The Hateful Eight (2015)
December 26, 2015 3:28 PM - Subscribe

In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?

Currently playing in a special 70mm Roadshow engagement that "pays homage to and recreates the grand film exhibition style popularized in the 1950s and '60s," including a longer version of the film, a musical overture, an intermission between acts, and a souvenir program.

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The score is composed by Ennio Morricone - his first Western in 40 years.
posted by naju (89 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd like to note, if you're on the fence about seeing this in 70mm - don't be. The panoramic landscapes were truly magnificent in the wide, detailed format, and you could even make out individual snowflakes as they flutter past the characters caught in a blizzard. During the interior shots, the format allows you to spot small, potentially important details in the background. That perfectly suits the mystery elements of the film.
posted by naju at 4:48 PM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's worth going to the 70mm roadshow if it's near you. The print I saw already had some scratches on it and it felt worn in and tangible. The music overtures are pretty boss too.

For the film itself, I wasn't terribly impressed. Some pretty good acting from Samuel L Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the dialogue is as snappy as anything from QT. I felt a bit cheated by the big plot turn, which shows the whole reason this is called Hateful Eight is because it nearly rhymes and has nothing to do with the amount of characters.

Definitely did not enjoy it as much as Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained, but it fits in with those decently enough to let the audience know what to expect. Really hope QT has something drastically different, in just about every aspect, for his next one.
posted by dogwalker at 8:52 PM on December 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I saw it. Loved the cinematography and the score and JJL is pretty much always excellent, but I didn't like the script and I thought some of the acting was pretty bad. I know that Tarantino has a standard way of doing things but this felt stale and overworked. I'm always looking forward to his next film more than I ever enjoy his current one (with some exceptions) so I too hope he'll go for something completely different in style next time.
posted by h00py at 9:47 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


FUUUUUCK this movie looks great. Worth seeing it in 70, although it's a shame new theaters aren't really built to show off the format at its best. Here in New York it's in some relatively tiny theaters (which is partly due to Star Wars being contractually obligated to play in all off the best auditoriums) that do not do it justice, so do your homework and figure out the best screen near you for this.

Dialogue is crisp and Quentin's skills as a director are never in doubt. I wish there was more of a moral framework for the story, but I guess that's the point — racist, sexist, vengeful and downright hateful these characters are. A microcosm of 21st century America the wild western frontier, I guess.
posted by Mothlight at 11:25 PM on December 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought it was the best film he's made since Kill Bill. He's been saying in interviews that this was originally a Django story that he unhitched from that character, but I feel this one is superior to Django.

I'll save my one minor quibble with it until more people have seen it. I don't want to spoil a single bit of it for anyone.

But if you crave more of Kurt Russell in a very similar character, with lots of great dialog, don't miss Bone Tomahawk.
posted by Catblack at 3:27 AM on December 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wanted to like this one more than I did. I mean, sure, it was engrossing but it was pretty damned hateful. I think it was worth seeing once but it's such a nasty story of villainy.
posted by yonega at 4:25 AM on December 27, 2015


I really didn't like this one. I've admittedly not much of a stomach for violence but I've enjoyed other Tarantino films particularly Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Bastards but I didn't find this one funny or interesting enough to outweigh the violence. The plot was thin enough to make the entire movie seem more of an exercise in sadism than anything else particularly directed towards the female characters and the constant use of the n-word was only outdone by the constant use of the b-word.
posted by peacheater at 6:27 AM on December 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


yonega: "I wanted to like this one more than I did. I mean, sure, it was engrossing but it was pretty damned hateful. I think it was worth seeing once but it's such a nasty story of villainy."

That was actually the most interesting thing about it, to me - I can't think of another Tarantino film where he so thoroughly subverted any audience hopes for a satisfying ending. And that in turn convinces me that he's really playing with the Tarantino mythos in that way: there is a certain sort of person who goes to his movies to cheer for the carnage, but he's made it pretty blindingly clear that anybody who's really delighted about the ending here is morally execrable.

In other words: if you thought the violence and the characters here were awful, I think it's clear that Tarantino agrees with you. And that was an odd and uncomfortable thing about the movie, something subtle that I think people missed and that made it rather weird to watch in a theater: plenty of people sitting next to me were having what were clearly the wrong reactions, laughing at the worst sexism and racism which I'm sure from paying attention to what Tarantino has said in the past was not intended as jokish entertainment but as social discussion. I wonder how much this is a result of his having seen the audiences in his movies and thought about their reactions. I also wonder if the whole 70mm "roadshow" format thingie was supposed to heighten this effect.

dogwalker: I felt a bit cheated by the big plot turn, which shows the whole reason this is called Hateful Eight is because it nearly rhymes and has nothing to do with the amount of characters.

I disagree with this quite a bit - although I guess I didn't feel as though the number of characters ought to be significant - there's no way that the plot turn subverts the title's claims, particularly that they're all hateful. Major Warren's long speech before the intermission assured us of that: they are all hateful, every one, from Ruth's abject sexism on down.

A thing about Tarantino films is that they're constantly about race, in subtle ways that it took me years to realize. It's going to take me a while to digest this one, too, but the thematic thread most immediately discernible to me is the notion, presented as radical, that a black man can be hateful, and can have his reasons for being hateful, and that is not always likely to make you comfortable. John Ruth felt hurt and betrayed when he discovered the truth about the Lincoln letter; but he should have known that the shape of society dictated that Major Warren live in a hateful way that does not necessarily conform to inspirational narratives that might make white liberals feel better about themselves.

Speaking of which: when you notice that Ruth is really a representative in many ways of white liberal indignation, some interesting things come out of that, particularly in relation to his treatment of Daisy Domergue. The most interesting thing, I think, is this white liberal's willingness to believe implicitly an eloquent man who claims to be a final arbiter of the law and weaves a tale about the importance of delivering justice with dispassion.

There's a lot more to the movie than that, of course. I am with Catblack on this, actually; I think this is his best in years, and all the more so for being difficult and vexing to watch. I've liked "Inglorious Basterds" and "Django Unchained," but "Hateful Eight" takes a distinct left turn: "Basterds" and "Django" dared the audience not to laugh and cheer for the characters, dared them to find the bloodiness distasteful and the language extreme, by framing in a controversial way historical people we all should know should be heroes, and by giving them more vindication than we would have thought to give them; but "Hateful Eight" dares the audience to laugh, dares the audience to cheer for characters the best of whom end up doing things that nobody can say are laudable, and immediately rebukes the audience when we start to sentimentalize away their hatefulness. It's profoundly interesting, and there's enough intellectual material here for me to be trying to work through the inner dynamic of the film for a long time.
posted by koeselitz at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


(I will say, though, that I totally understand if people can't stand watching "Hateful Eight." Some of the stuff in there is hard to watch. Quentin Tarantino clearly meant it to be so, and I think it's important to recognize that he's trying to say something worthwhile about racism and misogyny - but that doesn't magically make the movie easy to watch, doesn't magically remove the very real racism and misogyny that it portrays. So if you couldn't stand it, I totally get that. I'm actually anticipating that that will be a common reaction; I think this will be the least popular Tarantino film in a long while. I will defend it on its intellectual merits, but just not wanting to see this stuff on a screen is a perfectly acceptable and rational response, and I won't argue against that response.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:07 AM on December 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I cannot for the life of me figure out where to find a list of locations for the roadshow, or info on how long it will play for.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:25 AM on December 27, 2015


I disagree with this quite a bit - although I guess I didn't feel as though the number of characters ought to be significant - there's no way that the plot turn subverts the title's claims, particularly that they're all hateful.

