Wednesday assorted links

by on January 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Anon. January 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm

IQ and attractiveness are strongly correlated. As you should expect, both because of genetic reasons and developmental factors like early childhood nutrition.

2 Brandon Berg January 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm

It says the advantage doesn’t show up in online courses.

3 Anon. January 6, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Then the online course results are not related to IQ.

4 Chris S January 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Clearly you did not read the article.

5 Brian Donohue January 6, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Or go to the same college I did.

6 JWatts January 6, 2016 at 2:20 pm

“2. Do better-looking women get better grades?”

No, not according to the study. The results said that ugly women get worse grades.

7 Floccina January 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

True and a sad thing it is indeed.

8 Calo Cola January 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm

They controlled for ACT scores, which is a decent measure of grades.

But my real guess is that they didn’t properly test male looks.

But why would you expect something else? Hot, semi-socially intelligent people who don’t drool on their desks get huge leverages in all aspects of life. Hell, there’s the scandals where a professor is much more likely to somehow have time for office hours when a lovely young lady shows up.

Its also probably the case that male athletes get easier breaks in high school for homework. Especially the state-stars. The story of the un-athletic nerd in HS who never got any breaks isn’t a sterotype for no reason.

9 Calo Cola January 6, 2016 at 3:22 pm

…intelligence. I meant intelligence. Not Grades.

10 Careless January 6, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Again, the difference is with ugly women getting worse grades, not attractive women getting better grades.

11 Albigensian January 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm

They didn’t control for IQ, but they did control for “factors such as ACT scores to control for student academic ability.”

What surprises me isn’t that they found a difference, but that the difference is so small as to be insignificant: 0.024 (on a 4.0 scale) per standard deviation in attractiveness. At that rate, you’d have to be over four sigma above or below the attractiveness mean to boost or cut your grade by one-tenth of a point.

12 Careless January 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

But the loss from being unattractive was several times larger.

13 required January 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

4 sigma means a beauty of 9.5, that is not impossible.
Being below has larger the effect, so a beauty of 1.5 gets -0.268 to their gpa.

14 Alain January 6, 2016 at 11:21 pm


I was surprised at the insignificance of the effect. I would have bet on a much higher number.

Perhaps, as was noted above, the effect as muted due to their being some correlation between ACT score and attractiveness.

15 Joe January 6, 2016 at 5:13 pm

They said they used ACT “and other factors” (whatever that means) to control for academic ability.

16 AZ January 6, 2016 at 7:17 pm

What if it is not the professors but the other students? Students often form groups and work together – what if the unattractive females are being left out of study groups that endogenously form in class because of their looks, but not in the online courses because no one sees what they look like? I’m not sure how much peer interaction matters, but it seems like the exclusion from study groups could lead to the same results found by the researchers. I’m not sure how they disentangle those two stories.

17 Nathan W January 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm

That`s what I was thinking. I’ve spent a few years as a teacher, and I often have to drag the ugliest students into group work. I think there’s not only an exclusion effect, but they have less confidence and are less likely to reach out and participate in group work settings.

18 Anonymous Yale Employee January 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm

It is absurd how attractive the undergraduates are at Yale. These are not people like you and me.

19 Moreno Klaus January 7, 2016 at 6:30 am

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence… where are the photos?????

20 Thor January 6, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Attractiveness causes people to be more confident, or if you will attractiveness correlates strongly with confidence — either will suffice. Confidence means a lot when trying to master new material. Even a small advantage will yield data like we see here.

On the other hand, anecdotally, most homely people have learned to work harder … hence it’s almost a wash 😉

21 JWatts January 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

“On the other hand, anecdotally, most homely people have learned to work harder … hence it’s almost a wash.”

Successful homely people have learned to work harder. The others have just faded into the background and you don’t see them. They’re working the night shift somewhere and they don’t socialize outside of close friends and family.

22 Floccina January 7, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Over confidence was always a problem for me (and my son BTW). Confidence leads one to study less.

