Review: No Love for Hateful Eight

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Okay, it’s not strictly true to say we have no love for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, but while there are some things we like about this over-cooked mess of a movie, there is plenty we don’t like. It’s lovingly produced, carefully crafted, and it takes some provocative pokes at the hornets’ nests of race and gender, but ultimately, I have to ask–to what end?

Ike2 It’s definitely a movie that raises some questions. Like, why is it being billed as “the eighth film by  Quentin Tarantino”?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah. By my count, he’s directed nine.

Ike2 Maybe they’re not counting Death Proof. That’s definitely one I’d like to forget.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Well, that was originally just one-half of Grindhouse, so maybe they figure it doesn’t count as a whole film, kind of like “The Man from Hollywood” segment he directed for Four Rooms.

Ike2 Or maybe they’re counting Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 as one film?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Or maybe it’s just a marketing ploy, and nobody really cares what the exact count is. The double-barreled 8’s do give the whole thing a nice, symmetrical ring. It’s also a nice play on The Magnificent Seven, which is obviously a major inspiration.

Ike2 It’s not really a western, though. It’s more like a cross between The Magnificent Seven and Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. It’s a locked-room mystery dressed up like a western.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Which raises another question–why did Tarantino shoot what is basically a stage play in super-wide screen 70 mm?

Ike2 It looks great, though.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration It does. I’m not saying it doesn’t work; it’s just weird that he would do that. The movie starts out with the kind of epic vistas you’d expect from 70 mm, as Kurt Russell’s stage coach rumbles through the snowy landscape, but then the stage stops to pick up Samuel Jackson, and it’s basically just a scene in a play.

Ike2 A long scene. With a lot of talking.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration And then the stage moves along until it stops for another guy, and we have another long scene.

Ike2 With a lot of talking.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration And then it’s on to Minnie’s Haberdashery, the roadside lodge where the rest of the movie takes place.

Ike2 And we have a lot more talking.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration But then we have a lot of shooting.

Ike2 A LOT of shooting. And don’t forget the vomiting. Spoiler alert! There’s a lot of vomiting.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Which made me wish we could go back to the talking.

Ike2 Okay, so there’s a lot of talking. It’s a Tarantino movie. What did you expect?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I guess. Tarantino writes some great dialogue, but it gets pretty schticky sometimes. Why do his characters always have to be so pleased with how clever they think they are?

Ike2 Well, sometimes they are clever.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, sometimes. But sometimes I feel like it’s all an elaborate joke. Like, can’t Tarantino even try for period authenticity in his dialogue? When Samuel L. Jackson asks Kurt Russell if he’s “being paranoid” that takes me right out of the scene. That’s not even a good line in a contemporary story, much less one supposedly set in the 1800s.

Ike2 But isn’t Tarantino all about the artificiality of cinema? Doesn’t he always call attention to storytelling conventions? Instead of pretending to verisimilitude–or even to create an alternative reality that exists only within the frame of the screen–isn’t Tarantino more about creating films that are in dialogue with the film canon and the creative process itself?

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration What is this, an audition for Canines du Cinema?

Ike2 Sorry, I–I don’t know what came over me.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration You make a good point, actually. But for me, Tarantino’s best films are the ones that tell a good story, like Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, even Inglourious Basterds. I enjoyed the first half of The Hateful Eight, but I can’t see myself ever sitting through the second half again.

Ike2 It really did build a nice sense of mystery and suspense, especially when they get to Minnie’s and the snow storm keeps them all locked up in that one room.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, and there’s great tension between the characters. You don’t quite know whose story to believe, or even who to like. Kurt Russell is totally believable as the abrasive, but oddly lovable, bounty hunter John Ruth.

Ike2 Kurt Russell is always totally believable. I even believed it when he was Snake Plissken.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration And Samuel L. Jackson is at his Samuel L. Jacksoniest as Major Marquis Warren, bounty hunter and Civil War hero–or war criminal, depending on one’s point of view.

Ike2 I liked the way Jackson’s checkered past is doled out bit by bit, so you never know for sure just how you feel about him. Although, in comparison to the bad guys, I guess there’s never any doubt whose side we’re supposed to be on.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration It was good to see Bruce Dern again. As a bad guy. Again. And Tim Roth, as the foppish hangman, was a perfect stand-in for Christoph Waltz–who I assume was busy shooting Spectre. The acting is uniformly excellent.

Ike2 I’m glad to see Jennifer Jason Leigh finally get an Oscar nod, but I wish it was for a better role.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Yeah, she has fun as the scabrous Daisy Domergue, but frankly, I didn’t think the role gave her that much to do. She mostly just gets beat up and slimed. Which brings me to my chief gripe about the movie: If I want to see a second-rate movie horror movie, I’ll go see a second-rate horror movie, okay? I don’t need one breaking out in the middle of a western.

Ike2 Yeah, I didn’t really get the point of all the blood. And it’s so silly. The way people’s heads were exploding, it was like one of those videos where the guys are shooting watermelons with machine guns.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration I’m at a point in my life where there are certain images I just don’t need to see. I don’t need to see exploding heads, and I don’t need to see Kurt Russell vomiting blood into the face of Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Ike2 I didn’t even get why Daisy was supposed to be so bad anyway, except she was kind of gross. Although to be fair, not many women can pull off the dripping-brains-and-blood look.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration That was another thing that bothered me about the movie. It’s like, the one thing that can unite the bitterest of enemies–male enemies–is the mutual hatred toward an unappealing woman. In a movie without a single truly virtuous character, why, exactly, was she supposedly the worst of the worst? I don’t get it.

Ike2 Like I said, the movie leaves you with a lot of questions. Usually, that’s a good thing.

Happy Red Haired Freckled Boy With Missing Front Teeth, Laughing Retro Clipart Illustration Usually. But the main question shouldn’t be: “What the heck was the filmmaker thinking?”

Our Review:

Bloody

Yucky

Some fun, but ultimately pointless

Two tail-wags out of five

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: