starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, Mekhi Phifer
screenplay by Scott Silver
directed by Curtis Hanson
by Walter Chaw I was of a mind once that Kim Basinger is pretty good at playing a milquetoast and a sexual victim (I liked her in 9½ Weeks, and she won the Oscar, after all, for L.A. Confidential), but I stand corrected. As a milquetoast sexual victim (not to Eminem, surprisingly) and mother to a steel worker-cum-rapper, Ms. Basinger's every moment in Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile is a moment that the film, an otherwise serviceable underdog Flashdance intrigue, grinds to a halt. In reprising her abominable cornpone accent from the aptly named No Mercy, she fails to understand that "country-fried bayou redneck" makes a lot less sense in the liminal "8 Mile" section of Michigan than it does in New Orleans.