23 y81 January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm

3. Financial regulation is one of those fields of endeavor which fundamentally doesn’t matter (at least not if you consider its purpose to be preventing financial crises). Financial crises (as opposed to recessions) happen so far apart that a person may not live through two of them, and markets change sufficiently that measures to prevent one crisis will be fundamentally irrelevant to the next one.

24 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I suspect the dilemmas the FDIC faced re Citigroup might be derived from it’s status as a universal bank with hundreds of billions of dollars in deposits domiciled abroad. Megan McArdle put it thus: “The FDIC is not equipped to handle an institution with a complicated trading book”. That’s an artifact of the repeal of Glass-Stegall. Also, Brooksley Born’s efforts to flush out the dark market in derivatives was stymied by a trio of goons including Robert Rubin (paid $119 million to ‘advise’ Citigroup while they were running themselves into the ground), Lawrence Summers (whose personality problems now render him untouchable), and Arthur Levitt, Jr. (who has offered a mea culpa about the whole episode). Regulation mattered.

25 TheNumeraire January 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm

The so-called dark market in derivatives is not where catastrophic losses were incurred. In those markets, collateral was posted and exchanged back and forth as prices moved, making it less likely that counterparties could not be massively negative in their individual trades and entire dealbooks.

The Lehman bankruptcy is a perfect example of this — when the bankruptcy took place there was a pessimistic media frenzy that a huge derivatives blowup was destined to occur based on the notional value of CDS written against Lehman debt. It turned out to be a non-event because much of the swaps were written and traded in exactly the fashion mentioned above.

The big derivatives event was the AIG bailout, AIG was liable for tens of billions of credit default risk, risk that formed without any posted collateral. AIG was allowed to assume naked credit default risk by mere virtue of its AAA credit rating, essentially a form of regulatory arbitrage.

The other area of acute market weakness was the securitized mortgage market. It too, was captive to regulatory arbitrage, because regulation stated that banks here and abroad could be subject to less capital requirement provided they held quantities of high-rated securities in greater quantities. Hence, the big demand for high-rated mortgage-backed bonds, which were held in unusually large quantity by regulated banking institutions (not to mention the volume of mortgages held by the firms like Lehman et al. that pooled, tranched and securitized the underlying mortgages).

26 efp January 6, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Yeah, let’s let the bank runs happen, just ’cause we can’t prevent *every* possible crisis.

My favorite take is Harford’s chapter on catastrophe theory in Adapt.

27 jim jones January 6, 2016 at 12:53 pm
28 Alain January 6, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Great link, thanks!

29 Dmitri Helios January 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

#2, I was thinking about this in India, where the Western dichotomy of hot girls vs. Hot girls doesn’t exist. The smart girls also tend to be prettier/hot based on my extensive experience. I think this is a relic of the caste system, where smarts and beauty had an external correlation (see Kanazawa, Satoshi) that caused both traits to be so correlated. Thoughts?

30 Calo Cola January 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Its probably the case that the media, and consumers, find much more interesting the stories of people who don’t have every single advantage possible in life, and we envious people consume it.

“Here’s the story of the guy and the girl who were faster/smarter/stronger/richer/shrewder/hotter with stable upper-class families winning everything in life.”

Where’s the drama in that?

31 Dmitri Helios January 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm

* smart vs hot, in above comment.

32 Milo Minderbinder January 6, 2016 at 2:39 pm

I think “hot girls vs Hot girls” is a better dichotomy.

33 Gourmand January 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm

If you google “gourmet celery” absolutely nothing of substance comes up:

ditto “gourmet Brussels sprouts” :

just guessing the same with many other vegetable aisle selections.

If the point about rutabagas is that middle-class people in the US currently have affordable access to the highest quality vegetables, then consider it made. And we should be most grateful for this abundance which cannot be taken for granted.

34 Chris S January 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Rutabagas is a core ingredient in that delicious Michigan Upper Peninsula delicacy, the pasty. (Okay, it was once Cornish, but hey.)

