The Hateful Eight

tn_hatefuleight(SPOILERS. This is a don’t-read-before-seeing-the-movie review.)

Quentin Tarantino tries out a couple new tricks in his new one, THE HATEFUL EIGHT: he shot in extra-wide 65mm Cinemascope, and helped hook up a bunch of theaters with 70mm projectors (and projectionists, I assume) to show an early, longer version of the movie complete with an overture, intermission and program. He got Ennio Morricone to compose and orchestrate some new music for it (Tarantino’s only previous original scoring was some bits by RZA and Robert Rodriguez for the KILL BILLs). But it also feels pretty familiar: his second extreme-racism western in a row, with chapter titles like KILL BILL, full of conversation suspense scenes like INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, mostly one location like RESERVOIR DOGS, some non-linear jumps like most of his movies, and a cast with plenty of his regulars (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, James Parks, Zoe Bell, Waltong Goggins [I almost forgot he was in DJANGO UNCHAINED). Just as INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS got away with some out-of-the-blue, seemingly incongruous narration by Jackson, HATEFUL EIGHT follows up its intermission with some omniscient narration that you suddenly realize is Tarantino himself. I can see why some people would hate that, but I loved it. I mean, who are we fooling, we all know it’s this guy talking to us through this movie anyway. And it helps kick off the second half with an energy the first was lacking.

Here’s something brand new for a Tarantino movie: I didn’t immediately love it. I’m honestly still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I’m not sure I get it. I remember that with both INGLOURIOUS and DJANGO I had misgivings on the first viewings that later seemed completely irrelevant. With the former it was thinking that Brad Pitt seemed like Brad Pitt playing a funny character, he didn’t inhabit the character the way previous Tarantino leads had. With the latter it was that Tarantino had never done a movie that followed one character chronologically, and it seemed kinda too simple for him. Both of those seem like dumb complaints to me now, and I loved both movies without reservations on subsequent viewings. Even so, their first times I liked better than this first time.

To complicate matters, I think my cold reaction to this one is at least partly due to the movie intentionally preventing the audience from ever getting comfortable. These are all terrible people, and not in a funny Vincent Vega kind of way, or a fantasy-fulfilling way where they get revenge on Nazis or slavers or baby-stealers. You feel like you can get behind a guy, like Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) for example, and then he tells a story about mouth-raping a dude. I mean it’s likely made up to get a specific reaction, just like the letter he carries that he says is to him from his pen pal Abraham Lincoln, but still. You wonder. I know this isn’t by accident. I know Tarantino is poking at us. I just don’t know how much poking to accept.

mp_hatefuleightI like the atmosphere. The snow, the howling wind, the cold breath sometimes happening indoors. It’s great to see Jackson in the lead again, since he speaks Tarantino more fluently than anyone, and it’s not surprising that Walton Goggins (as Sheriff Chris Mannix) is a natural at it too after years of hyper-literate hillbilly soliloquies on Justified. The Morricone music is, of course, a treat. I was surprised it was more his driving, kindy funky style, driving ’70s bassline and cymbals, not the majestic ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST type. But of course we should expect both Tarantino and Morricone to not want to give us what we pictured.

A note about the film presentation: Unfortunately at my screening the projector seemed a little misaligned, causing the text to ghost, and it didn’t look as impressive as I’ve heard it’s supposed to, or as 70mm films I’ve seen at other times have been. This is because it was in an AMC multiplex that the Weinsteins provided a projector to, and obviously a place like that that went all digital years ago doesn’t have experienced projectionists or incentive to hire them just to show one weird movie cowboy movie. That’s a shame, but I still think it’s kind of a miracle that Tarantino somehow made this happen. In my opinion the mistake in this whole thing was releasing it against fucking STAR WARS. If they didn’t do that it would be playing on the giant screen at Cinerama, where they know how to show 70mm. I’m sure this is the case in other cities too.

Anyway, when we first meet John Ruth (Russell), he refers to him as “black fella” and points guns at him. But he’s actually one of the less openly racist white people of the period, a proud Yankee veteran who talks smack about bushwhackers and tears up talking about Lincoln. His prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) immediately starts calling Warren the n-word, so every time Ruth elbows her hard in the face (which is alot) we’re torn between our objections to woman-beating and to racists. This movie would be totally changed if she never said anything racist, and was just a horrible criminal. All we’d be able to talk about is how much Tarantino hates women. But no, Daisy Domergue has proven her equality to men by being a piece of shit worthy of being punched in the face.

All the racism and the recent past of the civil war is a major (or the major) theme. Warren gets his revenge on Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) for being a Confederate General, Ruth hates Mannix for being a rebel marauder and son of an infamous bushwhacker. Now Mannix says he’s the new sheriff of Red Rock, so what does that say about our chances for fair law enforcement? I think the implication is intentional that this is still where we’re at. It’s easy to see a parallel to the shit we’re still seeing today. We just have to hope the people with the guns are going to be good people who rely on their best instincts, in a country where some people still fly the flag of enslavement, sometimes even in an officially state sanctioned capacity. We have to take their word for it that, as the habitual excessive force apologists always tell us, this had nothing to do with race. Don’t worry about Sheriff Mannix, he’s good and pure, he’s gonna leave his history behind and do the job. How dare you suggest otherwise.

I wonder if Tarantino means to play with modern racial tensions by reversing the situation. Warren, a black man representing the law (and who has a past of killing many white men), lines up a row of white men, makes them put their hands against the wall, insults and threatens them. He also intentionally creates a confrontation and escalation with Smithers, provoking him so he can kill him and have it technically be legal. (Making a mockery of the concept of “dispassionate justice” described by Tim Roth’s character Oswaldo.)  He’s also quick on the trigger, blowing a man’s head off during an emotional exchange with his sister. They aren’t human to him. Just thugs.

Of course, if this is the angle Tarantino was going for he might’ve flubbed it by making the victims all be dishonorable murderers of civilians. Warren doesn’t do any killings you feel too bad about. It’s easy to see that it’s fucked up but hard to empathize with his targets.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT is alot like a play, extremely heavy in the dialogue, but when the violence does happen it’s over-the-top enough to be in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. That feels weird in a context that, to me anyway, doesn’t play as funny at all. I guess an exception is that headshot. Hard not to laugh at least in discomfort when Daisy abruptly goes from a rare moment of warmth to having gooey wads of her brother’s brain dripping down her face. And she’d already had blood puked in her face and been beat up so bad she looked like Regan from THE EXORCIST or a basement Deadite.

It’s technically way less violence than in a KILL BILL, but it feels extra brutal for Tarantino because it has no good guys vs. bad guys or even guys we like vs. guys we don’t like justification to hang it on. Any good guys in this movie died a long time ago.

One of the most interesting aspects is that Lincoln letter. We accept it as a holy relic, and its desecration is one more reason to hate Daisy. Turns out it’s total bullshit, which is crushing to Ruth. What, did we judge this man not on the content of his character, but on what we thought President Lincoln said about him? And now that we know he didn’t, what is our opinion of him based on?

I heard a story about a walkout before they even got to Minnie’s, a man who got up and yelled at the audience as he left for being a bunch of white people watching a movie where everybody keeps saying the n-word. I don’t know. I would agree if I felt Tarantino was using it as a cheap button-pushing technique or shock tactic. But I think it’s kind of what the movie is about, and even if it wasn’t, I believe it truly comes from a philosophy of not watering down the ugliness of the time. He’s being honest about our country’s dark past (and symbolically our present) by casually slapping us around with it. Kinda like MANDINGO. If he was doing a Thomas Jefferson biopic he would not try to brush past the part about having slaves. That can be uncomfortable or even painful to watch, but I believe it comes from good intentions.

On the other hand, if that guy who walked out had kept watching, I doubt he would’ve felt much better about it by the end. If it’s indeed a movie mainly about racism it’s obviously not as clear or as cathartic as it is in DJANGO. It’s more symbolic and doesn’t allow us the fantasy of being about to get some payback. There is no satisfaction in this one.

If there’s anything hopeful in the movie at all it must be the way Warren and Mannix sort of turn into a sick parody of a Riggs and Murtaugh type interracial buddy team. Suddenly we have these two violent bastards from opposing sides of a war, who despise each other’s races, but nevertheless choose to make a last stand together, to die together, and get some joy from hanging a woman together. Again, I truly don’t know how to feel about this. I don’t much feel sorry for her. She’s a horrible person, a murderer and a disgusting racist whose escape plot caused all of the horrible deaths in this movie, except I guess General Smithers. But I want to glean a small bit of optimism from this friendship in death, and it’s hard to do when they’re smiling at a woman on a rope.

They spend their last moments bonding over a made up letter from President Lincoln. Nice sentiments that they know are bullshit. I’ve been puzzling over that. Just a nice moment of irony, or is it saying something I’m not catching?

Mannix was offended by the gang comparing themselves to his Rebel father, saying something about the nobility of fighting a losing cause. And I guess he tries to find honor in the losing cause of going through with Domergue’s death sentence when he could accept a bribe and survive. The language of cinema tells us that what he’s saying is real deep and admirable and shit, but of course it’s not. It’s not always honorable to fight for a losing cause. His daddy’s losing cause was the enslavement of human beings. Hans Landa’s was killing Jews. Samuel L. Jackson’s was THE SPIRIT. Sometimes people are just wrong.

I think that frustration is intentional. You want to find a character to get behind and you can’t. These people are all murdering, demeaning scumbags. Even the pre-massacre Minnie’s Haberdashery, a seeming wonderland of multi-cultural harmony, is not without its faults. We see in the flashback chapter that Minnie was a friendly black woman who loved to share her delicious coffee, stew and jars of candy with guests of all stripes. She had a mostly black staff, but her partner or husband Sweet Dave was a white man, and he was even hospitable to Smithers, although there’s tell they were annoyed with him and wanting him to leave. Minnie seemed to be great pals with the kiwi Six-Horse Judy and beloved by one and all, including both Ruth and Warren.

And yet, we are told, Minnie despised Mexicans. It’s always gotta be something I guess. Everybody’s an asshole. Everybody’s a hateful eight.

[UPDATE: A couple people have wisely pointed out that just because Warren says she hated Mexicans doesn’t mean it’s true, and the flashback chapter doesn’t seem to support it. So for a second I thought maybe there was hope. Then I remembered that even if Minnie’s was a paradise of equality they all got slaughtered by the hateful.]

Although overall I liked this movie, I didn’t have that usual rush of wanting to immediately see it again. I didn’t have some character that jumped out at me as someone I was fascinated by and wanted to know more about. In fact, I think a bunch of these actors, particularly Bechir and Madsen, are wasted. You know because it’s a Tarantino movie that their character is gonna turn into something really interesting. And then they don’t. I don’t think that part was meant to play with our expectations.

But as I write about it and think about it I realize I do want to see it again at some point. I think I’ll have to if I want to understand it, and I do want to.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 at 5:18 pm and is filed under Reviews, Western. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

133 Responses to “The Hateful Eight”

  1. I’m extremely conflicted about this one as well.

    To me, it squanders a near perfect setup in the 1st half, only to descend into a weird slapsticky mess post-Intermission.

    The twist ends up being lame in retrospect, because there are multiple moments where the gang could’ve easily shot Ruth and Mannix (for instance, during the poisoning scene), where they sit around and do nothing.

    I was hoping for something closer to The Thing, where characters start getting picked off 1 by 1. Tarantino spends all this time setting up the geography of the barn, the outhouse, putting emergency ropes in, and then doesn’t do anything with it. There are so many interesting set-pieces that could be done with this location and characters, and it feels like he just dropped the ball.

    His solution to relieving 2 hours worth of tension is to just dump buckets of blood onscreen, but there is no actual interesting action or tense set-piece there. You think about the end of Death Proof, or Inglourious Basterds, and those give you an amazing payoff for all the character buildup. What’s actually interesting about the resolution in this?

