Sunday Reads: Observation, Expectation, DisappointmentPosted: January 3, 2016
This is my first Sunday post of the new year.
And since last year was such a disappointment, why don’t we continue on that same path…
Fuck all this new year; new beginning bullshit. Stay disheartened and exasperated, to me it is the logical solution.
Let me explain.
Life is made up of expectations.
We all know this…hell, it is something that is drummed into us at an early age. Don’t expect too much, don’t count chickens, I think Dickens wrote a whole book on torment of great expectations. (That is a joke.)
The point being, when you expect a lot from someone and they turn out something real shitty, the disappointment is just too fantastic to get over easily. It takes time. That low you feel is uncomfortable. It creeps along and can make you unsure of yourself.
Now, if your considerations are substandard to begin with, your disappointment…..followed by dispiritedness and further lack of enthusiasm, will feel less of a burden, in an emotional sense.
You have less of a trip downward in that fall from the height of your great expectations.
I came to this realization after passing around five (5) plus hours of my time on two movies…on the actual eve of the new year.
The two films were westerns. How poetic. Something that I think is symbolic of the original “American” art form of film…in that the mythology of the American Western, its themes and origin stories…heroes, anti-heroes, treatment or mistreatment of women, Native Indians, Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners…hell there are many books written on the subject, feed into the theme of this post…there is usually an bad ass adversary, the hero must overcome some ridiculous obstacle to battle that adversary and save the day/dame/town. Everyone expects the good cowboy with the white hat to win over the evil dark presence, in the black hat…and that is what usually happened. Even with these films, the “good” won over the “bad” in both movies…
But these were two very different movies from two sides of the extremes…only one film I expected to be very good, excellent, first rate. A movie from a favorite director and screenwriter. A master. The other I didn’t expect shit. I knew it would be crap, beyond crap really, something disgusting and stupid, that was probably worse than the 2 stars it got on the Netflix review. (Considering that is probably giving the thing credit because those Netflix reviews always seem to rate the crap higher than it is worth.)
Okay, I will not reveal any spoilers or any plot twist…in fact, I will just make a few observations…
The links below may contain spoilers so read the full reviews at your own leisure. Let me say that the actors did an amazing job…as Tarantino is usually able to get the best out of his cast. I especially thought that Jennifer Jason Leigh was outstanding in a meaty role, extra nice to see a woman in that sort of role at an age (53) when the jobs are infrequent and far between. (Y’all know what I am talking about…)
Samuel L Jackson, the man is always good, in anything he does!
But I am not talking about the performances of the actors…I want to talk about the film itself.
Tarantino has never disappointed me before, well…
I saw Tarantino’s 8th film, and this is what I think about it…
“The Hateful Eight” is a giddy abyss of mise en scène, not only in the cinematic sense of staging (the placement of actors and action in the frame) but, even more, in the societal, real-world sense of staging—the faking of an event, an action or self-representation that’s merely for show, a setup or a put-on. The movie offers the careful (even overly careful) presentation of dramatic action. It also offers the narrative trickery of revealing that a situation that several characters encounter—the presence, identities, and intentions of other characters, as well as the circumstances that brought them together—was fabricated by those other characters, who are, in effect, actors portraying still other characters. (When Tarantino ultimately tips his hand and shows viewers how we have been fooled exactly as other characters have been fooled, he also shows the moment when they put their deceptive plan into action and, like actors behind the curtain just before it rises, they hug and send one another out to do their parts and play their roles.)
Tarantino assembles his prismatic film less like a drama than like a collection of symbolic elements. The deceptions mount and fall and the masks pile up and come off, in order to reveal unbearable truths of violence and hatred. It’s as if he were howling, film-long, that the Civil War is still the central and unhealed wound of American history, that racial violence filled with sexual implications is the mad hidden lava running beneath the surfaces of American society, that the law as currently constituted is little help and the absence of law would help less, and that—because of the enduring hatreds of racism—American life, with its systems and regulations, is nonetheless an endless and unresolved death trip. The idea is so serious and so significant that it holds attention even when the dramatic and cinematic material that embody it don’t—yet Tarantino’s approach to the subject isn’t just playful; it’s frivolous and callow. He films like a perpetual adolescent who’s making mud pies (or blood pies) with history.
