Sunday, February 06, 2005

lose yourself

we watched 8 mile last night -- a.k.a. the marshall mathers story. academy award-winning songwriter eminem plays the proverbial angry young white-trash factory worker in detroit, trying to make it as a rapper. despite a fucked-up home situation with his abusive-boyfriend-loving, bingo-addicted mom kim basinger and his angelic cherub of a little sister, lily (!); assorted female troubles; his own self-doubts; and sometimes violent diss-approval from the other neighborhood rappers at the saturday-night rap battle.

the cliches were thick and silly; 00soul said you could've made a drinking game out of it. like, every time somebody says "dawg," you gotta take a drink. (except, most people would probably be dead before the movie was over.) as em -- who is playing a guy named jimmy rabbit here; is that some sorta homage to the commitments? -- is laboring over his lines on the eve of one big battle, he peers pensively over at his towheaded kid sister, who positively glows in the dim trailer light as she plays with her toys, an innocent he must somehow protect from this unsavory world. gah. i think it's brittany murphy who plays his va-va-voom factory-floor fuck, an aspiring model who cheers him on -- come to think of it, often while positively glowing in the dim light. but she fucks his rival anyway.

everyone in this movie is hoping to become something better than what they are, but it ain't easy. em keeps choking at the battles. his pals fight over who should do his demo (or something). his ex-girlfriend wants him back. his mom is kind of psycho, but she also fixes him pancakes. it's all very cheesy, but, although there are some grim moments, it's not so much bleak as strangely sweet. almost everybody ends up getting closer to their dreams. his mom even wins at bingo! (that was ridiculous.)

is eminem a good actor? i believe that was a hot topic when this film came out. hard to tell from this. he doesn't really break out of his persona. maybe he's not playing himself, but we see bits of his persona in this character, like that wounded-child thing eminem has going on: jimmy confesses he always wanted to grow up in a nice middle-class house. and he uses his penchant for self-effacing humor as a plot point: in the end, rabbit takes down the absurdly named ruling-champ rapper, papa doc, by taunting him for having attended private school, then ripping himself and his pals and his pathetic life, then tossing the mike to the champ and challenging him to now tell the crowd something they don't know about him. which naturally renders papa doc speechless. ha HAH. white boy can too rap. or something.

it was all about grabbing onto your dreams, and losers turning into winners -- nice thoughts to have in mind on the eve of the super bowl. after all, we were rooting for the eagles, who were definitely the underdogs. alas, they also turned out to be the losers tonight, but at least they beat the line. the patriots were supposed to win by 7, but they only won by 3. sadly, the eagles just didn't keep it together. they could've won; it was within their reach. but too many mistakes, not enough focus. at least it was a good game. the halftime show was, naturally, blandly inoffensive ... as well as uncomfortably jingoistic. paul mccartney was just like, yeah, whatever -- who doesn't love a beatle? but even during the closing number of his set, "hey jude," they larded on the red, white, and blue in a lightshow, which included a statue of liberty shape projected onto the stage. there was also a tribute to world war II veterans (60 years since the end of their war), narrated by michael douglas, which naturally morphed into a tribute to those serving in today's armed forces -- flash shots of troops in afghanistan, iraq, and germany. the national anthem was sung by a choir comprising cadets from all the services, instead of a tuneless pop singer or even neil diamond. which at least guaranteed an adept and happily un-flashy rendition, but still seemed like pandering.

yet probably the weirdest juxtaposition was the use of u2's "sunday bloody sunday" over a montage of shots of players grinding each other into the ground during the bumpers before the second half started. that was fucking twisted.

the commercials were mainly duds, with a few (wholesomely) funny ones. nothing i can really remember right now. except, there was one by a job-search company (can't remember which one) in which a chimpanzee in a business suit kissed the ass of a similarly garbed chimp that was supposed to be its boss. so, instead of human nudity of any sort, we get clothed simians bussing each other's nether regions? and people say gay marriage is a slippery moral slope.

speaking of which, it seems there's a christian extremist argument to be made for gay marriage. at least, in my warped brain. recently the doc passed on a link to "there is no tomorrow" -- a great and scary story by the inestimable bill moyers. it provides a closer examination of the mentality behind those people who believe in things like the rapture index, and that the end times are a necessary, even welcome, step in god's plan. it's why war in the middle east is ok and environmental issues aren't a concern for these christian-right types. whatever brings us closer to the end times is a good thing, it seems.

(UPDATE: in the above-linked article, moyers erroneously attributed a quote to james watt. moyers has now copped to the mistake and apologized.)

so i gotta ask, if this is the case, then how come these same folks don't embrace gay marriage and women's equality and super-bowl tit-flashing and stuff like that? aren't there societal-breakdown components to the end days, as well? one would think it would be a christian duty to encourage these things ... or at least to not stand in their way. all those people stuffing the FCC's complaint inbox with morally outraged spam ought to shut up for the greater good! let howard rage! let the girls go wild! and just endure it ... be in the world, not of it ... because soon enough the righteous cleansing will begin. hmmm ... maybe this is the real reason adelphia has started offering the XXX-rated PPV porn? after all, it's a christian operation that until recently wouldn't even carry softcore. perhaps it's seen the error of its ways? sure, the profit margins are probably attractive too, especially for a company with as many legal problems as that one, but this is the big picture, bay-bee! we're talking eternity here. what's wrong with peddling a little trash if it helps make your dreams come true?

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