The Hateful Eight: Movie Man Jackson

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“The name of the game is patience.”

Hate! Hate! Hate!  Not too long after the Civil War, the state of Wyoming is home to a myriad of characters, all nefarious and dangerous. On the way to the town of Red Rock, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) rides in a stagecoach which is transporting a woman named Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Daisy is a fugitive who will be put to death by hanging in Red Rock. Making their ride up difficult is a relentless blizzard that promises to only get worse.

Along the way, fellow bounty hunter and former Civil War participant Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), and new Red Rock sheriff Chris Mannix (Walter Goggins), hitch a ride to the same stagecoach. Eventually, though, that snow storm forces the foursume to seek refuge at a local cabin. It is there where they run into more characters—“Mexican” Bob (Demián Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). Only one thing is certain amongst these people: They are all bad people. 

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As of this writing, it has been almost 48 hours since yours truly has come out of Quentin Tarantino’s latest feature, known as The Hateful Eight. And, I still don’t fully know how I feel about it. On one hand, it is blueprint Tarantino, infusing his irreverent trademark style in every piece of the movie. On another hand, it can feel like the work of a man feeling himself a little too much, reveling in those Tarantinoisms that don’t feel as inventive and unique as in previous works.

Aside from the script leak, the usual uproar of whether Tarantino is going too far, and the roadshow/70mm intention, the biggest story talking point going into “H8teful “seemed to be its over three-hour runtime. Could QT, one of the best writers of dialogue today in film, quell the concern about length? The answer is no…and yes. It really does take some time for his Western to get going, and to give a quantifiable number, I’d say about 60-90 minutes. While one could say that he is building character, I struggle to remember any key lines, or tidbits of information that moved the story along and/or gave more elements to those characters. It is possible that another watch is needed.

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Still, this stretch is where to look for any material that could have, and probably should have, been cut. But, that isn’t to say that The Hateful Eight is devoid of good writing, because it isn’t. Character-wise, these are really nothing but extremely vile people, though some entertaining (yet dulling over time) dialogue does exist. It, like the gratuitous violence, is more for shock value than anything else. But, Tarantino manages to surround these villains with a highly entertaining script that takes primary focus around the second act. Yes, it is a whodunit, but Tarantino uses a few plot mechanics—even his own narration—to fill some gaps. It is likely that the narration could be jarring to some, but it really adds to the old school style and live play aspect.

H8teful achieves a little bit more than not because it is simply an experience. Yours truly didn’t have the pleasure of seeing in 70mm, but this is one of the more unique watches in quite some time. The locale is amazing, and it being predominantly set in a cabin gives a truly confined and claustrophobic touch. As the runtime goes on, Tarantino’s technical work does begin to shine. Not flawlessly, but the film is a great example of sum greater than its parts. Speaking of parts, Ennio Morricone does his by providing an original score that captures the era of the Spaghetti Western. It is that mesmerizing, and potentially the strongest piece of the entire feature.

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The characters in The Hateful Eight may really be nothing more than caricatures, but that doesn’t mean that the actual work turned in by the thespians is to be scoffed at. Samuel L. Jackson does his Samuel L. Jackson thing here, but there’s a tad more meat than many of his other roles in Tarantino films. Kurt Russell may be the most entertaining individual in the entire production, which is a surprise seeing as where he begins at the start. Other great performances include Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Walter Goggins, Bruce Dern, Demián Bichir, and Michael Madsen. At times, they can go a ton over the top, but that is attributed to QT writing more than a performer not knowing what to do.

Starting to see the picture? As odd as it sounds, I’m interested in watching The Hateful Eight again, just to see if there is anything that was missed, any dialogue that went over the head, etc. Very possible this opinion can change down the line with more views. On a first, it isn’t without flaws, or absent of merit. About the only thing I know is that it is a very memorable experience.

