What a year 2002 has been for Eminem. His new album, The Eminem Show, sold 7.4 million copies and his feature film debut 8 Mile has been one of the most successful pop music films in history. But Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, says he may be getting too big. "It's almost getting to the point where I truly believe I may be getting too big for my own good," he told the Detroit Free Press, "and I never really asked for that." The 30-year-old rapper, who has given up drugs and works out daily, said he also fears his success and newfound mainstream acceptance may do more harm than good. "When everyone loves you, who's left to hate you?" he said. "The kids want something they can hold on to that their parents hate. I know I did growing up. I didn't want to listen to anything my parents listened to." Looks like the bad boy of rap knows a good marketing strategy when he sees it.
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling was the top woman earner in Britain this year, according to an annual list in The Mail on Sunday newspaper. Rowling, whose enchanting annual pay of $77 million was six times the salary of Queen Elizabeth, was followed on the list by Madonna, investment banker Robin Saunders, The Weakest Link host Anne Robinson and Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Pop singer Justin Timberlake, who hired a look-alike of his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears in the video for his new single "Cry Me a River," is denying that the video is about their breakup. "I feel I became so consumed about her that I didn't see some things that I should have seen," Timberlake told Vibe magazine. "I don't feel like I'm saying too much when I say she knows why this happened."
On Friday a federal judge blocked the deportation of English-born rapper Ricky "Slick Rick" Walters stemming from his attempted murder conviction for shooting a cousin, the cousin's pregnant girlfriend and a bystander, The Associated Press reports. The rapper pleaded guilty to the shooting, which occurred in 1990, and spent five years in a New York prison. Walters was arrested in June by Immigration and Naturalization Service agents enforcing a U.S. law requiring deportation of foreigners convicted of violent felonies and has been in jail since.
Hip-hop star-turned-actress Queen Latifah is scheduled to be arraigned today on not-so-regal drunk driving charges following her arrest near Universal City, Calif., last month, according to City News Services. The performer was stopped on Nov. 20 after she allegedly made an unsafe lane change on the Hollywood Freeway. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI after failing a field sobriety test. According to California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Delgadillo, Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, cooperated with officers and was released on $2,500 bail.
Eva Mendes, who played Denzel Washington's kept girlfriend in the police actioner Training Day, will be reunited with her on-screen love interest for MGM's fall thriller Out of Time. The film revolves around a small-town police officer who steals money from the evidence room to runaway with his lover. But when she double-crosses him, he discovers the affair was a setup and vows to seek revenge. The film, which also stars Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain, is scheduled for release Oct. 3, 2003.
Superior Court Judge R. Bruce Minto ordered rapper and producer Master P to pay $105,000 in punitive damages to a grandmother whose voice was secretly recorded and used to introduce a track on artist Magic's album Sky's the Limit, the AP reports. Geneva Burger, 80, said she didn't know a conversation with a friend of her grandson was being taped when she asked, "When people get hooked on pot, can they get sick if they don't get it?" She said she suffered embarrassment and anxiety when she heard her voice on a "crude gangsta rap CD."
In his feature film debut Eminem is Jimmy Smith Jr. a poor aspiring rapper living in a trailer park on Detroit's 8 Mile Rd.--the city's perimeter road which separates it from the 'burbs or more specifically the blacks from the whites. After breaking up with his girlfriend Janeane (Taryn Manning) Jimmy nicknamed "Rabbit " heads back to the trailer park to live with his mom (Kim Basinger) a lush with a penchant for bingo. He gets a day job in a factory so he can save enough money to get back on his feet but at night heads to the Shelter a hip-hop club where the city's best rappers "battle" each other in 45-second rounds of verbally abusive rhymes. Even though his friends including Shelter MC Future (Mekhi Phifer) believe in him Rabbit suffers stage fright and freezes like a deer in the headlights when it comes to competition time. But he realizes his entire future--and getting out of Detroit--rests on making it in the hip-hop world and cutting his own demo. To do so Rabbit must first find his voice and win a coveted battle. The battles whether you like hip-hop or not are worth the price of admission alone.