For all the flamboyance of the actors’ performances Tarantino likes the sound of his own voice above all, and the prolixity of the script resembles not the clatter of a typewriter with weighty keys or the scratch of a pen with its whiff of physical labor but the chatter of a computer keyboard where the virtual page can echo into infinity with Tarantino’s grandiloquence. Not that there’s a problem with cinematic rodomontade—some of the best directorial makers of images with words yield gleefully to it, whether in the on-screen worlds of Sacha Guitry or of Shirley Clarke. But in the effort to make words images Tarantino forgot one thing—to make images images, too—and, as a result, his words sit atop the film like an unprocessed mass, stifling the soundtrack and the pictures alike.
Above all, “The Hateful Eight” reflects Tarantino’s own directorial devolution. The highly inflected images of his early career, built on a worship of such directors as Godard, Martin Scorsese, and Sergio Leone, have given way to a self-imposed flatness, a bland visual delivery of his own script mechanisms, reflecting his latter-day devotion to such minor masters as William Witney and Charles Marquis Warren. In following his changing enthusiasms, his artistry has declined, as well. He has become a victim of his own taste; he has, for the most part, reduced his own directorial inventiveness to the lesser stature of his own new auteur-heroes.
There is a scene in the very beginning, filmed within the stagecoach. I guess the background was CGI for although the movie was filmed outside in a Colorado winter…the indoor set was a refrigerated sound stage, some special effects were used. This short few seconds of CG, was disturbing to me, it was made to look “real”. You know, it seemed very expensively done however it looked too clear for a background, therefore too overly fake. It did not flow with the film, which was 70mm and had a vintage feel to it. That sums up the entire movie for me. All these shots are lacking his Tarantino touch. The music was lacking as well. He would use modern songs and work them with the movement of the camera within the shots. Not so with Hateful Eight. Very much like the last sentence of the review above. This film did not have the style which makes a Tarantino film so unique, and so fucking good.
More reviews on The Hateful Eight:
As in all of Tarantino’s previous films, scenes exist here solely for the sake of dialogue. Setting aside the (wagon) wheel-spinning tedium of the largely expositional opening hour, the problem in this instance is that there are so many wasted words. In fact, the script is kind of clunky – there’s even a bit where Tarantino starts narrating his own screenplay, not as an essential framing device but because he apparently loves the sounds of his own voice. Inevitably it’s the characters who do most of the talking, and that’s what makes The Hateful Eight so frustrating – behind the smoke screen of lurid anecdotes and cheap slurs, you get the sense that Tarantino actually has something interesting to say about racial prejudice and gender politics in contemporary (by way of post-Civil War) America.
At a time when the Confederate flag can still be found raised outside capitol buildings across America’s southern states, the subversive emphasis Tarantino places on the constantly shifting power balance between the film’s black and white antagonists feels especially prescient. Yet while the socially conscious subtext of Jackson’s incendiary speech marks this as the most proactively progressive QT joint to date, the script too often flatters to deceive.
Favouring the slow-burn over the immediate payoff is fine, but in the same way that making something long doesn’t necessarily make it epic, prolonged foreplay is only stimulating when you’re consistently teasing the right spots. Of course, Tarantino has proven himself in the past to be a master when it comes to delayed gratification. And besides, he isn’t exactly renowned for subtlety and self-restraint, although The Hateful Eight’s powerful final shot shows that he can still deliver big with a simple directorial flourish. It should come as no surprise, then, that when the violence kicks in it does so in quick-fire rifle-blasts to the face – a popular Christmas carol played on a dusty old upright is the cue for Tarantino to cut loose, and he does so in typically provocative style, flipping the frontier genre on its head before slicing its belly and letting its guts spill out over the hardwood floor.
To that end, The Hateful Eight is more murder mystery than revisionist western, with Jackson the film’s maniacal Miss Marple, looking for (or is it concealing?) vital clues in a fresh pot of coffee and a letter from Abraham Lincoln. Right when everything starts to click, however, a miscast cameo appearance becomes yet another reason to rue Tarantino’s tendency to over-season the stew.
He’s not the only weak link here, but it’s ultimately telling that Tarantino’s ego overshadows the exceptional work of several of his longest serving collaborators, most notably the elegant cinematography of Robert Richardson (who lensed Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained) and immaculate production design of Yohei Taneda (who previously worked on Kill Bill: Vol. 1). The bittersweet irony is that while Tarantino’s stock routinely commands the kind of budget that allows him to take his pick of the industry’s best technicians, staging the bulk of the action at close quarters in a single interior setting means he ends up restricting most of the really good stuff to the periphery.
