The Hateful Eight

In Puny Detail

If you're going to be evil, you have to be really, really good at it.
Reported on 21st of January, 2016

It’s an old joke, the boyfriend whose homoerotic leanings leak out in unexpected ways; I just did it right there. It was only recently, however, that I saw Mr. John Cena in Trainwreck. If you’ve seen it, you remember: extremely naked, describing Ms. Amy Schumer’s behind as to that of a man, reaching his finish, and going to sleep. Yes, it’s an old joke, but Mr. Cena is totally committed, and deserves many an accolade. Fuck any other Best Supporting Actor. Fuck them! Hard! In their tight well-formed smooth asses!

The Hateful Eight

12 January 2016 @ The Gaumont Rennes

$1.50 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆


Thing about time, you don’t see movies in order, but when you see them. And this scene was ringing in my mind when I saw The Hateful Eight, and its trolling depiction of Mr. Samuel Jackson’s oral rape of a naked white man in the snow (yes the fact that he’s white is part of the troll, just as the act of trolling is. I’m sorry, I meant ‘pushing boundaries’). There was no way and no desire to forget the Cena-esque question: have we crossed over into sexual sadism, or did we do it a long time ago and have stopped being good at repressing it?

Written as notes during the equal parts repellent and inept The Babadook, the following: ‘Look, Tarantino is an equally sick fuck, but can (occasionally) write. It is disturbing to think that it’s his sadism that’s the appeal, and the writing the excuse, rather than the wit the draw, and the sadism the price.’ Imagine an unimaginative Tarantino. We’ll get to Ms. Jennifer Kent presently.

Fine, when she’s no longer relevant.

Ooh! That’s now!

The wit and reputation of Mr. Tarantino was either the added bonus or the justification, take your pick. And there’s some glimmers in The Hateful Eight. But it’s at the point that were it not for his œuvre, one would simply ask if this is a Dick Wolf clone with flashes of talent, or a Lindelhof clone with infinite monkey luck. Without it, it’s John Cena telling guys he wants to fight how much he’s going to fuck them with his cock.


Thank God for the Gaumont Pass Solo. I learned the hard way that it doesn’t allow advance purchase, unless you use a machine that doesn’t take the Gaumont Pass Solo card. As my visa is up for renewal soon, I feel like this will be a useful lesson.

To be clear, Mr. Cena in this metaphor is not Mr. Tarantino, but you or me. It’s sadism, sexual or otherwise, that puts butts in seats. I did it again! We get off on violence and we don’t want to admit it, except in this sentence. Fortunately, there’s this sentence, which has nothing on the subject whatsoever. By this sentence, we’ve completely forgotten that we were talking about kittens. Adorable kittens. As we witness oral rape, Ms. Jennifer Jason Leigh being covered in fluids and so on, it’s a giggle, with reputation and confidence in one’s former talent the safety valve.

And I’d like to say I’ve had enough, but I have no problem with this arrangement. I play videogames, and when I eschew games like GTA or the Stormtrooper levels of Star Wars: Battlefront, it’s not because I don’t like violence. It’s because being the good guy is the ticket to the fun. When I see a horror film or a film by Mr. Tarantino, it’s the wit. Mayhaps the film will be clever in some way, self-examination avoided once again. Phew.

The anger at the film, then, is its failure to conceal my desires. It’s just not very good. As written previously, Mr. Tarantino’s films tend to work when there are more characters, and fail when the focus is on one or a few. The Hateful Eight is strangely the perfect example of this. Despite the title, it doesn’t have eight characters. It has two.

The twist, a word which I detest more than moist or blog, is that the many characters are, in fact, one. The film reveals at the end, very boringly and in slow sadistic detail (see jerking off to/considering the deep social implications of, violence, above), that all the characters are in on saving Ms. Leigh. They all contain the same motivation, meaning that any possible fun to be had by plots and conflicts and intersections are impossible.