SPOILER: The number of characters was important to me when the entire ending is kicked off by a guy that's been hiding under the floorboards the whole time. That's a cheap turn. Definitely not saying they aren't hateful or awful (the guy hiding is pretty hateful himself), but hiding a such an important character for that long was lazy and created a plot hole in that Warren seems to know everything there is to know about Minnie's Haberdashery and yet failed to look in the basement.
posted by dogwalker at 9:45 AM on December 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


showbiz_liz, here is the list of locations: http://thehatefuleight.com/roadshow

I believe it is only playing as the roadshow through the 31st.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 9:47 AM on December 27, 2015


Ok, my only quibble with the movie was the once (or was it twice?) that Tarantino resorted to a voiceover to tell something that could have very, very easily been shown. I think it's the director's own voice giving them, and reminded me of the tone of this voiceover.
posted by Catblack at 11:50 AM on December 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought it was great and was pleasantly surprised that this film is mostly about the dialogue and felt that it was spectacularly written. Sort of like if Reservoir Dogs gave you a lot more political and social themes to chew on. My wife and had a couple drinks after and I can tell you we had far more to discuss than any previous QT films. I also really appreciated the overture and the slow approach of the stage coach at the beginning to set up the film.

In Seattle, this was being shown at a crappy AMC with a small screen and I really felt like they fucked up the experience royally. I hadn't been to a chain theater in years and I swear to god I won't go back. My advice to Washingtonians is to skip the road
Show and after The Force Awakens dies down, plead with Cinerama to show it. I'd go again if they did.

But AMC can choke naked on my giant pecker in the snow.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:11 PM on December 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Damn Slarty I bought tickets to that very theater while you were writing your comment. Did you see it at Pacific Place?
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:14 PM on December 27, 2015


Yep, sorry
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:17 PM on December 27, 2015


I run hot and cold on Tarantino's movies, though I never find them less than interesting. I'm going to have to see it again, of course, but this may well have been my favorite of his so far.

His shtick of forcing you to be aware that you are Watching A Movie has never been put to better effect, I don't think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'd rate this one not as good as Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained, but certainly more interesting, provocative and even *fun* than Inglorious Basterds, or Kill Bill or Reservoir Dogs. Certainly not for everyone, but if you've ever liked any Tarentino, the stuff that's difficult and off-putting about Hateful Eight isn't all that different from his other films. Part of the appeal is just working through the shock of him saying and showing things that are super taboo to peace loving college educated sensitive liberal nerds and working through the truths that become evident when you wipe all the politeness away.

I don't think it's true that every character is completely hateful, in fact almost every character is meant to be understood and humanized, and shown to be a logical outcome of the environment they emerge from. Clearly, most white people are meant to identify with the John Ruth character, and sympathize with Major Marquis Warren, but when Oswaldo Mobray questions what's different about shooting an outlaw in the back versus beating them senseless, then dragging them to town for a "trial" and public execution, he's really talking about the power and privilege certain people have and don't question and can soothe their conscience under the guise of due process and justice when in reality, in a highly imperfect system, Daisy Domergue was subjected to far more torture and violation than an unexpected bullet in the back. It should make us feel uncomfortable that John Ruth gets to absolve himself of the responsibility for Domergue's fate.

I found something sweet about Warren and Mannix partnership in the end because in some ways it was easiest to understand where each of them were coming from and how their notions of honor and morality were developed. Maybe because they acted with less hypocrisy in their earlier lives? Maybe they were truest to their moral compasses? Mannix's biggest sin was being a southerner through and through and his profound racism was neither unexpected nor remarkable, and by the end he had learned to deal with Warren as a person, albeit while Warren held the gun (and the power), and he was bleeding out, but when the time came to make his final decision, he wasn't blinded by his racism so much that he independently came to the only logical and moral choice. Warren (who frankly may have made up the entire story about General Smithers' son in order to get him to shoot first and break the stalemate) earlier gave the clear impression that he was a practical man who made the "easy" choice to bring in his bounties dead and toying with his prey seemed a bit out of character. At any rate, it is easy to understand and accept his rage over slavery and the war and the fact that emancipation didn't erase his second class citizenship. That these two were the last alive together because they helped each other could be interpreted as a hopeful statement about race, in a fucked up Tarentino way.

Lots to digest in this film and I'm not feeling at all settled, or good ,about it and I guess, fantastic writing, great cinematography, and bombastic music, and appreciation for the history of film making aside, that's what I think makes this a highly noteworthy movie, possibly a classic.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:17 PM on December 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought this movie was okay, not my favorite. I've never been a big Tarantino fan so I wasn't expecting to be wowed. Jennifer Jason Leigh & Ennio Morricone really deserve Oscar nominations for it, though.

I hope that QT continues to cast Zoe Bell to play Zoe Bell in every movie he makes until the end of time.

Gorgeously shot, loved the overture beginning and the intermission, but it felt as a whole way too long. Curious to see what gets cut out for wide release.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:53 AM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


My parents and I drove to the Triangle to see this last night, thanks for the list of locations!

when Oswaldo Mobray questions what's different about shooting an outlaw in the back versus beating them senseless, then dragging them to town for a "trial" and public execution, he's really talking about the power and privilege certain people have and don't question and can soothe their conscience under the guise of due process and justice when in reality, in a highly imperfect system, Daisy Domergue was subjected to far more torture and violation than an unexpected bullet in the back.

I didn't quite put it together until this comment, but this is a direct parallel to what happened with the General - Warren wasn't allowed to kill him for what he'd done in the war, no matter how outrageous it was (and for that matter, the General wasn't allowed to kill Warren for what he'd done in the war, no matter how outrageous that was). But, according to the rules of justice as accepted by the world these characters live in, it WAS perfectly acceptable to mentally torture him until he reached for a gun, even while everyone involved knew that that was exactly what was happening. It's a pantomime of justice, and by being so brutal and arbitrary, it calls into question just what exactly justice means and what the purpose of it is.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2015 [19 favorites]


Also interesting to me is the fact that the eloquent Oswaldo Mobray, who gives that fine speech about how justice must be meted out with dispassion else it is not justice, turns out to be a stone-cold liar who's apparently quite happy dispassionately murdering people for his gang.
posted by koeselitz at 9:56 AM on December 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


By the way, that black eye makeup was totally amateurish. What was up with that? Didn't anybody bother to GIS 'black eye'?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:29 AM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


YES KOESLITZ.

That mobray soliloquy was the KEY POINT OF THE MOVIE. The entire movie is based on the subtext of the rules of justice, and about the fact that all violent (state or civil or mob) retributive justice is bullshit. AND it is a comment on extra-judicial justice committed by the police of today. (Goggin's character is the son of anti-Reconstructionist, just as law enforcement was based on slave patrols, and modern policing is... well we know what modern policing is).

Mobray is the "refined" Englishman telling us what justice is. But he's a liar - Englishmen are the best stand-ins for civilized liars.

In fact the entire movie is set for this reveal. The Intermission is set up to divide the movie between the false veneer of society of violence: when violence is justifiable (for men). Everyone has papers. Jackson's character even fakes a letter from Lincoln to be allowed into this society of violence. There are rules for meting out violence, and the men in the first half abide by them, and in the second half it's all revealed to be bullshit. They are ALL murderers (only JJL's character is not proven, or admits to being a murderer), every single one. And their rules for murder are just masculine justifications for bullshit.

