17 January 2016

Tarantino's Eighth Film?

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The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino's eighth movie and the first to revolve around a mystery. The mystery being 'how the fuck is this his eighth movie!?' Counting Kill Bill as one film is bullshit because there's a very obvious tonal difference between the two volumes, and when combined they're about as structurally sound as a castle made of shit. Also, I had to pay for two separate fucking tickets to see them both. Either it's one film and he's willing to compromise his artistic integrity for the sake of a quick buck, or he now owes me about eight quid for that extra ticket that he accidentally sold me. Of course even if we count Kill Bill as one film, that still leaves the anomaly of Death Proof. Originally that was only the first half of a movie known as Grindhouse, but when it flopped in America, everybody panicked and released the two halves separately. So if we're using the Kill Bill logic, then we can only conclude that Death Proof was also another half of a film. But then if we're counting halves then surely we're also counting the quarter of Four Rooms that he's responsible for, and maybe even that two-percent of Sin City that he did? Combined, they work out at about twenty-seven percent of one full film. I mean, I've been forced to do Maths GCSE questions that were fucking easier than this...

So The Hateful Eight, either the ninth or the seven-and-a-twenty-seventh-but-definitely-not-the-fucking-eighth film from Quentin Tarantino has just hit the cinemas and may well be his best in almost a couple of decades. Tarantino can be annoying by pandering to the fanboys who kiss his arse, ripping off other movies, and then being called a genius for the trouble. I mean the only difference between Lady Snowblood and the end of Kill Bill: Volume One is that one of them very definitely should have sued for copyright infringement. However, that clearly, obviously, couldn't possibly be the case with this new movie. The Hateful Eight is brilliantly scored by Ennio Morricone and involves Kurt Russell being snowed into a building whilst slowly becoming paranoid that not everybody is what they say they are. I can't think of a single thing that that sounds exactly like. Nope, not a thing. Well.. you know.. except for The fucking Thing. The difference between this and some of his other films is that rather than directly ripping scenes off, The Hateful Eight is more of a homage to The Thing's vibe with Rio Bravo seemingly also being quite a big influence. I guess it's the difference between taking inspiration from a person's fashion which is fine, or just stealing their clothes and fucking their husband, which probably isn't.

In fact if there's one other film that he has ripped off, it's probably Reservoir Dogs, which presumably means that the light fingers of his inspiration have finally started rifling around the back pockets of the 90's. Having said that, I did hand in the same essay for about five different assignments during my degree after I'd discovered that you can't be done for plagiarising yourself, so fair play to him. Oh, and on top of this, the whole thing has a cool kind of Agatha Christie feel running through it, too. I mean, you have the potential suspects sat in front of a fire as one character monologues the deductions that they've made, to discover who the treacherous fucknugget in the room is. Not only that, but rather than the non-chocolatey Belgian, Poirot, and Miss 'should probably mind her own fucking business' Marple, the person doing the monologuing is Samuel L. Jackson who, lets face it, is pretty much the best monologuer that there is. I suppose this is really where the Rio Bravo aspect comes in too, really. Another one of Tarantino's problems is that occasionally every one of his characters sounds exactly like he does. I mean, there's a scene in which a gang of women were chatting in Death Proof with just the one voice which played out like a schizophrenic episode set in his own head.

Here however the dialogue has the distinctive sound of having been written by Tarantino without necessarily sounding like him. As a result, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, and the rest of the cast, all deliver lines that have seemingly been crafted specifically for them, and who doesn't love the idea of that? Tarantino claims Rio Bravo to be one of his favourite films on the grounds that it's a great 'hang-out movie'. His logic being that he likes the cast and characters of that film so much that its entertainment is in simply letting the film play out and enjoying spending time in the characters' company. Ironically, and based on how he and the size of his ego often come across, I'd be surprised if he didn't say the same about the conversation in Death Proof. However he cites a scene in Rio Bravo in which the film stops for the characters to have a sing as one of his favourites, which might explain a similar scene in The Hateful Eight. Except in the original version, the song ends with John Wayne trying to smile like a man whose only read about what a smile is meant to look like, and this one ends with one of the best deaths I've seen in fucking years. As good as Agatha Christie might be, surely nobody can deny that her parlour scenes would be improved with people having their heads blown off and vomiting blood up the fucking walls?!

The first half of The Hateful Eight is insanely slow as we're allowed to just get to know who these characters are and enjoy spending time in their company. The second half is an all out bloodbath which is so fucking over the top and farcically brilliant that it's like a cross between Fawlty Towers and the inner thoughts of Jeffrey Dahmer. Some might argue that as a result the whole thing is way too long, and they'd be right. Since Tarantino's genius has been locked up in the basement and anally raped by his ego, he seems incapable of making a ninety minute film in anything less than at least two and a half hours. However that Rio Bravo 'hang-out movie' thing really is his catch-all defence here as, although I can agree that the film's too long for its own story, I really don't care because of how much I was enjoying the characters. The same can also be said in response to any accusations that the film is far too stagey and belongs in a theatre more than it does the cinema... maybe so, but again, it was fun to just spend three hours in a room with these people... even if they were having about as much fun with each other as I do with my family on Christmas day. Balls to trying to steal a man's bounty before he can be paid for delivering it... you try opening a present and finding a Buddha T-shirt with plastic jewellery on it and not smashing the room up with a fucking semi-cooked Turkey.

That's not to say that he gets away with all of his usual indulgences, it's just that most of them are in such short supply that they didn't bother me in the grand scheme of things. The chapter headings are completely pointless but I can deal with them as just a minor interruption, however when seeing something in the cinema, I suppose interruptions are just part of the experience. In fact as a complement to this film, it was actually so absorbing that I was able to block out the old fat couple sat just in front of me that started necking with each other like a porno featuring the grosser members of the Hutt clan. Tarantino also uses this film to continue his bizarre agenda of holding the record for being the first white man to use the word “Nigger”, more than a demented old-time plantation owner. However considering it's being used to highlight the relationship that black people have to being on the wrong side of a racist's gun, I suppose we'll let him get away with this too. This is obviously particularly relevant right now as a faction of the American police force have gotten all pissy and decided to boycott the movie after Tarantino hurt their feelings by going on a “please stop shooting black people for no reason” march.

I suppose the only one of his indulgences that really did annoy me was when the entire film stopped for no reason and we were treated to a voice-over from him. Beyond anything, it felt like it was just there so that he could get himself into his own film adding nothing but a huge distraction to what was going on. I often think that Randy Newman's songs are like an audio description for the visually and musically disabled, with this working to pretty much the exact same effect. I mean the voice-over literally doesn't tell you anything that you either couldn't work out or just fucking see for yourself. It was like listening to an Arnie DVD commentary in which one of the main creatives shares nothing more about a product than the sound of them wanking to themselves. However that was probably thirty seconds of a three hour film and so I was able to get over it, I guess. As a result I really, honestly did love this film and I do consider it his best since Jackie Brown. I mean, Kill Bill 1 and 2 are just scenes from other films, Inglorious Basterd's was tonally inconsistent, and Django Unchained's brilliant first two hours were completely torpedoed by his own cameo that was so bad that it bordered on being completely fucking racist. Oh, and then there's Death Proof which was so awful that it's really just not worth remembering at all. Hmm.. maybe that's how he got to The Hateful Eight being his eighth film after all... Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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