Eminem: The Anger Management Tour [DVD]

Mike Schiller

Performances like this are the reason people get hooked on caffeine pills. You'll need a box just to stay awake.


The Anger Management Tour [DVD]

Label: Interscope
US Release Date: 2005-06-28
UK Release Date: 2005-07-18
Amazon affiliate

Oh my God, what's the point?

It's no secret, really, that Eminem has slowly shifted from the realm of intentional self-parody into the unintentional. Either Eminem is in the process of coasting, releasing music for the sake of keeping his name in the public consciousness while not giving half a thought to the quality of what he's releasing, or he's pulling an Andy Kaufman on all of us -- that is, he's reached the point of being so awful, that it's impossible to tell whether what he's releasing is that bad as a joke, or whether he's actually, honestly become that much worse. The Slim Shady LP was naïve but promising, The Marshall Mathers LP was largely brilliant (if severely homophobic and misogynist) but easily became dated, and The Eminem Show, despite a few blemishes, was the most complete, cohesive statement he ever released. As if to acknowledge that The Eminem Show was a reflection of the maxing out of Em's talent, Encore dropped like a ton of bricks; that is, he surprised us once more, by releasing an album that fucking sucks.

It's been suggested that Em's brilliance is deceiving us into thinking that Encore is the falling off of a once respected artist, where he's actually either intentionally satirizing his own work, or setting himself up to blow up again by releasing a bomb (which he can then follow with a masterpiece to cement his "comeback").

Frankly, I don't think he's that smart.

The Anger Management Tour DVD gives us nothing to go on in the hunt for the remains of Marshall Mathers' career. The majority of the DVD is simply one of Eminem's sets from the tour, predictably from his hometown of Detroit, a fact neglected in the liner notes of the DVD but made obvious by Em's many ad-libs (in some songs, he uses the word "Detroit" the way the Smurfs used the word "smurf"). The Detroit connection is further driven home by the presence of requisite posse D-12 on four tracks, though they may have been around for the rest of the tour as well for all I know. So despite giving the DVD the name of the tour itself, it is completely Eminem-centered, with not a single acknowledgement of other performers on the tour, performers like Papa Roach and Xzibit, whose presence might have provided a bit of much-needed variety to the proceedings.

Still, all would be forgiven if the performance Eminem delivered on that fateful night in Detroit was a solid one, worthy of saving for posterity on DVD media. Unfortunately, we don't get that, either. Again, perhaps it's a perfect reflection of the kind of show Eminem put on throughout the tour, but if it is, I can't believe there weren't more people demanding their money back. Most every song Eminem performs sounds as though he's simply rapping along with his CD, old vocals included. That's right, we hear Em's voice doubled throughout the show, with the only real variance coming from his effective, exuberant hype man. Eminem himself seems content to talk along to his songs, toss in the occasional "DETROIT!", and hike up his pants whenever appropriate. There's no charisma, there's no stage presence, just a fake Moby and a scantily clad woman yelling "save me Superman!" before, naturally, "Superman".

Occasionally, the camera pans to an on-stage DJ. What is he doing there? Is he the one flipping the tracks on the CDs Em is performing with? Or, more importantly, how valid are Eminem's constant charges that "pop" performers are fakes, when he's got a backing track like this? We don't even get full songs in most cases -- it's more a matter of doing a couple of verses and moving on to the next one. The show is obsolete, now three years old, too old to include any songs from Encore. The backstage footage is completely stupid, affording us one more look at Eminem's backside, a bunch of interviews with teenage fangirls, and some of the worst "freestyling" (I couldn't even give it enough credit to keep it out of quotes) ever recorded.

Should I go on? The whole production is shameless, a half-assed attempt at self-promotion that says nothing new, and says it badly.

There are two good things about The Anger Management Tour DVD. One, it's cheap. Utter disappointment only runs just over 10 bucks in most places these days, actually less than most CDs. Two, and I can't believe I'm saying this, D-12 just about saves the day with their appearance. There's a four song stretch that starts with "When the Music Stops" and finishes with "Purple Pills", and despite the questionable lyricism that the members put into their songs, it's their performance that pulls the live show out of the waste pit. These guys still come onto the stage like it's going to be their last time performing, spitting lyrics with fire and intensity, at least looking like they believe in what they're saying. Or, at least, they did in 2002. Eminem, by contrast, usually looks like he's trying really hard to remember the words. The purpose of this DVD was supposed to be the hyping of the newest incarnation of the Anger Management Tour; what it does instead is expose the deficiencies of that tour's biggest star.