BUT ONLY FOR MEN, violence against women is ALWAYS ALLOWED, no justification or explanation necessary, Russell's character commits violence against JJL simply for compliance's sake. And we saw what the black women, workers, and old men in the movie were due.

I have more thoughts, I came out of the movie thinking it was complete bullshit, but I woke in the middle of the night and couldn't stop thinking of the movie...

And see it in 70mm. All of the characters (especially Jackson) are luminously shot.
posted by stratastar at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2015 [32 favorites]


^^^^^ THIS. This is the comment I've been wanting to make but couldn't find the words.

It's one of the best LEGAL movies I've seen - that is, a movie about the nature of justice, the philosophy of law and jurisprudence, and how it has evolved (or not evolved at all, actually), and how various competing groups use it or are abused by it. It's a systematic deconstruction of the civilized veneer of the justice system.
posted by naju at 1:45 PM on December 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


The title is always cited as a riff on The Magnificent Seven, but it could also be hinting at 12 Angry Men. A movie that shares quite a bit with this one, thematically and otherwise.
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on December 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


'Tarantino's Macro-Aggressions'
posted by box at 6:40 PM on December 28, 2015


I generally enjoy Tarantino. I really, really didn't like this one. It just felt like hubris. It's not a case of me not 'getting' it. I got it just fine. I just felt it was a (bad) cartoonish replica of a Tarantino film, when even his greatest films are pretty (good) cartoonish to start with.
posted by Windigo at 9:54 PM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Box, that national review article reads like a national review article; daft, right-wing and judgemental.
posted by Catblack at 12:12 PM on December 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just got home from seeing it. I am not sure if I liked it a lot or not at all. I think it takes a little while to process it. I thought for the most part the acting was pretty good. I do have a hard time knowing what someone in the late 1800s would be saying and doing as normal so it is hard to say when the acting was bad or actually really good. Does that make sense?

Anyway, my 21 yo daughter who is more of a rom-com fan than a QT type of movie fan, was at times taken aback, but overall she said she was glad she saw it although she would probably not watch it again even if offered the chance.

Oh, the Regal Cinemas in New Roc City was a great place to see it. Loved the reclining chairs. The soundtrack is very good, but know at the theater at which I saw it, it was Motorhead loud. (RIP Lemmy)
posted by AugustWest at 11:01 PM on December 29, 2015


koeselitz, I agree with your take. For me, watching a Tarantino movie is like reading a Nabokov novel. Are you going to fall for the style and story, or are you going to see your way out of their game, so to speak? Do you see the joke for what it is, or do you laugh along and become complicit?
posted by mmmbacon at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2015


"SPOILER: The number of characters was important to me when the entire ending is kicked off by a guy that's been hiding under the floorboards the whole time. That's a cheap turn."

Yes, and it completely killed my rapidly dwindling care for the movie. Beautifully shot, fine acting but filling his movies with racial epithets and similar for women makes him seem ild at this point, as if from another era.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just got back and liked it quite a bit and might decide that I loved it after letting it sink in a bit. It sure did look purdy in 70mm even if AMC Lowes put it in the smallest auditorium they had. At least they found someone who was competent enough to run the projector. I love seeing films on actual film; digital projection just looks so flat and lifeless in comparison.

Did anyone get a Stanley Kubrick feel from the screenplay? It felt like he was continuing Kubrick's constant theme that civilization is just a convenient fiction that we use to make ourselves feel better but we're really just murderous apes under our suits.
posted by octothorpe at 8:24 PM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


As far as the "eight" in the title: so there are 10 characters to note:

1. John “The Hangman” Ruth
2. Major Marquis “The Bounty Hunter” Warren
3. Daisy “The Prisoner” Domergue
4. Chris “The Sheriff” Mannix
5. Bob “The Mexican”
6. Oswaldo “The Little Man” Mobray - the hangman
7. Joe “The Cow Puncher” Gage
8. Sanford “The Confederate” Smithers - the General
9. Jody Domingue, leader of the gang
10. O.B. Jackson - stagecoach driver

The first 8 listed are the ones where, loosely speaking, a facade is presented in the first half, and the "hateful", real nature of the character is revealed in the second half (or end of the first half.) Well, it's not that simple. Mannix undergoes some growth and humanity, of sorts (his character arc is one of the most interesting and well done parts of the movie.) And Warren goes from hero into hateful into something too complex to be neatly pigeonholed. And I actually don't think any character is irredeemably bad. But the point is, these are the characters who are stripped down to their true selves through a rigorous process. 9 and 10 don't undergo this process. Jody is the leader of the gang, but there's never any investigation of his character. Same with O.B. So I never had trouble with the title.
posted by naju at 9:54 PM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


But that's pretty much just describing my problem with Jody. He's a nothing of a character but so much of everyone else's discoveries depend on his actions. To me, that's a cop out. It would not be difficult to include his character from the start and show more about him OR have somebody else shoot Marquis in the bits to set off the last third.
posted by dogwalker at 2:10 PM on December 31, 2015


Maybe it's just because he was in QT's previous two movies, but I felt like Mobray was written for Christoph Waltz...and I couldn't help but keep imagining him instead of Roth in that role, and doing a better job with it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:02 PM on December 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was at the screening at the Hollywood Theater in Portland, OR on Tuesday, and the director made a surprise appearance to answer questions from the audience after the movie. One interesting piece of information that he shared is that he considered adapting "Hateful Eight" as a stage play. In that version of the story it would begin with the action that took place after the intermission in the film -- the Domergue gang's violent takeover of Minnie's -- and would proceed with the arrival of the bounty hunters. For the film, he preferred this order because it permits the locked room mystery.

He discussed the use of the 70mm format. The assumption is that you use 70mm for scenic vistas and obviously that is used to good effect in this film, but he said that he feels it can also be used to create a sense of intimacy, so that the first few rows of the audience feel that they're inside the movie set, and that -- as noted earlier in this thread -- potentially significant details in the background are legible on the screen.

There were a couple of questions from the audience about casting. He offhandedly remarked that Channing Tatum "dealt himself" into the movie, which suggested to me that he wasn't the actor that Tarantino would have chosen.

There was a question about the score. Morricone works in the Italian cinema, and when Tarantino approached him to score this film Morricone said that he wouldn't have time due to other projects he was working on, but Morricone allowed that he had an idea for a theme. He gave Tarantino seven minutes of music at first, but continued adding additional pieces until finally there were 27 minutes to cut into the movie. Also, Morricone had not seen the movie at all, and worked from an Italian translation of the script. Tarantino said that Morricone's wife in particular loved the script and encouraged her husband to take part.
posted by chrchr at 4:16 AM on January 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I hated this movie. I hate Django Unchanged. I loved and thought vital Inglorius Basterds. My favourite Tarintino is Death Proof. I have found that in later years, his move from genuine conversations about race to a liberal racism, is almost unexcusable. I think that the racial politics of this were unexcusable. I thought that Samuel Jackson's charachter--as rapist, monolougist about his penis, and one who ws castrated came from a long minesteral tradition.

I also thought that a director who films and writes female charechtars with care precision and power spending most of this movie watching Jennifer Jason Leigh be physically and verbally attacked made me angry and disappointed in equal measure. She was acted upon, and hung at the end--unlike Beatrice or Mia Wallace.

I also thought it visually wasted much of the potential of 70mm--I saw Hou Housien's movie The Assasian earlier in the week, and how he put people on horseback at the end of the frame, and filled the foreground with the natural enviroment--and shifted interior nda exterior--that I would have liked to watch the 70mm.

