One Big Bottle Episode Western
This morning I watched another western (and another Tarantino flick) when I saw The Hateful Eight (2015).
It was seen as a bit of a joke that this movie was released in a bigger 70mm format like older movies like Ben Hurr and It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World because the majority of the movie takes place in a single room. This movie does have a few scenes of vast landscapes but they are peppered in rather sparsely.
The longest special feature on the Blu-ray disc is about the 70mm presentation of the film and the cameras that were used to film the movie. Tarantino's team toured Panavision to learn more about 70mm and while they were there they found some old lenses in storage that hadn't been used for decades. They had to build their own cameras to be able to use these lenses, something that sounds like overkill. It's not so much overkill, but a tradition of great directors to build their own cameras because in the Kubrick: Life in Pictures documentary they noted that Kubrick hunted down workings for an old projector to build his own cameras so that he could get the clearest picture available.
I was recently listening to an episode of the podcast The Canon where Devin Faraci spoke about misconceptions of Tarantino's use of violence. There's often a romanticization of the violence in Tarantino's films by some of his fans, yet there are accounts of Tarantino using the violence as an anti-violent statement, or to show the ugliness and brutality of it. This movie has a bit of that problem because the three protagonists of this movie Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kurt Russell are a racist, a rapist, and a batterer of women.
There were times when I saw this in the theater when the Kurt Russell character would beat Jennifer Jason Leigh's character and I would hear laughter in the theater. It was seen as a joke and not so much of a negative character trait by many of the viewers. I understood and enjoyed that Tarantino wrote this movie to be about bad people doing bad things and to trick the audience into rooting for bad people. I like that the movie is full of characters who illustrate how bad acts or bad traits can lay inside likable people as both a statement on prejudice and punishment.
I think that this movie falls into the problem that David Chappelle saw in his own show where he noticed the issues he was making fun of were embraced by his fans as an excuse to embrace racist prejudices. I was in college when Chappelle Show was on and it got a little scary to see white guys in college quoting lines with the n-word or poking fun at minorities who they thought were playing along because they thought the show made it acceptable. I think Hateful Eight runs into the problem that the ending will be celebrated by many viewers even though it is shot like a nightmare with Samuel L. Jackson's bulging bloodthirsty eyes as the exclamation point to the hanging of one of the characters.