According to Eminem whose real name is Marshall Mathers III this film is part real and part made-up. But his character gets a complete Hollywood makeover here and it's glaringly easy to discern fact from fiction. 8 Mile's Rabbit for example is concerned with gun violence (Eminem was arrested twice in 2000 for weapons violations for which he received probation). And when a coworker starts harassing one of Rabbit's gay coworkers he breaks into a defensive rhyme: "Why you f***ing with the gay guy G? You're the one with the HIV." Audiences longing for a compassionate and caring version Eminem won't be disappointed. In his big screen debut Eminem is convincing and hardly afraid to show a soft and vulnerable side. He's a rapper and lyricist at heart however and his spiels often take on a cadence similar to his rap style. As Rabbit's buddy Future Phifer is solid and their relationship on screen is believable and endearing. Brittany Murphy is also great as the skanky Alex whose plan is to get out of Detroit by sleeping with all the wrong people. Basinger however delivers a bland performance as the drunk mom whining about her teen boyfriend's lack of sexual prowess.
Director Curtis Hanson scored Oscar nods for Best Picture and Best Director and won Best Adapted Screenplay in 1997 for the drama L.A. Confidential which is one reason there is more than a bit of buzz surrounding 8 Mile. The film is good but it's not Oscar worthy. Hanson paints a gritty and realistic portrait of the Murder City circa 1995 but the film's problem lies with the story written by The Mod Squad scribe Scott Silver. For one week viewers get a voyeuristic peek into Rabbit's life: he beats people up works hard has sex gets beaten up and sometimes raps. It's a stagnant view that never seems to go anywhere. While we know what happens to his mom--she wins big at bingo washes her hair and does the groceries--we never find out what happens to Rabbit. We can't even assume the film leaves off where Eminem's career starts because it's not a biopic. But despite the weak story Hanson commands a strong performance from Eminem and showcases both the rapper's newfound acting abilities and his musical talent. Considering the film's strength lies in Eminem it's surprising there weren't more musical performances from the Grammy-winning rapper.
This film is based on Elegy for Iris literary critic John Bayley's biography of his late wife the brilliant writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch. Iris is unconventional in the sense that it does not adhere to a structured plot or story line but instead focuses on their relationship by flashing back and forth between the present and 40 years ago when the two first met. In the sequences taking place in the past Kate Winslet plays a young confident Murdoch in her formative years a woman revered by men and openly bisexual. Hugh Bonneville plays the young and apprehensive Bayley hopelessly pursuing her. The present however reveals a drastic role reversal for the couple: We see Murdoch in her 70s as played by Judi Dench and witness her descent into Alzheimer's disease and the toll it takes on her husband played by Jim Broadbent. The once-subservient husband has been thrust into a caretaker position and painfully tries to cope with his beloved wife's illness and loss of sanity.
Dench deservedly received a best actress Oscar nomination for the fabulous job she does as the older Murdoch. She is convincing as a brilliant thinker and even more believable as her condition worsens--check out the heartbreaking scene when Bayley locks himself in the study to get away from her irrational behavior and she scratches the windowpane on the glass door like a cat while looking at her husband with utter helplessness. Dench conveys her character's vulnerability in a single glance. As an older Bayley Broadbent is as impressive as Dench especially as he struggles to be assertive yet avoid being too harsh. Bonneville as a young Bayley could almost be Broadbent's clone. At first glance he looks like the same actor made to look older through some sort of makeup or special effects wizardry. Bonneville skillfully hatches the young Bayley's traits and tics later perfected by Broadbent. Winslet also Oscar-nominated for Iris (in the supporting actress category) well plays Murdoch's early audacity and boldness.
Director Richard Eyre does a beautiful and seamless job flowing from the past to the present throughout the film. Although the film barely delves into Murdoch's work the importance of her writing is established with scenes from a BBC interview or a luncheon given in her honor. Eyre also does an exceptional job conveying Bayley's hopeless predicament: he fusses over Murdoch like an overprotective parent intermittently lashing out at her only to apologize sobbing afterward for having done so. It's sweet and pitiful especially since Bayley believes that the Iris he fell in love with is still in there somewhere. But while the film is visually exquisite and convincing the subject matter is not necessarily entertaining. We know Murdoch will eventually succumb to her illness but it's even more dreadful to have to watch every agonizing step. By the time Murdoch was reduced to playing in the dirt and watching Teletubbies I found myself wondering When is she going to die already?