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The Hateful Eight is not a movie for everyone. In fact, I would probably say this movie is only for people who are already fans of Quentin Tarantino. As a white male between 18-36 years old, I am squarely in the perfect demographic for Quentin Tarantino. I’ve come to age watching Tarantino movies.

While The Hateful Eight isn’t Tarantino’s best, this eighth installment is a worthwhile addition to Tarantino’s directing catalogue. And I fully assume that anyone who categorizes this as Tarantino’s worst film is either an idiot or they just have never watched Death Proof—an abomination. I don’t know how anyone could consider Django Unchained as a better, more entertaining movie. I enjoy watching great actors work. I still harbor ill will towards Jamie Foxx for his horrible acting. In comparison, some of the performances in The Hateful Eight are enough to place this in my personal Top 5 of Tarantino.

If you can endure the three hours of Tarantino’s typical cinematic masturbatory machinations, there’s a great movie within The Hateful Eight. While I have issues with the movie itself, I have very few complaints about any acting performances and not a damn one with Walton Goggins. In a just world, Walton Goggins would earn an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this performance.

Goggins

This film is a Walton Goggins tour de force. I think the reason everything works so well is due to the interplay between Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix and Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren. Both actors portray despicable characters who are still likeable to different degrees despite being on different sides of the Civil War. Jennifer Jason Leigh was terrific and Kurt Russell was also superb with solid supporting performances by nearly everyone. Tarantino totally wasted Michael Madsen (to no fault of his own) with the poorly constructed character Joe Gage. But there’s one very terrible performance that is an even more distracting casting choice. Even talking about the person is a bit of a reveal.

Spoilers galore.

Why the fuck is Channing Tatum in this movie? Tatum doesn’t come on-screen until right at the 2-hour mark. However, his fucking name is in the opening credits. In the interest of fairness, I admit that I am not a Channing Tatum fan so there may be a bit of bias in this, but Channing Tatum is awful. I was awaiting his arrival the entire time—ruining the entire purpose of his character, which is quite a reveal to the story. Channing Tatum plays Jody, Daisy Domergue’s outlaw brother, who has set this whole trap up to save his sister from “The Hangman” John Ruth and the fate of hanging from the rope.

Channing Tatum

Once Channing Tatum appears, the swell of action stops immediately. Two hours into the movie, Tarantino hits the pause button and rewinds to show the audience exactly how Tatum and his gang got to Minnie’s Haberdashery. It is a classic Tarantino move of fucking with time, but it’s a very perplexing sequence because the audience is already aware of how those events unfolded. Do we really need a 20-minute flashback for stupid people who couldn’t follow the breadcrumbs through conversations and observations? As far as I can tell, this 20-minute flashback was designed to allow Channing Tatum to practice his Cajun accent. Get ready, Gambit fans. Although his sister has no discernable accent, Jody is given a weird accent and even speaks some French to Minnie during the flashback.

Speaking of distracting decisions, Quentin Tarantino voicing the narration seemed bizarre. Naturally, Tarantino has to inject himself into every movie so I guess I should just be thankful that he wasn’t the driver, O.B. Jackson. If you’re going to have a narrator for those later scenes, I would rather hear the soothing dulcet tones of someone like Sam Elliott than the grating voice of Tarantino himself. When I hear his voice, it’s hard not to picture his ugly mug, which I’m sure achieved his objective.

A lot has also been said about the scene where Samuel L. Jackson’s character tells the story about how he killed General Sandy Smithers’ son, Chester Charles Smithers—who was trying to collect the bounty on Major Marquis Warren’s head. In particular, Warren says he forced Smithers’ son to walk naked through the snow in freezing temperatures before making him suck Warren’s dick. However, I interpreted this scene as a lie intended to provoke General Sandy “Don’t Give a Damn” Smithers to grab the gun and give justification for Warren shooting him dead. It’s a ridiculous story, but a typically crass Tarantino move that shouldn’t be shocking considering his over-the-top nature. I cannot unsee Samuel L. Jackson wiggling his tongue around and licking his lips. Thanks, that image will haunt me forever.

Warren's Tongue

The Hateful Eight needed better editing. This is a much improved movie if you cut out the completely unnecessary 20-minute flashback sequence and cut down both the introduction leading to Minnie’s Haberdashery and Warren’s black pecker speech. Instead of teetering over three hours, The Hateful Eight could clock in at a more tolerable 2 hours and 30 minutes. And then, we only really suffer through a few minutes of Channing Tatum before he gets his fucking head blown off. Everyone wins.

The Hangman

Despite its excruciating runtime, The Hateful Eight is surprisingly re-watchable. I can’t say the same for other movies that were actually nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. At its core, The Hateful Eight is mystery that feeds on constant paranoia—it’s like an Old Western version of Clue. While I enjoyed this movie, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I want something more original than Tarantino masturbating to the old classics he loved as a kid. We should collectively hold Tarantino to a higher standard, but I can still simultaneously applaud The Hateful Eight as a beautiful, almost awesome movie. It’s a well-crafted playground for actors to chew scenery while propelling forward an interesting (albeit slow) story.

How would I respond to anyone who says this movie is Tarantino’s worst cinematic effort?

Well, that makes me wanna horse laugh.

Horse Laugh

4.5 out of 5 stars

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