Would a true gourmand use ketchup or gravy?

35 CorvusB January 6, 2016 at 6:58 pm

It is only folk history that has it as once having been Cornish. Hand food – traditional in many forms and many cultures. Yoopers are quite a mix – Swedes, Finns, Italians, and oh so many more. The logging crews alone were something of a “foreign legion”. Despite common stereotypes (of loggers as French Canadian), French Canucks were not popular with logging crew managers, as their (stereotyped) work ethic was “work 3 days until payday and then PARTAAY”.

36 Terri January 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Sure, there is “gourmet”-signalling celery at the market. It’s labelled organic.

Or maybe I’m riding the wrong connotation for gourmet.

37 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Was it that the banks were too big to fail, or that regulatory changes had allowed them to grow too complex for an agency with the institutional memory of the FDIC to take into receivership? I seem to recall that the latter was the issue with Citigroup (in addition to the fact that 2/3 of their deposits were domiciled abroad). Did Dodd-Frank prohibit the holding companies of deposits-and-loans institutions (and their subsidiaries) from taking positions in the market for futures, options, swaps and derivatives? Were they debarred from engaging in securities lending? Were there provisions for debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize distressed institutions? Requirements that deposits-and-loans institutions place any trades undertaken with company assets with broker-dealers working on commission? Did Dodd-Frank even fight the last war?

38 T. Shaw January 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm

No, Dodd and Frank were leading legislative causes of the debacle. The DFA is analogous to having Hitler write the nascent UN’s post-war program for assisting Holocaust survivors.

DFA is very complex and writing implementing regulations were years-long tasks for the banking agencies. DFA prohibits banks (seems anything except a saloon) from engaging in proprietary trading. But, what does that mean?

Deposits held in foreign branches are not insured by the FDIC.

In this crisis and most bank failures, FDIC did not take control and liquid any bank or assets. Most cases, other banks purchased failed ank assets and assumed failed bank liabilities with complicated FDIC loss sharing arrangements. Losses for the FDIC insurance fund approached $90 billion, all sustained by insured bank deposit insurance assessment payments.

It’s not within the FDIC’s power to place an insured bank in receivership That would be the Fed, state-chartering authority, or the OCC. Never happen. Too many politicians are owned by big banks and lobbyists. For instance, how much money has Wall Street given to Hillary?

39 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 3:04 pm

?? The OCC, the OTS, and the state superitnendents put hundreds of banks in receivership, among the IndyMac.

40 T. Shaw January 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

From 2008 through 2015, nearly 400 FDIC-insured banks’ and savings banks’ charters were revoked/failed.

IndyMac was unique. It was a conservatorship, very rare. Washington Mutual was the largest failure in the period, and was, at the time of the transaction, at no loss to the FDIC insurance fund.

FDIC Press Release July 11, 2008:

“IndyMac Bank, F.S.B., Pasadena, CA, was closed today by the Office of Thrift Supervision. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named conservator. The FDIC will transfer insured deposits and substantially all the assets of IndyMac Bank, F.S.B., Pasadena, CA, to IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB. Brokered deposits will be held by the FDIC and those insured deposits will be paid off when the insurance determination is complete. IndyMac Bank, FSB had total assets of $32.01 billion and total deposits of $19.06 billion as of March 31, 2008. As conservator, the FDIC will operate IndyMac Federal Bank, FSB to maximize the value of the institution for a future sale and to maintain banking services in the communities formerly served by IndyMac Bank, F.S.B.”

And, September 25, 2008:

“JPMorgan Chase acquired the banking operations of Washington Mutual Bank in a transaction facilitated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. All depositors are fully protected and there will be no cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund.”

41 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm

IIRC, the WaMu takeover occurred before they guaranteed bank bonds, so the bond holders were wiped.

