Who is Walton Goggins? Justified and The Hateful Eight


Well, he is one of the most talented actors working today and probably hardly anyone knows his name. Although that is sure to change after the release of Quentin Tarantino’s western, The Hateful Eight.
When you look up Walton Goggins on IMDB the film that first comes up next to his name is Django Unchained. I find that extremely funny because he has quite a small part in that film and he has done much more substantial work. He is one of those character actors that you have probably seen in many works, but you just don’t know his name. His best work is mostly on TV; The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Justified. But now Walton is (arguably) the star of The Hateful Eight.

In The Hateful Eight, Walton Goggins plays Chris Mannix. Chris has the most lines of any character in the film (and that’s A LOT of lines since it’s a Tarantino movie). Quentin specifically wrote the part for Walton. That’s pretty amazing, especially since Walton isn’t a very high profile actor.
But he deserves to be, and hopefully now he will get the attention he deserves. I recently started watching Justified not too long ago (I’m only on the fourth season still, so no spoilers!). Justified is a very good show that really hits its stride in its third and fourth seasons. The show hinges on the relationship between Raylan Givens (played by the wonderful Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). It is so interesting to watch these two amazing characters/actors face off against each other. Raylan is a Deputy Marshall and Boyd is a hillbilly criminal mastermind. Often times the two are struggling against each other, but they also have moments when they are allies. Their interactions always feel organic and it is hard to know which character to root for. Walton has this great cadence as he plays Boyd. When Boyd speaks it feels as though the audience is being treated to a piece of poetry. Hard to believe when faced with Boyd’s appearance of wild hair and swastika tattoos. Walton creates so many layers to this character; Boyd is someone to be feared, but he also has a sympathetic heart at times. And he is also very funny. Boyd does terrible things at times, but when he proposes to Eva, his brother’s widow over a stack of drug money, you can’t help but feel your eyes tear up and hope that everything turns out the way Boyd wants it to. There are a million reasons to dislike Boyd, but Walton’s acting instead makes you love him.

When I was watching The Hateful Eight I was so excited when Walton came on the screen. I was so looking forward to hearing his lovely voice a la Boyd Crowder. After all, both Boyd and Chris Mannix are southern boys, so I figured Walton would play them in a similar way. But I was dead wrong. I was disappointed at first because Chris’s voice isn’t as poetic as Boyd’s. But Chris still has some of that same charm. I am amazed actually by how different Boyd and Chris are. The two characters are completely distinct from each other and both are quite amazing. The Hateful Eight is a very good film (not Tarantino’s best, but still good). I found the film lacks energy at times, but whenever the attention shifts to Walton suddenly everything becomes lively again. Chris seems to always be playing everyone else in the room and it makes me wonder whether he actually really was the sheriff.
Walton imbues Chris with all these little nuances and effectively steals every scene he is in. If you didn’t know who Walton Goggins was before, you’ll never forget him after The Hateful Eight.

Memorable Moments: Beatrix and Bill


The Kill Bill movies were my first introduction to Quentin Tarantino films when I was a relatively young girl. They still stand out as some of my favorite films from QT. Beatrix Kiddo is an amazing creation, the perfect female heroine. She is strong, both physically and mentally, she’s resilient, and she’s determined in her need for revenge. But she is very much human. She has moments where she doubts herself and her abilities. And every victory she has she really has to earn. She’s truly admirable and kick ass.

I love Kill Bill volume 2, especially the ending. I know a lot of people prefer the first film, it’s faster, more action driven. But I prefer the more emotional second film. Because it’s a little different than QT’s usual fare. There are still shocking, bloody scenes and terrific dialogue. But it’s all driven by the love/hate dynamic between Beatrix and Bill. I love the moments between Beatrix, Bill, and their daughter. They are sweet, tender, almost normal moments. There is a minimal use of music/score and nearly no action. The dialogue and the emotional power struggle of the characters dominates these scenes. I love how layered Bill and Beatrix’s interactions are. There’s this extreme hate, but also a lot of love, admiration, and respect between the two. This is largely because if the great script, but also Uma Thurman and David Carradine deliver amazing performances. The scenes feel so tense because the characters could kill each other at any moment. It’s edge of your seat film making created by dialogue instead of by action and score (as most films do).

Inglourious Basterds (2009)


Spell check hates that title. It’s kind of funny, for quite a while I was never a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. His movies were alright (alright, alright, alright). But I just wasn’t in love with them. But one day, seemingly overnight, that all changed. I was IN LOVE with them. I think the moment that changed it all was probably the first time I saw Inglourious Basterds. Or maybe it was some random interview with Quentin (he is so fun to listen to). Or some combination of the two. Anyways, after that I have come to re-watch nearly all of his films and come away worshiping the ground he walks on. Ok, not quite. But still, Tarantino is definitely one of the most interesting directors of our time.
Quentin has many good films, but personally I think Inglourious Basterds is his masterpiece (he seems to agree if the end of the film is anything to go by).

Quentin is a master of dialogue (come on, that Reservoir Dogs scene is the shit! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J782jBp_pW0 ).
Quentin does it again in Basterds with the opening scene between Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) and the French dairy farmer. Quentin doesn’t lose his touch for dialogue even when the majority of it is IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. That’s what I enjoy the most about the film, listening to the different languages in conversations that are energetic. I’ve always loved listening to other languages and that combined with the great actors makes this movie so enjoyable. There is great chemistry between everyone and even though the movie is a little long, the quick witted conversations make it seem a lot shorter.

One of my favorite scenes (among many).
One of my favorite scenes (among many).

While Quentin focuses a lot on dialogue he doesn’t neglect the visuals. He keeps the camera moving during long dialogue scenes or places it at varying angles to keep the audiences eye engaged. Just watch that opening conversation and how the camera glides behind the characters, is placed slightly below them or how to slowly zooms in on their eyes as critical information is revealed. Quentin is a slave to the details and it works so well! It also helps that Christoph Waltz is amazing as Hans Landa. He captures the charm and menace of the character and captivates the audience all the while. No wonder he won the Oscar.

Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna.
Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna.

The other outstanding actor here (amongst many of them) is Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna. She is another great, strong female character who definitely belongs alongside Tarantino’s other great creations (the Bride, Jackie Brown, Mia Wallace, etc). She takes down Hitler! It doesn’t get more bad ass than that. I also love Michael Fassbender (this was the first film I noticed him in = Fassinator for life!), Daniel Bruhl, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, etc. Brad Pitt is good but his accent annoys me (other than “bongiorno”) as does Mike Meyers (seriously, why is he there?!)

If you are a fan of Tarantino you will love Inglourious Basterds. And if you’re not, you will probably hate it. You will also hate it if you are a history snob or if you have your head up your ass. But if you like witty, funny movies that take a few risks than you should love this. Is the plot totally logical and realistic? No, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. 8.5/10

This is an extremely interesting video essay that has really impacted the way I watch Tarantino films from now on (I bet you never thought of food like this before):