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Volume 68, Issue 53, Thursday, November 7, 2002

Arts & Entertainment

Eminem has hopes of '8 Mile' going the distance

By Andrew Beard
The Daily Cougar

In 1991, film producers took a chance on a popular, white rapper named Vanilla Ice. The result was one of the biggest box office disasters of the early 1990's. The film, Cool as Ice, simultaneously ended the film and music career of Vanilla Ice, who now likes to be referred to as Mark Van Winkle.

Fast forward to eleven years later and the music industry is thriving on the shoulders of yet another white rapper known as Eminem.

Film directors remain skeptical, still smelling the rotting corpse in the film flop basement known as Cool as Ice. It seemed the industry was in between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, several rappers, including Ice Cube, De. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Redman and even Queen Latifah had successfully crossed over into film. On the other hand, it was Cool as Ice.

In 8 Mile, Eminem and the film industry have hopes of capitalizing on the controversial rapper's high-flying status.
Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

After months of deliberation, an answer arose: cast this cash cow known as Eminem in a film, but keep the story loosely based on his life and surround him with an experienced and highly professional cast. The result: 8 Mile.

Who can blame them?

Eminem, also known as Marshall Mathers, reaches out to the kids that Master P and Puff Daddy can't get close to, not to mention the fact that his records stay at the top of the charts for months at a time.

Eminem plays a local Detroit rapper known as Bunny Rabbit. He's pegged as a genius by his close circle of friends, but publicly, he chokes at rap contests called "battles."

Now branded with the curse of a choke, Bunny Rabbit continues to write and rap as he breaks up with his girlfriend, moves back in with his mother, played by Academy award-winner Kim Basinger, and falls for a mysterious seductress played by Brittany Murphy.

The film has been hyped all year long, and the Oscar buzz has been working overtime on Eminem's lead performance. And with the help of Academy Award-winning director Curtis Hanson behind him, Eminem might, once and for all, erase Cool as Ice from the collective memory of every film producer in Hollywood.

Landmark Theatres' Midnight Series brings to the screen one of the late Stanley Kubrick's finest films this weekend, Clockwork Orange (1972).

Based on Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name, the film stars Malcolm McDowell and Warren Clarke.

From the Droogs to a haunting Beethoven sequence, Kubrick's masterpiece excels on all levels of filmmaking.

The film follows a man who can't get enough of the "drink" and saunters around town committing acts of "ultra-violence." When the social institutes get a hold of him finally, they attempt to brainwash him and ultimately set his life straight.

In films, that's just not the way it works, and Kubrick couldn't have created a more brilliant film that addresses such social woes.

For his efforts, Kubrick was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Ever since Brian De Palma broke out with Scarface, the film director has failed to entertain moviegoers.

Along with hopes of forgetting about his last flop, Snake Eyes, and prying his lens from any scenes similar in any way to the great Alfred Hitchcock, the director's latest film, Femme Fatal, also gets the unlucky draw of getting released alongside 8 Mile.

But that's why there are supermodels-turned-actresses.

Luckily for De Palma, producers were able to pry Rebecca Romijn-Stamos from hubby John. Unlike Cindy Crawford, Romijn-Stamos successfully crossed over from modeling into film when she was cast in the first installment of the X-Men trilogy.

Unfortunately the seesaw known as the film business slammed hard in the other direction when Romijn-Stamos' Rollerball bombed.

This weekend she hopes to regain her acclaim with Femme Fatal, a whodunit involving the theft of $10 million worth of diamonds from a model show. Romijn-Stamos' character plays the hired thief, but instead of returning it to her boss, she makes off with the loot.

Unfortunately for her husband and his bandmates, The Rippers do not make an appearance either in the film or on the soundtrack.

Oh, and Antonio Banderas stars.

The independent film Roger Dodger also opens this weekend. Starring a few of the industry's forgotten ones: Campbell Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Elizabeth Berkley and Jennifer Beals. The comedy/drama was written and directed by newcomer Dylan Kidd.

Basically, the film is about a guy who gets dumped and looks to erase every misconception he has toward women, turning into the man every woman loathes.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston wipes the dust off David Bowie's cult classic, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. As part of its revival program, the museum will run the movie at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Directed by D.A. Pennebaker (the guy who caught on film Bob Dylan's Don't Look Back (1967)), the 1973 musical documentary captures Bowie's last performance as his alter-ego with Spiders From Mars.

Bowie, who was in his prime during the making of the film, is flanked by bandmates Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodsmansy and Ringo Starr. They play themselves.

The MFAH will run the film again Nov. 29 and 30.

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