42 T. Shaw January 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Truth. The FDIC bond guaranty was part of the Temporary Liquidity Guaranty Program and was limited and specific. However, it was outside the statutory deposit insurance purview; and FDIC didn’t have the cash to cover huge losses in the area of bonds and unlimited transaction account deposits. Seems as if FDIC earned more in fees on the debt guaranty than losses it covered. That is Fees $10.4 billion plus $1.2 billion less losses $0.153 billion plus $2.1 billion; net fee income $9.347 billion. See below from the FDIC website.

Additionally, in a purchase and assumption (P&A) receivership transaction general creditors, uninsured depositors, and subordinated debt holders are effectively insulated from loss. A P&A transaction requires a FDIC determination that that is the least cost alternative.

After the IndyMac (July 2008) and WaMu (Septembetr 2008) deals,

“On October 14, 2008, as part of a coordinated response by the U.S. government to the disruption in the financial system and the collapse of credit markets, the FDIC implemented the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP). By calming market fears and encouraging lending, the TLGP helped bring stability to financial markets and the banking industry during the crisis period. The TLGP consisted of two components: (1) the Transaction Account Guarantee Program (TAGP), an FDIC guarantee in full of noninterest-bearing transaction accounts; and (2) the Debt Guarantee Program (DGP), an FDIC guarantee of certain newly issued senior unsecured debt.

“Under the DGP, the FDIC guaranteed in full, through maturity or June 30, 2012, whichever came first, the senior unsecured debt issued by a participating entity between October 14, 2008, and June 30, 2009. In 2009, the issuance period was extended through October 31, 2009. The FDIC’s guarantee on each debt instrument was also extended in 2009 to the earlier of the stated maturity date of the debt or December 31, 2012.

“The DGP enabled financial institutions to meet their financing needs during a period of record high credit spreads and aided the successful return of the credit market to near normalcy, despite the recession and slow economic recovery. This improvement in the credit markets was reflected in the increasing ability of banks and their holding companies to issue longer-term debt over the course of the DGP issuance period. At the inception of the program, firms heavily relied upon the DGP to roll over short-term liabilities because of the fragility of the credit markets and investors’ continued aversion to risk. By providing the ability to issue debt guaranteed by the FDIC, the DGP allowed institutions to extend maturities and obtain more stable unsecured funding.

“Over the course of the DGP’s existence, 122 entities issued TLGP debt. At its peak, the DGP guaranteed $345.8 billion of outstanding debt. The DGP guarantee on all TLGP debt that had not already matured expired on December 31, 2012. Therefore, at the end of 2012, no debt guaranteed by the DGP remained.

“The FDIC collected $10.4 billion in fees and surcharges under the DGP. As of December 31, 2012, the FDIC had paid $153 million in losses resulting from six participating entities defaulting on debt issued under the DGP. The majority of these losses ($113 million) arose from banks with outstanding DGP notes that failed in 2011 and were placed into receivership.

“The FDIC collected $1.2 billion in fees under the TAGP. Cumulative estimated TAGP losses on failures as of December 31, 2012, totaled $2.1 billion.

“Overall, TLGP fees exceeded the losses from the program. From inception of the TLGP, it was the FDIC’s policy to recognize revenue to the DIF for any portion of guarantee fees in excess of amounts needed to cover potential losses upon expiration of the TLGP guarantee period (December 31, 2012) or earlier. In total, $9.3 billion in TLGP fees were deposited into the DIF.”

43 T. Shaw January 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm

April 30, 2010 (This is a more common FDIC action) Press Release.

“Westernbank Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, was closed today by the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, to assume all of the deposits of Westernbank Puerto Rico.
“The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $3.31 billion. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico’s acquisition of all the deposits was the “least costly” resolution for the FDIC’s DIF compared to all alternatives. Westernbank Puerto Rico is the 60th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year. Western Bank was one of three institutions closed in Puerto Rico today.”

44 Dzhaughn January 6, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Try “gourmet rutabaga seeds.” You will be drawn to the Wilhelmsburger variety.

Seeds should probably be added on the earlier list of things where the best are affordable to all.