This is what happens when no one is prepared to say ‘no’. You want to shoot on location in Colorado in the middle of winter? Sure. You want to use Ultra Panavision 70? Go for it. You want to split the story into chapters and stretch it over 150 minutes (187 if you include the overture and intermission that accompany the 70mm version)? You got it! That last point is particularly important, because although it’s easy to admire Tarantino’s bravura storytelling – not to mention his moxie in resurrecting a large-format anamorphic film process that’s been dead for 50 years – the schematic structure and derivative narrative he employs makes The Hateful Eight about as nuanced as bloody bootprints in the snow.
On numerous occasions in the past Tarantino has asserted that he plans to retire after his tenth film. We sincerely hope that he reconsiders, but if that does prove to be the case, the silver lining is that he’s significantly lowered the bar for the last two.
Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is the eighth film from the writer and director. There’s not a sequel among them. While he’s had ideas for sequels or spinoffs to his movies before, none of them have yet to make it to the screen. Hateful may actually be as close to a successful sequel as the writer has ever come, as Tarantino has recently revealed the idea for the Western started as a sequel to Django Unchained. The only problem was that eventually, Django didn’t work as a character.
Tarantino made a surprise appearance at the Alamo Drafthouse following a screening of the new movie on Wednesday evening. As part of a post-movie Q&A, the writer of the film spoke about how he started writing the screenplay when he was angry and depressed, a state he had never been in when writing before. Originally titled Django in White Hell, the movie would have put Jamie Foxx’s character in that cold cabin with the rest of the unsavory characters. However, according toEntertainment Weekly, Tarantino said that he eventually came to the conclusion that Django didn’t work in the movie, because the audience would trust him.
All of a sudden it hit me the only thing wrong [with the story] was Django. There should be no moral center. I thought it should be a room of bad guys, and you can’t trust a word anybody says
This next link takes a look at the differences between the play and the movie: The Hateful Eight: 3 Big Differences Between Tarantino’s Live Stage Read and the Film | Rosanna Savone
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight yet, you may want to wait to read this because I reveal the ending.
Now that’s out of the way…
I was one of the lucky ones to attend both the historic live stage read of The Hateful Eight at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on April 19, 2014 and the Hollywood film premiere at the Cinerama Dome on December 8, 2015.
The live stage read was truly historic because it was not only the first time in Hollywood history that a screenplay written by QT was shared with the public beforeit was made into a film but it was also shared before he was able to even finish it due to a scandalous script leak.
At the stage read, QT had announced to the 1600 people in attendance that he was in the middle of a rewrite and the ending was definitely going to change from the one we were about to experience. So we were the only humans that would be able to see how QT’s creative process including writing, casting and directing evolved from first draft to glorious 70mm.
Quentin Tarantino Wants to turn ‘The Hateful Eight’ Into a Stage Play -I think that it could work very well as a stage play…with a few slight changes.
That downfall is a hard realization, like so much we all experienced last year…every week it was something new to slap us down, another shitstain politician said something so incredibly sexist or racist or hatefully disgusting, or batshit fucked-up crazy…and got away with it; without any accountability for what they said!
Which brings me to my point about the lower expectations, the lower the standards you set…when you reach that sad pathetic disturbing disappointment that you know is coming…it doesn’t seem to hit ya so hard.
After spending 3 and a half hours at the theater watching The Hateful Eight, we came home and Dan proceeded to turn on his shitty shows. Something he had been wanting to see, The Ridiculous Six. You may remember this movie, people (Native Indians and women were walking off the set because it was so offensive.) Just read this:
Don’t watch Sandler’s two-hour Netflix slog, but enjoy reviews funnier than anything in it.