The Best Metal of 2017

Painting by Mariusz Lewandowski. Cover of Bell Witch's Mirror Reaper.

There's common ground between all 20 metal albums despite musical differences: the ability to provide a cathartic release for the creator and the consumer alike, right when we need it most.

With global anxiety at unprecedented high levels it is important to try and maintain some personal equilibrium. Thankfully, metal, like a spiritual belief, can prove grounding. To outsiders, metal has always been known for its escapism and fantastical elements; but as most fans will tell you, metal is equally attuned to the concerns of the world and the internal struggles we face and has never shied away from holding a mirror up to man's inhumanity.

Keep reading... Show less

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

Two recently translated works -- Lydie Salvayre's Cry, Mother Spain and Joan Sales' Uncertain Glory -- bring to life the profound complexity of an early struggle against fascism, the Spanish Civil War.

There are several ways to write about the Spanish Civil War, that sorry three-year prelude to World War II which saw a struggling leftist democracy challenged and ultimately defeated by a fascist military coup.

Keep reading... Show less

Beware the seemingly merry shades of green and red that spread so slowly and thickly across the holiday season, for something dark and uncertain, something that takes many forms, stirs beneath the joyful facade.

Let's be honest -- not everyone feels merry at this time of year. Psychologists say depression looms large around the holidays and one way to deal with it is cathartically. Thus, we submit that scary movies can be even more salutary at Christmas than at Halloween. So, Merry Christmas. Ho ho ho wa ha ha!

1. The Old Dark House (James Whale, 1932)

Between Frankenstein (1931) and The Invisible Man (1933), director James Whale made this over-the-top lark of a dark and stormy night with stranded travelers and a crazy family. In a wordless performance, Boris Karloff headlines as the deformed butler who inspired The Addams Family's Lurch. Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart, Melvyn Douglas and Ernest Thesiger are among those so vividly present, and Whale has a ball directing them through a series of funny, stylish scenes. This new Cohen edition provides the extras from Kino's old disc, including commentaries by Stuart and Whale biographer James Curtis. The astounding 4K restoration of sound and image blows previous editions away. There's now zero hiss on the soundtrack, all the better to hear Massey starting things off with the first line of dialogue: "Hell!"

(Available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

2. The Lure (Agnieszka Smoczynska, 2015)

Two mermaid sisters (Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska) can summon legs at will to mingle on shore with the band at a Polish disco, where their siren act is a hit. In this dark reinvention of Hans Christian Andersen's already dark The Little Mermaid, one love-struck sister is tempted to sacrifice her fishy nature for human mortality while her sister indulges moments of bloodlust. Abetted by writer Robert Bolesto and twin sister-musicians Barbara and Zuzanna Wronska, director Agnieszka Smoczynska offers a woman's POV on the fairy tale crossed with her glittery childhood memories of '80s Poland. The result: a bizarre, funy, intuitive genre mash-up with plenty of songs. This Criterion disc offers a making-of and two short films by Smoczynska, also on musical subjects.

(Available from Criterion Collection / Read PopMatters review here.)

3. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)

In the category of movies that don't explain themselves in favor of leaving some of their mysteries intact, here's Olivier Assayas' follow-up to the luminous Clouds of Sils Maria. Kristen Stewart again plays a celebrity's lackey with a nominally glamorous, actually stupid job, and she's waiting for a sign from her dead twin brother. What about the ghostly presence of a stalker who sends provocative text messages to her phone? The story flows into passages of outright horror complete with ectoplasm, blood, and ooga-booga soundscapes, and finally settles for asking the questions of whether the "other world" is outside or inside us. Assayas has fashioned a slinky, sexy, perplexing ghost story wrapped around a young woman's desire for something more in her life. There's a Cannes press conference and a brief talk from Assayas on his influences and impulses.

(Available from Criterion Collection / Reader PopMatters review here.

