So The Hateful Eight actually came out like two weeks ago, but because Tarantino insisted on screening in a dead medium I didn’t get to see it until recently. There’s something to be said about 70mm, I guess. In digital, the film’s titles retain this sort of old-timey look that I attribute to old Tom and Jerry cartoons. And it looks pretty good. The lighting and set are both fantastic, and, for what it’s worth, this film is Tarantino’s take on Agatha Christie, which is interesting enough.
But people tend to treat Tarantino like they treat Pixar. He gets a free pass for shit that nobody else would get away with. Didn’t this man win an Oscar for writing? Where, pray tell, in the Oscar-Worthy Writers’ Handbook does it say to make your characters spew each others’ backstories within seconds of meeting each other for the first time? Where does it say to add a narrator where there was not one previously, forget about him, and then put him back in, even though he’s just explaining things that we’re seeing, VISUALLY, AS YOU SPEAK?? Where does it say to make the reveals to the big mysteries things that should have been obvious from the beginning but the characters just never acted on these extremely important pieces of information until the plot called for it? The third act felt like reading post-Soul Society arc Bleach, where stuff is just pulled out of peoples’ asses with minimal prior forshadowing.
The first half of this movie is like playing Mass Effect 1 when you’re expecting a good ol’ fashioned sci-fi shooter. There is so much talking in this film. There’s some beautiful shot choice here and there, yes, but you could read the script while sitting on a mountain in Wyoming and occasionally look out into the sunset, and get essentially the same experience. I once criticized one of Danielle’s scripts for being too heavy on words and not enough things happening, and she’s way prettier than Tarantino.
Is The Hateful Eight a bad film? No. Is The Hateful Eight a great film? HELL no. It’s kinda good, a winkle above average, but nowhere on the same level as Pulp Fiction or even Django. It felt to me like a production during which everybody was afraid to question anything Tarantino said, including the decision to screen in a dead medium, although that could’ve been for building hype too, I dunno.
This guy’s gotten his head stuck so far up his own ass that he could poke his uvula with his nose and double-barf into a disgusting cyclical mess. Yes, you’re pretty good at writing. We have established this. I want to know if you’re any good at anything else. Being able to write a lot of words does not make you a good filmmaker. Just look at me! I wrote everything on this website, and so far the only film I’ve made that’s worth talking about is one that relies on another film for its pivotal piece of plot information!
I haven’t watched much of Tarantino’s early work. That’s my bad. But it has to have been better than this. Besides the characteristic density of Mass Effect, I’m also reminded of Halo 5 and how it very lightly touched its pinky toe against the intriguing sci-fi issue of AI rights, and then promptly went back to shooting everything. I spent the drive to Phantom Rail’s house (20 minutes) thinking about how the interesting tidbits about race relations and frontier justice apply themselves to the narrative at large, and all I could come up with is “there’s shooting involved.”
But I digress. At it’s heart, The Hateful Eight has the distinct flavors that characterize Tarantino’s work. Dancing gleefully on the South Parkian line between being ironic and playing it completely straight, it’s got all the ridiculous amounts of blood and usage of the n-word that you’ve come to expect from the man. But it’s an aural experience. Nothing visual about this movie, except for “person dies in a bloody mess.” It was like watching Twelve Angry Men.
It’s a fun enough watch, but “watch” is not the operative word here. I bet the script was solid enough, but I don’t go to a movie theater and pay $10 to listen to a radio play. If you’re into Tarantino’s stuff and you don’t mind being late to pick up your friend to go to dinner because you didn’t look at the runtime, by all means, check out The Hateful Eight. If you think of movies as a visual as well as narrative art form, the script was leaked online, so you won’t miss much by just reading it.
P.S.: Also I couldn’t get over Kurt Russell’s mustache.
AN EXTRA NOTE:
Hi everyone! Thanks for reading this review of a movie that has been out for a considerable amount of time already. I'm here on MoviePilot because Eileen sent me a comment about coming here and I was like "OK sure" but I've been writing reviews for, like, a while now.
So what does this mean? Well this is a pretty good outlet with a bunch of awesome people here so I'm going to be going between here and my own site, The NerdyChineseBlog, with reviews and critical pieces. You can read all the stuff I do over there, including comics and Let's Plays as well as the occasional short film.
For now I'm gonna spend some time transplanting some of my more recent reviews and critical pieces from the NCBlog, but you can go as far back as last year over there. I'll find some place to put the link.
Man, it'd be nice if I could just copy-pasta the html from over there.