And the rutabaga should be increased in esteem; the parsnip even more so. Throw them from the rooftops, but after cooking thoroughly so you don’t hurt anyone.

45 Michael January 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I seem to remember a post a little while back on NRO about a “conservative” way to cap the size of banks, by requiring they they all be organized under a “partnership” model, i.e., to require that the Board of Directors personally own a (rather sizable) amount of the bank’s assets. This would put a bit of a practical limit on the size of a bank, without the issues of a hard cap that Tyler brinks up in his linked post. In theory, it should make the Board more conservative, since they are dealing with their personal money. Are there any good critiques to this approach?

46 Michael Savage January 7, 2016 at 3:07 am

Senior managers typically did hold much of their personal wealth in stocks of their own banks. Dick Fuld owned a billion dollars worth of Lehman shares at one point. It would make boards more conservative, but would also imply huge shrinkage of sector, because there aren’t enough people with enough wealth to play that role, and they’d demand a big return on the risk they’re taking.

47 cp January 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

Good. The rent is too damn high.

48 RPLong January 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm

#6 RIP, a true loss to the world. There is no clear replacement for the role Boulez played for modern music.

49 rayward January 6, 2016 at 1:44 pm

3. Actually, the observations are Chris Giancarlo’s, reproduced by Taylor. Not surprisingly, the observations (mostly criticism of regulators looking to the past (i.e., the financial crisis) for a guide to avoid a crisis in the future) are analogous to the discussions among economists over models and policy. What else is a guide to the future besides the past? On this web site, the past is treated like ancient history with little or no value in predicting the future. Yes, predictions are difficult, especially predictions about the future. But if we refuse to learn from mistakes of the past, how do we avoid the same or similar mistakes in the future. A soothsayer? Concentrations of power and wealth never have a good ending, especially for those without power and wealth. That’s Giancarlo’s point, even if he isn’t aware that he is making it. Scrap complex Dodd-Frank regulations and implement one simple policy: break up the banks, break up the cartels, break up the concentrations of wealth, then let markets be markets.

50 y81 January 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm

But in the Depression, we had thousands of small banks, and they experienced waves of failure. The money mutual market fund is not concentrated, but it was the sector that came closest to triggering a complete financial meltdown in 2008.

51 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Not my trade, but are you sure about that? IIRC, the Fed guaranteed commercial and municipal paper for a time because the money market funds seemed unstable and firms were having trouble issuing paper. That was a knock-on effect of the Lehman bankruptcy, which triggered a run on two funds. (Btw, money market funds in toto had 1/3 the assets of domestically chartered commercial banks, much less all the other sorts of institutions).

52 TheNumeraire January 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I wouldn’t say the MMMF complex was headed toward meltdown, it merely reached an inflection point where losses were on the undelying assets were large enough that liabilities to fund owners were beginning to break below parity. This “breaking the buck”, was just the dawning of the realization that MMMF’s are in fact investments and not the perfect cash substitiutes that they were often assumed to be. As the likelihood of losses, even minor losses, increased, the flight towards the insured deposit market created a liquidity problem for these funds, hence the decision to federally insure these mutual funds (which are often incorrectly referred to as deposits).

53 y81 January 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

So Paulsen and Bernanke thought that “letting markets be markets” was an unworkable policy, notwithstanding that the money market fund industry was never highly concentrated and no individual fund was “too big to fail.” Agreed?

54 Jamie_NYC January 6, 2016 at 5:59 pm

“What else is a guide to the future besides the past?”

How about the present? All items he lists are clear and present dangers.

55 Alex January 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm

4. I thought the hateful eight was excellent / very engaging. The dialogue was predictably delightful. Hardly a wasted word which was unexpected for such a lengthy movie. Satisfyingly and repeatedly adheres to the dramatic principles of Chekhov’s gun. Kurt Russel’s facial hair deserves an Oscar. Jennifer Jason Leigh was awesome. Ennio Morricone score is top-notch. And the semiotics of that last shot framed by the snow shoes on the wall…

56 Bruce Cleaver January 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

It was a long, slow buildup. Enjoyable, because you knew something somewhere was going to pop. Other aspects are that Tarantino is somewhat obsessed by race, and the film certainly is violent (but you knew that upon entry!).