    It’s doubly frustrating because the first half is probably among the best writing of his career, so to see him take such a hard left is really disappointing.

  2. I thought it was good, I liked the one location thing like Reservoir Dogs. Can someone tell me how a white film maker like Tarantino can get away with using the word “nigger” in all his films without people getting pissed about it?

  3. Count me in as another person who overall liked the film, but felt that it kind of fell apart at the end.

    *SPOILERS* The part when it really went awry was after Samuel L. and Goggins were shot. Like Bullet, I expected a kind of And Then There Were None mystery, which I thought would be interesting to see coming from Tarantino. I don’t mind it when directors don’t give us what we expect, but I just sort hoped that it was more interesting than just having them all be in cahoots.

    Also, the ending seemed incredibly nihilistic. I really thought Tarantino was setting up an interesting moral dilemma with the way that Daisy was treated, but she’s just not a very good person. And by the end, I was just kind of numb to the kind of violence inflicted on her. I don’t mind a nihilistic ending, so long as the film is nihilistic about something.

    But I absolutely loved the presentation of the film. I’m not super observant about different film formats, but I’m fairly certain I could see some differences in the colors and use of light that you probably wouldn’t get in digital. I also love films set in snowstorms. But, yeah, great first half, great filmgoing experience, but a so-so second half.

  4. Ken, I think the thing with Tarantino and the n-word is that he’s clearly a provocateur. The violence, the racial tensions, the gender dynamics, just the general seediness. So, it’s one thing to play the “in the real world people say and do mean things, and I’m creating characters who are mean or flawed” card. But in Tarantino’s case, he just goes so over the top and cartoony with all of it, that he’s clearly trying to push buttons for shock value to really grab your attention and create characters, dialogue, scenes, and films that get inside your head and stay there. I mean he’s got fucking Rick Ross rapping about 100 black coffins in a slavery movie.

  5. …and I don’t begrudge him any of that. He has a unique vision and racial tension and xenophobia is clearly one of the central themes if not the central theme in all of his films. So, I think he makes everybody uncomfortable about race (among other things), and he never apologizes for it, and I think that’s a good thing. We need that.

  6. I find it kind of funny that I’ve seen a bunch of people online complaining about using 70mm to shoot a film that takes place indoors. I like the implication that quality cinematography only matters if you’re outside.


    One thing I really like about this film is the value. You pay for eight hate-filled bastards and get a ninth thrown in absolutely free of charge.

    Vern, I think that what you might not be catching about the last scene is that the Lincoln letter is very possibly real. When Goggins reads it Jackson mouths along with it. Maybe because he wrote it but I doubt it. I find it much easier to believe he’s memorized it from reading it so often.

    I think that one of the major themes in the film, in addition to post Civil War racism, is storytelling and deception (as well as acting, like many of his films this one has a bunch of people pretending to be someone they aren’t). People are constantly telling stories in this movie and it’s difficult to tell what is the truth. I don’t think it’s an accident that the story Jackson tells about the son is presented in a factual manner by showing it to us in flashback, despite it likely being false, while the story about the letter is presented as false, despite it likely being true. While the characters are busy deceiving each other Tarantino is doing the same to us.

    As for all the main characters doing despicable things, that seems like a positive to me. I can’t recall the last time where a film had me shifting allegiances as much as this one did. I did not expect to be rooting for the racist hillbilly by the end of the film. That strikes me as very good storytelling.

  7. Also, Ken…lots of people get pissed off about it and criticize him for it. But he just doesn’t care, and he brings the goods.

    Great interview here, by the way (check out minute 24):


    I confess that I am in that group that loves Jackie Brown (min 15). A lot of his work does not resonate emotionally with me, even though I respect his craftsmanship and singular auteur vision. But Jackie Brown. I could watch that all day.

  8. Yes, but unfortunately he’s never gone back to the quiet restraint of Jackie Brown. I was hoping this would be the movie where he settles down and just tells a good story, but nope. He’s his own worst enemy at times, and with Django and now this, I’m starting to feel like Sally Menke might’ve been the secret ingredient who’s absence is being felt.

  9. I dunno, nothing about this one left me cold. I guess I have to admit I experienced it almost purely viscerally, just enjoying the dialogue, the acting, the twists of plot- both predictable and surprising, the set, the soundtrack, the costumes, the props. Upon rewatching in years to come I’m sure I’ll pick it apart and try to figure out the deeper layers, but I pretty much just loved it upon first viewing. Jackson and Goggins in particular were fantastic, but every principal character got some great moments. I find it interesting that every character that arrived with Ruth on his coach was exactly what they said they were, and everyone we encountered at Minnie’s was what we suspected/feared they may be (except for the General, who was really just another “innocent” bystander like Minnie and her crew. The racial components didn’t really bother me, Tarantino’s been making us all uncomfortable with that word since RD, and at least in the context of the 1860s or 1870s it’s a bit more understandable if not forgivable. I think it mainly doesn’t bother me because I really do believe the guy’s heart is in the right place. I dunno. Vern, you mentioned Warren’s point about Minnie not liking Mexicans, but she was friendly enough with Bob when he arrived so I kind of got the impression this was another one of Warren’s fabrications to slip up Bob in the barn. Minnie’s alleged distaste for Mexicans wasn’t what tipped Warren off ultimately, though I don’t exactly remember what WAS. His suspicions were definitely validated when he found Dave’s blood on his chair.
    On the subject of Jake’s point about 9 Hatefuls for the price of 8- obviously OB wasn’t one of the titular 8. There’s also Jody, lurking under to floorboards like Shoshanna, to consider. My pick for the true Hateful 8 would be: Ruth and Warren, Mannix, Domergue, her brother Jody, Oswaldo, Bob, and Joe Gage. The General and OB, as well as Minnie et al do not count into the Hateful total.
    Thanks for the review, Vern. You always get me to thinkin’.


    I loved it without reservation. I didn’t feel like I had a single moment to contemplate racism and misogyny, although I get that it’s the lens through which most people will watch the film.

    But to me this movie was about what the great SLEUTH was about, which is something like “behold what we reveal to you moment to moment in one continuous scene as it unfolds”. For a while I wondered if we would ever even get out of the fucking carriage at the beginning, and I was fucking down.

    This movie is just loaded with details that resonate with me in a powerful way. The look Domergue shares with her brother before his head gets blown off: these two have shared mythic and immortal adventures together, and it’s encapsulated in just a breath of a closeup.

    In my opinion, the justification for having Leigh get the shit beaten out of her all movie has nothing to do with whether or not she is commensurately despicable; you wouldn’t even have to think about it if it were a male character. It’s simply something that happens to rough, tough characters in movies.

    I don’t think there is a tremendous amount to analyze about what her role says about misogyny, because I think the movie is being about gender equality rather than talking about it. Her character is an iconic, gothic wretch and I loved every fucking moment that she was on screen: her song, her blood soaked visage, her death. I haven’t seen another character like her, fucking EVER, and that is exactly what we should want as feminists: more variety for the characters females get to play in films.

    Also: Sam Jackson’s first top billing in a Tarantino film, all actors firing on all cylinders all the time, some of the best set design I’ve seen in years, a very memorable score, and Glorious 70mm.

    (DO you get a hateful ninth, or is the film specifically saying “only eight of these characters are hateful”? Was O.B. hateful?)

  11. You know, I really wonder if it all comes down to the leaked script. I am not going to lie, I read the leaked version and liked it, but I felt like it needed several re-writes and some thought put into it. Then I saw the movie and I thought that he never did the re-writes. I am not sure, but I really wonder if he ended up sticking to things he would not have, had the script not been put out there.

  12. Yes, Vern, all police officers are racists. Believe everything you see on YouTube.

    (Aside from that part, good review.)

  13. Great review, Vern. I always appreciate how much credit you give QT as a smart guy whose decisions as a craftsperson of film are deliberate and considered.

    As most of us are probably aware, the thing about Westerns is that they are the genre that directors have traditionally worked in when they feel like they’ve got some important shit to say about America. So I don’t think it’s reading too much into the movie to assume that QT’s scratching that itch. I really like your ideas about how he’s exploring his ideas and feelings about police brutality. I hadn’t thought of that.

    When the movie was over I wondered if the letter is a metaphor about the power of cinema. I guess there is a chance the letter is an actual letter from Lincoln, as someone suggested above, but I think that makes for a much less interesting movie. “We as a country are in a really awful situation right now. In fact, this might be it for the ol’ USA. But hey, at least we’ve got movies to bring us together once in a while! Even though we all know they’re made up. Merry Christmas, good luck not killing each other in the coming year.” That’s sort of what the movie seemed to ultimately be saying to me.

    I actually saw this with my mom on Christmas morning. We had a great talk afterwards about whether Chris and Wallace live or die — I was pretty sure they die, which (given the genre) would make the subtext of the movie incredibly bleak. But my mom was pretty sure they live. “If we’re going to keep this country together, we need to be willing to find ways to make the connections that defy logic and seem the most improbable” was her takeaway. I love the ambiguity there, because it’s an honest reflection of where USA is at right now as a nation, and I think that’s intentional on QT’s part. It might not be remembered as his best movie, but I dare say it’s his most urgent and thought-provoking so far, and that kind of does make it his best for me.

  14. Vern – I’m an outsider to this discussion, having watched my definitely final Tarantino movie with Kill Bill Vol. I when it came out, so feel free to disregard this, but I just have to remark: Your review reads a lot like one of those Phantom Menace reviews back in the day, where the reviewer kinda knew it sucked but wasn’t yet able to admit it to themselves.

    (Tarantino is certainly talented, but his movies are just not for me. I can handle violence — I fucking love Dredd, for instance — but Tarantino’s violence, as well as his clever structural and dialogue thingees, always seem to me like they’re not for my enjoyment but for me to think how cool he is.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to comment on every Tarantino piece repeating this, but your review read like you were in some pain.)


    Great review, Vern. You articulated perfectly everything that I didn’t like about this movie. Unfortunately I didn’t like pretty much anything else about it either. I’m 100% with bullet3 about its descent into a weird splasticky mess towards the end, which combined with the musical choices in the second half made the final hour or so borderline unbearable to me.

    But even before that, I felt that this was the first QT joint I had seen that was testing my patience from the outset. And not in an artistically challenging or rewarding way. Just full of his worst tendencies as a filmmaker, that I’ve defended to many people in the past, burning on full roast without the nuance and insight he usually brings to the table to help offset the heat.

    I was not offended by the film, nor did I find it agitational to me personally. I just felt that it was a whole lot of pretence and indulgence culminating in an extended recap of the DEATH PROOF coda where our hero characters kick the shit out of Stuntman Mike like it was the stinger tag to a fucking HOSTEL film or something. No offence to those who love the HOSTEL movies. I am amongst those who consider PART II an underrated gem (apart from the “soccer scene” that is).

    Unfortunately, rather than spending my time productively establishing an intellectual defence for my position on THE HATEFUL EIGHT, I’ve been courting online punishment by dropping in on (REDACTED)’s twitter blasts about the liberal use of the “n” word in it, and how distasteful and wrong (REDACTED) thinks it is. He way well have a point. But his statements have left me floundering to understand how someone can use the “n” word liberally and dismissively as a foil for cheap humour in their own movie – AMERICAN ULTRA – and then castigate another filmmaker for utilising it for different ends in their own project. Does (REDACTED) now on top of everything else feel that he has dominion over the cinematic application of that word as well? All the while not seeming to notice the disparity or hypocrisy in adopting that position??

    I’m sorry everyone. I need help. I need someone to say “Shut your eyes, Mixalot. No matter what happens, don’t look at it.”

