Friday, April 22, 2016

Riske Business: Mall Movies of the 2000s: 8 Mile

by Adam Riske
Yo Bromley! Spin that shit. I’m cleanin’ out my claw-zit.

The Entrance:
Welcome back! What is a mall movie you ask? Here’s the definition from Riske’s dictionary:

Mall Movie (mawl moovee) (noun): A movie released in the year 2000 or later that would have played at a shopping mall cinema if it were released in the 1980s or 1990s. Kitschy, genre-defined, eclectic, exploitative, incongruous, idiosyncratic, sleepover appropriate.

My latest pick is 2002’s 8 Mile, directed by Curtis Hanson.
 Mall Movie Signifiers
1. Centered Around Rap Music
2. Stars a Musician
3. Takes Place in Detroit
4. Trailer Trash
5. Sex Scene in a Car Factory
6. Street Gangs/Street Life
7. Pervasive Scenes of DJs

Underneath It Mall
I remember seeing the trailer for 8 Mile for the first time before I saw Blue Crush with a group of friends. Seventy-five percent of them said “that looks dumb” after the trailer ended but I turned to my friend Chris and we just looked at each other like “OMG! I have to see this movie, like yesterday.” Then came November 8th, 2002, and I went to see 8 Mile opening night with friends at college. Our campus theater was sold out of the movie -- for three days! The box office girl basically laughed at me like I was asking for a Turbo Man doll on Christmas Eve. Cut to the following Monday, I saw 8 Mile and I loved it despite not being the biggest Eminem fan. Some of the songs are good but most just don’t do anything for me; his best work, in my humble opinion, are the songs he has on this film’s soundtrack. What I really loved about 8 Mile is that it’s basically a rap Purple Rain. Considering I saw 8 Mile before Purple Rain made it seem even more impressive to 2002 Adam Riske.

It clicked for me pretty early on in this most recent viewing that I still love this movie. This is one of my favorite movies centered on music. I mean, there’s Cheddar Bob (one of the great annoying characters of all-time), Michael Shannon, Anthony Mackie, Eminem’s funny “sensitive” acting when he has scenes with his on-screen daughter etc. Not to mention “Lose Yourself” is one of the greatest songs every put into a movie. #MomsSpaghetti
Mall Run
8 Mile was a bona fide mallbuster. It opened at #1 in its opening weekend, making over $51M, finishing with $116M at the end of its run. Long story short, Leaders in the Free World were in the motherfucking house.

How was the trip? (Ratings go from 1-4)
Tell your mom to pick us up in 3.5 hours! I want to practice my rap battling in the parking lot after the movie ends. Oh, and tell your mom I’ll get the seven digits from her for a dollar tomorrow. OH!!!!!

What’s Next at the Mall?
A double feature! Road Trip and EuroTrip, followed by a slice at Garibaldi’s and a $50 shopping spree at Service Merchandise!

Peace out!


  1. What's the matter dog? You embarrassed?
    This guys a gangsta, his real name is Clarence...
    For similar reasons I have affection for this movie, it was so much better than it could of been, and that Rap battle the first time you saw it was epic, I could recite the whole battle segment now I know it so well
    Everybody from the 313 put your Muther F#ckibg hands up and follow me.....

    1. ...and Clarence parents have a real good marriage...the best! I love Eminem and this movie was made for me. I don't listen to that much music, anymore. Who do or did you guys listen to...hip hop wise?

    2. I'm still stuck old school. My music taste does not grow, I never listen to new music, I'm not proud of this, just saying, Public enemy, Ice T, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang, Dmx, Cypress hill, Da lench mob, and my Favourite underated artist is very hardcore Political Hip Hop is Paris, YouTube Paris Bushkilla if you've not heard of him, Sleeping with the Enemy and The Devil made me do it are his albums I love, I love artists with a passion, Plan B's first album also really sticks with me, Who needs actions when you've got words...

  2. A friend and I rented it in college expecting to make fun of it. It turned out to be a really well-done movie.

    Beyond the amazing rap battle at the end where he ruins the other guy's reputation, I like the ambiguity around his job at the auto plant. He wants overtime to make some more money, gets a chance to make some, but then sneaks away for the rap battle. At the end, he rushes back to work rather than go out and celebrate his victory.

    A lesser movie would have tried to push some kind of message with a big dramatic scene of him quitting his job or getting fired with some crappy line about having to make a choice. Instead, it shows how he's legitimately trying to thread the needle of being responsible without giving up on his dreams. Really a well-made film.

  3. I just remembered an old podcast when you brought up Cheddar Bob, and Patrick was like "Who, Cheddar Bob, what the fuck you talkin about Riske? I'm out, you lost me". Brilliant