4. The Ghoul (Gareth Tunley, 2016)

The hero (Tom Meeten) tells his therapist that in his dreams, some things are very detailed and others are vague. This movie tells you bluntly what it's up to: a Möbius strip narrative that loops back on itself , as attributed to the diabolical therapists for their cosmic purposes. Then we just wait for the hero to come full circle and commit the crime that, as a cop, he's supposedly investigating. But this doesn't tell us whether he's really an undercover cop pretending to be depressed, or really a depressive imagining he's a cop, so some existential mysteries will never be answered. It's that kind of movie, indebted to David Lynch and other purveyors of nightmarish unreality. Arrow's disc offers a making-of, a commentary from writer-director Gareth Tunley and Meeten along with a producer, and a short film from Tunley and Meeten.

(Available from Arrow Video)

​5. The Illustrated Man (Jack Smight, 1969)

When a young man goes skinny-dipping with a mysterious stranger (Rod Steiger) who's covered with tattoos, the pictures comes to life in a series of odd stories, all created by Ray Bradbury and featuring Steiger and Claire Bloom in multiple roles. Nobody was satisfied with this failure, and it remains condemned to not having reached its potential. So why does Warner Archive grace it with a Blu-ray? Because even its failure has workable elements, including Jerry Goldsmith's score and the cold neatness of the one scene people remember: "The Veldt", which combines primal child/parent hostilities (a common Bradbury theme) with early virtual reality. It answers the question of why the kids spend so much time in their room, and why they're hostile at being pulled away.

(Available from Warner Bros.)

6. The Hidden (Jack Sholder, 1987)

In one of my favorite action movies of the '80s, a post-Blue Velvet and pre-Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan plays an FBI agent who forms a buddy-cop bond with Michael Nouri while pursuing a perp -- a bodiless entity that plugs into the human id. In the midst of slam-bang action comes a pivotal moment when a startling question is asked: "How do you like being human?" The heart of the movie, rich in subtext, finds two men learning to embrace what's alien to them. In pop-culture evolution, this movie falls between Hal Clement's novel Needle and the TV series Alien Nation. On this Warner Archive Blu-ray, Sholder offers a commentary with colleague Tim Hunter.

(Available from Warner Bros.)

7. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (David Lynch, 1992)

Speaking of Twin Peaks, here we have a textbook example of a movie that pleased almost nobody upon its release but has now generated such interest, thanks in large part to this year's Twin Peaks revival, that it arrives on Criterion. A feature-film prequel to David Lynch and Mark Frost's original TV serial that answered none of its questions and tossed in a raft of new ones, the film functions as one of cinema's most downbeat, disruptive and harsh depictions of a middle-class American teenage girl's social context. Sheryl Lee delivers a virtuoso performance that deserved the Oscar there was no way she'd be nominated for, and she wasn't. The extras, including a 90-minute film of deleted and alternate takes assembled by Lynch, have been available on previous sets.

(Available from Criterion Collection)

8. The Green Slime (Kinji Fukasaku, 1968)

Incredibly, Warner Archive upgrades its on-demand DVD of a groovy, brightly colored creature feature with this Blu-ray. As a clever reviewer indicated in this PopMatters review, what director Kinji Fukasaku saw as a Vietnam allegory functions more obviously as a manifestation of sexual tension between alpha-jock spacemen competing for the attention of a foxy female scientist, and this subconsciously creates an explosion of big green tentacled critters who overrun the space station. While we don't believe in "so bad it's good," this falls squarely into the category of things so unfacetiously absurd, they come out cool. There's a sublimely idiotic theme song.

(Available from Warner Bros.)

If the idea is that earth, water, fire, air and space constitute the core elements of life, then these five songs might seem as their equivalents to surviving the complications that come from embracing the good and enduring the ugly of the Christmas season.

Memory will never serve us well when it comes to Christmas and all its surrounding complications. Perhaps worse than the financial and familial pressures, the weather and the mad rush to consume and meet expectations, to exceed what happened the year before, are the floods of lists and pithy observations about Christmas music. We know our favorite carols and guilty pleasures ("O Come All Ye Faithful", "Silent Night"), the Vince Guaraldi Trio's music for 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas that was transcendent then and (for some, anyway) has lost none of its power through the years, and we embrace the rock songs (The Kink's "Father Christmas", Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas", and The Pretenders' "2000 Miles".) We dismiss the creepy sexual predator nature in any rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside", the inanity of Alvin and the Chipmunks, and pop confections like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.