    Also, I wish a heartfelt Happy New Year to those here who are celebrating it soon and to all those who will be welcoming it in the coming hours. Especially the 0.1% of you spending it as I am, getting drunk alone in an empty house watching GHOSTKEEPER and waiting for some distant fireworks to explode over a river down the road.

    Here’s to 2016 striving for excellence, not being Ellis, and maybe awarding FURY ROAD Best Picture along the way.

  16. JD – you do realise that parables historically operate within the guise of a generalised framework to address broader issues so that they can be referenced and contrasted against the more complex reality of their actual non-symbolic counterparts. Aside from that, at what conceivable juncture in Vern’s review did he allude to all police officers being racist? Come on, man. Don’t be that guy.

  17. I am more along the lines of oj “simpson” hwel in my experience of Tarantino. I’ve seen all of his films (with True Romance in there for good measure), and I’m sure I’ll see this one eventually, but his self-indulgence is just too much for me. I experience a lot of his films as if he were a giant kid playing the ultimate game of action figure fantasy land in his bedroom. The dialogue is so uniquely and excessively Tarantino-y that it makes it hard to enjoy the film or the characters. They never take on a life of their own and break free from being Tarantino masks or mouthpieces: at min 24 of the clip I shared, Tarantino tries to rebut the charge that he is doing “racial ventriloquism,” but I think the broader issue is just Tarantino ventriloquism as far as him not being able to resist the tendency to write dialogue for his own amusement vs. in service of the film and filmgoing experience. I know many people will feel exactly the opposite and think it is heresy (or just stupid) to say that Tarantino’s dialogue is too Tarantino-y, but I’m really more trying to explain what makes it hard for me to connect to the films. There is a loose parallel to Wes Anderson (who I kind of gave up on after Steve Zissou): all of the affectations and trappings of “the Tarantino film” or “The Wes Anderson” that uniquely identify the filmmaker and make their films these events just feels like too much. They are expertly crafted and bold films that convey a sense of the unique, confident vision and sensibilities of the respective filmmakers, but it’s very hard for me to connect to them. Like Tarantino or Anderson has invited me into that bedroom with all of the toys immaculately laid out and staged, but I’m not allowed to touch any of them. I just have to sit there and watch him play in his insular, idiosyncratic, and meticulously constructed world. I appreciate the care and crafstmanship, but it’s surprisingly stale and hollow. I think that’s why I love Jackie Brown, because those characters have the best of Tarantino going for them, but then they also get to exist as entities unto themselves without having to conform to the Tarantino rules of dialogue.

  18. It’s not my intention to be the guy who breaks wind in a crowded elevator, but this is probably worth noting:


    Here’s the link to the alleged source material:


    Having not seen either movie, I cannot render an informed opinion on this. But feel free to draw your own respective conclusions.

  19. I share a lot of your concerns about not “getting” it, Vern. I love Tarantino but feel like he has deliberately made a less accessible film to challenge his audience. The only other time I felt this way after seeing one of his joints, it was “Jackie Brown”, which I just didn’t love at first glance but have come to adore over time. So we’ll see.

    As for 70mm projection, I saw this at The Music Box here in Chicago, which I was told was one of the only theaters in America accustomed to showing 70mm film. Never been there before and it was a disappointment. Several reels seemed slightly out of focus but what was worse was the sound. I felt like I was watching the movie in a cave, very echo-y. I don’t know. I’m seeing another 70mm showing at another location to have a point of comparison (and to see if I like the movie better on a second run).

  20. Woah, I’m kinda amazed by the air of negativity here. To me this is the most focused and successful Tarantino’s been since KILL BILL. I guess I can understand some criticisms — its disappointing that the mystery aspect is resolved so soon and in such a strangely uninteresting way; its a little alienating that there aren’t really any “good guys”; the ending descends into somewhat underwhelming nihilism; Madsen and Bichir are wasted– but honestly, none of that really bothered me upon my first viewing. 3 hours, every second I was absolutely enthralled. The 70mm is breathtaking, the score is flat-out terrific, the cast is phenomenal, every frame is soaked with tension. And unlike Tarantino’s last few films, it feels like a complete story, not a miniseries that has been edited down to feature length or a jokey homage which has been stretched out.

    There’s plenty to struggle with (the film’s mysterious racial politics, for example; certainly the first time a Tarantino film as been so blatantly “about” something, but its meaning is fairly elusive to me), but aside from FURY ROAD I don’t think any other movie this year had me as deeply engrossed.

    Larry — There’s definitely a lot here which comes from THE GREAT SILENCE, just as most Tarantino movies borrow little elements of other movies. Some things –like the way the hero provokes people into a fight so he can kill them legally– are pretty direct lifts but with their context changes; others are a little more broad (lots of movies have Morricone scores or a snowy locale). Certainly I don’t think this one is any more or less derivative than his other movies have been.

  21. Well I loved it unabashedly. Even saw it three times now, the third one by accident because I was going to FINALLY see Star Wars with a friend but when we got there it just didn’t feel right to go to Star Wars (neither of us were looking too forward to it) when the 70MM screening was going on. It helped that, shockingly, my AMC’s 70MM presentation was really good with no hick ups.

    As for the film, like many I wasn’t prepared for how mean the film was but that actually added to my enjoyment. I never felt like Tarantino was justifying anyone’s actions in the film and it was just a character-piece about really scummy people. So great to see a with such great acting from the entire cast (not an old man back-in-my-day rant). I don’t have much to add that other better writers haven’t. went in expecting a great western and got a great horror movie instead (or a great messed up buddy cop movie if you prefer).

    That said, can’t completely fault many for being really morally conflicted on this though, but I think that’s what Tarantino wanted.

  22. Sorry for the messed up wording in my second paragraph! Also I’ll second Mr. S’s feelings about how this was the most engrossing movie of the year along with Fury Road. Only those two movies, with very honorably mention to Creed, could did I want to see again immediately (and did). Been a very long time I wanted to or bothered to go see the same film in theaters multiple times.

  23. Whenever people complain about Tarantino being a plagiarist, I’m often surprised by how different his film is from the source material. There are plenty of films that borrow characters and plots more directly than Tarantino does. What seems to bother people is that Tarantino draws clear connections to his influences while he mixes them up in a unique way and adds his specific dialogue. But I’ve been meaning to watch The Great Silence for a while now, so this might be my excuse to check it out.

  24. Probably someone else has said this before and I’ve got source amnesia, but I think what Tarantino does is loosely analogous to sampling in hip hop production (not P. Diddy wholesale jacking of memorable instrumentals). Like a great DJ digging through crates of obscure vinyl, Tarantino has a vast library of films in his mind, and he takes actors, thematic elements, scenes, etc. from other films and melds them into his own stew. But like a great DJ, what he creates is always more and different than the sum of the parts, including parts clearly borrowed from/inspired by/in-homage-to other films. This is consistent with what I said before: A Tarantino film is always first and foremost a Tarantino film, with him bending the iconic actors, composers, motifs, etc. to serve his vision. That’s why even though I don’t always enjoy the films as much as I “appreciate” them, I have to give props to Tarantino for being a true original.

  25. RBatty — it used to bother me when I found out something cool in a Tarantino movie was actually from another movie (it really kinda broke my heart when I watched CHARLEY VARRICk and heard that ‘go to work on you with pliers and blowtorches’ line) but over the years I’ve made peace with it. Tarantino has impeccable taste, and tends to lift little details from flawed movies and give them their proper due in great movies, so how could I be mad about that? The details are the same –sometimes exactly the same– but the change in context makes all the difference. Tarantino, I think, sometimes is able to see the greatness of little elements of films in a way which their own creators never were, and likes to take those little tidbits and give them he showcase they always deserved but never got.

    But you should definitely watch THE GREAT SILENCE. It’s not half the movie that HATEFUL EIGHT is (Jean-Louis Trintignant is a pretty wussy protagonist) but man… Klaus Kinski is one of the all-time great Western Villains ever. He’s more hateful than the entire eight, put together, and compounded by a factor of icy German maniac. It also has a great Morricone score, although for my money I think HATEFUL EIGHT might be better. And it’s every bit as nihilistic as Tarantino’s film, at about a tenth the bloodiness.

  26. Gentlemen: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”— Pablo Picasso.

    While I don’t agree with this from an ethical POV, from an aesthetic one it makes better sense. Most modern art (be it film, literature, painting, and whatnot besides) seems to be gleaned rather than created out of thin air.

  27. It always makes me laugh when someone tries to claim Tarantino is a thief and then mentions the WRONG films he’s borrowing from (I just recently saw someone call this a ripoff of fucking McCabe & Mrs. Miller, apparently because that’s the only snowy Western they’re aware of). Not taking a shot at you Larry, since you admit to having not seen either film, just whoever provided you with your info. There’s very little of The Great Silence in The Hateful Eight outside of snow and bounty hunters. They would’ve done better to mention Cut-Throats Nine, as that’s actually about a bunch of bad people stuck in a snowy cabin killing each other while one of them has a secret (even the title seems to be an homage). Day of the Outlaw has some similarities to The Hateful Eight too. There’s also been word that the plot comes from an episode of the Western TV show The Rebel, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment. If anything, Tarantino would probably love people drawing similarities between The Hateful Eight and The Great Silence since it would keep them off the trail of what he’s really borrowing from.

    Lambert — well, I think the comparisons to GREAT SILENCE are somewhat justified, particularly in the way Warren kills Bruce Dern by provoking him until he tries to Han Shoots First him. That’s a pretty unique part of GREAT SILENCE’S gimmick, and combined with the racial overtones, darkly nihilistic outlook and the snowy locale, I find it hard to believe it wasn’t on Tarantino’s mind, although obviously that IMBD comment vastly overstates the similarities. You’re right that the structure has a lot more in common with CUT-THROATS 9. (funny, because there’s actually at least a hateful 9 here no matter how you slice it)

  29. Normally I wouldn’t comment underneath that movie at all, but I saw that Picasso quote in the Recent Comments corner and have to say that I hate it. Personally I think it should be “Great artists create, lazy fucks steal”. Also I should mention that Picasso most likely never said it, but the urban myth of contributing it to Picasso comes from Steve Jobs (who was a well know idea thief, btw).

    Basically who said it is unknown, with the most likely person being a journalist who wrote an essay about artists and imitators (forgot his name and don’t have time to google it, since it’s almost midnight. Happy new year!) in tghe 1890s and its inception has been attached to everybody from Picasso to Hitler to Sokrate and of course Tarantino himself.

    Talking about Tarantino: Note that I really only discussed the quote itself and its mysterious roots and let Tarantino and his style of movie making and story telling out of it.

  30. Comparisons, sure. Samuel L. Jackson goading Dern into drawing on him so he can “legally” kill him probably comes from Corbucci’s film, but that’s been a staple of Westerns from the beginning, most notably in Shane (Corbucci gets the credit for making it a part of his hero’s modus operandi instead of his villain’s, certainly). It definitely plays into the film’s vision of what is and isn’t justice so it’s a more organic lift than some of Tarantino’s less inspired examples of borrowing (I think the Kill Bill movies are the worst offenders in this regard for me).

    Sometimes I think Tarantino puts these obvious signposts on his movies so the more obscure stuff he steals initially goes unnoticed (like the titles to his last two films that draw links to movies that seem to have had little inspiration on the actual content of the films).

  31. Pulp Fiction also had three chapters, right? Did Reservoir Dogs?

    O.B. is definitely not Hateful. Tarantino even said it. But I’d say Channing Tatum definitely is, so that’s at least nine!

  32. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the “eight” are the two groups of four who both arrive in a stagecoach. So Bruce Dern probably doesn’t count either, even though he’s definitely hateful. I guess he’s kind of supposed to be a red herring character, since he’s listed as one of the 8 on the handbill. I guess there’s an outside chance that Tatum is actually not hateful, since even if he’s a scumbag, he’s at least doing all this for the love of his sister.

