is a 2002 American hip-hop drama film, directed by Curtis Hanson
and starring Eminem
, Kim Basinger
, Brittany Murphy
, and Mekhi Phifer.
It's a semi-autobiographical account of Eminem's early years in Detroit, struggling to make ends meet and get his career off the ground. As such, the film is set in the underground Detroit hip hop scene in 1995. The film depicts white rapper Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. (based upon a younger Eminem) as he struggles for respect among his black peers.
This film provides examples of:
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Jimmy and his mother may snark one and other, but in the end they genuinely care for each other. This is proven twice, when Jimmy fights Greg for hitting his mom and when near the end when his mom won bingo, the first thing she does is offer to make him pancakes. As well as support him when he says he plans to do his rap career on his own.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Even Wink cracks up when Jimmy drops the line "How can six dicks be pussies?" during his climactic freestyle.
- In turn, you can see Rabbit crack a smile at Lotto's Leave It to Beaver line. He even admits to Sol George that the line was so good it almost got him.
- Ad Hominem: A powerful tactic among rappers. This is how Jimmy wins the rap duel at the end, preempting Papa Doc's Ad Hominem rap by acknowledging he's a white trash before revealing that Papa Doc is actually Clarence, a well-off lad from the upscale suburbs with a good education at Cranbrook and happily-married parents — a total alien from such a neighborhood as downtown Detroit.
- The Alcoholic: Stephanie, Jimmy's mother.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Stephanie becomes this to Jimmy when Wink and Alex drop by at his trailer.
- Autobiographical Role: This movie basically tells Eminem's life story...
- Berserk Button: You do not want to hit Jimmy's mother with him around, you will regret it.
- Big Bad: Papa Doc.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: All of Jimmy's anger and aggression melts away whenever he's with his little sister.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Jimmy's supervisor at the auto plant won't tolerate him taking any time off from his work - even if it's because someone else has come by and started talking to him without his wanting it.
- Chekhov's Gun: "Papa Doc? You mean Clarence? He went to Cranbrook..."
- Chekhov's Gunman: Moderately early in the film, Jimmy defends his gay co-worker Paul from a homophobic asshole. Much later in the film, Jimmy is given extra shifts to work the night of the rap battle. After realizing he does want to battle, Jimmy gets Paul to cover for him at the factory so he can go. Before, after, and between these scenes, Paul is basically completely absent.
- Cuckold: Jimmy Smith (Eminem) walks in on his Love Interest (portrayed by the late Brittany Murphy), having sex with Wink, one of his friends. After a Cock Fight that Jimmy wins, Wink makes a Face-Heel Turn and joins a gang that later beat up Jimmy. During the rap battle at the finale, the fact that he was cuckolded is used to attempt to humiliate Jimmy. Jimmy comes out on top, anyway.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Jimmy dishes one out to Papa Doc in the end, when he goes first in the battle and turns every humiliating experience and insult that the Free World is about to dish out to him into a freestyle, completely catching him off-guard.
- Eureka Moment: Right before the final battle, Rabbit is visibly nervous about taking on Papa Doc, wondering what he's going to say to beat him. Cheddar Bob, in what at first appears to be another Idiot Ball moment, asks Rabbit if he's worried about all the things Papa Doc is going to use against him, especially since they're all true. You can see the gears working in Rabbit's head as he realizes that's exactly what he needs to do- admit all these things about himself up front, while stressing their irrelevance, giving Papa Doc literally no ammunition against him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: After Wink joins the Free World and they beat Jimmy up, one member pulls out a gun and points it at Jimmy's face. Wink immediately steps in and gets the guy to back off, though at the end, he still leaves with them.
- Face-Heel Turn: Wink.
- Fake Pregnancy: Near the beginning of the film Rabbit says his girlfriend might be pregnant. She later says she just said that in an effort to make him stay.
- Hard Work Fallacy: The main character (who is in no way an Author Avatar of Eminem himself) seeks to prove himself a great rapper, despite poverty, relationship troubles, and racial issues.
- Idiot Ball: Cheddar Bob is always holding it. From yelling "Fuck the Free World" right in the crew's face to setting the abandoned house on fire while everyone was still in it.
- Jerkass: Greg, Stephanie's live-in boyfriend, and, of course, the members of the Free World rap group.
- Karma Houdini: Alex gets no comeuppance for having sex with Wink. Jimmy seems to forgive her and she doesn't even apologize.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Papa Doc spends the entire film humiliating Rabbit for being a white rapper. Then Rabbit reveals to the whole club that Papa Doc is really named Clarence, comes from a wealthy family and his tough persona is an act. Watching him as he realizes he has permanently lost any respect or fear he once inspired in people and that he can never regain it is a wonderful sight to behold.
- Miles Gloriosus: Papa Doc pretends to be a tough, street wise gangster who grew up in the same rough lifestyle as Rabbit. Then its revealed he is actually from a wealthy family and his entire persona is a facade that is smashed in front of everyone.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Two origin stories are given for Jimmy's nickname of "Rabbit." One is that his mother started calling him that because he had buck teeth as a baby. Another is that it's because "he's fast and he likes to fuck." Given the context in which both origins were told, the former is likely the true one.
- Paralysis by Analysis: Rabbit chokes the first time he goes on stage.
- Pretender Diss: In the final rap battle, Jimmy reveals that Papa Doc is a well-off guy named Clarence from a stable family and went to a private school. Jimmy, despite being white trash, has far more in common with the poor black community in downtown Detroit because he's actually from there and went through the same things they did.
- Real Is Brown: Well, except that in this particular film, Real Is Green.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Jimmy's friend, Cheddar Bob, shoots himself in the leg as he puts a gun in his waistband.
- Self-Deprecation: Alongside the subsequent pretender dis against Papa Doc, this is the main reason for Jimmy's win in the final rap battle. He pre-empts Papa Doc by acknowledging every possible diss he can use against him, but that despite all that he's still fighting on. The crowd admires his honesty, and Papa Doc is left without any material.
- Token Minority: Paul, Jimmy's homosexual co-worker.
- Who Jimmy ends up defending from a homophobic co-worker:
Jimmy: Paul may be gay, but you're the faggot.
- Jimmy himself, being basically the only white in an area full of black guys, and definitely the only white rapper.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The rap battles in the movie are these but in musical form. In fact, the point of winning is that you need to give a better speech than your opponent. Jimmy then turns this on its head in the final rap battle and delivers a "Reason I Suck" speech toward Papa Doc, specifically so that he couldn't give one of these back at Jimmy. It worked.
Jimmy: I'm a piece of fucking white trash. I say it proudly. Here, tell these people something they don't know about me.
- The Unfair Sex: When Jimmy catches his girl Alex sleeping with Wink...he beats up the guy and does nothing to Alex. Then again, Wink had been a longtime friend of his, making the betrayal arguably worse.