Author Topic: DJANGO UNCHAINED  (Read 69525 times)

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 7386
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #90 on: December 27, 2012, 02:31:15 pm »
Spoilers....


I'm not a Tarantino fan and I was very leery of this project when I heard about it. Though the plot intrigued me and the idea of a black revenge flick got my interest. I decided to put my trepidations about Tarantino and his cavalier using, or rather his sense of entitlement regarding using the n-word (in previous films) aside, as well as he seems like the kind of white guy who knows black people. I put that to the side, watched the film, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

I was squeamish going in about how lurid it would be in how it handled the treatment done to Kerry Washington's character, but Tarantino was largely restrained there. Also the movie didn't seem to revel in the violence against the slaves, though it didn't shirk either or whitewash the brutality of slavery. So I was happy about that.

I also liked the relationship with Waltz and Foxx's characters. I was surprised when King Schultz died. And I liked how it all came together with Jamie getting revenge . Perhaps Jefferson is right that Django, Broomhilda, and even Stephen are a white person's idea of how blacks are, but this time I was okay with it. Because the black guy actually had courage and brains, he saved his wife, there was love there between them, and Django was a black hero who anyone could relate too without having to sacrifice being black or being proud to be black or forgetting where he came from. I thought everyone in the film did fine jobs acting wise. Leo was appropriately sinister as the decadent and decayed Monsieur Candie. Jackson did solid work as the odious Stephen. Even Walter Goggins added something to the redneck white trash role that he seems to own. Don Johnson looked like Colonel Sanders. And they even had Tom Wopat and Lee Horsely (Matt Houston) in it.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #91 on: December 27, 2012, 07:15:33 pm »
NOTORIOUS PHD:

Dec 27, 2012God Forgives, I Don't



Django Unchained, the latest offering from celebrated auteur Quentin Tarantino was sure to incite controversy.  Like all of Tarantino's films, Django is what one might call a built environment.  The world constructed in the film is one drawn from the filmmaker's expansive imagination and his encyclopedic knowledge of pop genres like Spaghetti Westerns and Blaxploitation.  Set below the Mason-Dixon line in the years immediately prior to the start of the Civil War, employing elements of both the western and the slave narrative, this unique construction is one Tarantino calls a "Southern."  At issue of course is the central role that the "peculiar institution" otherwise known as slavery plays in the film.


Slavery is that thing that America would rather forget.  For all those who love to talk about American Exceptionalism, slavery punches a gaping hole in this self-serving thesis.   The horrors of slavery and the reality that this nation was built upon the backs of those enslaved has created a situation riff with explosive possibilities.  Some cringe at the inconvenient mention of slavery, while others recoil at the deafening silence surrounding its articulation.  Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey have both made movies about slavery.  Neither Amistad (1997) nor Beloved (1998) were very successful though, in spite of the uber popularity of both of the figures behind these respective films.  In other words, if Spielberg and Oprah can't sell slavery chances are it can't be sold.


The problem with well-meaning representations like those seen in Amistad and Beloved is the earnest, self-righteous tone, a tone dripping with morally indignant sentimentality at every conceivable turn. While Roots may serve as the blueprint for representations of slavery in American popular culture, Tarantino rejects this model, instead drawing inspiration from another 70s cultural form, Blaxploitation, referencing a film like The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972)



and Mandingo (1975)





both of which predated Roots by a few years.  One could even argue that the popularity of Blaxploitation films in the theaters during the early 70s helped create a climate for the eventual airing of the more mainstream Roots mini-series on television in 1977. As groundbreaking a cultural moment as Roots was, it had more to do with black suffering than it did black empowerment.