  33. In related “Kurt Russell westerns of the last four months” news, looks like Bone Tomahawk just hit prime (at least here in the colonies). I heartily recommend it. Good performances all around, good slow burn buddy western quest horror energy. In addition to the obvious (Kurt), really enjoyed Matthew Fox’s performance in this one, and there’s a nice David Arquette appearance that is kind of easter eggy fun for those who dug Ravenous.

  34. I absolutely loved this one. In terms of “getting it” here’s my take: Hateful Eight is an allegory about how neither side actually won the Civil War. (This may get rambly but bear with me.) Yes, the Union “won” because the nation stayed whole, which was Lincoln’s stated fundamental purpose for fighting the war. As he wrote in 1862, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” And this initial ambivalence about abolition is what the Lincoln Letter that Major Warren carries around signifies: its revealed fraudulence underscores the myth that the North fought to free the slaves and Lincoln was the white savior of black America.

    But of course, while the North didn’t initially fight to free the slaves, the South absolutely did fight to keep the slaves in bondage. So obviously the Southerners fighting for the dignity of owning people lost. But so in some sense did the people who really were fighting for freedom, the black soldiers of the North and the ex-slaves of the South. Because their freedom was a pawn in the game of reunification, not the goal of the war, and life after the war validated this sense every day of their lives (up until the present). So while the Union was preserved, the two groups most viscerally invested in the outcome (represented by Mannix and Warren in the film) both would up neither truly winning or losing, in a moral and historical purgatory from which they and the country have never emerged. But we keep striving to believe in this idea of justice, this idea of what America can be. Whichever side we’re on we want order to defeat chaos- to defeat the bands of thugs and criminals that threaten our very existence- and that’s why there’s a (to me) sense of deep if pessimistic satisfaction to these two men teaming up to hang rather than shoot the agent of chaos who brought about the destruction of their (mutually exclusive) quests for order. (I’m also reminded of Butch and Marcellus in the middle section of Pulp Fiction.)

  35. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the AV Club said it better: “this is the writer-director’s take on the betrayed promise of America: a perverse vision of sadistic men comforted by false causes. The American ideal was only ever a lie, says The Hateful Eight, but in the end, when the floorboards are slicked with blood and brain matter, and the fatally wounded have enacted a ritualistic parody of justice, it looks toward that same ideal with the hope that one day, someone will be suckered by it hard enough to make it come true.”


  36. Minnie’s hated of Mexicans had waned according to Warren (she still don’t allow dogs) but I don’t think he was lying because her dislike of Mexicans is what tipped him off that something was wrong at Minnie’s Haberdashery.

  37. I’m a little bit ambivalent as well. I enjoyed it thoroughly, despite the 70mm projection being totally wasted on the tiny screen I saw it on, a good quarter of which was blocked by the tall drink of water sitting directly in front of me. (In the spirit of trying to be a positive motherfucker, it is true that proportionally less of the image was blocked than if it had been a normal 2.40:1 film.) But I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

    I liked that it’s Quentin’s version of a drawing room mystery, but not sure if his decision to have most of the murders happen in plain sight with no mystery as to the culprit instead of in the Ten Little Indians method suggested by the careful (red herringed?) setup of the outhouse and stables was supposed to be subversive, an artifact of the story’s theatrical origins, or just a missed opportunity.

    But my main issue is that I’m not sure how satisfying I’m supposed to find the SPOILER hanging at the end. Sure, that character was reprehensible, but no more than anyone else, whose acts of brutality were visualized onscreen and not just implied or enacted by proxy. I think there’s some point to be made in the nature of the violence itself, much of which is ugly and lingering in a Grand Guignol fashion quite unlike the short bursts of cathartic and/or surprising splatter that characterize most of the violence in the QT’s ouevre. This is the bloodbath we’ve all been patiently waiting three hours for, the punchline to the long, ambling shaggy dog joke, but in the end, it’s not that funny, is it? It’s gross and unpleasant and it solves exactly fuck-all. Is that the point? We enact our civilized rituals of vengeance and we think that somehow makes us better than the “savages” we’re slaughtering? I don’t really know. Honestly, that ambiguity is what makes me want to see it again more than anything in the filmmaking itself, which is strange for a movie that hung its hat on its visual representation. Maybe the answers are all in that quarter of the screen I couldn’t see.

    In any case, this is the first Tarantino movie that made me wonder what he was trying to say. That’s new territory for him and I’m happy to see that growth in a filmmaker who constantly he’s criticized for being repetitive and stuck in the past.

  38. Hey, it worked! Been trying to post that comment since last year.

  39. Hamslime: You got it backwards. She started allowing dogs but kept the ban on Mexicans. I believe that’s why Bichir’s character chooses the hilariously Anglo alias “Bob,” to half-assedly hide the fact that he’s Mexican.

    What’s funny is that Minnie might hate Mexicans, but, living in the wilds of Wyoming, apparently doesn’t even know enough about them to recognize one when she meets one. Subtle commentary on the notion that people with the least contact with other kinds of people are often the most likely to be xenophobic?

  40. You’re right. It sounded to me like he said “she still ain’t letting in dogs” but it is “she started letting in dogs” which makes much more sense. That just strengthens the point that Warren wasn’t lying about Minnie hating Mexicans though.

    It does make the flashback scene play out funny since she doesn’t seem to think one way or another about “Bob”. Although she does seen smittened with “Oswaldo” so maybe that was distracting her.


    Speaking of Oswaldo, I liked how his accent switched from upper-crust to cockney as soon as the jig was up.

    Also, did anyone else get the feeling Roth was doing a Christoph Waltz impression for the first half of his role?

  42. I feel similarly to Mr. Subtlety in that I was too enthralled with the film to let any confusion towards its subtext really deter me from embracing it.

    But that said, if it were needed, I think Kubrick’s Rube lays down a really compelling clarification of that subtext.

  43. Attempts to find redemptive meaning in HATEFUL EIGHT may be misguided.

    Since 1992 Tarantino has been asking audiences to laugh at abuse, torture, sadism, mutilation and murder. And his response to the controversy about this has always been to insist that movies and life are completely separate.

    This bothered me in his first few movies, which seemed to be set more or less in the real world and thus seemed to me (at least then) to actually be cheapening human life. But from KILL BILL onwards his films have been exaggerated genre hommages that don’t necessarily ask to be taken seriously, so I’ve found his “it’s just a movie” defense increasingly easier to swallow.

    Tarantino enjoys cinematic ultra-violence for its own sake, and clearly relishes the challenge of getting the audience to endorse it. His favorite strategies for this involve making the targets of this violence either racist, or deserving to be revenged against.

    What maybe muddies the waters this time is that, in the real world, Tarantino has recently spoken out against racism and police brutality. So suddenly we think of him having a conventional liberal conscience, and thus perhaps expect to see that reflected in his movies.

    But whatever his politics or morals in real life, I still think Tarantino is proudly apolitical and amoral in his work as an artist. If anything perhaps Tarantino is doubling down on the nihilist mayhem in his work, to counteract his newfound activism?

    Tarantino’s new film does have some unusually political (for him) dialogue about how hard it is to be black in America, and the “dingus” scene seems designed to be a white racist’s nightmare. But I think Tarantino is just enjoying working the crowd. His loyalty is to exploitation films, not propaganda.

    With both George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino in the media lately, it’s tempting to draw parallels between the two. Both started their careers in an era/movement when visionary filmmakers were cut more slack than they are today, and both have been very influential based on relatively little output.

    More importantly, both filmmakers look to the Hollywood of yesteryear for creative inspiration … but that’s where they start to diverge. Lucas is eager to dump the celluloid filmmaking technology of the past, but he embraces the traditional moral code of old movies and feels it needs to be preserved. By contrast, Tarantino fetishizes filmstock and Cinerama and the grindhouse experience, but seemingly has no time for the wholesomeness that most old movies aspire to. He would rather be cool. (Also, Tarantino clearly gives fewer fucks, unlike Lucas who seems to crave public acceptance more.)

    So to me this is Tarantino’s latest and greatest joke on the mass audience. He will always be more John Waters than Stanley Kramer. I’m surprised to see this one getting a mixed reaction here, because I loved it more than any previous Tarantino joint. I had a maniacal grin on my face the whole time.

  44. I agree that he’s exploitative but I don’t think you’re supposed to laugh at the violence. The ear scene in DOGS for example is a compelling portrait of a sadistic psychopath; it’s quite disturbing and effective and even though there’s an element of absurdity or irony, it never felt like slapstick to me. Same thing with Marvin in PULP, which is intended to shock you at the sheer randomness of the universe, rather than with the graphicness of the violence or how cheap Marvin’s life is.

    I also think Tarantino is capable of a great deal of compassion towards his characters. He gets swept up in their legend and treats each one with love, even the most despicable villains. Even though all his movies take place in some alternate Tarantino-verse, you don’t get the Lynchian or Cronenbergian sense that he’s making movies about aliens or insects. I get why everybody is calling HATEFUL EIGHT bleak and nihilistic but I still feel his essential warmth in it.

  45. Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler

    Curt — I certainly would agree with you that most Tarantino movies are more or less purely entertaiment, and that the violence doesn’t mean anything else except that violence is cinematic. But HATEFUL 8 seems to be the exception; there are just too many details in there –the racism, the Lincoln letter, the discussion of justice, the speeches about causes — to let me think Tarantino just finds this entertaining.

    Speaking of which, what do we make of Warren’s literal emasculation at the hands of pretty boy Channing Tatum? Considering DJANGO also had a scene of threatened emasculation for a proud black man, and considering the emphasis Warren puts on his own male member during his story (“big, black, dingus” etc) what does it mean that he ends the movie with his manhood literally taken from him? It’s quite an unusual thing for a movie to do with its arguable hero; I can’t offhand think of another movie which disempowers its protagonist in this way, and putting him at the mercy of this former Confederate racist lawman in this vulnerable position at the same time seems to be to be a very intentional choice. Warren’s dick has already been memorably established as an icon of his power, and then when it’s graphically removed, he becomes much more vulnerable. He loses his potency as an active character in two senses here, and the final conflict actually shifts to Mannix in the last chapter. It’s too deliberate for me to believe it’s just a random bit of subversive fun on Tarantino’s part, but I’m not sure what to make of it in terms of the rest of the movie.

  46. “Tarantino enjoys cinematic ultra-violence for its own sake, and clearly relishes the challenge of getting the audience to endorse it.”

    This is too simplistic. Take Inglourious Basterds: For two hours we’re primed exactly as you say, to relish and gleefully endorse the murderous comeuppance of a bunch of Nazis. And what happens? He mirrors our blood lust back at us. As we sit in the movie theater waiting for for the baddest of bad guys to get what’s coming to them, we watch those same bad guys doing exactly the same thing: sitting in a movie theater gleefully relishing a film about their enemies getting blown away. And to cap it all off, Tarantino (through ugly-American Aldo Raine) turns to the camera and carves a swastika into the audience’s head because he’s shown what brutality we’re all capable of and doesn’t want us to forget it.

  47. Hamsline- the joke was actually that Minnie used to have a sign up that said “No dogs or Mexicans” but she took it down because she started allowing dogs.

  48. And I see now that Mr. Majestyk already pointed that out….
    I agree that the hanging at the end was distasteful, but it reminded me so much of carving that final swastika in (spoilers for Inglorious Basterds) Hans Landa’s forehead that I just interpreted it in the same way. It’s almost a punchline- the characters sprint towards that inevitable conclusion. Plus, come on, every single character died. I didn’t enjoy it, so much as felt like a scratch had been itched.

