How much farther can Quentin Tarantino crawl up his own ass in search of material for his latest cinematic swagger dance? “Pretty much every account of last night’s performance has failed to say whether The Hateful Eight sounded good enough to be a decent movie,” I wrote after the 4.19.14 live reading of an early draft of Tarantino’s latest. “Let me state very clearly and without a shred of a doubt that it didn’t. It’s a fairly minor and almost dismissable thing — a colorful but basically mediocre Tarantino gabfest that mostly happens on a single interior set (i.e., Minnie’s Haberdashery, located somewhere near the Wyoming town of Red Rock during a fierce blizzard), and which unfolds in the vein of The Petrified Forest.
The Hateful Eight “is about a gatherin’ of several tough, mangy hombres sitting around talkin’ and yappin’ and talkin’ and yappin’. And then, just to break up the monotony, a little more talkin’ and yappin’. Along with a little shootin’ and poison-coffee drinkin’ and brutally punchin’ out a female prisoner and a few dozen uses of the word ‘nigger’ (par for the QT course) and swearin’ and talkin’ about fellatin’ and whatever else.
“In short it’s basically a lazy, occasionally funny, comfort-zone Tarantino wank that’s all about entertaining fans of his grindhouse sensibility. It’s another attitude-and-swagger show. ‘This isn’t a drama set in the Old West,’ Tarantino seemed to be saying to his audience, ‘but a ‘Quentin Tarantino Western’ that comes from deep inside my anal cavity, and you know you guys like it this way!
“I mean, this is what I basically do. I sit down and pull stuff out of my ass and wank myself off and throw it all into a script and then the QT superstars agree to perform it and you guys lap it up. Which is what I’ve basically been doing since I ran out of gas after Jackie Brown.”
Heart that whistle and guitar riff at the end? Western connoisseurs will notice echoes of Ennio Morricone’s score for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.