WTF of the Week: Eminem Starring in Boxing Flick 'Southpaw'


To Eminem fans everywhere, I apologize  for socking it to him frequently as of late, but today  he's once again made himself the perfect clay pigeon for my editorial buck shot. According to, the great white ???? is set to star in a new film.
Not a low-budget character study about a gay, white man living in the
urban black man's world, or some bizarre cinema vérité about an
up-and-coming rapper drafted into the Marine Corps during the Vietnam
war, struggling to survive a deployment as a claustrophobic tunnel rat
under a steaming jungle so he can get home to his pregnant wife and
record his magnum opus. A film buff could only wish for something so
simultaneously absurd and potentially compelling. But no, our dear Em
has decided he is going to star, in all things, a boxing film. Oh yeah
baby, we're in wide-open, un-tread territory now.

The specifics:
film, which reportedly will be penned by veteran writer Kurt Sutter, the
talent behind such gritty cable fare as the Sons of Anarchy and The
, will tell the story of an up-and-coming welterweight boxer
whose life has been affected by tragedy and is seeking to “reclaim old

While on the one hand, I can agree with those who back the
project, this scenario represents an apt metaphor for Em's real
life–a white-trash kid who struggled with multiple family and social issues while fighting
to survive inner-city Detroit. But where I see this project as a total
failure of the Eminem life narrative, is in its originality, which at
the pinnacle of his early career he expressed in spades. Despite the
tastelessness and moral depravity of Eminem's early work, nobody
in the rap genre can come close to the razor-sharp wit, and acerbic
vitriol of his best lyrics.

Begging the Question:
Why a
fucking boxing film? There are fewer cinematic story formats as
uninspiring,  narratively restrictive and abjectly trite as the
pugilistic pic.

I can see it now: This year we'll watch narcissistic former rapper Mark Wahlberg stoically mug his way through The Fighter, a film that asks the viewer to believe that a guy like
Wahlberg has had to struggle with anything close to normalcy in the
last 20 years, and that he is just like the rest of us schmoes. Then, in
two years, we can all hit the reset button and watch Eminem pretend that
he's just another schmoe. Meanwhile, we can all try to forget that
superstars Russell Crowe, Hilary Swank and Will Smith have recently done
their own boxing films about “average” people facing extraordinary
circumstances and expected us munch our popcorn like we we're experiencing something
great for the first time. At least when former superstar Sylvester
Stallone did Rocky back in 1976, he was a nobody, which truly
made the metaphor apt.

I'm just a hater, you say? Just ranting about
things I couldn't possibly understand? Fine. But to Eminem, I beg,
don't do this film. Use your newly found sobriety and channel your
energy into something you're really good at and blow us all away
again. Or make this movie, and throw everything you have into it, and
prove me wrong.

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