Grade: B-

Photo credits go to huffingtonpost.com, filmmakermagazine.com, and latimes.com

Follow the MovieMan @MovieManJackson

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12 thoughts on “The Hateful Eight: Movie Man Jackson

    • Thanks! Kind of struggled with writing this because there’s so much, and I’m out on business, but I absolutely want to see again and perhaps get more of an appreciation for it.

  1. Man I really really dug this movie. Oh, these characters were utterly utterly vile and nasty and terrible and all kinds of ‘hateful,’ and maybe it’s just something to do with where I am in my life right now, but I loved everyone of them.

    I think you make a good point about them being more caricature than character, though. These guys probably won’t stand up to QT’s best creations — I doubt anyone’s going to top Uma Thurman’s Bride — but they certainly make this movie what it is. I was stunned by how quickly the run time passes by. I saw it in the regular filmed format, and as far as I was aware, there wasn’t an intermission in my showing. If there was one, it was really brief. Like, so brief you wouldn’t be able to get up and go to the bathroom and all that, which is what I thought an intermission is meant for. Allow viewers to get up and stretch their legs and dive back into the second half.

    Anyway, this is a super rambling comment. I’m pretty pumped on this movie. Review hopefully coming soon if i Can just get rid of this writer’s block right now. 🙂

    • Tom, interested in seeing your take. Like, as much as I rambled and wasn’t as clear (as I would have liked), I found a ton to enjoy about this. And, even though I mentioned being unimpressed with the slow start and feeling like it didn’t give much to anyone, I concede that I may have missed some things. Things that might reveal themselves more in another watch.

      Regardless, Tarantino has made something to really assess and think about. I still am pondering it despite not loving it, and I think that is a big accomplishment in itself.

      Ramble whenever you want, man 🙂

  2. Great review 🙂 Have not seen Hateful Eight yet, though I am going to be seeing it tomorrow. But you know the thing with Tarantino is, I was always a bigger fan of the films he was referencing than his own films. Worth pondering isn’t it. Keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Anyway, I just posted my blog entry regarding my Best Films of 2015 and so forth on my site http://www.cinematiccoffee.com Anyway, here is the link below:

    http://cinematiccoffee.com/2016/01/06/the-best-of-2015-etc/

    Once again, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  3. I am reposting my reply because I think I accidentally posted a link in a reply and I only usually do that with e-mails and I am so tired right now, I accidentally forgot 🙂 but here it is below:

    Great review 🙂 Have not seen Hateful Eight yet, though I am going to be seeing it tomorrow. But you know the thing with Tarantino is, I was always a bigger fan of the films he was referencing than his own films. Worth pondering isn’t it. Keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Also, I just posted my blog entry regarding my favorite films of 2015 and so forth on my site cinematic coffee 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Thanks as always Mark. As for my thoughts, I suppose I placed a lot on the overall experience, though I do believe the writing (story-wise, not character-wise), is very good along with the performances, though they really aren’t playing “characters.” Ennio Morricone’s score raises this up a lot as well.

      Part of the reason why I decided to hold off on the last music post for 2015 films before viewing this because I knew this was gonna be one of the year’s best musical compositions along with The Revenant. It would be a travesty to not include this.

      Honestly, on my next watch, I can see myself loving this film more, or hating it more. I am excited to watch again, not in theaters, though. Rant over 🙂

  4. I just read your reply on my site 🙂 Thank you for the kind words 🙂 I can not wait to read what you are going to post for your favorite films of 2015 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • Man, you are so nice! I actually do not do a list, as I feel like I can’t properly give my thoughts as I don’t see as much as I would like to 😦 Many people, like yourself, do a great job on these, and I like to highlight music in said films I’ve watched. I feel like that aspect is sometimes underrepresented in film discussions.

      If I were to do a list though, my top 10 of things I’ve seen would probably be
      1. Spotlight
      2. Sicario
      3. Inside Out
      4. Creed
      5. The Gift
      6. Mad Max FR
      7. Brooklyn
      8. Steve Jobs
      9. Bridge of Spies
      10. The Martian

      🙂

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