In Mandingo, Ken Norton's character Meade, the film's resident Mandingo, dies in a pot of boiling water, while the plantation's Uncle Tom character, Agamemnon, surprisingly shots his beloved Master Hammond Maxwell in response.  Though the film allows for the cathartic killing of Master Hammond at the hands of one of his slaves, Meade dies, while Uncle Tom lives. In the years since Mandingo, America has seen the rise of a newly empowered class of real life characters whose resemblance to the old Uncle Tom archetype makes it difficult to discern whether one is looking at a fictional character or the real thing? The fabled Uncle Ruckus from the Boondooks series is fictional, though one need not look far to find real life versions of the same thing scattered amongst us.    Recognizing this, Django realizes that for the film to be relevant in contemporary society, Uncle Tom deserves a fate similar to that of his Master in order for good to truly triumph over evil.  Thus it is fitting that Django saves his last act of retribution for Samuel L. Jackson's vile "house nigger" character Stephen, who after being shot in both knees, dies a horrific death as the Master's mansion explodes with him in it, thanks to Django setting off a dynamite blast.   

Django's mind may be immersed in the Spaghetti Western's of Corbucci or the choreographed mayhem of a Sam Peckinpah, for example, but the film's heart remains in Blaxploitation.  Back in 1971 Melvin Van Peebles promised that there was a "bad ass nigger" who was "coming back to get some dues," at the end of his groundbreaking classic Sweetsweetback's Baadasssss Song.  Some forty-one years later, Jamie Foxx's Django has fulfilled this prophecy.  The brilliance of Blaxploitation as a genre was its ability to rewrite common narratives so that black characters triumph over white oppression and do so in high style.  There was a life affirming message of what Obama calls "old testament justice" combined with an extravagance of style that made these films so popular.  Coming in the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights movement and informed by the politics of Black Power, the films recognized, in spite of budgetary limitations, that James Brown's notion of "payback" was real indeed in the minds of its audience members.  Django modernizes this mythology in an age when super heroes now dominate the box office and such is fitting as Foxx's Django becomes the super hero of the slave era.

Blaxploitation, of course, would eventually have a strong influence on hip hop.   As the genre experienced a re-birth in the late 80s, thanks to the rise of gangsta rap, films once dismissed as shlock began to experience a second life.  In the 90s, Tarantino forged an aesthetic that finally took Blaxploitation seriously as an influence.  The filmmaker's mash up of various styles, mixing both the sacred and the profane, without regard to time and place, has become the epitome of postmodern cinematic expression. Yet the aesthetic itself owes a lot to hip hop as Tarantino recently discussed in his appearance on The Charlie Rose Show.

The art of the remix, creative sampling of pop cultural ephemera, a love of retro as aesthetic, and the overall ability to give old forms new meaning, pitched to just the right in-crowd, defines a style of cinematic hipness that Tarantino has now perfected.  Make no mistake about it though, Django Unchained is hip hop cinema at its finest.  There is no place else in the world where Wagner, Ennio Morricone, Tupac, and Rick Ross can co-exist with Sergio Leone and Fred Williamson other than in hip hop and a Tarantino movie. 

In spite of Tarantino's achievement, many, aided by the ubiquitous echo chamber of social media, have quickly lodged their complaints.  This is not surprising.  Tarantino is a popular filmmaker who often prompts an equally critical response from his numerous detractors.  Though popular, Tarantino's films are quite studious as well.  His approach to cinema is often over the heads of those who want their film going experience to be a moral affirmation of their own tightly held beliefs.  Tarantino is abstract, but these erstwhile critics only want the literal.  His overt embrace of style strikes the detractors as not severely entrenched enough in victimization for their taste.

Some have complained about what they see as the film's excessive violence, failing however to recognize the utter violence that was slavery.  Further the repeated use of the word "nigger" in the film gives haters an easy excuse to discredit the effort.  For a film set in 1858, what else would you expect the characters to say, African American?!  Where do these self righteous saints think the contested word came from in the first place?  The repeated utterance of this word in the film is in keeping with the era that the film is set.  Django, again like both Blaxploitation and hip hop, deploys the word in a most effective manner, liberating the word from the bondage of disingenuous, self-righteous social censorship in the process. In spite of what others may say, the use of the word is both humorous and appropriate given the context.





