There was a lot not to like about Quentin Tarantino’s latest film The Hateful Eight. I personally didn’t see it when it came out in theaters around Christmas of 2015 because of Tarantino’s political activism against police, but I put it on the checklist. It was sold as a western shot in 70mm traditional wide—just as Ben Hur was many years ago—so I figured it would be worth watching. My chance came once it was released to the home theater market and I was a little excited about it. But after two hours of movie realizing that the whole thing was going nowhere, I was very concerned that if Tarantino was the best that Hollywood had to offer—that they consider him a “modern” Shakespeare–that there is no wonder their movie industry was in trouble. At that point there was still about 45 minutes of movie left to show and I was ready to turn it off—but didn’t because I already had too much time invested.
This is what happens when someone becomes so full of themselves—and have been told by hundreds of aspiring actors and progressive movie producers that they are the greatest thing to arrive since fire. They forget that people actually will see their movies and that those people think very differently about the world than those tucked up against the mountains of California and the Pacific Ocean. The only good characters in The Hateful Eight was the Kurt Russell character. Samuel Jackson wasn’t the greatest and once he revealed an oral sex scene with another guy—I decided I didn’t like him and didn’t want to invest any more time into learning about him. Most of the movie took place inside a cabin getting to know all these characters who were telegraphed very early to being all completely killed off. There was no point to their stories or the interaction between them because it all led to one place—death.
The Hateful Eight is like a person being walked to an execution getting to know all the people spitting on him along the way. It just doesn’t make any sense because that person was going to be dead soon—so why waste the time? It was just horrendously stupid. Beautifully photographed, good soundtrack—most of the time—but just a stupid story—I can’t believe anybody read that script and thought it the work of a genius—and I can’t believe anybody gave Tarantino money to make that movie.
Coming from a guy who shares with me a love for the great movie, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Tarantino obviously isn’t at the same level of Sergio Leone, and I went into The Hateful Eight hoping sincerely that he was. Not even close—not even close to the sincerity of a spaghetti western, which I thought was the point of The Hateful Eight. It ended up being just another sign of a broken and declining culture that doesn’t make anything original anymore—even though all the tools were provided. To suggest that The Hateful Eight is anything close to the masterpiece Hamlet, just because everyone ended up dead in the end is ridiculous. There weren’t any sympathetic characters for which to hang a morality on in Tarantino’s movie. All the characters were villains and none of them were people I’d want to get to know if they sat down next to me at a bar.
Even using the barroom metaphor with The Hateful Eight seems underwhelming. Typically when a man wants to pick up a girl in a bar he engages in small talk to get her to reveal bits about herself. Once she decides to talk about herself the conversation evolves into more personal matters. Then as a climax and some trust won, the girl decides whether or not she wants to sleep with the guy. It’s a little mating game that our species plays to make the experience not seem so cheap. The Hateful Eight is like walking up to that girl and just flatly saying, “Let’s have sex.” Then spending three hours talking about all the things you should have talked about before blurting out the obvious. It was just despicable as a story—pathetic at every level.
I have liked other Tarantino movies—I thought Pulp Fiction was clever, and I enjoyed his work in other things—but I wouldn’t say he’s a master of anything. He’s only smart compared to the very stupid people who now make up the Hollywood industry which these days are just a few rungs above raw porn in its creative impulse. I am really glad that I did not go to see this Tarantino western at the theater because I would have been angry at wasting the money. The Hateful Eight wasn’t a western; it was a monstrosity of undeveloped ideas from a director who obviously has personal problems holding back his artistic ability.
As an example of how all westerns should be presented these days, The Revenant is still the featured example. If you are going to make a western, at least put in the work. So what if someone stole the script to The Hateful Eight and that’s why Tarantino made it into a feature film. The material wasn’t so good that an eight year old child couldn’t have written it—so whatever provoked big money donors to give Tarantino money for that piece of crap sadly overrated the ability of the troubled, progressive filmmaker. The movie wasn’t just bad enough to write a poor review about, it was bad enough that I personally feel like I was robbed just by watching it, because I can’t get back my time. It would have been a much better movie if Samuel Jackson hadn’t forced a naked man to perform oral sex on him, because in the last dying moments he was the only one left and I couldn’t help but think that he was the last person I wanted to see on the screen in the end. Given that, he was the best character in the movie after Kurt Russell’s character died of poisoning. The Hateful Eight was horrendous filmmaking and storytelling at its absolute lowest. Sadly, it represents a new generation that thinks it’s the work of genius—because people are now so stupid and have such a low opinion of themselves that they don’t know any better. People now can actually relate to these despicable characters. And that’s the real problem with The Hateful Eight and the filmmakers who put that trash on the screen.
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