  49. I guess what I mean is that Daisy HAD to end up hanged after everything that happened. Especially as she tried the kill both of the men who remained alive in that cabin with her after all of the bloodshed. QT doesn’t have to make it fun though. It’s still uncomfortable and awful. But it was inevitable.

  50. I’ve heard it argued that Vince Vega gets killed because he ignored Jules’ admonition to give up the life of crime, and continued down the left hand path or whatever. It’s a moralistic, punitive death sentence by Tarantino. You can get a lot of mileage out of discussing Tarantino’s moralistic stance towards his characters, certainly, in pretty much all his films.

    But other times I think characters just die in his films because a badass death sequence is part of the badass character checklist. Everybody dies eventually, so you if they are truly a character worth putting in a Tarantino film, chances are they died in some iconic fashion that is worth putting to screen. The events in the Hateful Eight cabin are worth your while simply because they are the final chapter in so many great stories.

  51. Just read a interview with Tarantino where he says that he considers the confederate flag to be the American swastika, and that it’s about damn time people questioned its place in the American south. So I guess we don’t need to wonder where he stands politically. If anyone was wondering, that is…

  52. i hope this movie is as deep as you all think it is,but even if it is, it’s not very good. I’m a huge QT fan, but this film is a big, sloppy mess. There are some great moments, for sure,but the movie is easily an hour too long and lacks any real characterization that makes you give a shit. I’m not saying it isn’t fun, but it is pointless.

  53. If QT had an unlimited budget for Reservoir Dogs and could have made a 3 hour movie it would have looked like Hateful 8 and it wouldn’t be any better for it.

  54. Jeffg — Well, you could certainly edit it down (hell, the entire flashback chapter could probably be cut, since it doesn’t really tell us anything we couldn’t figure of from the context) but… why? I mean, you got someplace to be? It’s consistently entertaining every minute of those three hours, or at least it was to me. I don’t know what would really be improved by shortening it.

  55. A movie being overly long, in and of itself, isn’t a flaw. But I did find a lot of Hateful 8 pointless and not all that great. I didn’t find “every minute” of it entertaining, but I certainly wouldn’t argue you are wrong for finding it entertaining from start to finish. I still liked it as a whole, but just didn’t love it.

    Inglorious Bastereds was similar length and that, for me, didn’t have a wasted scene. But I am sure there are folks that disagree with me on that one.

    I’m thinking of a lot of the “Director’s Cuts” I have seen that are half an hour longer than the theatrical release and not much better for it. Alien and Aliens pop to mind. Both of those films have some really great deleted scenes that are part of the Director’s Cut, but just throwing them in and making the movie a half hour longer doesn’t seem like a good move to me.

  56. Crushinator Jones

    January 4th, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Hmmm. So I saw this on Wednesday and I’ve just kinda been thinking about it. It’s very clearly a “message” movie but the message is so watered-down and twisted around and buried under (great) dialogue exchanges that it’s hard to tease out.

    What it seems to be about is hatred and grudges and how they despoil everything good. More specifically, a personal kind of hatred. The last few minutes of the movie have a Confederate joining forces with a black Union officer to hang a woman because she personally wronged him by almost let him drink poisoned coffee. I could see Mannix taking The Final Deal under normal circumstances but suddenly he catches himself and says “you almost watched me die” and that’s ultimately what leads to Minnie’s death.

    Great performances, didn’t hate the film, but I’ll probably never watch it again. It’s simply too long and self-indulgent for that.

  57. Serious question, do you guys really think this one could be improved by tightening its runtime? I mean, I think it’s obvious that you could, without significantly impacting the plot one iota. But as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really end up being about the plot, it’s just about soaking in the atmosphere, music, performances, and (eventually) violence, all gloriously excessive and all in gloriously excessive 70mm. The film’s problems are obvious — some actors don’t get much to do, the mystery plot turns out to just be exactly what it looked like, the “message” gets muddled in all the bloody nihilism– but I don’t see how any of those could really be solved by streamlining the narrative and trimming fat. If anything, I think that would weaken its bloated momentum. For better or worse, it’s just a ridiculous, excessive film in every way, and the bloated runtime seems like a logical extension of that; its meant to overwhelm you in every way.

  58. Subtlety, I suppose that’s my chief issue with Tarantino and Wes Andersen. They both exhibit an almost compulsive fixation on particular stylistic fetishes and motifs, so the whole often ends up feeling like less than the parts. In particular, the characters–whether Tarantino’s crass ne’er-do-wells or Andersen’s unemotionally shut-down blue bloods–are so hyper-stylized and affected as to be kind of inaccessible and unreal. There are other strong visionary oddball filmmakers who have semi-recently done things I dig (Synechoche New York, the Master, Mulholland Drive, [plain old] Drive), and you could probably lob very similar criticisms at them (it’s not really about the plot for them, either), but with Tarantino and Andersen, their superficial stylistic quirks and hangups and narrative themes grow more grating with time. What was once fresh and bracing now feels masturbatory and bordering on self-parody. I can’t really criticize them on any technical grounds, I just find that those signature stylistic moves become more and more distracting, almost as if designed to distract us from the fact that their films are just premises masquerading as stories. I don’t know, that may be unfair and laying it on a bit thick, but these dudes are making me grumpy.

  59. SPOILS

    Mr Subtlety – As much as I didn’t care for the film, I don’t personally think that the length was a problem. It could have been longer or shorter and I to me it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The problem was that I was fucking bored for long stretches of it (mainly in the second half when shit starts to get crazy) and I felt *under*whelmed by the entire experience, truth be told. As I’ve already mentioned, it didn’t offend or agitate or trouble me. I just didn’t think that it was very good.

    And with respect to the violence, it’s messy I suppose but for me it had absolutely no impact. It all just sort of happened and splattered around the place and then was made light of. (Sam Jackson referring to Channing Tatum’s character as a “sack shooter” for example.) Compare the violence in HATEFUL 8 to the scene in RESERVOIR DOGS where Tim Roth kills the woman in the car, or the scene in JACKIE BROWN where De Niro kills Bridget Fonda. I dunno, the whole thing sort of just trickled past me like piss running downhill. Which is even worse than me hating it because I just didn’t feel any inclination to engage with it at after the credits had rolled at all. And I can’t say that about a single other QT joint. Not even THE MAN FROM HOLLYWOOD.

  60. Mr. Subtlety: I do think it would benefit from a shortened running time simply because I don’t think I liked it as much as you did. If I thought every minute, every scene was fascinating and entertaining, I would tend to agree with you. But I didn’t. Again, you aren’t wrong for loving it, any more than I am wrong for not loving it.

    I liked a lot of it, to be sure, but I also found myself looking at my watch a bit. Went to see it with a pair of friends who are big QT fans and they were in the same boat. And I also found myself watching scenes, saying to myself “something important must happen here, otherwise they wouldn’t have thrown this in”, only to be disappointed. The whole scene with Channing Tatum talking to Bruce Dern seemed like “hey we got Channing Tatum to appear in this, we need to give him something to do other than pop his head out of the basement”. And the whole logic of keeping Dern alive in the first place seemed forced and nonsensical. I understand the explanation for it, I just didn’t buy it. Quite honestly, I didn’t understand why they didn’t just ambush Kurt Russell in the first place, but that wouldn’t have made for a very good film.

    Music was great. Scenery and set design were great. Performances were great. I liked it, but didn’t love it, and just thought less might be better. As overlong as it was, I wanted more of Roth, Madsen & Bichir.

    Again, I preface this by saying I love QT, I will watch anything he makes over and over. It was a good movie, IMO, not great. Had it been two hours with some of the fat trimmed off the steak would it have been better? I think so, but who knows?

    As an aside, after I wrote this response, I found myself going back and continuously adding lines to it. I probably made a brief, succinct response overlong and tedious, just by being a poor editor. Which is my point.

  61. Crushinator Jones

    January 5th, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Yeah I’m not sure that shorter is the solution. Here’s the thing: when I said I probably wouldn’t rewatch this it’s because a) it’s a bunch of long dialogue scenes that either explore the characters or build tension, but I already understand the characters and there’s no tension on rewatch, and b) at it’s core this movie is extremely nihilistic and mean-spirited, and c) I can hear the narrative gears grinding when the setup fails to pay off.

    It’s a beautifully shot tire fire and quite honestly a waste of 70mm.

  62. Crushinator Jones

    January 5th, 2016 at 8:28 am

    BTW if you have a scene in your movie where


    a bunch of outlaws come in and straight-up cold-blooded murder a bunch of nice friendly people the payoff shouldn’t be “and then they all died too within the next 20 minutes of runtime”. That’s literally what I hate about torture porn movies, just reveling in human misery and domination for the sake of it. I enjoyed the film after I saw it but the more I actually dip my hands into the nasty squalid tar of this film’s themes the less I like it. I should probably stop thinking about this film before I retroactively ruin 3 hours of my life.

  63. Skani — Your point about Tarantino and Anderson is pretty interesting, I never thought about it that way before. I was going to try and argue that Tarantino’s genre-hopping makes him a little less repetitive than Anderson, but I guess I can’t deny that even if the details vary, the essential Taranino-ness has been the main factor in every movie he’s made since JACKIE BROWN. And I can definitely see it beginning to get a little old for some people.

    In fact, I can’t help but wonder if that’s not a big factor in the underwhelmed response Mr. Mixalot and Jeff G had to this one. Not a lot of new ground covered, and no likable characters or persuasive narrative (at least in the second half) to help paper over the essential same-ness of it all. Tarantino’s been saying he wants to make a horror movie next, so maybe that’ll be his chance to step out of his somewhat comfortable trend of talky genre pastiches and make something that feels a little more vital to you guys again. Me, I’m an arrested development case enough that I still eat the chatty ultraviolence thing up with a spoon, especially when it’s so sumptuously mounted. But I think I finally get why you guys were sort of nonplussed now — it’s how I’ve felt about every Wes Anderson film since LIFE AQUATIC.

  64. The lack of a likeable character is curious to me. I wonder if I need a likeable character to like a movie? I mean, are there any likeable characters in Reservoir Dogs? Entertaining to watch, yes, but I don’t know if I would say likeable. I watched Jackie Brown last week and man I love Pam Grier and Robert Forster.

  65. Crushinator Jones

    January 5th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    “Likeable characters” is like “political correctness” in the sense that it can mean about 20 specific things under a big umbrella concept.

    Hateful 8 has likeable characters. Marquis is likeable. O.B. is likeable. Even John Ruth has likeable moments. When he’s dying of poison he doesn’t just shoot Daisy (who I erroneously referred to as Minnie earlier. My mistake!) and take her with him although he does beat her up. Hell, Mannix’s turn at the end made him extremely likeable and endearing.

    The problem is that this is an ugly movie with absolutely nothing good to say about anyone. Literally every single person we ever see in the film dies by violence. And that’s fine. I wouldn’t begrudge a filmmaker for wanting to spit venom all over the silver screen. That’s their prerogative as an artist, and it’s not like QT got my ass in the theater under false pretense. Unfortunately, 2015 continues to see the world spiral into hell and so I’m not real amenable to having someone tell me “the world is shit and you and yours can all die by violence” for 3 hours, no matter how many cool conversations they couch it in.

  66. Crushinator Jones

    January 5th, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    BTW I’m probably coming across as hating the movie, but I honestly don’t. Let’s put it this way: The essential nastiness and nihilism at the core of this film would have made me walk out of the theater in the hands of any other writer/director. QT kept me involved until the end.

  67. Subtlety, glad we could find some common ground. I’m sure I’ll check this one out eventually and find things to appreciate, and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who loves Tarantino and his fetishes enjoying him continuing to enjoy his output. Like I said, I think his technical chops and unique vision are pretty unimpeachable.