57 mkt42 January 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

I am not a fan of Tarantino’s films. But I cannot deny that they are fun (or maybe I should say interesting) to watch, and a local theater is showing it in 70mm so I’m going to see it tomorrow night. I suspect that my judgement that Tarantino has nothing worthwhile to say will be confirmed, but we moviegoers will at least get a lot of vivid dialog and images — and in 70mm, thus super-vivid images.

58 John Schilling January 6, 2016 at 8:49 pm

As a general rule, I think that no good movie is too long and no bad movie is too short, but Hateful Eight was an exception. At a skillfully-edited 100 minutes or so, Eight could have been a great little film. But the setting was too tight for the cinematography to endure for nearly three hours, and the characters didn’t have enough to keep me interested through that much talking even with Tarantino writing the dialogue. And Domerque(sp?) wasn’t enough of a villain or danger to keep me engaged with the plot or caring who, if anyone, survived to the end.

So, a good movie that was too long.

59 jc January 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Hmm, nobody has anything to say about bionic penises?

60 Nick_L January 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

I suspect that there won’t be much demand for these, unless the curve is to the right?

61 Adrian Ratnapala January 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm

What is a rutabaga?

62 Art Deco January 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm

A godawful tuber fed in a slop to POWs by the Germans. Liver and rutabegas figured in the ‘dinner of revenge’ scene in The Corrections.

63 Dzhaughn January 6, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Pretty much a turnip. Tougher skin, yellowish flesh. The flavor differs in nuances. They become sweet when cooked, but retain a bite.

They star in beef stews and pot roasts; also great in chicken stews or soups, but parsnips outshine them there, flavorwise. Good cut up, tossed with oil, and roasted in the oven, esp. combined with carrots and parsnips. Some mash them with potatoes to increase flavor, but I don’t do the whole mashing thing.

64 Deek January 7, 2016 at 5:20 am

So rutabagas are what Americans call neeps/swedes?

65 JT January 7, 2016 at 5:45 am

Yes, same thing.

66 yasha January 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

#1: There is no stagnation. But perhaps a stag nation?

67 dearieme January 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Not only would it have been more accurate to say the dominatrix stood for parliament, it would have been rather amusing.

68 CorvusB January 6, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Wanted to comment on my thoughts about Tarantino. I long ago gave up that he was capable of producing anything other than schlock. I doubt that I would seriously consider giving him a reconsideration long enough to see his current movie. If he crawled away to a private retreat and refused to ever meet the public again it would not come too soon for me. Gag.

69 CorvusB January 6, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Correction: I made it sound like it was about Tarantino, the person. I have no idea what he is like. AFAIC, his movies could get permanently enshrined in a nuclear waste facility.

70 Viking January 6, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Mashed rutabaga is part of Norwegian Christmas cousine, and if properly flavored with heavy whipping cream and drippings from steamed lamb ribs or roasted crispy pork ribs, it can stand on its own like nail soup.

71 Adrian Ratnapala January 7, 2016 at 2:12 am

I think TCs is not looking for gourmet uses of rutabegas. He use looking for rutabegas which of particularly high quality.

72 Viking January 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm

I defer to art deco above, the only good thing about the rutabage is that it is not a potato. But it sure taste good with some fatty drippings mixed in.

73 RM January 8, 2016 at 10:10 am

I am not a Tarantino fan. I do like many of his movies/films (there’s a difference, and he’s done both). I still feel he topped out with “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” but I thoroughly enjoyed “Jackie Brown” and “Django Unchained”. I fell asleep in “Inglorious Bastards” and never took a hankering to “Kill Bill” or the “Grindhouse” movies. I understand what he was doing with both, just didn’t really enjoy the genres when they were popular so it was a bit unnecessary for me.