This is the last one I am going to watch I think.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:38 AM on January 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't think Warren did rape that guy - I'm almost certain that that story, just like the Lincoln letter, was an elaborate lie that he told to get the result he wanted.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:56 PM on January 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I thought it was pretty clear that the story about the general's son was a fabrication invented to goad the general into shooting first.
posted by octothorpe at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


A homophobic rape centered on fear of black masculinity, regardless of being "real" or not was depicted on the screen for the enjoyment of a mostly white audience.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I also don't think we were meant to enjoy it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:08 PM on January 1, 2016 [10 favorites]


It is one of those times where depicting a horrific act in a film runs the risk of glorifying what it's allegedly condemning. I remember someone saying that it was hard to really make an anti-war movie because just showing it ennobles it (Googling tells me it was Truffaut).

I can understand what Tarantino was trying to do with that segment but I do wish that he'd just had Jackson recite the story without actually filming it.
posted by octothorpe at 2:28 PM on January 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Whether or not Warren made up part or all of the circumstances involved, I believe he did kill the general's son, given the general's reaction upon hearing about the old bounty on Warren, as well as a few comments the general made about his son.
posted by ckape at 5:06 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


PinkMoose: “My favourite Tarintino is Death Proof. I have found that in later years, his move from genuine conversations about race to a liberal racism, is almost unexcusable. I think that the racial politics of this were unexcusable.”

Phew. So – to respond to some of your comment – and there's a lot to respond to, largely because I might disagree with you on particulars but might agree on the larger situation of this movie – please skip to the last three paragraphs if you want my summing-up:

You say that Tarantino has shifted in later years to "liberal racism." What's interesting about that is that I think The Hateful Eight seems pretty clearly intended as an indictment against liberal racism. As we've noted above, there's a character who clearly stands in for white liberalism – who is white, who parrots angrily the party line of liberalism without really understanding it, who harbors all sorts of romantical illusions about how aspirationally inspiring he'd like to believe black people are, and from whom at least 95% of the film's virulent sexism flows directly. That character dies precisely as a result of his naivete, which is drawn out explicitly just before the last scene leading into the intermission. If there's one thing I feel confident in saying Tarantino consciously intended with this movie, it's this: he wanted to call out white liberals with all their illusions and show how racism lurks under the surface of their facade.

I'm not sure what you think of that. But, here's another thing that should be pointed out right off: the fact that Quentin Tarantino intended to lampoon white liberal racism doesn't mean this movie isn't racist. People will often point out that something is a satire or indictment of racism as though that means it isn't itself racist, but that just isn't true. He's satirizing unexamined prejudice, but Quentin Tarantino is just as capable of neglecting to examine prejudices as anybody else.

“I thought that Samuel Jackson's charachter--as rapist, monolougist about his penis, and one who ws castrated came from a long minesteral tradition.”

When Major Warren tells that story, he has just admitted to having told an outrageous and elaborate lie in forging a letter from President Abraham Lincoln. The clear question we're meant to ask is: is this rape story actually true?

Yes, it came from a long minstrel tradition. But Major Warren wasn't a character in a minstrel show – he was a human being using popular tropes from minstrel shows, and I think it was fairly clear that he was using them intentionally, wasn't it? And moreover he's not the first to do so. Performative black masculinity – homophobic, misogynistic, full of problematic power balances – is most definitely A Thing. There's nothing in Major Warren's speech that was any worse than some of the more florid verses by Eazy-E. Hell, Eazy-E probably said pretty much all of the things Major Warren said in that speech.

It's possible to understand the context of performative black masculinity without condoning it. I think NWA is mostly bullshit, and I can't and won't listen to that stuff anymore. All the same, I don't think Eazy-E actually did any of the things he rapped about, and I understand that there was context behind his art. Performative black masculinity, in context, is about a creative reaction to desperate circumstances where society refuses to see you as trustworthy, sympathetic, or even likable because of your skin. NWA's music – like whole swaths of hip hop – is about those desperate circumstances, and the bravado needed to overcome them. We shouldn't forget that background simply because we rightly see that the means they used to perform bravado were execrable.

The first half of The Hateful Eight was a depiction of the enstatement of those desperate circumstances, of the placing of Major Warren's character in those desperate circumstances. For a long time, Major Warren has been able to exist in society due to a precarious balance: the white liberal who holds the power has noble illusions about the aspiration lives of black folk (noble illusions embodied in a letter from Lincoln) so he supports Major Warren out of starry-eyed idealism. So even though he is a man – not an aspirational tale of inspiration – Major Warren does his best to promote and even enhance those noble illusions, in order to protect himself in a society that otherwise doesn't give a damn if a black man lives or dies. But those noble illusions are shattered when John Ruth discovers that the Lincoln letter was forged; Major Warren sees his precarious protection slipping away. So he immediately stands up, walks over to the Confederate General, and works himself up to performing threatening black masculinity – not only for the benefit of the General, whom he goads into pulling his gun to justify killing him, but also for the benefit of everyone else in the room. Major Warren has lost the affectionate support of the white liberal John Ruth, support which lacked respect or human dignity but was a kind of protection – so he takes what appears to be his only way out: he makes himself out to be the most murderous, most vindictive, most thoroughly evil person in the room, knowing that a reputation for hatefulness can be a kind of protection and coping mechanism, too.

“I also thought that a director who films and writes female charechtars with care precision and power spending most of this movie watching Jennifer Jason Leigh be physically and verbally attacked made me angry and disappointed in equal measure. She was acted upon, and hung at the end--unlike Beatrice or Mia Wallace.”

There are a couple of odd things about the violence toward Daisy Domergue. First – it is pleasing for one reason and one reason only: because she takes it with such tenacious bile, and meets every punch with a bloody spit in Ruth's face. Her position is Second – there is an odd intimacy about this violence between her and Ruth, as though Ruth had an affection for her even as he mistreated her. I found that last bit even a bit grotesque, like they were weirdly play-acting an abusive relationship; but by the time she apparently co-conspires in his killing, I felt pleasure at Ruth's getting his comeuppance. I adored her singing, too.

At the end of the day, as I said, I wonder if I might just turn out to have a poor view of all this, though. I can sit here all day and talk about how neat it is that Quentin Tarantino is maniacally sifting through the racial legacies we face, how interesting it is that he's saying many vital things about it and calling out all sorts of groups that really need calling out, but I still come back to a difficult question that came up pretty immediately with this movie. As we were driving away from the theater, my girlfriend (who knows a hell of a lot more about movies than me, and who incidentally generally liked The Hateful Eight) wondered aloud how appropriate or fitting it was for a white dude to be drawing all this out, to be voicing racial critiques and pointing up the plight of black people in America today, etc etc etc. And I kind of feel that criticism more and more. I'm really struck by the fact that, if this movie were exactly the same but had been directed by someone who were black or a woman or both, I would have felt a lot better about it.

And that leads me to an uncomfortable realization: that I like this movie, with its thought-provoking but highly provocative meditations on race, because it's my privilege to like it. It's my privilege not to be personally tormented by a three-hour string of racial slurs and misogynist insults, and to walk away remarking on how easily I can see past those things to the thoughtful stuff underneath. It's easy for me – because I'm a cishet white dude.