Simply stated, Django Unchained is an instant classic.  In an era when movie experiences often resemble an amusement park ride, where comic books, sequels, and the expanses of digital technology often determine what gets made and what does not, Tarantino has consistently crafted a cinema where story and dialogue still reign supreme.  This is very old school, but old school in the best possible way.  On the other hand, Tarantino's ability to make traditional concepts like story and dialogue relevant in a contemporary context through modern practices like cut and paste, re-mix, and mash-up demonstrates that old school inevitably informs the creation of the new school.  To do all of this while rewriting the slave narrative as one where ethical vengeance trumps saintly victimization is something that Nat Turner would have most certainly been proud of. 


Offline Catch22

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 3112
  • You gots to have vision, Willie!
    • View Profile
    • PapiCatch22's Urban Suite
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #92 on: December 27, 2012, 07:57:40 pm »
I saw it with my Father-in-Law last night.  We both enjoyed the movie and I'm not a Tarantino fan in the slightest.  I'm sure it's been said here before, but I'm of the opinion that if a black director made this movie, he or she would be labeled a racist and there wouldn't have been as many white faces in my theatre.  Having said that, I'm glad the movie was made at all.  Django is as much an African-American revenge fantasy as Inglorious Basterds was a Jewish revenge fantasy.  Jamie Foxx killed it and Christoph Waltz is one of my new favorite actors.  Sam Jackson was so vile and ridiculous, he stole almost every scene he was in.  All in all, I liked it...but I guess I'm the target audience. 

Offline Seven

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 2729
  • Haters gonna hate
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #93 on: December 27, 2012, 08:48:24 pm »
Loved it...classic. Sorry spike.

Offline sherelled

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
    • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4555092605573&set=a.1551655401520.77168.1539197080&type=1&theater
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #94 on: December 27, 2012, 11:46:28 pm »
Quote
Some have complained about what they see as the film's excessive violence, failing however to recognize the utter violence that was slavery.  Further the repeated use of the word "nigger" in the film gives haters an easy excuse to discredit the effort.  For a film set in 1858, what else would you expect the characters to say, African American?!  Where do these self righteous saints think the contested word came from in the first place?  The repeated utterance of this word in the film is in keeping with the era that the film is set.  Django, again like both Blaxploitation and hip hop, deploys the word in a most effective manner, liberating the word from the bondage of disingenuous, self-righteous social censorship in the process. In spite of what others may say, the use of the word is both humorous and appropriate given the context.

Okay I love this response. If I had sound effects to this quote it would go something like this. "Whooopac" :o

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 7386
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #95 on: December 28, 2012, 02:08:39 am »
RH,

Thanks for posting the Notorious PHD article. I thought it was an interesting take on Tarantino's style. However I didn't like that the writer used the argument that Tarantino's films are 'over the head' of his critics. Or the writer's defense of the n-word. For Django, I thought it's usage was appropriate. In contemporary hip hop, not so much. I don't think modern hip hop's usage liberates that word from its social censorship or history at all. It's power continues to derive from that history of dehumanization. And the words power to provoke is one of the reasons it continues to resonate with hip hop artists. And look at how the popularity of its usage among many blacks, not just young ones, has went hand and hand with the worse ways we treat each other. The n-word is not endearing, it's still the language of dehumanization.

As for Tarantino's style, I think he is up for criticism like anyone else and it's glib to just insult or question the intelligence of the people who are 'lodging' complaints. Further, I feel that some blacks in the media today are quick to attack other blacks as being 'self-righteous' when they are criticizing a beloved white or black artist who is dealing with a racial issue. I don't like that. I think we need to come up with a better way to discuss issues than to insult or dismiss.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 02:11:12 am by Emperorjones »

Offline Derrick

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 42
    • View Profile
    • Blood & Ink
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #96 on: December 28, 2012, 06:32:33 am »
This is interesting.

