pissed off. He sulks sometimes, and then, WHAMMO, all the sudden he’s not sulking anymore. He’s brooding. Mercifully, Hanson limits the amount of talking Mathers has to do. He probably has the fewest lines of a movie lead since Buster Keaton. It’s all good, dog.
Brittany Murphy looks like she’s been drinking Nyquil. She’s boozy and wobbly, like the Harelip was that time she busted the heel off her boot. Basinger is going for the fucking gold. Either that or she’s hoping the folks at Hormel notice her performance and slice her deli-thin. She’s got the histrionics and overacting down pat, like she wandered onto the set in the afterglow of finishing a Lifetime Channel movie about some women’s disease. “Dog, you gotta stop binging and purging, dog.”

Ultimately, it’s just another rock star movie, starring a guy who wants everyone to think he’s bad ass, but also accessible and sympathetic. He’s a man who carefully plans and calculates the profits that will come from saying whatever wants whenever he wants, to as large an audience as possible. You aren’t so tough, Mathers. You aren’t so cool. You just let Hollywood cut your balls off. Two Fingers for 8 Mile, dog.

Want to tell Filthy Something?

Filthy's Reading
Paul Feig - Adventures in Adolescence

Listening to
Rocket From the Crypt- All Systems Go

To Catch a Thief

C. W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle

Santa Clause 2 is "rip-roaring holiday fun!"

The Ring is "so good, it's scary!"

Tuck Everlasting is "Four stars!"


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