The Hateful Eight

Sam: WHAT? A MOVIE DISCUSSION POST? Yes, dear readers, we are doing your favorite discussion format, but this time, about a movie. I know, it’s exciting. What’s more exciting is that it’s about a good movie, and a movie you might actually want to see. Today’s topic shall be Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film (as the credits so helpfully remind you), The Hateful Eight. We both saw this movie in OMG NECESSARY CINEPHILIACASM 70mm, and we have a blog, therefore we are qualified to tell you all about this extremely Tarantino-y movie.

Emily: It might have been the most Tarantino-y movie ever and that’s saying something because it’s not like he ever makes anything that’s not very much him. It was so good and I want to see it again. The 70mm was pretty gorgeous, though, so I think I’m going to be angry every time I see it when it’s not in 70mm.

Sam: No, no, don’t be angry, just think wistfully of seeing it all giant on the screen and settle in with contentment for the talky, bloody ride. Before we jump to spoilers/an actual reasonable, full discussion of the movie, it’s worth noting: this movie is recommended and you should go see it. Provided you know what you’re getting into, but you should know what Tarantino is by now, and this is that.

Note: after the jump THERE SHALL BE SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Emily: This movie brought my beloved Walton Goggins (Justified) to a more prominent role in Tarantino’s world and it’s like it was always meant to be. He’s played a wordy white supremacist before so it’s not like it was a total stretch for him but he does it so well.

Sam: Being as I’m a movie-only heathen and have never seen Justified, I didn’t know Walton Goggins from Adam. But he was great! And they were all great! The very best thing about this movie (though you can make a case for just how freaking gorgeous it is) is just how good it is seeing these people say these things. They things they say are good, and the way literally every actor says them is just so wonderful. It was already however many zillions of hours, including intermission, but I could have watched another eight (with appropriate breaks).

Emily: Even if, at least for most of the movie, it felt less like Tim Roth was saying things the way Tim Roth would say them and more like how Christoph Waltz would say them. Especially if Christoph Waltz was still in Django Unchained.

Sam: It did feel extremely Christoph Waltz, even down to the hair/makeup and styling. While I’m on the topic of hair, though, doesn’t Kurt Russell’s face just seem like it should always have a big ol’ Western beard and mustache? Without going actually off topic, I saw two Kurt Russell Westerns in two days and I’m increasingly convinced this is the case.

Emily: I feel like Goldie Hawn would probably disagree with you about the state of Kurt Russell’s facial hair. If I hadn’t seen red carpet photos of him taken around the time of filming The Hateful Eight, I wouldn’t believe that that facial hair could possibly be real.

Sam: I adored him in this movie, like I adored all of them. I was sad that he made it not even though… wait, no he did make it to the second half, but barely. I know this because he died during the part where Domergue has a secret, in which I nearly shouted out in the theater in a fit of high spirits after the narrator says “And that’s why this chapter is called “Domergue’s secret.” I really wanted to just be like THANK YOU! and move on. Also, was expecting bloody, extreme violence in the second half. Was not expecting it to be giant waves of bloody vomity spew to get things started.

Emily: Yes! Tarantino was pretty much “It’s time to release the blood! All of the blood!” During the whole poisoning kerfuffle, I was really expecting a reveal that Mannix was smarter than he was shown and was really good about pantomiming that he was about to drink the coffee and was truly offended that he was almost poisoned.

Sam: I really liked that that came back around at the end. There are… things… you can say about the use of racial slurs in this movie, but I liked that self-preservation ultimately won out over racism. On the subject of the bloody spewing, I was already planning to make a joke about ¾ through about how the titular hateful things are the eight substances spewed on Jennifer Jason Leigh’s face, but then I thought about it and jesus, you can actually count to four easily, and five if you stretch it a little. This whole damn movie is her face getting covered in crap. (the list: her blood, the stew, John Ruth (Kurt Russell)’s bloody spewing, Jody (C-Tates)’s blood, that’s four, and Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) spits on her face in the snow, which I say makes five).

