The Hateful Eight (The Rantings Before Christmas)

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Rarely do I take time out to write about a movie when I'm not writing a review.  The Hateful 8 calls for such an occasion.  I had the chance to see The Hateful Eight (the almost 3 hour version) a little early - preview, fell off the back of a truck, I had a hook up, whatever... I saw it. But for the last few years, Quentin Tarantino has been on my list of celebrities/personalities on the edge (along with the likes of Donald Trump. Justin Bieber, and Carrie Underwood - people who say things that make me wonder if they secretly utter what Tarantino so freely writes in his scripts).  Django Unchained (as technically good as it was) started my recently raised eyebrow on its upward trajectory.  My problem is two-fold. First, Tarantino is a "n!gger" lover - by that, I mean he LOVES that word.  He loves it so much, he probably has had biblical knowledge of it in his dreams. Seriously, you can't find that word as much on a damned Drake and Future album as you can in one of his movies.  If you think I am tripping and being overly sensitive, that's fine.  Click on this NSFW link and watch the Gawker compilation on youtube - Gawker Compilation (I could only tolerate 11 minutes of it before my irritation began to border irate.  Second, he seems to have no problem putting black male masculinity in jeopardy.  I know in today's world, that statement leaves room for ample debate and discussion, but forgive me I am fairly old-school.  Emasculation, in my book would include what happened to Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction, what almost happened to Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, and what happened with Sam Jackson in The Hateful 8.

Let's be clear, I don't think Quentin is a racist.  Although, it is a little hard to tell the difference between him and racists.  One might argue that his movies are the flip side of Birth of a Nation.  He's no racist, but he is a self-satisfied idiot who strongly believes that if anyone having a problem with his work, can go screw themselves; it's his "art" so FU, don't watch it.  That, makes him either an ass or the hole indicative of one.  
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Let's keep it 100... Tarantino has an issue that he seriously needs to come to grips with eventually. Here's the problem in his own words, “But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about Django, I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter.”

Contrary to popular belief, there's no such thing as post-racial America.  There's a reason why at damned near 40 years old (yikes!!!) I would never use certain words in front of my grandfather or my mother.  I have too much respect for them to make them uncomfortable with hearing me say certain things.  My grandfather would be offended if he understood that a white guy was writing that word with this level of proliferation and we were patronizing him and giving him accolades because it was "so real" or "ground-breaking." For the record, there's precious little that is ground breaking about a white dude saying or writing the word nigger with impunity.  It's an all too familiar refrain. Tarantino's callousness (despite his lunches with Sidney Poitier) demonstrate the zeitgeist of those who feel that because they have black friends, they should receive some sort of a pass for their sh#y lack of deference and respect to racial issues.  Oh no, it's cool.  That's how people talked back then... that's not an acceptable response.  Verisimilitude is not a shield when you also have anachronisms in your film or you allow certain cuts and edits so as not to offend the Chinese and have your film seen in that country (that isn't artistic integrity, it's pecuniary commitment).  Interesting justification, but how frequently did you use anti-semitic terms in your rip-off... eh ehm!  I mean REMAKE of Inglorious Basterds.  That joint was set in Germany and Nazi occupied France, but the derogatory terms didn't even approach Django levels - not even the same ball park, playboy.  So, don't feed me the "that's how they talked" line when yo decide to use nigger 100+ times in one flick.

No, he didn't break the 100 mark in H8, but he did get about one in every 90 seconds or so by my best guess.  I'm not on my soapbox like I was with Skids and Mudflap in that Transformers crap, this is a pattern of - at minimum, oddly manifested and unhealthy infatuation with black male-ness and masculinity, which is often demonstrated by his over use of the N-word and the relative objectification of us via that unnecessary usage as well as the completely out of place sexual jeopardy that he seems hell bent on putting his important black male characters in (see, Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, and to a reverse degree - the Hateful Eight).  No, there isn't an rape scene in every Tarantino movie; but I defy you to find a Tarantino film with a black character of any significance, and the film does not include at least 3 uses of that word.  So what, Sam Jackson keeps working with him.  Sam Jackson, mercenary that he is, will defend any role he plays (see, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane).  Besides, he's kind of a bully and I would give him as much deference on social issues as I would give his commercial-mate Charles Barkley - ABSOLUTELY NONE.

Look at Pulp Fiction... Even in a scene where there's no apparent reason for him to use the N-bomb, given that his character (a white dude helping out Jules, his black friend - played by Jackson) is married to a black woman, he still uses it with reckless abandon - something that multiracial couples know is a no-no.  My sister's been married to a white dude for a decade and as much as he may love her, he knows that he would receive an beatdown of the royal variety posthaste, if we even thought he thought  to utter the phrase "dead n!&&er storage" even if the name of the storage container had a sign on it of the same name while he was watching Pulp Fiction.

The fact is between the ball-gagged rape of Marsellus in Pulp Fiction, Django hanging naked, upside-down with a buck knife at his genitals, and the scenes in Hateful 8 where (SPOILER ALERT) another emasculatory act occurs, Tarantino is batting way too high an average for his film count.  I'm vexed by the amount of effort he puts into justifying his issues.  He didn't need to use it when Dennis Hopper gave his famous speech about the Moors and Sicily to Christopher Walken in True Romance, but he dropped it in English and Italian (just for good measure).  I'm annoyed by the pass that I gave him for all the times he has done this before.  He's an exceptional story teller and he doesn't need to rely on a term that would make the blood curdle of the civil rights activists still living in my family.  I mean, it wasn't that long ago that my dad was called that in the military, it was within my lifetime that James Byrd was lynched, that black folks are getting shot on the street for wearing hoodies, or shot in the back by cops... but we're giving this cat a pass because... we don't have to see his movie?  Come on, son.  I don't have to be the cat getting shot to be affected by it.  As much as I don't like the majority of Spike Lee films I've seen since X, I am inclined to agree that Tarantino should be checked if for no other reason than he is using a word that has a powerful and negative history deeply embedded in it as a literary device.  

Black Lives Matter, Quentin, he's dead right on that one.  But show me they matter.  Recognize that you can do damage by throwing that word around haphazardly.  Tarantino can't dismiss that and hide behind claims of historical accuracy in a FICTIONAL FILM.  A film where we are to suspend our disbelief on so many other things, but on your n-word count, we have to accept that because it may have really happened like that?  One tenth of that wretched excess you so readily embrace could have been more powerful.  He made the conscious decision to write what he wrote. He could have easily have opted not to.

As always, his movie had some really cool elements all of which were overshadowed by the pervasiveness of his abuses and the wretchedness of his excesses.  But this particular n!gger, is not going to cosign Tarantino's playful or artistic emasculating of yet another brother or his whimsical abuse of a term that even I barely use.

IMTHATDUDE gives The Hateful 8: 2 (because I would cuss QT out)

5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.

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