  68. scratch “enjoying him”



    I loved all the horror-references; The Thing, Evil Dead, Last House on the Left, and then the final shot with the 2 “heroes” dying surrounded by the colours of the american flag, bonding over a murdered woman dangling in front of them, while laughing at a naive and bloodsplattered letter by the american president about a better future without racism, It´s hate destroying the american dream, but also hate bringing enemies together. I felt like I moved from a classic western into a nihilistic and angry seventies horror-movie. I think. I dunno. Theres always a lot of subtext in Tarantinos movies, and almost always a point with his references to other movies, but this time it felt like he is making a movie about our time, and he is mad as hell and won´t take it anymore.

  70. Honestly, I liked this a lot better than DJANGO UNCHAINED. With the exception of O.B. and everyone killed in the flashback, none of these characters are good people… but at least they’re entertaining, which is more than I can say for Foxx as Django. The first two chapters are easily my favorite of the movie, the entire coach ride to Minnie’s Haberdashery. And it’s exactly and only that; a coach ride. Just four strangers talking and building exposition the entire way (and an excellent gag), but the dialogue is fantastic and the performances are great, and the strength of these characters is matched by the rest of the cast (or at least, anyone that has enough screen time).

    There’s a lot of people who seem to have a problem with just how cynical and hateful (hah) it is. I’m typically not a fan of films that go out of their way to put a smear on humanity, but it doesn’t bother me here because it’s not done randomly/purely for effect, everybody actually has at least some motivation for behaving on this level. There isn’t NEARLY anything as bad here as something like, say, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS with those long, ugly ass scenes where they break the spirits of that country music family before executing them. Fucking yuck. I guess the worst of it on a torture level is Warren’s story about face-fucking Smithers’ son (I can’t remember if we have any cause to think it’s not true), but I guess I’ll never consider a black union soldier getting in every hit possible on the same motherfuckers who tried to kill and enslave him.

    This will sound contradictory to that previous paragraph (I don’t think it is because the scenes play to different sensations), but I’m also glad that there really isn’t any sort of that cathartic element here like Vern talks about in DJANGO or INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, where the audience gets to feel like they’re absolved of the sins of the father because they cheered when Django kills slavers, or like we get a little taste of that revenge on Adolf that we all dream about. That does not work on me, I think it’s bullshit self-service and a really cheap narrative trick that ends up being about as entertaining as someone going up to me and go “HUHUHUHUH HEY GUYS KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE TO POLPOT?” Well, you didn’t, so no. Instead, nobody gets to be a hero to be rooted for, no victory ends up clean (if they even can be considered victories), and I don’t get to feel like I’m having Tarantino personally invite me to clap to save Tinkerbell.

    Overall, I’m really positive about it, but I do think it could have been trimmed down a lot I don’t say that because I think there’s stuff in there without any value, but more out of a concern for audience endurance. And pee endurance, for that matter, I thought all prints got the intermission!

  71. Well, what about, like, Beatrix Kiddo getting revenge on Elle Driver, or Sally escaping Leatherface in the truck, Rocky going the distance or Babe winning the sheep dog competition (spoiler)? Those things didn’t happen either and some of them couldn’t happen but we still derive satisfaction from the fictional scenarios. I don’t understand distancing yourself from Django being a bad motherfucker who ends up giving some horrible characters what they deserve. It’s also not that unusual for a western (or martial arts film, or…) to be put into a historical context, though movies don’t usually deal that graphically with slavery because it’s a part of our history many people don’t want to think about.

    I’m not trying to argue with how you respond to the movie, of course. I’m just sad that you don’t get to enjoy something as awesome as Django putting on that blue suit and whipping that guy in front of everybody.

  72. There’s a theme in the revenge genre about “you, the audience, should feel terrible for enjoying this.” I drastically prefer Tarantino’s “everything I put in a movie should be super entertaining and pleasurable to watch” approach.

  73. So I finally got the chance to see this one, it is a bit prickly, subversive, and plays with your expectations but I really enjoyed it. It is not the feel good wish fulfillment QT gave us in BASTARDS and DJANGO, it is a film that is as cold and unforgiving as the blizzard that menaces Minnie’s Haberdashery. That coldness doesn’t make it an easy film to embrace when compared to films like KILL BILL, BASTARDS, and DJANGO but what the film has to say about race, justice and gender roles in America and how it presents them is thought provoking and compelling. I am eager to see it again, not because it is favorite QT film, but because it is a lot to try and digest in one viewing.

    You guys have already touched on a lot of great points but a couple things I noticed……

    Off the bat I have to talk about how subversive this film is, and it is not just the subject matter of the film that is subversive. This is QT’s first time using 70mm that combined with the genre I expected him to go big cinematicly and use the format in the way many westerns do in capturing the grandeur of the landscape and geography, and he does a little of that to start the film while they are in the stage coach but most of the film is a series of conversations taking place in one room. He uses the scope of 70mm format to deliver his most intimate film since RESERVOIR DOGS. His use of genre is also subversive. THE HATEFUL 8 is not a traditional western, QT use the genre and it’s motifs and themes as a tool to set up the story and characters before re-purposing them to fit his narrative and message. The American west after the civil war is the period, but I would argue that the film that the H8 has the most in common with is John Carpenters THE THING*. Both are about a group of men trapped in an isolated place due to extreme weather that cannot trust each other, but in THE THING the evil they fear is alien and comes from another world. It can get inside anybody and turn them into something evil. However, in H8 the evil is human and is already inside everybody.

    *The one western it did remind me of is Sergio Corbucci’s THE GREAT SILENCE.


    – charles

    I love the scene that´s basically copied from THE THING shot for shot, where the put rope between the toilet and the main-building. And it never has a pay-off in the movie, other than reminding us that there is some sort of monster around. The big twist is, off course, that the monster is inside everybody.

    I´m also curious about his decision to film it in 70mm, but there is nothing more american than the western, and I think QT is trying to make a point by refusing the audience the beautiful landscape, we expect from a western, and instead says; no, thats bullshit, THIS is America, a bunch of hateful greedy racists and women-haters, that destroys everything beautiful about the american dream.

  75. Oh, of course, Vern, and I don’t want my tone to be read as being sharp and directed at the people who did enjoy these elements of those films. I hope I didn’t come off that way.

    I’ve thought about this a bit more, because honestly, I don’t have this reaction to Nazis and Klan members being used as villains in other films, and when I went back and watched that Brittle Brothers scene again, I didn’t get that same feeling of being fed a line of “getting even with history” that the movie had left me with before. But you know what did give me that feeling? The whole climax of DJANGO, and every scene I’ve rewatched of BASTERDS. So what’s the deal? I’m thinking it might actually have something with the ultra-violence. Maybe I just don’t like that shit anymore, or at least when paired with these kinds of Historical Tragedy settings, I don’t know. DJANGO bores me more often than not preceding Candyland primarily because I simply do not like Foxx as an actor or his performance as Django (I think he’s one-note), but everything following Schultz’s death is where the movie REALLY loses me. I don’t like BASTERDS at all, and it’s nothing but that stuff, so I don’t know, maybe that’s what’s going on. I still adore BRAINDEAD, regardless.

  76. I think what many people don’t think about with the 70mm is that it’s so wide it allows him to have other characters in the background pretty much at all times. He’s very much taking advantage of the format, just not always in the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA way people expect.

  77. Vern, I agree. I am not trying to imply he misused the format or dropped the ball just that as you stated he used it in a way I didn’t expect.

  78. Anyone see the TV episode Tarantino *ahem* borrowed the story from?

  79. The Original Paul

    January 12th, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Well well well. First movie of 2016. And it’s an interesting one. SPOILERS abound from here on in.

    Ok first off… people have pointed out that this film uses the same composer as THE THING, and basically repeats scenes from THE THING almost shot-for-shot (I spotted three, but there’s probably more), but how come nobody has pointed out that the music that plays while Mannix makes his decision at the end is actually from Carpenter’s version of THE THING? And you call yourself geeks. Personally I practically had a nerdgasm when the first couple of bars of that music came on.

    Apart from using that particular music, Morricone is on top form in this film. That opening theme gave me chills.

    You know what else this movie takes scenes almost shot-for-shot from? Fuckin’ RESERVOIR DOGS is all. Seriously, how the heck has nobody pointed out some of the similarities between these two films yet? And not just the obvious (both films have a major reveal two-thirds of the way through, followed by a lengthy flashback of how that came to be). For example, the thing about Minnie having taken the “No Dogs or Mexicans” sign down two years ago because she didn’t want to bar dogs? Anybody remember the scene in RESERVOIR DOGS, at the exact same point of the film, structurally speaking, where Tim Roth’s character talks about a (fake) encounter with four police officers and a German Shepherd that he supposedly had two years before the events of the film? It’s all about the dogs, people.

    I don’t feel qualified to discuss the racial aspects of this film – at least I have nothing to add to what’s already been said – so can I just point out how damn well it works as an example of the cinematic language? Just the right amount of stuff is left ambiguous. I disagree about the characters being “iredeemable”, by the way – the point is that we never know quite how redeemable they actually are. I think the bonding over Lincoln’s letter at the end just emphasizes this. The point isn’t that the letter is “real” or “fake”, it’s that it tells a good story. The outlaws tell stories, Warren tells stories, and in the end the best storyteller “wins”. If you can call it “winning” to outlast your enemies when you’re still probably going to die from having your balls shot off.

    This is a film about narrative and storytelling. From the start it’s made clear that the two eventual “survivors” (in the same respect as THE THING had two survivors, I guess) have very, very different accounts of what happened during the war and what role they each played. When Warren tells the story about forcing the General’s son to suck him off, it felt “false” to me, and Mannix apparently picked up on this (or said that he did to try and dissuade the General from going for his gun – yet another thing that’s said that may or may not be true). I think this is deliberate. I don’t think we’re supposed to take Warren’s word as gospel – even if he did kill the General’s son, he might have embellished certain details in order to provoke the General into trying to shoot him – and the subsequent discussion about “legality” (which isn’t shown, only told to us in narration) is false too. Basically everybody else in that cabin is either an outlaw or a racist or both; what do they care about whether what Warren did was “legal”? They’re still going to try and kill him. If this were a modern-day scenario and they were witnesses, they’d undoubtedly claim that Warren gunned down an innocent old man in cold blood (now we’re getting topical, aren’t we?) This, by the way, is what Tarantino wants us to do. He wants us to construct our own narratives to fit into the one that he’s presented. And then go ahead and question those as well.

    This film is not as good as RESERVOIR DOGS. For all that it has to say, it missed the mark emotionally at the end for me. The hanging seemed fitting for the purpose of giving the villain (well, the worst villain?) a dramatic death – apparently Tarantino learnt something from the climax of DJANGO UNCHAINED – but it didn’t have the emotional resonance that the final double execution from RESERVOIR DOGS had. Daisy isn’t someone we can root for, feel sorry for, mourn, or even feel a sense of catharsis now that she’s dead. She’s just a monster. I would say that the film failed to engage me emotionally in the same way that RESERVOIR DOGS did, but is it a “failure” if the film never really tries? Tarantino’s point here is to tell a great story about storytellers. I think he succeeds.

    This film is better than DJANGO UNCHAINED. For the first two-thirds of DJANGO I’d say that the two films are on a par, but DJANGO takes such a sudden and dramatic downturn of quality in its last third that I actually put that part of it on my “worst of” list for 2013. Incidentally, those of you who have said that HATEFUL EIGHT drops the ball in its last act, but who didn’t have many problems with DJANGO UNCHAINED – you’re insane. Or possibly I’m insane, I don’t know. All I do know is that one of the two of us is clearly delusional about these two films. Anyway, I went into great and exhaustive detail about how exactly DJANGO spent its last third undoing all of the goodwill it had accumulated in its excellent first two-thirds in the DJANGO review, and then again in my 2013 retrospective in the forums. I’m not going to do it a third time. I will, however, say that HATEFUL EIGHT does not suffer anything like this drop in quality.

