Movies: The Hateful Eight

My record with Tarantino movies is spotty. The first one I ever saw was Reservoir Dogs, and I only watched it because it was required viewing in film school. I'm sure Tarantino would be pleased to hear that. It was a bloody movie, but I actually kind of liked it, which surprised me.

But then I tried to watch Pulp Fiction—I've tried dozens of times to watch that movie, and I've never been able to get through it. Not my thing. Doesn't interest or engage me. Same with Kill Bill.

I liked Inglourious Basterds when I saw it but couldn't tell you now what it was I liked about it. Was somewhat indifferent to Django Unchained, I think. In the same way of Inglourious Basterds, I only have an impression of that movie really. Hated Jackie Brown. But again, can now only vaguely recall it. Which is to say, I more remember how much I disliked it than anything about the movie.

Come to think of it, none of Tarantino's movies stay with me. For someone so dead set on leaving his mark, he fails to impress me much or deeply. (And I know what he'd say to that, too.)

So. The Hateful Eight. Set in post-Civil War Wyoming. A bunch of rough types are holed up in Minnie's Haberdashery as they wait out a blizzard. Being rough types, it's only a matter of time before tempers explode. And then there's a kind of mystery over who poisoned the coffee, and we get Samuel L. Jackson as Sherlock Holmes and Walter Goggins as his Watson. Sort of.

It's actually not a bad idea. But the film is overly long and—in the way of Tarantino movies—both talky and bloody. I suppose that's what people go to see in his movies? He's catering to a very specific crowd and I'm not of their number.

We get some very good performances here. But I must necessarily cringe at the open misogyny and abuse of the one female character. And at the ridiculous level of bloodshed.

I have a feeling this one will slide, like all the others, into a corner of my brain until it becomes nothing more than a foggy impression. For me, Tarantino movies apparently end in one big shrug. There is a failure to connect on some level. What that says about me, or his work, is up for interpretation.

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