Which is the hesitation I had in defending this movie up above, and the reason why I made my parenthetical second comment. I can totally see hating this movie. I can totally see not wanting to sit through all that. I can see that my privilege is a big reason why it's easier for me – and that fact alone is enough to make me wonder if I'm right to like it at all. At the very least, I'm going to hold off on lecturing people about how they're missing the point here. Because I'm well aware that it's likely that I'm the one missing the point.
posted by koeselitz at 12:12 AM on January 2, 2016 [21 favorites]


And that leads me to an uncomfortable realization: that I like this movie, with its thought-provoking but highly provocative meditations on race, because it's my privilege to like it.

I would say it's your (and my) privileged position that makes thinking the movie is a good piece of art less harrowing a thing to do, maybe. Easier to appreciate in the face of all the deliberate offensiveness. But your point is well-argued, and I'm not sure it's helpful for me to try to draw fine distinctions there.

In terms of your exegesis earlier, though: spot on, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:45 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can understand what Tarantino was trying to do with that segment but I do wish that he'd just had Jackson recite the story without actually filming it.

Filming it makes it real, while we never the correspondence between Sam L.'s character and Lincoln, so the former seems like it really happened.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I very much like the "legal" analysis above.

I loved the movie. I think, with the two previous (Basterds and Django), it forms a trilogy about the justification of violence. I didn't like those ones, because I felt like the grounds for infinite revenge were set up too neatly. I don't like to sit in a theater with people cheering on ethically sanctioned murder. But the treatment is more complex than that. More later, maybe.
posted by grobstein at 10:01 AM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved the movie. I think, with the two previous (Basterds and Django), it forms a trilogy about the justification of violence. I didn't like those ones, because I felt like the grounds for infinite revenge were set up too neatly. I don't like to sit in a theater with people cheering on ethically sanctioned murder.

I don't either. It's immensely uncomfortable. But to be clear - that was entirely the point. Those two movies (Basterds most skillfully) are basically deliberate exercises in seeing how easily Good Liberal audiences can be manipulated into supporting unconscionable things.
posted by naju at 4:12 PM on January 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


And yeah, to continue (or simply repeat) Koeselitz's train of thought, if there's a throughline of this loose trilogy, it's in each movie's willingness to test the Good Liberal Mindset - present edge cases and quandaries, to break the nice neat algorithm, so to speak. They're very interesting on those grounds. It would be potentially false and annoying if anyone outside of that mindset were to attempt it, but Tarantino is pointing the laser beam at himself, and interrogating his own values and kneejerk emotions with surgical precision.
posted by naju at 4:18 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I should probably amend that to Good (White, Male) Liberal Mindset, in parentheses as a strong suggestion, because tweaking that particular person's sympathies and tendencies seems to be the order of business. And he seems acutely aware that this is the core demographic that sees his movies and obsesses over them.
posted by naju at 4:27 PM on January 2, 2016


Koeslitz.

Thank you for the quite thorough extending of my ambivalence. I think that this might be a triology, but an unnesseciarly long one. The meta problems of violence and cinematic representaiton were dealt with neatly and efficently in IB, and the other two seem to be extensions without purspoe.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:04 PM on January 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


My husband pointed out that the Hateful 8 would be the eight passengers on the two stagecoaches, so it exludes OB and The General.
posted by muddgirl at 8:25 PM on January 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


What was the poison?
posted by monospace at 11:36 PM on January 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


stratastar, interesting take. I need to process the movie more. It's a better movie in my head because I can take out all the long-winded parts.
I just don't want to watch this again as a 3-hour movie. To me, there is very little justification for it. It could be such a good, tight, 2-hour film.
The long conversations where they are talking about things that happened in the past reminded me of Attack of the Clones where Obi Wan and Anakin are talking about all the adventures they have had together but we never get to see. Show, don't tell.
And I know Tarantino has always been this way, but it just seemed to be overdone in this movie. Take 15 minutes to get to the cabin.
I know plenty will disagree with this and savor the dialog. But to me, it just ends up feeling self-indulgent. The acting also feels more stilted in these parts.. the actors are just reciting Tarantino lines. When the movie gets on track, the acting is also better.
(I would love to be a fly on the wall while they were making this, though)
posted by starman at 6:32 AM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I gotta agree with PinkMoose. I think this movie made me not a Tarantino fan anymore, which sucks because I really loved Death Proof (but apparently it's a statistical outlier and shouldn't be counted).

Things I Did Not Love About Hateful 8: A List (FULL OF SPOILERS)
by floweringjudas
- being a woman outnumbered 3:1 and surrounded by dudes all laughing uproariously every time Kurt Russell belted Jennifer Jason Leigh in the mouth or called her bitch or tramp or whatever new old-timey word for whore Tarantino'd just discovered
- fighting my way outside during intermission and overhearing 3 white people in 3 separate conversations using the n-word
- Tim Roth not being Christoph Waltz
- how is Samuel L Jackson not DONE with Quentin Tarantino using him as a plot device to get to say the n-word for the last twenty-something years?
- a girl in the row behind me had what sounded like a panic attack during the scene where Kurt Russell vomited his guts up onto a screaming, trapped JJL. I listened to her boyfriend laugh at her about it during the next scene.
- the 3 POCs in this movie who WEREN'T Samuel L Jackson were killed within minutes of being introduced. two of them were women. (I'm not counting Bob because Bob the Mexican was, in fact, French.)
- rape. graphic, lovingly described rape
- pervasive, increasingly claustrophobic, increasingly violent misogyny, which of course culminated in two men strangling a woman with a rope from the ceiling, and remarking that her death throes were "purty" and "a nice dance."

Also I don't think a rich white guy with a history of problematic behavior towards women, an apparent incapacity for NOT using racial slurs, a hard-on for guns and blood, and the self-awareness of a houseplant is the best candidate to tell white liberals about themselves. I did not see a lot of thoughtful faces as I left the theater last night. There was a lot of arm-punching and "DUDE!"-ing, and most of the guys looked dazed and delighted. Most of the women looked nervous, and weren't saying much. The only black guy I saw in the entire crowd was sitting beside me and dogheart, and he straight BOLTED as soon as the credits started rolling.

Whatever Tarantino's intentions, those were his results.
posted by floweringjudas at 4:22 PM on January 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


This seems to be the dilemma a few comments touch upon: if most people misunderstand an artwork, take away the wrong messages from it, and respond to it in an inappropriate way, is that, in itself, a criticism of the artwork? And: if the writer/director himself has acted badly in the past with regard to the subject matter or the way it's conveyed, is that a criticism of the artwork? Should that be taken into account when viewing and interpreting it?

I don't have answers to these questions, but I fall on the side of wanting to form my own conclusions based on the work itself, independent of others' reactions, and independent even of the author's intentions.

It does sound like a thoroughly unpleasant night at the movies, if nothing else, for quite a few people. My own experience was that people around me were laughing uncomfortably or out of surprise, because the content triggered a visceral reaction, but in the moment that reaction happens, it's not clear what you're even watching. I'm charitable and interpret that laughter - not loud guffawing, but a kind of surprised laugh that catches in your throat - as more "what the fuck, Tarantino? What are you showing us?" rather than laughter in celebration of racism or misogyny.