    And Walt Goggins is officially The Man after this film.

    Damn, guys, I deliberately avoided this review and thread until I’d seen this one, but I did see the intro to the review on the site where Vern said he didn’t immediately love it. Didn’t expect HATEFUL EIGHT to be this damn good after that.

  80. The Original Paul

    January 12th, 2016 at 10:04 am


    Forgot to mention that I love that in the scene in THE THING where three “suspects” are lined up and tied down for the other people’s safety, none of them are guilty. In HATEFUL EIGHT, which has a blatant homage to this scene in which three characters are lined up and forced to face a wall, all of them are. I spotted the reference immediately (before that point I was pretty sure that Mexican Bob was the traitor because of the broken door; in the five minutes or so between that scene and the actual reveal, I was completely confused, so it worked perfectly to throw me off. Which I suspect was Tarantino’s intention – make anybody who spots the reference think that it might be Mannix after all. Which I did.)


    Anyway, it seems as though I’ve been roped into seeing STAR WARS tomorrow. Here’s a bit of irony for you guys: pretty much all of those friends I was talking about in the FORCED UNLEASH thread, who didn’t want to see the movie in the cinema, got roped into it in similar circumstances also – namely, as a favour / social thing with other middle-aged male friends. And their reactions have been largely positive, so I have hopes that this film might actually be ok. (And looking back at my thoughts before each of the prequels, it feels like I’m setting myself up for a big disappointment there. Oh well, at least everyone seems to agree that THE FORCE UNLEASHED is better than them.) I’ll let you guys know what I think about that one afterwards.

  81. Anyone else noticed that Tim Roths character´s last name was the same as Fassbenders in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS?

    Mobreys real name, I mean, which he reveals at the end, English Pete Hicox. Fassbenders name was Archie Hicox

  82. Paul, we didn’t feel we had to say anything after Tarantino himself said that THE HATEFUL EIGHT is inspired by RESERVOIR DOGS and – especially – THE THING. When it comes to the hanging at the end I feel that that scene represents how the inhabitants of new America – African-Americans and whites alike – are at least united by one thing; violence. Violence against women, against outside (imaginary) enemies and against their own.

    Shoot, Roth said in an early interview that he’s supposed to be his great grandfather or something.

  83. The Original Paul

    January 13th, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Pegsman – I didn’t know what Tarantino himself had said because, again, spoilers. I just thought you guys would be all over things like, for example, there being big clues to the traitor’s identity at the start of both films that are connected to coffee (in RESERVOIR DOGS the “rat” rats out the guy who didn’t tip, whereas in HATEFUL EIGHT the guy who’s supposed to be minding the bar can’t make a decent drink), or the dog stories thing, or probably a bunch of other things that I’ve missed.

  84. Yeah, maybe we’ve been a bit slack. I get daily updates on facebook from various movie sites and I should probably share some of them – if they’re good. I’m still on the fence about this movie. But since I think DJANGO’s Tarantino’s best yet, I could end up with this as his second best. Or best…

  85. The Original Paul

    January 14th, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Pegsman – I thought DJANGO was so damn great – up to that moment when two main characters die – after which… let’s just say, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that the last quarter of that film made me angrier than I’d ever been at a Tarantino movie since the world’s greatest assassin gave a loooooooong monologue about Superman that could’ve come out of the mouth of a ten-year-old in KILL BILL #2. The DJANGO UNCHAINED last act was particularly brutal because the rest of the film was so damn good. So to just turn it into some kind of a cartoon like that, which is basically what happened in my opinion… I wouldn’t have had the same problem with JACKIE BROWN, say, because I didn’t think any of it was that good. But DJANGO was great, up until that one moment. And then it just completely fell apart. That final shot was like a slap to the face.

    And I was seriously worried that, after KILL BILL Vol 2’s “Superman” moment and DJANGO UNCHAINED’s last act, HATEFUL EIGHT would turn out to be really good up to a point and then just lose it. Happily I don’t think that that was the case at all.

  86. Finally saw this last night and have very mixed feelings. I have no doubts that the run-time should have been shortened. I think the entire flashback scene should have been cut – it added nothing to the movie and killed the momentum that had been built up previously. Although, as someone above mentioned, the payoff at the end really did not live up to the set-up, IMO. To be honest, I thought the ending was kind of terrible but I liked/loved most of the first two hours.

    You know what else I would have changed? The entire Daisy has a secret scene. I think it would have been better to just actually show who poisoned the coffee and let us work out why they did it and who else is in on it. I think that would have been way more interesting, especially since they really didn’t do anything with the “mystery” angle.

    Overall, I think I would rank this as #7 out 8 Tarantino flicks (about 1000x better than Death Proof) but I need to watch Django again to confirm. I do seem to rate each of his last few movies less with each release (not saying they are bad though – I am still very excited to see them – just not as good as the previous one). It’s interesting that so many people here are ambivalent about this one. To me, that means its getting a little overrated because we all want to like it so much and are willing to give him a lot of slack. I mean, if you saw this movie and didn’t know Tarantino directed it, I think it would get a much lower rating from everyone here. The other strange thing is that people are really stretching to explain the themes and “meaning” of this movie. I don’t recall seeing that for other Tarantino flicks and it baffles me that anyone would look for that here. I guess he might be trying to say something deeper but I really don’t care. I definitely am not looking for that in a Tarantino flick.

    Also – I’m not sure why he used Channing Tatum when he cast really great actors for every other part. It really bothered me.

  87. Didn’t loved it as much as all of the other Tarantino’s flicks, didn’t quite got it either.


    After some thinking, it started to make sense to me. I think it was about the US and the lies of hateful people it is build upon.

    So, everyone in a cabin (with the exception of OB) is a hateful person, that’s for sure. Some are racist, some are misogynist, some are cold ass murderers, everyone is a liar. There is no moral compass among them.
    Some of them try to make sense out of situation they’re in. Mannix is drawn to the general and the values he represents. John Ruth needs the Lincoln Letter. Mannix and Samuel L. Jackson stage a hanging to honor a good man John and to serve justice.

    The thing is, the general lies. He’s an old man who tries to save his skin by dooming strangers. Lincoln letter is a lie, obviously. John, a violent misogynist, was hiding why he preferred to hang people instead of killing them on the spot, but he was terribly cheery while talking about them dancing on the rope, so maybe that’s that. And the thing about the justful nature of execution? Well, according to a hangman, for execution to be just, it should have been impassionate. But two guys who executed “that bitch” sure as hell weren’t. And the hangman wasn’t even a hangman.

    So how it relates to the US? I’m not from there but I heard justifications of shooting an innocent black man by pointing out his no-saintness. There was a war not so long ago, based on lies, targeted at innocent country and justified by racism. Remember what happened when they killed Bin Laden? People cheering on the streets because of a revenge murder of a human being? Being told it’s a “national nightmare being over” instead?
    Quentin seems to consider US people as hateful, but I think it’s a more of a human thing. Masking own’s hate with tradition, justice, greater good, shit like that. But those are only ideas and ideas aren’t real. The hate is.

    Should be better edited tho, same as Django. Sally Menke was a treasure.

  88. OK finally saw this… I am kind of torn. Some good points above and I will need to rewatch it to figure it all out. So I am just going to make a short list of good and bad impressions.

    – the intro music was FANTASTIC. I am a sucker for moving bass lines, and this had bass so deep it almost wasn’t even notes any more, it was just ominous rumbling.
    – Walton Goggins was pretty impressive
    – JJ Leigh, also impressive. I didn’t know what to think of her, with her offhand humor about her own impending death, and her irredeemableness.
    – I liked Bob. I don’t think the actor was wasted as some have pointed out, he had some good scenes.

    – Does Michael Madsen ever play any other character besides this one? Granted, he was pitch perfect in KILL BILL. But that almost seems more like perfect casting than good acting, since he was pretty similar is RES DOGS, and not too far off in SPECIES for fucks sake. I would say he was wasted here except for the fact that I really don’t need to see him play the same exact character, yet again.
    – Zoe Bell, my god, what the hell. Bad acting, Pollyanna character, not this shit again.
    – Yeah… Why show them tying ropes between building only to never be used again? If you are gonna cut 5 minutes out of the movie for brevitys sake, cut that out. It is great buildup with unfortunately zero payoff.
    – Jackson’s Dingus speech made me pretty uncomfortable. So I guess this should go in the Good column? Ugh

    I hope this will grow on me. I was never in love with any Tarantino movie on first viewing but this might be my least favorite on first impression so far. But I felt that way about KILL BILL too and it is one of my favorites now. We will see.

  89. Unrelated, but is anyone else watching Goggins kill it on VICE PRINCIPALS on HBO?

  90. onthewall2983 – Yes sir I am. I could listen to that man say the word “motherfucker” all day long.

  91. I’m a sucker for comedies like this (as a fan of films like Alexander Payne’s ELECTION and Bobcat Goldthwait’s WORLD’S GREATEST DAD) that skewer high school, and a fan of his going back to THE SHIELD where he managed to be funny a few times (subsequently a lot more on JUSTIFIED, too) so this is kind of perfect. I haven’t seen EASTBOUND & DOWN but have seen McBride in movies like TROPIC THUNDER and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, but I dig what he’s doing here too.

  92. One thing I’m not sure I quite got: is Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character also not supposed to be who they thought she was? They call her “Domergue”, but at the end she keeps calling herself “Domingré”. So, is she not the outlaw Ruth thought he had caught, or is she just mispronouncing it because they knocked off her front teeth?

  93. Absolutely loved ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. It’s a movie about how the ’trash’ that we watch here on this sight is often the best medicine.

    Can’t wait to ignore all the think pieces and got takes.

  94. The film is anti-woman don’t you know.

  95. The crazies who think Tarintino can only get boners when showing violence against woman will not care for this one, I’m afraid.

  96. Heard people are getting upset over the “spoiler” that Sharon Tate dies.

  97. Well I got some real interesting news for them.

  98. STERNSHEIN – in their defense, and mine, when you’re dealing with a director who has taken a revisionist approach to history in the past that kind of thing does count as a spoiler and i can understand why people might be a little upset to hear about it (assuming that’s what actually happens in the film. it doesn’t drop here for a couple of weeks so i haven’t had a chance to see it yet and have been trying to avoid “spoilers”)

  99. I haven’t seen it yet either. Just what I’m reading on twitter. That and Bruce Lee but that’s a discussion for the official Vern review.

  100. Saw ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD and had a ball. Everyone here is great. I’ve always had a soft spot for Brad Pitt, and this is him at his most winning and lovable. I always said he was a character actor trapped in a leading man’s body, and I think he’s brilliant. I’ve historically had a hard time with Leonardo DiCaprio. He and Will Smith are a couple of guys from the same era where I just never really got what all the fuss was about, so it took me some time to warm up to DiCaprio, and the AVIATOR and the REVENANT did it. He is fantastic in this. It’s funny, there was some controversy about Tarantino and not giving Margot Robbie a substantial enough role (and this obviously being sexist), but I thought she had a great role and did a great job. It’s a much more nonverbal and kinesthetic performance than a talky one, and she nails it. Real star power. There’s an extended scene where she goes to see a film of hers with the commoners, and it’s a really beautiful moment and shows her capacity as an actress. Finally, I kind of forgot about Emile Hirsch, who kind of fell into the dustbin after SPEED RACER, but he’s nice here.

    Two thumbs and a big toe up.

