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The Eminem Show

"8 Mile" wants to be the great rap movie of our time. No, that's not an oxymoron.

11:00 PM, Nov 7, 2002 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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What's missing from Rabbit is rage. Great rap--Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, N.W.A.--is always fueled by a combination of anger and ambition. It's the only authentic music left today, the only music that gets at the heart of the human condition. Eminem had that in his first album, mixed with a wicked misanthropy and a great sense of meter. Now that he's gone big-time, the hunger to get out of the trailer park has been replaced with the hunger to stay in the spotlight. Stripped too of his anger, as he is in "8 Mile," Eminem becomes an even less compelling dramatic figure.

"8 Mile" isn't cringingly awful--it isn't "Glitter"--it's just depressingly pedestrian. "Coyote Ugly," with bad words.

Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.