Netflix’s business is built on knowing its audience, and their instincts were right on the money when they opted not to let critics see Adam Sandler’s “The Ridiculous 6” before it hit the streaming service at midnight last night. Sandler’s movie, the first of four to be made for Netflix, encountered controversy before it was even completed when several Native American extras walked off the set of his (allegedly) comic Western, claiming its script was littered with racist gags. According to the reviews, that’s remained true of the finished product, in which one character refers to a Native woman as “Poca-hot-tits.” (Her “real” name is Smoking Fox, which isn’t much better.) Critics seem unsure whether that’s more offensive than “The Ridiculous 6’s” reliance on jokes about incontinent burros and a rapping Mark Twain played by Vanilla Ice, its wasting of great actors like Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel in painfully underwritten parts (hope those checks cleared, fellas), or its unsightly and half-hearted attempts to emulate the look of a classic Westerns. (Oh, for the classical virtues of Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”) It sounds, all in all, like an excruciating two-hour watch — barely shorter, in fact, than the real “The Magnificent Seven.” But critics’ loss is our gain. The reviews are scathing and often hilarious, likely providing more laughs than Sandler’s comedy itself.
I went ahead and sat through this crap. I wasn’t paying much attention to it, I was reading up reviews and articles on Hateful Eight because I had gone into the movie completely blind. (I didn’t want to spoil my joy at watching the film unsoiled…by other people’s views and opinions. What a laugh that was…)
So as I sat there reading confirmation of my disenchantment with Quentin’s hateful 8th, that shit filled, literally shit filled, Adam Sandler movie played in the background. To think Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel acted in this movie?
Some reviews from the link above:
Justin Chang, Variety
Why pay Sandler’s idiot shenanigans the compliment of anger? There’s nothing here so inspired as to warrant the audience’s contempt, much less its surprise. Viewers who gladly endured “Pixels” may well revel in the sight of the star giving another of his patented non-performances, and those who saw “Big Daddy” and “That’s My Boy” will hardly be shocked to see him once again knee-deep in daddy issues. In what probably counts as multitasking for all involved, “The Ridiculous 6” manages to be not just a pitiful excuse for a comedy but also a pitiful excuse for a male weepie. And as the over-active father at the heart of it all, the gravel-voiced Nolte shows up most of his co-stars by playing his part with so much wily conviction, you’d almost swear he were acting in an actual movie. Still, the MVP here is undoubtedly Ramon’s donkey, who gives 110% whether he’s fellating Lautner on screen (someone’s clearly on Team Jacob), or standing perfectly still while Steve Buscemi rubs ointment inside the beast’s rectum. Which, incidentally, would make a far more appropriate destination for “The Ridiculous 6” than your Netflix queue.
Nick Schager, The Playlist
Humor is murdered over the course of 119 deathly minutes by Adam Sandler in “The Ridiculous 6,” a Western spoof that, like its protagonist’s feats of magical heroism, is best described as “some mystical shit.” Mired in pre-release controversy over its supposedly offensive characterizations of Native Americans – which drove some extras to abandon the project – Sandler’s first of four exclusive features for Netflix turns out to be distasteful in every regard, an abysmal riff on “The Magnificent Seven” in which hoary stereotypes and oater clichés are exploited for equally groan-worthy gags. Without an amusing instinct in its cowboy-hatted head, this painfully protracted, puerile effort meanders about the Old West as if it were making up its nonsense on the fly. The result is a torturous genre joke that marks a new low not only for the star, but for the art of cinematic comedy. Native American women possess names such as “Wears No Bra,” “Smoking Fox,” and “Beaver Breath,” Ramon talks about the deliciousness of tacos, and white people are ridiculed for being bad dancers — Sandler and co-writer Tim Herlihy’s script performs cultural mockery with all the incisive skill of a blind surgeon wielding a hammer.
There are more reviews at the link but, for my sake just a few,
Nick De Semlyen, Empire
Female Apache characters are called Smoking Fox, Never Wears Bra and, um, Beaver Breath. The pun “Poca-hot-tits” is deployed. There are wince-inducing jokes about peace pipes and wigwams, while Sandler, who spends the first stretch of the film dressed up as an “Injun” himself, is imbued with magical powers he’s learned from the tribe. But other ethnicities won’t feel left out — Rob Schneider plays a stupid Mexican whose best friend is a diarrhea-spraying donkey. We have the feeling Donald Trump has already added “The Ridiculous 6” to his Netflix To Watch list. Netflix have clearly given Sandler and director Frank Coraci (“Blended,” Zookeeper”) a budget at least as generous as those they’ve been accustomed to. There are Monument Valley vistas and cameos from the likes of Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi. But the latter, as a barber with a disgustingly all-purpose cream, provides oases of humour in a desert that’s otherwise largely arid. As for the novel release platform? The bad news: the experience of watching “The Ridiculous 6” feels akin to streaming an especially lengthy box set. The good news: you can schedule as many “Hateful Eight”-style intermissions as you like.