Besides the laziness, the desire to surprise leads to an almost Lindenhof-ian desire to surprise. Writing to the ending forces all characters to behave incongruently. Mr. Jackson leads a less clever than it thinks it is speech about how he suspected Bob all along. Problem is, the time a savvy bounty-hunter character would have attempted to save his own life is, um, right away, not until All Was Revealed/All Those Other Scenes I Wanted To Put In Got Put In.

But there’s no pretty way to say: ‘Let’s split up. It’ll be safer that way’, and one misses the elegance to the single line approach of the horror film. When characters do stupid shit for the sake of gore, they just say something like ‘That dark basement seems safe’, or ‘Let’s remake Evil Dead and have someone say “Those stairs look rickety.”‘ They then proceed to get killed, which we in no way enjoy of course.

Mr. Tarantino has maintained the stupidity of said horror characters, with the unfortunate and unfortunately not-unwarranted conceit: if I explain it, explain it, and explain it again, maybe no one will notice. Likewise all the convolutions of the other characters, bending over backwards, and not killing their quarry right away, you know, with the guns that they forgot they had until they end. The strongly unpleasurable side effect of this drowning in its own reflection dialog makes the film something a horror film would never be: three agonizing hours long.

This is not to say that there isn’t fun to have in The Hateful Eight, but it is in those moments of genuine conflict, as in Mr. Jackson’s troll of Mr. Bruce Dern, or Mr. Kurt Russell’s disappointment that Mr. Jackson’s reputed letter from Abraham Lincoln is a fake. Unfortunately, both of these are in retrospect spoiled by the Surprise! There’s Not Going To Be A Surprise Effect, the attempt to get to his finish, so to speak. Mr. Dern is only present to have that scene between him and Mr. Jackson, I mean, provide window dressing for the thugs. It’s completely believable, because they explained it. In great detail. Again. And then one more time.

The Forged Lincoln Letter is a nice gag, I admit, with some wit and savvy, that as a black man in 19th C. America, it gives Mr. Jackson a leg-up with Whitey. When Mr. Walton Goggins accuses him of it being a fake, there is a protracted verbal cat and mouse game, until Mr. Jackson, who has no reason to reveal its fabrication, and many to conceal it, finally concedes, through Mr. Goggin’s brilliant interrogation, that it is a fake.

Just kidding, Mr. Jackson just admits it. Seriously, this is where you have the characters not talk endlessly?

Always a struggle to come up with an ending for these, which may be a cautionary tale in the case of a film so enamored of its conclusion and in equal measure to reach it. So let’s just make the obvious compare to to the identical in every way The Ridiculous 6 and the actually better Bone Tomahawk.

At some point, I’ll get to Bone Tomahawk, which was surprisingly good and actually had some goddamned dialog and what remains the most disturbing scene of gore I have witnessed on film, and you know that’s saying something.

Here’s the thing, then, about The Ridiculous 6. It’s kind of silly, the jokes are so-so, but it’s also equally parts genuinely weird (including a scene of Mr. Taylor Lautner doing the walking man on a hangman’s noose) and genuinely heartfelt. I’m not sure if one is better than the other (I am) but I can say this: I’m at the point in my life where I’d rather see people not being mean to each other. If you’re going to be heartfelt, you can get away with a lot in my book. I get that sexual sadism is awesome, but if you’re going to be evil, you have to be really, really good at it.

The Take

The ending that unites white supremacist Mr. Goggins and the black supremacist Mr. Jackson could have been cool, or even genuinely moving. There may be something off-putting about gratuitous misogynist sadism. Who could have guessed?
As I said, the opening, though overlong, is not without tension…
Total Profits
….until revealed that there was nothing to be tense about.
Oh, did I mention? It looks like shit. If you’re going go to the trouble of shooting in 70mm, learn where to put the fucking lights. I admit that I did not see it in 70 (not available here), but you know a shot by Sr. Lubezki on your iPhone. This film looks like shit. Accept it.
Total Losses


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