Ghetto Poetry

Essay by umkchellUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Musicals have changed over the years. In the past, many movies were filled with light-hearted singing and dancing that entertained audiences on the big screen. Most were family flicks that could be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. But times are different now and so too are the musicals. One movie, in particular, has changed many of the boundaries held by the common musical. It contains sex, violence, and an extremely large quantity of profanity. Also, the music the film provides is unlike any other previous genre of music for it is a darker form of lyrical poetry. The title of this movie is none another than 8 Mile.

In Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, Jimmy Smith Jr. (Eminem), more commonly known as Rabbit or B-Rabbit, is an aspiring white rap artist struggling to be recognized for his lyrical talent in a music form that is dominated by black artists. The story takes place in 1995 Detroit, Michigan.

It is a city rapidly falling prey to economic devastation, where Eight Mile Road marks the line that separates black urban streets from white suburbia. The film depicts the rough aspects of Jimmy's life through his job at a metal-pressing plant and his relationship with his self-serving alcoholic mother, Stephanie Smith (Kim Basinger). It is also vividly portrayed in the gritty shooting style in which the film's director creates the feeling of oppression and collapse. The film's thematic significance lies primarily in Jimmy's efforts to overcome insecurities, coping with his fear of failure, surviving the reality life has dealt him, and the appeal the movie still has today.

One scene that greatly illustrates Jimmy's insecurities and fear of rejection occurs at the beginning of the film. The locale is the dimly-lit men's room of an abandoned church where he vomits as a result...