But none of this is clear to me, and I find this meta topic - not just Tarantino movies, but how we watch Tarantino movies, and how we watch others watching Tarantino movies - to be fascinating and confusing in itself.
posted by naju at 5:10 PM on January 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


The black dude sitting next to me said he loved it, and the woman sitting next to me said she loved it too. The black man and the woman who starred in it presumably knew what they were doing. I don't expect that Spike Lee liked it, and I respect Spike Lee. I respect Samuel Jackson too though.
posted by chrchr at 7:14 PM on January 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I dunno, you can analyze this to death, discussing how it's about justice and America or white male liberal hypocrisy or whatever, but the film itself plays like a first draft. Everything in the cabin up to Samuel L. Jackson's monologue to the General is full of expository dialogue that plods along without anything actually happening. The only tension is wondering when someone's gonna actually do something (which doesn't happen until just before the intermission, 1.5 hours into the movie). The dialogue isn't as peppy as other Tarantino's and the only "surprises" are whenever Kurt Russell's gonna abuse Daisy next (I also had many people laughing at these instances throughout the movie). Up until Kurt Russell starts profusely vomiting blood, the movie is boring.

Compare the plotting (again, ignore any subtext for now) of this to the basement tavern in Inglorious Basterds. The basic idea in plot terms is the same: two group's goals are directly opposed to one another and multiple people are pretending to be more benign than they actually are. In IB, the audience has all the information - we know who the masquerading Basterds are and we know what the stakes are. The tension is created with that knowledge and the repeated curveballs that occur over the course of the sequence - first the characters discovering there are Nazis in the tavern, then them trying to be pleasant with the Nazis, then them trying to deal with the sudden reveal of the Nazi captain, and finally them trying to negotiate with him once their cover is blown. It's a masterful push-and-pull of tension that has surprises despite the audience going in with all the information. Bonus, in between all that tension you get incredible dialogue and an interesting game (that itself has a twist ending) which relates to the subtext of the entire film.

There isn't any push-and-pull in Hateful Eight. Tarantino sets up a few sequences in the first half that are sort-of tense since you expect something bad to happen (Goggins with O.B. putting up the stakes, Kurt Russell with Michael Madsen). But otherwise, it's just Kurt Russell pushing on the suspected bad guys while everyone else keeps their mouth shut. I suppose you could make an argument there is some tension in how SLJ's character will navigate being in a room of white men, but I felt that was diffused with him clearly having Kurt Russell on his side. The later "surprise" that there were 3 people faking their identity (+ someone in the basement) doesn't pack much of a punch since by that point half of them are dead (and the other two killed shortly afterward).

All in all, it's frustrating since the idea of Tarantino doing a post-Civil War version of Clue in a single-set holds so much promise. He's a master of tension, a master of orchestrating a specific audience response and then reversing it, and a master of creating very memorable characters. All three are sloppy here.

Also, the movie is misogynist. You can argue all you want about Tarantino holding a mirror up to his audience and how it's all intentional, but it's not done in full faith in this film. It's terribly obnoxious and strange considering he's created/adapted some fantastic female characters (Jackie Brown, all of the women in Death Proof, Shoshana). Daisy is a far more reductive character - for the first half she seems to exist to test the audience's reaction, for the second half she's something out of a horror movie. Anyone who laughed at all the abuse she received in the first half is pretty much let off the hook since she's revealed to be as awful as everyone else in the cabin.
posted by bittermensch at 8:21 PM on January 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Daisy is a far more reductive character - for the first half she seems to exist to test the audience's reaction, for the second half she's something out of a horror movie. Anyone who laughed at all the abuse she received in the first half is pretty much let off the hook since she's revealed to be as awful as everyone else in the cabin.

Huh. See, I think Daisy is a far more interesting and complex character than you give credit for. We don't know much about her in the way of concrete details. What her whole deal is. But we can infer a lot through context and Jennifer Lason Leigh's multi-layered, genius performance. Above all, she's a survivor. She's patient, she's clever and extremely observant (more observant than anyone else in the room), she holds her cards close to her vest, and she is preparing for her comeuppance from that very first time she is struck and she turns it into a wicked smile. How did this character end up that way? You get the sense that she chose a life of crime because it's the only life that allows her to be on even ground with, or superior to, the men around her.

She's a parallel to Marquis Warren, in some ways. They're both survivors, out of necessity for who they are (a powerful, clever black person in post-bellum America; a powerful, clever woman in a time when that wasn't abided by). I think Daisy sees through Warren right away, from the first scene, because like recognizes like. She doesn't want him on board the stagecoach (she's rightfully worried about him as a wild card in the plan), and she spits on his letter because she sees it as the crutch towards respectability that it is.

Rather than being an unambiguously evil or insane character, I see her aims as being not too different from Marquis Warren's, in a way. She's surviving in a world that is hostile to her. Their difference is one of approach - she has no need or desire to play the respectability game, even for a little bit. She's never wanted to her whole life, I'd imagine. As her song goes, "I'd rather joined that pirate ship than gone to Botany Bay."
posted by naju at 9:16 PM on January 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Saw this today. It's not exactly a satisfying movie, and it's not exactly entertaining either. If we're weighing audience reactions, someone behind me literally snored through 75% of the movie, and the audience laughed uncomfortably a couple times but mostly was quiet and there was no chatter afterwards.

Of course, movies don't have to be satisfying and entertaining to be worthwhile, but I'm kinda on the fence about if I'd even call Hateful Eight worthwhile, beyond the cinematographic stuff which I'm not interested in too much if it leads to appreciating the marvelous workmanship of boring unwatchable pointless stupid turds like Zodiac. See it for some of the performances; see it for Leigh hiding her face behind the rail, splitting it in halves, which was the most eloquent moment, and it does have a few more of those.

Just don't expect them to add up to much that's worth thinking about.

I'm not sure I buy the idea that Tarantino is out to skewer white liberals, or at least I don't think it really escapes the gravity of edginess found within white liberalism itself. Even if I just roll with it, it seems like a horribly weak thing to put up on a movie screen or talk about later. Like if that's what it's about, fuck it, burn it all, because there's no merit there.

It could be that Tarantino is mostly skewering himself. He's always loved glamorizing killers. He's always loved long conversations and torturous reasoning about what is and isn't righteous, adjacent to violence. He's always liked juxtaposing violence with the veneer of civilization. Civilization is a fragile jar of jellybeans, petty politeness and paying a nickel for sweets; it's a grating Disney-like gusto for mundanity. He's always wanted to turn on the audience a little.

He's just doing the things he's always done. I think the generous way of putting it is that he's doing more exploration of his own themes.

Inglorious Basterds was, in part, a film about violence that despised the audience and built itself up to a kind of crazed nihilistic laughing murderous scream. It had some stupid stuff, but it went somewhere, it was fairly outward-facing. Hateful Eight is more self-hating, a dirty film that wallows down to kind of dumb gore, to unconvincing vomits of blood, to nuts getting blown off through floorboards. Its final beat is snuff. IB was lashing out madly at everyone; H8 is self-flagellation, being nailed up inside a cabin in a blizzard with one's own ugliness.

I think I've said it before, but with Inglorious Basterds it felt like Tarantino was sort of losing the desire to actually tell a good story. I feel like in Django and now Hateful Eight, it's just gone, or he's even hostile to the idea of a story. The voiceovers are ironic digs at narrative in general. "And that's why I named this chapter..." You can hear Tarantino's smirk.

