The Hateful Eight‘s approval ratings (86% on Rotten Tomatoe, 82% on Metacritic) are an unfortunate portrait of the effete, perverse tastes of too many film critics. I’m a hard-working, subway-riding, clear-light guy who enjoys an occasional slice of pizza when I visit New York, and I absolutely worship the idea of reviving Ultra Panavision 70. But I’m telling you that anyone who totally creams over this film without at least including a reservation or two is just not being honest. The first two thirds of The Hateful Eight are fairly tasty and acceptable, but that final third…wow.
From Matt Zoller Seitz‘s Hateful Eight review, posted on 12.22: “Eight feels half-assed, but it carries itself like another masterpiece, swaggering and stubbing its toe and then swaggering some more. It has superb photography, music, set design and performances (particularly by Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samuel L. Jackson), but no fervor, no framework, no justification for its nonstop insults, provocations and atrocities. It has a bully’s mentality. It’s hard to shake the suspicion that, deep down, Quentin Tarantino believes in nothing but sensation, and that he’s spent the last decade or so stridently and publicly identifying with oppressed groups so that he can get a gold star for making the kinds of films he’d be making anyway, if those meddling social justice types weren’t all up in his grill about responsibility.
“In the end, The Hateful Eight is less reminiscent of any single Western than of a certain episode of Seinfeld — the one where Bryan Cranston plays a gentile dentist who makes Jewish jokes but insists it’s okay because he’s converted. ‘I have a suspicion,’ Seinfeld says, ‘that he’s converted to Judaism just for the jokes.'”
From my review of the downtown LA stage version, posted on 4.20.14: “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 is basically 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, doing 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 N-word (par for the QT course) and swearin’ and fellatin’ and whatever else.
“The Hateful Eight, in short, is another 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 is once again 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!”
“The script is fairly flat and contrived and, apart from the colorful performances, uninvolving and vulgar. And boringly nihilistic. The final act is especially pedestrian and lacking in dramatic skill.
“Eight is basically Reservoir Dogs with a little bit of post-Civil War Django negro revenge thrown in (particularly when Jackson gets to taunt an old Confederate general, played by Bruce Dern, with a story about how Dern’s late, dearly beloved son orally pleasured him)…but not too much because Tarantino has already done that.
“Reservoir Dogs had more interesting flashbacks and better riffs from a greater array of colorful characters, but it was basically a piece about a bunch of desperate criminals hanging out inside a warehouse while trying to figure out who told the cops in advance about their just-completed jewelry-store heist. It was a lot of tough wiseass talk with occasional lively flashbacks and a very tasty breakfast scene and a torture sequence in which Michael Madsen sliced off a cop’s ear. And then it ended with everyone dead on the floor and/or killed by the cops. The Hateful Eight is basically the same idea except the big mystery isn’t about who the rat is but who poisoned the coffee and why.”