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The Comeback Kids

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United States
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Chatura R.
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documents in English
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case study
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  1. Introduction
  2. Marshall Mathers
  3. 8 Mile and Ali
  4. Hip-hop music
  5. Analysis and conclusion

The greatest among us once were small. The movies 8 Mile and Ali showcase how two historical figures who are still alive today, Marshall Mathers (Eminem) and Muhammad Ali, succeeded despite facing great obstacles throughout their lives. The biographical film, Ali¸ directed by Michael Mann, catalogs the 1964-1974 decade of Muhammad Ali's life. The period was a particularly turbulent time since Ali refused to obey the draft and fight in Vietnam. He was stripped of his Heavyweight title and boxing license.

After the Supreme Court ruled him innocent he regained his license and eventually the title after his victory against George Foreman in Zaire. Will Smith, in preparation to play Ali, spent one year training in boxing, Islamic Studies, and dialect. 8 Mile is the story of well-known rapper Eminem's humble beginnings in inner city Detroit, Michigan. Eminem plays himself in the movie. The story of Eminem in this movie is one of everyday struggles. Eminem starts out freestyle battling other rappers in a shelter and chokes at first. After going through daily struggles which bring about inspiration within him, Eminem finds the strength to win a freestyle battle tournament.

The movie ends with a hopeful outlook on Eminem's future as he works on a demo to get noticed by a label and become a professional artist. Both movies make the argument that life finds a way despite obstacles placed against it. Both Ali and Eminem had to struggle with their race. Ali was a black man in America during the days of Malcolm X and the Vietnam War. Eminem was a white man trying to make it in hip-hop, a black-dominated genre of music.

[...] Universal Online. Ali. Dir. Michael Mann. By Michael Mann, Eric Roth, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson. Perf. WIll Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight. Columbia Pictures Television (Encore). [...]


[...] Ali, in the eyes of many, represented the racial struggles of the 60s. Eminem, on the other hand, is one of the most well-known rappers today, achieving superstar status. Both these figures saw humble beginnings, and their eventual success speaks to volumes to any audience member regardless of race or age. Even though they both came from different times, their success stories are universal lessons in the human ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In this way, the films have both individually and commonly held audiences. [...]

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