And like, imagine how the flashback chapter would work if it was just being told as a story, face to face:

QT: Okay, here's the twist.. The killers, you see, they got there earlier! And they DID kill the owners. And the guy who was hidden in the cellar? Well, he went down into the cellar before they got there and waited.
Audience: Oh, you mean the stuff we already knew happened, happened? In like the simplest possible way?
QT: Yeah but, Zoë Bell is there too. Plus the jelly bean is explained.
Audience: Oh you mean when you showed us the jelly bean between the floorboards, and the empty place on the shelf of candy, it really did turn out to be that a jar of jellybeans was smashed in some kind of violent altercation?
QT: Yeah! But this time you see it.
Audience: Is it, like, a cool scene of violence?
QT: Nope!! Haha, no it's just murdering nice innocent people. "Cool scene of violence"? Fuck that.
Audience: Uh, okay. What about Bruce Dern's character?
QT: Yeah it sort of builds up to that, right? Well, they intimidate him into playing along.
Audience: How? A clash of personalities?
QT: BARF. No, like they say, "do it or we kill you," and he agrees. That's what intimidation is.
Audience: Oh... Does it matter? I mean does he let on that he knows something?
QT [frustrated]: Fucking hell, you saw how he's already dead and it didn't matter. Stop asking dumb questions.
Audience: Well, I guess at least it's been revealed who all was working with Leigh's character, in maybe the most unsatisfying way possible.
QT: Yes! Now you're getting the picture.
posted by nom de poop at 12:53 AM on January 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


FanFare: appreciating the marvelous workmanship of boring unwatchable pointless stupid turds
posted by floweringjudas at 8:03 AM on January 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


(I'm not counting Bob because Bob the Mexican was, in fact, French.)

Wait, are we talking about the character Bob/Marco OR the actor? Cause I tried googling a bit and couldn't find evidence of either. Though, I think it's also not quite so easily separated, since both countries kind of have a long historical relationship.

And what about Bob? He's a POC (like Warren) and possibly an immigrant (like Mobray). He seems to be just a stereotypical or stock Mexican character from Westerns.

I was wondering, did Minnie actually ever have a "No Mexicans" sign? I was thinking if this was another fib that Warren told to see if Bob is lying, because in the flashback there didn't seem to be any coldness in Minnie's reaction to Bob/Marco.
posted by FJT at 10:01 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


yeah, after doing more than a cursory IMDb/Wikipedia search on Demian Bichir, I found out that he is, in fact, Mexican and French. so I got that really wrong and feel pretty dumb about it.
posted by floweringjudas at 11:02 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the locked room mystery aspect of the movie didn't pay off as much as the director thought it might. If you begin the movie with the gang taking over Millie's and proceed in chronological order, there's a great deal of suspense. The audience shares Daisy's secret and knows that there's a man hiding in the basement. It calls to mind some of the intensely suspenseful scenes from Inglorious Basterds.
posted by chrchr at 12:53 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hiding the guy in the basement and then not telling the audience about him was a weird sort of anti-suspense choice. The only way that my wife and I suspected that there was going to be another character introduced was that we knew that Channing Tatum was in the cast and we hadn't seen him yet.
posted by octothorpe at 1:05 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


There were a few excited whoops of delight in the crowd when Channing's name came up on the screen. Hard to ignore, heh.
posted by naju at 1:08 PM on January 4, 2016


Check that poster up at the top. Two grey lines, 6 red ones.

I think I heard that QT felt the feedback on early drafts of H8, and rewrote an entire draft where Daisy's character was the POV/ protagonist, then came back to this one.
posted by stratastar at 4:57 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Woah, yeah, you're right about those two grey lines. So which two are the grey, rather than the hateful, characters?
posted by naju at 6:02 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]




I'm sort of on the fence about this one. It wasn't really fun to watch, and I thought the camerawork was sort of flat and boring once you weren't outside appreciating the 70MM detail of snowy landscapes.

Throughout the entire thing, I couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't a direct shot a Spielberg's Lincoln. The faked Lincoln letter, representing a nice little lie of racial harmony that serves to get otherwise racist white people on Marquis' side, and the sentimental touch about Mary Todd all seemed to point towards that.
posted by codacorolla at 9:21 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the fence is definitely a thing with this movie, I think.

I enjoyed the 70mm a lot -- both in detail, and in the aspect ratio creating some interesting multi-layered shots (e.g. the scene with Domergue playing the guitar, with others in the background dealing with various things but keeping her face in frame, etc).

I also liked the pacing, and I think it's a mistake to consider it anything other than very intentional. This is a movie filmed in a lens/stock combo not used in 50 years, with the first Western score by Ennio Morricone in 40 years, with title cards specifically evoking an older cinema era, released in a roadshow format with an intermission, etc. It is totally possible that the pacing did not work for you, but at least give it the credit as having been thought through very carefully.

Also:

That mobray soliloquy was the KEY POINT OF THE MOVIE.

I completely agree with this comment. So much of this movie is about civilized (vs. uncivilized) violence, and who is allowed to be violent when and why. So much paperwork, so much studious attention to when killing is OK and when it is not. We meet Marquis literally riding a stack of dead bodies, but it's OK because he's got the right papers. John Ruth is horribly misogynist, but it's OK because he's got the right papers. And on, and on, and on.

I'd also like to throw out there that I think the Lincoln Letter, while definitely existing for the reasons Marquis says, also exists for a meta-level parallel reason: it's there to give the audience a reason to believe that Marquis (a black man) could be a good guy. Everyone else, even if they do turn out to be hateful/bad, has a level of presumed innocence, but the one black actor in the main cast literally needs a letter from one of the most universally beloved historical figures in the US to be allowed that same presumption at the start.

In short, I think the letter's effect on Ruth is meant to mirror its effect on the white members of the audience.

I feel like I'm going to have to think about this one a while, and maybe see it again sometime. For all that I liked, I'm not sure it works in its totality, but I'm glad to have seen it.
posted by tocts at 10:15 AM on January 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Throughout the entire thing, I couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't a direct shot a Spielberg's Lincoln.

That would be a hell of a double feature.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:23 AM on January 8, 2016


Everyone else, even if they do turn out to be hateful/bad, has a level of presumed innocence

Except for Daisy Domergue. And Tarantino doesn't even give her a Lincoln letter.

I don't know if I agree with the idea that a white audience doesn't extend an assumption of innocence to Warren. By casting Samuel L. Jackson I think there is a general audience expectation that, if not a good guy, at least he will be the badass that we should be rooting for. And that expectation is largely supported and fulfilled.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on January 8, 2016


I had a few other stray thoughts after seeing it:

- The opening shot is a single white horse among 5 other black ones. There's a lot of black and white imagery throughout - the ivories of the piano playing silent night before a revenge murder, Marquis is the only character with white gloves and you can see that black gloves poison the coffee, there's an interracial utopia that's destroyed by Daisy's rescue squad. Obviously the blizzard (the 'White Hell') that's mennacing everyone.

- Daisy and Jody are meant to be presented as Irish, right? Domergue actually seems to be a French name, and her brother does speak French, but the folksong is definitely Irish.

- Backgrounded in all of it is the Indian genocide that built the world the main characters are fighting in. Maddox snuggles up with a blanket and says, "Mmmm, Navajo!" Someone makes a deliberate point (maybe Bob, The Mexican?) of mentioning that Marquis slaughtered native Americans just as well as he slaughtered whites.

I still can't say I really liked the movie, but it's stuck with me for a while. Definitely longer than Django did.
posted by codacorolla at 8:59 PM on January 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Except for Daisy Domergue. And Tarantino doesn't even give her a Lincoln letter.

You're not wrong, but I do think she's a special case. We meet her already in chains, being brought in for a very large bounty (larger than the sum of three presumed bad people who Marquis is bringing in). She is consistently referred to as a murderer, and never denies it. She even seems to revel being nasty towards people. I don't think there was ever any question intended about whether she was actually not a bad person.

