Of all the pop-star vehicles to appear around this time, this is the only one that had any merit. Indeed, it is one of the finest musical movies of the decade, all because, unlike its peers, it had real emotional content and a compelling story to tell.
This was one of the earliest rap musicals, and the first one good enough to make a real impression (most of the previous ones were kitschy embarrassments like Cool As Ice or Kazaam), a vehicle for genius-level rapper Eminem that traced a barely fictionalized version of his own life story and rise to fame.
Eminem stars as a young, ambitious white rapper known by the stage name of Brer Rabbit, and gives a stunning performance that is all the more remarkable given his total lack of acting experience at the time. The script is compelling and provides a painfully honest look at Eminem’s background and where his music came from, the supporting cast is uniformly superb, and the rap lyrics are astounding, some of the best in the history of the genre.
The film also produced the Oscar-winning hit single “Lose Yourself”, which to date remains Eminem’s biggest hit, and with good reason. I wouldn’t advise watching this film if you are one of those people who unequivocally hate all rap music, but if you have any tolerance whatsoever for the genre, I highly recommend it as the finest pop-star film vehicle of the decade, and one of the finest musical films in general.