8 Mile (2002)


A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem. (IMDb)
The rap battles laced throughout are awesome and really get your adrenaline pumping, but they’re by far the best parts of the film. Though Jimmy is a decent protagonist, the gritty drama of poverty and racial tension in his life is never fully realized (though the themes do come together poignantly in his final confessional rap battle), thanks to a script that doesn’t take the time to develop any plot points beyond a couple scenes (the caught-cheating romantic interest being a perfect example).
6.5/10 (Alright)

Clueless (1995)


A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil’s popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way. (IMDb)
The title is apt for all the wrong reasons; this is teen comedy at its most childish and uninspired. The high school stereotypes are a staple for most films of this ilk (especially for this supposed satire), but the story they are placed in is so bland and surface-y that more complex (or at least extreme) characters are needed (only Murphy’s Tai is ever really funny). The “satire” here needs to be much more gregarious and biting for it to make up for the lazy story and uninteresting characters.
4.5/10 (Bad)

Uptown Girls (2003)


A grown-up woman, who kept her childish instincts and behavior, starts working as a nanny of a 8-year-old girl, who actually acts like an adult. But in the end everything turns to its right places. (IMDb)
Great characters elevate a slight story here: Murphy’s dorky and dramatic Molly, and Fanning’s hilariously uptight old soul 8 year old Ray, intriguingly connected by similar tragic pasts. Their relationship is entertaining even if it does follow a predictable trajectory, and while their respective character development is rushed, it’s captured by two compelling visuals (the tea-cup ride; the guitar ballet), still tugs on the heartstrings, and in Molly’s case, is refreshingly light on romance.
7/10 (Good)