I just got finished reading a comparison of Django and
the Fred Williamson Blaxploitaton Westerns like Boss N*gger.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of the comparison, but now I'm
wondering if an action dude had been cast as Django would the reactions here change..

Cause if somebody enslaves Fred Williamson in a movie, everybody is getting killed by him at the end.

Tarantino's last 3 movies ( if you count the 2 parts of Kill Bill as 2 separate films) have been revenge flicks.

I'm kinda shocked at the idea that some thought Django was gonna be anything else.

If I'm not mistaken the original Django was a revenge flick.

Actually, just about all of Tarantino's movies have been about outsiders of the Rich White Men Power Structure getting revenge on that structure.

Offline sherelled

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
    • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4555092605573&set=a.1551655401520.77168.1539197080&type=1&theater
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #97 on: December 28, 2012, 08:03:47 am »
RH,

Thanks for posting the Notorious PHD article. I thought it was an interesting take on Tarantino's style. However I didn't like that the writer used the argument that Tarantino's films are 'over the head' of his critics. Or the writer's defense of the n-word. For Django, I thought it's usage was appropriate. In contemporary hip hop, not so much. I don't think modern hip hop's usage liberates that word from its social censorship or history at all. It's power continues to derive from that history of dehumanization. And the words power to provoke is one of the reasons it continues to resonate with hip hop artists. And look at how the popularity of its usage among many blacks, not just young ones, has went hand and hand with the worse ways we treat each other. The n-word is not endearing, it's still the language of dehumanization.

As for Tarantino's style, I think he is up for criticism like anyone else and it's glib to just insult or question the intelligence of the people who are 'lodging' complaints. Further, I feel that some blacks in the media today are quick to attack other blacks as being 'self-righteous' when they are criticizing a beloved white or black artist who is dealing with a racial issue. I don't like that. I think we need to come up with a better way to discuss issues than to insult or dismiss.

Alrighty then looks like we can agree to disagree ;)  I am on the side of staying positive. We have to learn how to do like the "gentlemen of the anti-bellum era" smile, say kind words, puff on a cigar, have a glass of brandy and call it a day. Speak our opinions behind closed doors. In public it's solidarity. ;)

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 7386
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #98 on: December 29, 2012, 07:54:58 am »
^
I'm fine with agreeing to disagree. Everyone has their own opinions and that's cool.

Offline Greg

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 416
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #99 on: December 29, 2012, 11:00:21 am »
I very much enjoyed it. Very well made, well directed, well shot, and well performed. I was thinking, though, how different the film would have been with Sally Menke's editing, but alas. Samuel L Jackson was FANTASTIC as Stephen and I'm a bit surprised at the lack of acclaim he's receiving compared to DiCaprio and Waltz. My only real hang up with the film was that Kerry Washington was rather underdeveloped and I wish she had more of an active role than just get pushed around and wait to be saved. We know she was feisty and was a runaway and got into trouble, but we as a viewer never actually see it. We see her punishments throughout but non of her actual fighting. But her scenes when she's being imagined by Django were beautiful.

Offline sherelled

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 250
    • View Profile
    • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4555092605573&set=a.1551655401520.77168.1539197080&type=1&theater
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #100 on: December 29, 2012, 11:40:38 am »
Any chance this will pave the way to a live-action Catcher Freeman movie?  ;D Granddad's version, of course.
Catch a freeman's character is hilarious.  ;D

Offline Lion

  • HEF FOI
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1275
  • Totally hatin'.
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #101 on: December 29, 2012, 03:03:59 pm »
I very much enjoyed it. Very well made, well directed, well shot, and well performed. I was thinking, though, how different the film would have been with Sally Menke's editing, but alas. Samuel L Jackson was FANTASTIC as Stephen and I'm a bit surprised at the lack of acclaim he's receiving compared to DiCaprio and Waltz. My only real hang up with the film was that Kerry Washington was rather underdeveloped and I wish she had more of an active role than just get pushed around and wait to be saved. We know she was feisty and was a runaway and got into trouble, but we as a viewer never actually see it. We see her punishments throughout but non of her actual fighting. But her scenes when she's being imagined by Django were beautiful.