Emily: I marveled at just how covered her face was with blood and other substances by the end. And she just kept acting crazier and crazier through that all. That’s an actress without ego.

Sam: I really enjoyed her speech at the end. I enjoyed all their speeches, but I really liked that she got her say. It was an awesome, committed performance. So question, as raised by my husband, who assumed I would not credit him in this blog post, SO THERE: on the topic of speeches, how much, if any, of Major West’s big soliloquy before the break was true? I took it as rote at the time, and he probably killed the general’s son based on how he said before that people came looking for him and the money and found him, but none of the story is necessarily true at all. It did the job of getting him worked up (bless you, Bruce Dern, I love you) in any case.

Emily: That is an excellent point. I just took him for his word because we were being shown all of it on screen but it did get less believable as it went on. His whole goal was to get the general to pick up the gun and shoot so it makes much more sense that he embellished it for his desired effect. He knew for quite a long time before that speech exactly who the general was and how his son met his end so he had time to formulate his approach. That was all very calculated.

Sam: Exactly. It was a pretty fantastic speech, too (at risk of getting repetitive, since all I’ve said so far is how Tarantino writes words good and actors say words good. And counted substances sprayed on a particular face). So the other main point I wanted to say, eloquently, is man, this movie sure is pretty. I had heard a lot of griping on the interwebs about how this movie was shot in 70mm and blahdy blahdy blah and yet most of it takes place in a single room. But I thought that the single room was actually an excellent application of the 70mm, for a couple reasons. First, it meant that you saw a lot of the room in each shot, sometimes half the room in a go. The hugeness of the screen contextualized the personal drama. And secondly, it meant that when two people were sitting opposite each other in chairs, like, I think it was Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Dern, in what’s clearly a charged atmosphere, they were sitting fairly close but about 30ft away on the screen. That contrast was really excellent.

Emily: And everyone who could be seen in the background of a shot just had to keep acting. It really helped when you were trying to picture where everyone was in the room during the poisoning of the coffee.

Sam: For serious. And it was obviously really significant that Senor Bob (the most Mexican name, obviously) was playing the piano when it happened. The use of music in this movie was also fascinating. Ennio Morricone’s score was, unsurprisingly, awesome, but I was interested that there was the score, then there was music played by people on screen, and also a couple songs thrown in. I’m pretty sure there’s a master’s thesis in unraveling some greater theme about what gets used where and why.

Emily: Yes. I was already so happy about Morricone’s score during the credits. That combined with a giant screen filled with snow everywhere really helped set the scene but then later you got an actual song and all I could think was that this was the perfect marriage of classic Westerns and Tarantino. He’s known for choosing somewhat rare recordings in his films so even when he had the most famous composer of music for Westerns ever, he still had to throw some other songs in and it all went together so well.

Sam: Everything in the whole movie fit together so well. It wasn’t so well-oiled as to be slick, just every element compatible with every other. Marvelous. I just have one last thing, which is the most obscure and random complaint for this movie, but whatever, this is me. I enjoy watching these gross, unpleasant scenes for the visceral thrill, and they stick with me a bit, but I’m not particularly bothered by them in any lingering way. What I am bothered by, to the point of flailing two days later, is when they first show up at Minnie’s Haberdashery and Michael Madsen buys peppermint sticks–and the sound design was great on those, they made the right kind of clunking sound together as he handled them–and he started eating one, and then he went outside to shoot the last guy, and he JUST THREW IT AWAY. Now, most people, or other people, would be upset in a faux dramatic way if alcohol were poured out in a similar way, or whatever. But I love good sticks of hard candy, and he just THREW. IT. AWAY. ARGH. Okay… fine… breathe… I will probably, someday, be over that. But for serious, I care so much more about that peppermint stick than poor C-Tates’s head getting blown off.

Emily: That seems like an appropriate reaction given how good candy is and how easily people are disposed of by Tarantino. If you weren’t already convinced that the cowboy was evil then throwing away perfectly good candy certainly proves that.

Sam: AMEN. Go see this movie, people, it’s good. Or rather, have seen it already, because otherwise why are you reading this spoilery review.

Emily: WORD.

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