On the other hand, my son is not only a film buff, but a huge Tarantino fan. To the point that he was lucky enough (since I have a film critic friend who shared a ticket) to attend “Ingloriuous Bastards” preview (2 weeks early) at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – an experience he continues to revel in today.

I have not seen “Hateful 8” yet – but I plan to. Why? My son’s commentary. He knows a good film when he sees one. Not one of his recommendations has ever led me astray. Not one. Mainly because he’s good at crafting his discussion to suit the audience. He knows I’d never enjoy the Tarantino stuff I don’t like. He’ll tell me all day long how great they are, but point out the flaws he knows make it unwatchable for me. I have not gotten this from him on “Hateful 8”, and he points out there are many surprises in it which I need to look for (stuff you need to know if you’re any kind of film buff or Tarantino fan, because Tarantino has his own alternate universe at work in all his films).

So, not a recommendation so much as a comment that I intend to see it because a 21 year old with a good sense of film has made a recommendation. When I see it, maybe I’ll stop back.

Regarding another comment – one thing about Tarantino…..sometimes he does draw the story out beyond what it’s logical length should be. Apparently that is one of his calling cards. I’m not sure why he does that, but my son does and likes it. I’ve never really understood it at all. Works sometimes, fails miserably others.

74 mkt42 January 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm

I saw it last night, in full 70mm Panavision. Without giving away any spoilers (although you can pretty much predict the plot before even walking into the theater), I would say that most of the reviews and in particular your pre-impressions are pretty much correct, but with these additional personal evaluations:

I should note that I am not a Tarantino fan; his movies are reliably interesting to watch, skillfully made, but IMO empty of artistic or thematic interest. He simply doesn’t have anything worthwhile to say, although he and his characters say plenty and in a vivid manner.

As others have noted, this movie is very reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs, which is probably his movie that I liked best but why bother making another version of it. This version does have the Western setting (but as reviewers have noted, Tarantino could have skipped the 70mm because so much of the movie was took place in a claustrophobic indoor space and the outdoor shots that did happen did little to advance the plot or atmosphere; i.e. in terms of imagery this movie is a long way below say Lawrence of Arabia or 2001). That was actually the main reason I violated my personal rule to stop watching Tarantino movies; I’ve never found them to be worthwhile after Pulp Fiction (and even Pulp Fiction I found to be pointless) but I wanted to see what Tarantino could do on 70mm. Not enough to make the 70mm worthwhile, it turns out.

The Hateful 8 also has, as others have noted, the racial angle and a concern about history and for lack of a better word social justice, but as with other Tarantino movies my reaction is meh; Tarantino puts those angles into his movies and I’m fine with it but it’s not as if they are insightful or observant about those social matters. They’re there but they neither add nor detract from the worthiness of his films.

I didn’t mind the length (the 70mm version is shown with an intermission). The Hateful 8 does have Tarantino’s consistent strengths: there’s a lot going on in terms of dialog, plot, and suspense so I certainly was entertained or maybe I should say occupied.

Bottom line: I didn’t walk out dis-satisfied per se: any Tarantino movie is going to give the viewer a vivid cinematic experience. But after the plot was complete and the soon-to-be-dead characters had been killed, I walked out of the theater feeling as empty as with his other movies. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. If I could travel in time and advise the me of the recent past I would say don’t bother seeing it. It’s not a bad movie per se, it shows Tarantino’s usual skills, but also his same weaknesses.

Based on your post, if I had to guess I will guess that you might have a similar evaluation. I’m not trying to warn you against seeing the film; my curiosity was piqued just as yours is even though I don’t have a cinemaphile son. I’m not sorry that I went to see it — I pretty much did have to satisfy my curiosity — but my evaluation of Tarantino is no more positive that it was before. Basically my mean estimate is the same, but with a significantly smaller standard error; I doubt that I will ever pay to watch another Tarantino movie. I know in advance what I’m going to get, and it’s not worth my time (and the $10-$12).

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