  101. Skani, Hirsch kept working after Speed Racer. He was in Milk and was set to play John belushi at one point. He fell out of favor in Hollywood because he assaulted a publicist, strangling her at Sundance. I’m surprised someone as woke as QT still hired him but that’s why most studio projects don’t cast Hirsch, deservedly so I would say.

  102. Right, I was aware that he did not immediately stop working altogether (the main thing I remember was AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, which I found overrated btw), but it seemed like he was poised to be up-and-coming it-guy of the moment w/ INTO THE WILD (great film) being his big dramatic break and SPEED RACER (haven’t seen) positioned as his big headliner star break, with the latter doing something of a face plant. Then I didn’t see much of him at all, or when I did, it was in fairly low budget or indie or DTV stuff. With MILK (haven’t seen), I think that came out only six months after SPEED RACER, so, that’s not a good reflection of his post-SPEED RACER casting prospects. I think a cursory look at his pre- and post-2009 filmography bears out my claim that 2008 was his inflection point, and he had already fallen out of much conversation and settled into journeyman / indie guy status well before this assault incident. I’m less prepared to say that this strangling incident merits permanent career exile or what steps he has taken to make amends and get himself cleaned up, but it is certainly an incredibly shitty and frightening thing to do, deserving of some consequences.

  103. Jane Doe was great and not overrated at all. Plus it’s it’s short and doesn’t take forever to get to the point. One thing I would say is that it has a pretty obvious ending but that’s ok.

  104. Yeah, I think it was just the expectation game for me. By the time I got to it, it had quite a bit of hype going. Big Brian Cox fan, though, and he’s great in it. Decent.

  105. Fred, are you being ironic when you call QT “woke”? Do you mean to say “not surprised”?

  106. I want being ironic but maybe woke was the wrong word. I thought he was impressively forthcoming and self-reflective about the Weinstein debacle and Uma Thurman injury. Being that attentive to the issues I’m surprised he looked the other way casting Hirsch.

    I’ll have to double check but my understanding was the studio settled with Hirsch. I don’t recall any amends or apology on his part but if he’s made them then I’d be open to seeing him work his way back up. My concern is that it sends the message people will still forget and if you’ve abused women you can just wait it out and move on.

  107. Ah, fair enough. I definitely think “woke” is the wrong word. I believe many of the people who would self-identify as “woke,” or be called “woke” as an insult, are anti-Tarantino. Like a couple people brought up above, he gets some shit for violence against women in his movies, for example, and we all know what his favorite word is. I’m a big fan of his work, personally, but I guess I missed him being contrite about Weinstein and the Uma Thurman accident, because I am *not* surprised that he’d take this Skani-view that men who violently choking women almost-to-death should get to be in big studio movies too, and let’s not be so hasty about saying otherwise.

  108. I know it’s your pet hobby to try taking me down a peg, JTS, but I said no such thing. That is not my view. I said I would not go so far as to say he should be permanently exiled. Obviously, that means I’m strongly pro-woman-choking, free Harvey Weinstein, etc.

  109. I’m curious if Vern will speak to what Walter Chaw was talking about with the Bruce Lee character because I really don’t understand what his ultimate point is. All I know is that when I saw the trailer I was like “oh great, they’re making fun of Bruce Lee” but I’m not sure if that is the case or not. Guess we’ll just have to wait for the review.

  110. Sounds like ONCE UPON will be another cause for argument over an artists work vs personal life. And by virtue of QT’s enmeshing of his own cinematic memories and what he thinks is a good story, as a moral revisionist, it will be just another here-we-go-round-the-mulberry-bush across 99% of the internet world.

    My wife has never seen a Tarantino film, so I’ve been trying to think of an older one to show her before we see HOLLYWOOD. She’s not adverse to violence, but likes coherent narratives and story resolution. Leaning towards DJANGO, or the lean mean KILL BILL VOL 1 with all it’s emotional and cinematic flourishes. When she asked me what HOLLYWOOD was about I said “Hollywood in the 60’s, but it will be part truth part fiction, the way Tarantino wanted it to be.”

    I mean “Once upon a time…” could prefix any QT movie.

  111. Isn’t Pulp Fiction his most accessible?

  112. I would also recommend PULP FICTION (to anyone, including first-timers). The fact that it’s three short stories told out of chronological order is probably why you would lean away from it — but there’s a reason it was such a smash hit, that it was nominated for Oscars, re-launched Travolta’s career, made Tarantino into an A-list director, etc. It’s very cool and funny. It has mass appeal. It’s one of his least acquired tasted.

    DJANGO is also a good choice for a first one, though. It could be that’s just as good or better for an introduction.

    (And Skani, I have no memory of ever trying to “take you down a peg” before. I don’t think I’ve made a hobby of it, but if I have, it’s inadvertent.)

  113. I would call RESERVOIR DOGS his most accessible. It has all his trademarks (the dialogue, the violence, the story that is told out of chronological order, the “references”), but they are all wrapped into a tight and engaging thriller that runs only a little more than 90 minutes.

  114. IMO if you want The Quentin Tarantino Experience in one film, you gotta pick PULP FICTION. It’s the apotheosis of his style and impact on the film industry.

    If you want the movie of his that will get the best overall reaction from the broadest swathe of people, I think you gotta go with JACKIE BROWN.

  115. RESERVOIR DOGS has the length going for it, for sure (I forgot how long PULP FICTION was). I would still argue against it being the most accessible, though, because it’s the least polished (e.g. the mistake with the squibs at the end) and it can get more upsetting than a comparable movie typically gets (the torture scene, the casual/extreme racism in the Chris Penn flashback). My parents, for example, were repulsed by RESERVOIR DOGS when they eventually saw it, but loved PULP FICTION just like the rest of the world.

  116. Nah, I stand by my words. RD is the most mainstream-ish of his movies (that I have seen), but yeah, if you wanna show someone the REAL Tarantino, with all his flaws that annoy me so much, go with PF. Although my mother would probably give up as soon as Ving Rhames gets raped. (As Christoph Waltz fan she saw INGLOORAIUS BUSTARTS, which she liked, except for the violence, but she fell asleep near the end, and a cut-down-for-German-prime-time-tV version of DJANGO, which she liked, but from what I’ve heard they removed everything she could hate.)

  117. If we’re talking “mainstream” there’s really not an argument. Pulp Fiction is a huge, beloved mainstream success. It made over $200 million in theatres. It was nominated for and won Oscars. Some of the dialogue has become immortal pop culture canon. It’s the 6th best rated movie of all time on IMDb. Reservoir Dogs can’t compete by any mainstream metric.

  118. I agree with PULP being more accessible than DOGS, less rough around the edges. It’s so damn likable too, nearly every scene is a classic. Also, Bruce “attaboy” Willis.

    Of course, KBV1 doesn’t fit my linear narrative requirement, but I love that movie so much I’d risk isolating a newbie, just so I could watch it again.

  119. Got to take a half day and see HOLLYWOOD and, without getting into the details, I really loved it. I think it’s the picture of his I’ve just out-and-out *enjoyed* the most since KILL BILL 1 (I was lukewarm on INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS the first time I saw it but have come to really like it a lot more on subsequent viewings, and both DJANGO and HATEFUL EIGHT I like a lot but can be hard to watch at times).

  120. Anybody watch the extended version on Netflix?

  121. Vern, have you revisited this one lately? I think it has aged like fine wine and it’s clear to me now that all the discomfort is not only intentional but what makes the movie amazing. It is astonishing statement on race in America. Consider these two lines, one said to Warren and another said by him. “When niggers are scared, that’s when white folks feel safe.” “The only time black folks is safe, is when white folks is disarmed.” Boy does that resonate in 2020, though it did in 2015 as well. This is Tarantino’s best, most mature movie for my money. Wondering if you’ve come around on it.

  122. I still think it’s easily QT’s weakest. Meandering story that doesn’t merit all that fucking buildup, half-doodled characters that only generate interest via their overqualified actors, and—most surprisingly given the 70mm—dull, static visuals. It never once justifies its oversized length or format. It’s a mystery with no mystery, a widescreen epic with nothing to look at, a revenge movie with no motive, a character study with contempt for its characters, a hangout movie that’s no fun to hang out with, a shaggy dog joke that amuses only its teller. All of this dissatisfaction and disappointment is on purpose, of course, but it’s no less dissatisfying and disappointing for it. It feels trollish in a way QT has never been before.

    Granted, Tarantino’s worst movie is better than almost anyone else’s best but it’s the one I am least likely to revisit. Tons of great moments but the whole is kind of a drag. DEATH PROOF has its doldrums but it’s a movie full of life and joy. H8 is just sour and wallowing in it. It leaves a bad taste not justified by the content of its story.

  123. Couldn’t disagree more, especially about the format. The effect of seeing it presented in 70MM in theatres almost replicated the experience of watching live theater. It’s a chamber piece, almost a filmed play and being in the room with all these people is part of that. The impact is far more effort me than watching something like “Dunkirk” in that format, which may have more epic scope but has paper-thin story, characters and theme. This one gives you so much to chew on, I find so much to marinate in every time I revisit it.

  124. I’m scheduled to rewatch this with a friend sometime in the vaguely near future, and I’m actually looking forward to a chance to revisit it. My current impression of it is “interesting but challenging”.

    Anyone ever watch that miniseries cut of it they did for Netflix? Seemed like a terrible idea and a gimmick to me but am not invested enough to actually watch and confirm that.

  125. The miniseries format is basically the same film but adds in a few extra beats at the end of scenes that ultimately don’t add much to the story. I guess if you need to watch it in chunks due to time constraints, it’s a good way to do it but I recommend just watching it in full film form, since the building sense of dread and suspense is undercut somewhat by carving up the story (which was already divided into chapters anyway, so you already have good pause-points).

  126. The best thing I can say about the miniseries is you get more O.B., who is pretty much the only “good” guy in the story. I really like that actor and enjoy the character.

  127. There was one thing I was curious about if the miniseries would get into so I went to that part, and was not disappointed. Which is they repeat the first arrival to Minnie’s after we know all of the details. But THIS time, we see the scene from Daisy’s POV and I always liked how when you watch the movie again after knowing what’s up, you can see what she does. What looks like a smile the first time when she’s acklowledged by Tim Roth is actually her trying not to laugh at his horseshit accent. You see her step in front of John Ruth because whatshisname is getting ready to shoot him in the back and she’s stopping him, then she mentions the two people outside. I thought all of that was great.

  128. I’ve only seen it the one time, in (not perfectly projected) 70mm. I thought the mini-series would be an interesting way to see it the second time, but a friend who absolutely worships Tarantino says that it’s a bad version. I think it might be the only negative thing he’s ever said about a Tarantino film. So I don’t know.

  129. Chuck: I can see how that would be the goal, but if so it failed. The 70mm made it even worse for me. Rather than put me closer to the action, it pushed it even farther away so everything was just a skinny ribbon of footage across the center of the screen. And as far as I could tell after watching the “short” version, none of the extra footage even added anything at all. It just made a long movie longer. If that’s all the miniseries version is, they can keep it. Paying for the roadshow continues to be the biggest waste of money of my moviegoing career and the only time I ever had a less than stellar time at a Tarantino flick. I don’t fall for those kind of gimmicks anymore.

  130. “biggest waste of money of my moviegoing career” lol, okay. We get that you don’t like it, no need to smear your make-up.

  131. After buying two $20 tickets plus train fare in and out of the city, it came to about $100, when I could have seen the regular version in my hometown for six bucks and gotten the same experience. So yeah, not that it’s any of your fucking business, but that is the biggest waste of money of my moviegoing career.

    Also, I’m not feeling like being polite today, so fuck off. I didn’t say shit about you. Not one word. Your opinion is your own and I respect that. But weak people always gotta make it personal, don’t they?

  132. Maybe you can petition Tarantino for reparations for your suffering. Fucking Christ.

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