I am a big fan of Quentin Tarantino. Two of his movies (Reservoir Dogs & Pulp Fiction) are mainstays in my personal Top 10, while the rest of his filmography is always worth watching to me. However, even if I love everything he does, there still has to be an entry at the bottom of the list. No matter what your favorite band is, one of their songs has to be your "least favorite", right? "The Hateful Eight" wasn't bad by any means, but seems like it will rest at the bottom of the Tarantino pile.

A bounty hunter is trying to transport his prisoner to a town to be hung. While trying to keep pace ahead of a blizzard, he picks up an old Civil War Major (for the North), along with a sheriff. The blizzard catches up with them and they're forced to make a pit stop at an old lodge. At the lodge they meet a Mexican farmhand, a cowboy, a hangman, and an old Civil War General (for the South). The tension rises as personalities clash, bullets fly and blood spills, and everything goes to hell. A few twists and turns come along the way, before things finally come to a gory, blood-soaked conclusion.

Here's the thing about Tarantino: he makes movies that he likes, he works with actors he likes, he uses music he likes, he has a distinct style and many signatures that he repeats. He is pure cinematic masturbation, and in the case of "The Hateful Eight", this isn't a simple rubout - this is really treating yourself like an amusement park. Clocking in at 2:47, there was plenty that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Tarantino's staple is his great dialogue, and his unflinching violence. This movie takes both of those to the extreme; the individual characters each had some solid monologues (Samuel L. Jackson shines as usual), and the blood gushes from bullet wounds in just about every part of the body. The drawback of both of these elements is that they end up going completely over-the-top. The violence is so outrageous it almost turns cartoonish. The language is also a point of contention, with a ton of the expected f-bombs and s-bombs, but an eyebrow-raising number of n-bombs. My wife was only in the room for the last half hour or so, but even she commented that every sentence dropped the n-word. Tarantino has never shied from using it, and I understand the premise of being authentic to the 1860s, but even I can admit that the usage went to near-gratuitous levels.

Pushing those things aside, I definitely did enjoy the experience. The cinematography is great, the claustrophobia of the single setting is effective, all the actors embrace their roles. What really keeps this movie below the rest of Tarantino's work is the length, and the feeling that is wasn't really anything new, it just felt like Tarantino doing a Tarantino movie. I know it's not always fair to just compare a director's movie directly to his other works, but for Tarantino, he's raised the standards pretty high, and doesn't quite reach the level I expected.


On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The Hateful Eight" gets a 6 out of 10.




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