I would have given a lot to see Jennifer Jason Leigh in Cabaret a few years ago, but I'm probably going to skip the new Tarantino movie, The Hateful Eight. If I wanted to spend three hours hearing fake cowboys say the N-word in the snow, I'd change planes in Calgary. I'm also sort of done with hilarious violence, and whatever irony there was to the way Tarantino employs it, the surprise wore off in about 1998. Maybe we could all use a break.
I'm not blaming violent movies for gun violence, that's silly. I don't think Tarantino causes anything except ennui. But ever since the theatre shootings in Paris and Aurora, and this summer in Lafayette at a showing of Trainwreck, I've enjoyed thinking about the audience massacre in Inglourious Basterds even less than when I saw it the first time. It's farce repeated as tragedy.
Now Variety reports that "whispers of misogyny" are setting The Hateful Eight up for a "possible" backlash. Everyone shoots everyone in The Hateful Eight, obviously, but the film's lone female lead, Leigh, reportedly gets the worst of it.
The film's executive producer, Harvey Weinstein, says critics are "fishing for stupidity" when they object to three hours of snickering brutality inflicted on a woman and if Harvey Weinstein says it, that's good enough for me.
But while Weinstein defends the violence against Leigh in Hateful Eight by saying sissies are overreacting, Tarantino defends it by saying the opposite: it's shocking on purpose.
'When John Ruth [played by Kurt Russell] cracks her over the head that very first time, you feel this ripple going through the audience -- because it almost does seem like one of the last taboos left,' the two-time Oscar winner told Variety in a recent interview. 'You're supposed to say, 'Oh my God. John Ruth is a brutal bastard!' That is what you're supposed to say.'
So it's either a revolution in cinema to see someone hurt Jennifer Jason Leigh or just another day at the office. Either Weinstein is being disingenuous or Tarantino is. They should get their story nailed down.
But if Tarantino is going to seriously claim that manhandling Jennifer Jason Leigh is breaking "one of the last taboos," he's either a preening dipstick or he should get to the movies more often, and we know that's impossible.
If I want to see Jennifer Jason Leigh murdered, abducted, pimped, menaced, tortured, terrorized, degraded, objectified or sexually brutalized I'll watch:
Angel City (AKA Field of Tears) (1980) JJL is kidnapped and gang raped.
Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) JJL's boyfriend rapes her daughter.
Buried Alive (1990) JJL is an adulterous attempted-murderer who gets murdered.
Crossed Over (2002) JJL is Karla Faye Tucker, state-executed ax-murdering prostitute.
Dolores Claiborne (1995) JJL's mother murders her father for molesting JJL.
Eyes of a Stranger (1981) JJL is kidnapped and raped by a serial killer.
Flesh+Blood (1985) JJL is gang raped in the Late Middle Ages by murderers.
Georgia (1995) JJL is a folk singer and drug addict. Girls of the White Orchid (AKA Death Ride to Osaka) (1983) JJL is forced into prostitution by Japanese murderers.
Heart of Midnight (1988) JJL, recovering from a nervous breakdown, inherits and brothel and is violently gang raped.
The Hitcher (1986) JJL is dismembered by a serial killer.
In the Cut (2003) JJL is dismembered by a serial killer.
The King is Alive (2000) JJL is an ex-prostitute.
Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989) JJL is an Eisenhower-Era Brooklyn prostitute who gets violently gang raped.
The Machinist (2004) JJL is a prostitute involved with a skinny psychotic murderer.
Miami Blues (1990) JJL is a prostitute involved with buff psychotic murderer.
The Men's Club (1986) JJL is a prostitute involved with Frank Langella.
"Open Season" (Episode of Baretta, 1976) JJL dies of a drug overdose.
The Prom (1992) JJL is an erotic dancer in a seedy peep show.
Road to Perdition (2002) JJL is murdered by a psychotic.
Rush (1991) JJL is a murderous crooked cop and drug addict.
Short Cuts (1993) JJL is a phone sex worker married to a psychotic murder.
Single White Female (1992) JJL is a psychotic murderer.
Sister, Sister (1987) JJL is haunted by memories of the rapist she murdered.
A Thousand Acres (1997) JJL's father rapes her sisters.
Wrong is Right (1982) JJL dreams of poisoning her parents.