Tarantino Tarantinoingly Tarantinos (Again), or, The Hateful Eight

hateful eight

Cause there’s eight of ’em!

Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino through and through.

As has been Tarantino’s mandate over his more recent filmography Hateful Eight is a lengthy, expertly crafted film with endlessly quotable dialogue. And yet despite heights that should be nothing short of accessible to any filmgoer Hateful Eight is also a series of off-putting descents into pop cruelty, as has been Tarantino’s mandate always and forever. Casual brutality creeps into Hateful Eight like doves in a John Woo movie and as Woo said of his own penitent for doves in the M:I 2 DVD bonus features, you can’t help but think Tarantino just can’t help himself.

Tarantino’s continued insistence on marrying his imaginative characters and dialogue to such ham-fisted carnage eight films into his career can be, and seemingly has been, construed as a lack of growth. Instead I would assert that Hateful Eight represents a refinement, a streamlining of Tarantino’s filmmaking.

The coolest thing about Hateful Eight is that if you or I wanted to we could get our hands on the script and put it on ourselves with seven of our closest friends. A vast majority of the film is either four people in a stage coach or eight people in a cabin and the driving narrative force is a sort of us vs. them mentality wherein no one seems to know exactly who “us” or “them” are.

The small scale and simple premise strip Tarantino’s trademarks, be they dialogue or violence, down to their bones. There aren’t any elaborate set pieces between the audience and these malicious characters so when the film does repeatedly descend into a bloodbath you feel like you need to lift your feet off the theater floor to keep the blood off of your shoes.

Hateful Eight forces you to confront your feelings about Tarantino’s dogmatic insistence on violence because there’s nothing to distract you from it. The simplicity and intimacy of the film doesn’t give you a choice. The dialogue Hateful Eight pushes us to have with ourselves about violence is its most inspired trait.

There’s the continued casual beating of the immediately unlikable antagonist at the hands of the classically-handsome protagonist that seems to mask some sort of unseen brutality brimming beneath the surface.

There’s arguably the most heinous act of violence, performed (or was it performed?) and recounted by arguably the most likable character. Is it justice? Does it cross a line? Why?

There’s explosions of carnage played off, quite effectively, like punchlines.

And there’s the bloody climax, shot and played off like a sweeping triumph and ultimately wrapping the film up in a sort of off kilter pall.

You might watch Hateful Eight and see each sequence of violence with the same eyes, but I’d doubt it. The film excels at presenting brutality in different contexts designed to evoke different feelings. The nutrition in Tarantino’s latest comes from examining how you feel about the various depictions of violence within and why you feel that way about them.

Much like its seven predecessors Hateful Eight is still Quentin Tarantino through and through, but it is by no means a regression.

 

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I Will Have a Meaningul Discussion About the Moral Gray Areas of American History When I’m Dead, or, Bigelowing!

I was pretty excited when Sony announced the imminent release of the PlayStation 4, and I’ll probably preorder the shit out of one because I’m a card carrying member of youth culture. Maybe you’ve heard of us. We’re kind of a big deal. But part of being a card carrying member of youth culture is remaining a constant denizen of a neat-o burrito little town I like to call the cutting edge.

And let me tell you, the PS4 is not what is trending on the cutting edge.

Allow me to be the first to introduce you troglodytes to the absolute latest pop culture meme, an activity to rival the break dancing craze or the planking craze or the meth craze.

Allow me to introduce you to Bigelowing.

Don’t you hate it when the right people are blamed for doing the wrong things? Don’t you wish that instead of blame being placed solely on the shoulders of the responsible, you could wait for someone else to say “hey, that thing that happened happened” and then blame the shit out of them?

Of course you do, you’re no idiot!

What the hell are you trying to pull Kathryn?

What the hell are you trying to pull Kathryn?

If you haven’t seen Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film, Zero Dark Thirty, you should. Good or bad there’s inarguably no other movie quite like it. The story is told with a brisk Call of Duty pacing that takes viewers through countries and years alike. The cast is massive and fantastic, filled to the brim with the likes of Stannis and Sinestro and led by Jessica Chastain in performance of badass bureaucratic brilliance. The climax is as gut wrenching and suspenseful as they come.

Oh and it’s about Bin Laden.

Also they water board a guy.

Which is, of course, Kathryn Bigelow’s fault.

Bigelowing!

All of the cool kids are doing it, but be careful because Bigelowing is only for the coolest of cucumbers.

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained, was by most accounts one badass flick. Unfortunately, by most accounts it also depicts the extreme brutality of slavery in the antebellum American south, including the use of the “N” word. In fact I have it on good authority that Django Unchained may make use of the “N” word a staggering more than one times!  So yeah, Quentin Tarantino is a racist. Bigelowing!

Waterboarding is an extremely touchy subject and something of a moral quandary. Slavery is a blemish on American history that has been swept under the rug like an unfortunate mishap. It’s hard to fit these more undesirable aspects of American culture into the paradigm of traditional American values and doing so would require a no holds bar, brutally honest conversation about the skeletons in America’s closet. Maybe even a discussion.

Which would be dumb, because who would want to do that when there’s Bigelowing!

Would a meaningful dialogue between neighbors about the portrayal of slavery in Django yield potentially enlightening results and a healthy mixing of opinions? Maybe. But it is not nearly as baller as calling Tarantino a racist! And if I have to choose between enlightenment and balling nine times out of nine I ball so hard. After all, Quentin Tarantino is such a racist! Look at the facts:

Tarantino made a movie highlighting the brutality of slavery that is often times glossed over or completely left out of slavery’s portrayal in the classroom and history books, reminding America of a massive atrocity in its history that can never simply be forgotten.

More like Django Chained. Because it's racist.

More like Django Chained. Because it’s racist.

As far as I’m concerned Tarantino segregated the American public school system and founded the KKK.

And don’t think Kathryn Bigelow is off the hook either. She made a film depicting the use of an interrogation technique admittedly used by the United States government. What’s she trying to do – get us to discuss the morality and effectiveness of interrogation tactics in the war on terror?

Way to run electrodes from a rusted old car battery to the genitals of the United States of America, Kathy! What are you going to do next, rip out America’s fingernails with blood soaked pliers?

Today at recess I was hanging out on the jungle gym doing weed when I saw a fat kid with braces and a speech impediment. Naturally, I shoved him in the mud. All of the sudden some ho-ass teacher is hollering in my face and dragging me to the principal’s office. Luckily for me the very first words out of her mouth were “Hey, this kid pushed another fatter, dumber kid into the mud.”

Gotcha bitch!

Naturally, by bringing up the very occurrence of the entirely real happening, the blame fell squarely on her shoulders, she was fired a year shy of pension and her and her destitute family starved to death because I Bigelowed the shit out of her.

Did it make sense for her to drag me to the principal, hold me responsible for my actions and start an open dialogue about a happenstance within her community? I don’t know you weirdo! And I don’t give a shit!

Better luck next time teach. Why don’t you send me a letter from hell? My address is the cutting edge.