Well... To be fair with Brumhilda, I don't know how much opportunity there would have been to even show it, especially given the time frame from her introduction to the sh*t hitting  the fan. We're talking a span of just a few hours. (Trying to keep everything relatively spoiler-free.) While in that sense, she indeed got the short end of the stick, the entire movie was really all about her.

Offline JLI Jesse

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 3788
  • We are men of action. Lies do not become us.
    • View Profile
    • Grab Them By The Pod
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #102 on: December 29, 2012, 05:42:36 pm »
I just saw it this afternoon and was unsure going in since I only seem to enjoy Jamie and QT about 50% of the time.  Turns out I loved the majority of it, especially Christopher Waltz.  Jamie and Leo were both pretty great as well.  But it kinda lost me with the giant gun fight at the end...it just seemed like too much.  I would have been happy if they ended it before that since it seemed to drag on a bit after and got a little too "tarantino-y" for me.

The strangest and most pleasant surprise for me was a song by the late great Jim Croce. 

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 7386
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #103 on: December 30, 2012, 06:28:04 am »
I very much enjoyed it. Very well made, well directed, well shot, and well performed. I was thinking, though, how different the film would have been with Sally Menke's editing, but alas. Samuel L Jackson was FANTASTIC as Stephen and I'm a bit surprised at the lack of acclaim he's receiving compared to DiCaprio and Waltz. My only real hang up with the film was that Kerry Washington was rather underdeveloped and I wish she had more of an active role than just get pushed around and wait to be saved. We know she was feisty and was a runaway and got into trouble, but we as a viewer never actually see it. We see her punishments throughout but non of her actual fighting. But her scenes when she's being imagined by Django were beautiful.

Yeah, I would have liked to have seen more of Washington's character or at least more back story for why and she Django became involved, got married, and decided to leave. Granted it wasn't necessary, but still it would've been nice to get another flashback or more to flesh that out.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9884
    • View Profile
Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #104 on: December 30, 2012, 06:38:58 am »
SALON:

DECEMBER 27, 2012 1:40PM
Django, Unplugged
 Rate: 0 Flag Email.Click "Submit Abuse" if you feel this post is inappropriate. Explain why below if you wish.  Cancel 
If, in Quentin Tarantino’s new cinematic indictment of slavery, Jamie Foxx’s quest to rescue and reunite with his wife (who has been sold off to another plantation as punishment for the two of them trying to escape) is an amplification of the Prince Charming myth, most black women will tell you they’d be just as happy with an acoustic version!

We don’t need our men to put themselves in harm’s way slaying evil overseers for us, we just want them to want to and to groove on the idea of riding off into the sunset with us. 

(Cue violins.)

How auspicious that this movie should come out when there’s a black man in The White House presenting us with just such an example. 

You can tell by the way Barack looks at Michelle that he “luvs her dirty draw’s”…even though you can also tell by the glint in Michelle’s eyes that she’s the kind of woman who “don’t take no stuff.”   But Barack doesn’t resent her for it, au contraire...he respects her for it.

I was thrilled to see this movie retire the “strong black woman” myth.  Because truthfully, most of us are tired of the struggle…not to mention the eye-rolling we get when we ask for help…which then disheartens us and toughens so many into: “Well, f*ck you, then…I’ll just do it my damn self”  -- which then perpetuates the “evil, black bitch myth.”

I’m just sayin’…

You wanna tame the shrew?  Be her hero. Be a Django...or a Barack. She may not be used to it, so she might need some convincing...and it may take some time.

But like Django and Barack, a hero perseveres.

Trust me...for every black man who’s willing to saddle up, there’s a black woman eager to get up on that pony and ride with him.

Watching Django and Brunhilde ride off into the sunset together isn't an image of black relationships we get to see that often onscreen.

I'm looking forward to the sequals.