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
To say that Sandler and Tim Herlihy’s script is “episodic” would be an understatement. It’s a series of scenes only loosely connected by cast and location. I’ve seen episodes of “Saturday Night Live” in which the sketches seemed more of a single piece than parts of this film. One minute, they’re learning how to play baseball from John Turturro; another minute they’re playing poker with Vanilla Ice, David Spade and Blake Shelton. It’s like someone put ideas for Western-themed sketch comedy on a board and then Sandler threw darts at it to determine its order. The film has no flow, no rhythm, and absolutely no reason to be 119 minutes. And then there’s the broad racism and misogyny of the piece. After the controversial walk-offs, Netflix claimed that this was “satire.” It’s not. There’s nothing satirical about Sandler’s bad Native American accent (which totally comes and goes, by the way) or Schneider’s Hispanic caricature. Saying that this is satire is like the drunk guy at the bar telling you how many black friends he has after telling a racist joke. Don’t fall for it.
William Bibbiani, Crave Online
“The Ridiculous 6” is a hapless jumble of decent craftsmanship, confused writing, terrible jokes and casual mean-spirited jabs at every culture imaginable. And none of the action, the drama, or (with a careful application of quotation marks) “cultural commentary” serves any greater purpose than the burro’s projectile diarrhea does. It’s actually rather amazing that Adam Sandler’s transition to straight-to-streaming content resulted in no change, positive or negative, to his usual brand of cinema. Maybe this is why critics have been so hard on his last ten years worth of live-action comedies: they feel more at home on video, where standards have traditionally been lower, than they do in the theater. Maybe this transition really is an improvement. At least on Netflix you’ll be able to turn the movie off without running up the stairs and strangling a projectionist.
Aha…see that highlighted statement: lower standards. So when this completely disgusting and horrible movie was over, did it bother me as much as the Tarantino film I had seen earlier in the day? No. It did not. It should have, I mean from the offensive standards alone. All the misogynist and degrading shit being said. The crap being spewed. All over the screen, by a donkey no less.
I expected that kind of shit from the assclown Sandler. This is the kind of fuckspattle made for the idiotic public audience yes?
Ass…won best picture, screenplay…etc.
So, my plan this year is to not expect a lot from anyone…or anything. I think my realities will turn out still depressingly disappointing, but hell…it won’t be such a long ass dive down the rabbit hole of despair to reach bottom. And anything that makes that trip shorter is a bonus in my book.
This is an open thread….
**Just wanted to add a few last observations I made in the comments below:
This hated 8 would make a great play….it is set up for that, but unlike some films that are shot in one room where dialogue is the story teller… (Say 12 angry men for example, yes I know the movie was based on a play. ) The use of interesting angles and shots, even exposition is cleverly woven in.
Hated 8 was shot in one big room…with each table area (or pre-established focused scene section) brightly lit like some restaurant that wants to keep the atmosphere dark but still wants you to see just how pretty the plate is set up. It could have done wonders if he shot scenes to tell the story. Instead of using dialogue of ridiculous lengths and coincidences to get you where you needed to be. This movie needed some rewriting in the script before he put it on the silver screen. He is using these 70mm lenses, but spend most of the shots inside one room? What a waste.
Also, the implementation of “chapters” as a form of storytelling is getting old for Tarantino. The narrative mid-movie was bothersome as well, especially when you have an annoying voice doing the voice over. (Tarantino did his own voice over this time.) It wasn’t a powerful sounding voice over like Sam L. Jacksons in Inglorious Basturds.
And as the review above said, it was amateur. It is like he stepped backwards in his direction technique rather than forward, to something mediocre at best or just a crap presentation of what Tarantino thinks he has evolved into. It lacked his flare and original touches. His style. He didn’t even use the music in its emotional oneness with the camera. The music I may add was an original score for the film. I think his gut feeling for contemporary songs are always spot on.
The film was not clever in any way.
It bothers the hell out of me.
Just the last few scenes were good. But getting there was not worth it, and those few minutes of entertainment did not payoff for the hours of previous disappointment you have to sit through to get there.
I want to reiterate though, the acting was top notch. All performed brilliantly.