For the rest of the main cast, though, when we meet them we know nothing bad about them.

And that expectation is largely supported and fulfilled.

Well ... maybe. This is where a lot of my trepidation with the movie comes in. I think it may be that that's what we got, but I could believe that it wasn't intended. By the end of the movie, I think we're supposed to understand that the things Mannix says about him -- that he was more interested in bloodlust than any kind of real justice, that he didn't care that he killed a bunch of Union soldiers as long as it killed Confederate soldiers too, etc -- are true. We even see him manipulate an old man into a position where he (Marquis) can then kill him and claim justification.

(I think we are absolutely supposed to see his story about the General's son as being about 95% fictional, made up specifically to enrage him)

But, the question of whether that was actually accomplished is murkier. Like the old saw about all war movies being pro-war, I'm not sure a movie that ends in this kind of violent crescendo (with one charismatic character getting the last laugh) can be successfully paint that character as not to be cheered on.
posted by tocts at 7:17 AM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I caught the regular showing of it at my local cinema. To be honest I was bored by it, although I have to say reading this discussion makes me glad that I saw it.

Still thought it was boring though.
posted by Fence at 7:46 AM on January 10, 2016


Did anyone get a Stanley Kubrick feel from the screenplay?

Huh. Isolated domains ruled by madness? Check. Errors of emotion? Check. Bathroom scene? I guess the disassembled weapons are dropped in the outhouse. It is arguable that the obsessed hero triumphs: Daisy does eventually hang as John Ruth plans, but not in the circumstances he foresaw and he is not there to witness it. Kubrick also was obsessed with characters devising foolproof plans which founder because of some combination of weakness, malice, and human frailty. The entire movie is plans falling apart and human folly is not in short supply.

But for full-on Kubrick you would need mirrors/twinning to be there, and a murder/suicide pairing, and humans overpowered by technology. There is a lot of violence, but I think little or none in slow motion. No opening/closing on a face, no breathing on the soundtrack.

I think there is very little Kubrick in the mix. Everything I said in the first paragraph applies just as much to Reservoir Dogs, which this film owes a lot more to. These are the only two Tarantino scripts that could be easily turned into stage plays: as with the first movie, every character with a speaking part winds up dead (I suppose the sheriffs in the flashback in RD do not, but they are not part of the narrative).

/derail

I was with this until the dolly down to reveal A Major Actor beneath the floorboards. Yes, the characters are racist and misogynistic, but they are hateful, a fact helpfully underlined earlier. But that was shoddy storytelling. Tarantino has pushed the same ideas for three movies in a row, when he would have been further ahead to stop at Inglourious Basterds.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:27 PM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just saw this yesterday and I'm certainly not sure how to feel about the film. It is, of course, evident - as has been pointed out here also - that it utterly fails as a mystery. Although often described as an "Agatha Christie-esque mystery in the guise of a western" (from an interview with Walton Goggins), the only mystery left for the audience to figure out is the order in which the characters will end up dead. In this sense, it would probably be more accurate to call The Hateful Eight (ah, constantly find myself starting to type "The Eightful Hate") a horror movie (specifically inspired by Carpenter's "The Thing"). But - Tarantino's film is somewhat The Thing turned upside down, a film where everyone's a monster from the beginning and we are left with trying to find that bit of good/morally acceptable behavior within these hateful creatures (finding a bit of goodness, however, is never as satisfying as finding the evil monster and killing it - an act that gives moral ground to violence; finding something good in someone usually gives simply a cause for brief hesitation in considering their character(istics)). In short, Tarantino dispenses with disguises but still tries to frame it as a suspenseful mystery. Perhaps it is intentional, a sort of a subversion of the genre in which everybody's the killer.
posted by sapagan at 2:47 AM on January 11, 2016 [3 favorites]






THE HATEFUL EIGHT’s Lincoln Letter And The Lies Of DJANGO UNCHAINED
I think Quentin Tarantino has had an awakening in the last few years. The original draft of The Hateful Eight, the one that leaked online before production, didn’t include the Lincoln Letter reveal. The Lincoln Letter was real in that version. But in the years since that leak, in the years that Tarantino worked on the script and the movie, the situation in the US changed around him. That draft leaked in April of 2014; in August Michael Brown lay dead in a street in Ferguson. In November the movie, which Tarantino threatened to shelve, came back to life as casting started. At some point between April and November he had reworked the Lincoln Letter, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the protests in Ferguson happened right in the middle of that time span.

While the Lincoln Letter ends up being about more than his own filmography, it’s hard to not see it as a direct response to his own historical revisionism.
Interesting thesis.
posted by painquale at 11:22 PM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Watching Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Is Three Hours of Self-Punishment and I Loved It - "Tarantino gives us a hangman-based civilization, with specious “law and order” talk doing nothing to obscure the essential cruelty of his characters’ actions."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:44 PM on January 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


And like, imagine how the flashback chapter would work if it was just being told as a story, face to face

Why though? A story told on film can be very different from one that's written on a page and they don't have to be able to transfer over to another medium to work.

Oh... Does it matter? I mean does he let on that he knows something?

It wasn't a major plot point but it did speak to his character. The Storied General that the idealistic Sherrif's been hearing the praises of since he was a boy turns out to be not much more than a self-interested racist coward. Also, I think story-wise, he had to be there and he had to be someone the second stage coach people would recognize. Otherwise Warren would have figured out something was off whole a lot quicker. His presence made it plausible that not all these strangers are necessarily suspicious characters, even if they are assholes.

I'm also a bit surprised at how people seem disappointed that he cast Tim Roth. I like Tim Roth! He did fine, and he even looked the part better than Waltz would have IMO. Though I guess I could see, after Inglorious Basterds, how one could envision Waltz delivering the hangman's speech. It was a lot like the stuff they had him delivering as a Nazi.
posted by Hoopo at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tim Roth saying, "My name is Oswaldo Mobray" was one of my favorite moments of the movie. He's so delighted by how ridiculous his fake name is.
posted by chrchr at 11:19 AM on January 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Paid to see a Tarantino movie, saw a Tarantino. Enjoyed it.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:38 PM on February 10, 2016


>plenty of people sitting next to me were having what were clearly the wrong reactions

There aren't any wrong reactions to a film.

>- how is Samuel L Jackson not DONE with Quentin Tarantino using him as a plot device to get to say the n-word for the last twenty-something years?

Because Tarantino is not "using" him, and Jackson knows that much better than you or me.

Anyways, as people have noted it lived up to to the title. I'm more misanthropic than most but I enjoyed it quite a bit.
posted by edeezy at 3:12 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


By the way, that black eye makeup was totally amateurish. What was up with that? Didn't anybody bother to GIS 'black eye'?

I recently met a makeup artist who works in film and TV and was asking her about her work, and when I said "hey, by the way, did you see Hateful Eight" she immediately responded, without further prompting, "oh my GOD, that AWFUL black eye makeup!"

I feel so vindicated.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:42 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


By the way, that black eye makeup was totally amateurish. What was up with that? Didn't anybody bother to GIS 'black eye'?

Perhaps, given the film's themes, it was intentional?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2016


Just saw this. This seems petty after reading everyone's great assessments above but my biggest complaint was the New Zealand accent. I wouldn't think that New Zealand would be removed from England long enough at that point in history for a new accent to form. But I'm not a linguist.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:23 PM on November 4


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