posted by @HeyItsKamo
I really enjoyed Django Unchained.
When I first heard that Quentin Tarantino was going to be spearheading a cowboy/Western movie, I was pretty excited- not just because I’m a fan of his work, but because I fucking LOVE westerns. Tombstone is a great movie, Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite video games, and Lonesome Dove is a fantastic book. But what Tarantino could bring to the screen (writing/directing/production), combined with that genre..? The potential for a memorable film was there, and the finished product was more than I could have hoped for.
This post is not going to be about the rampant (and for some reason, controversial) use of the word Ni**** in this film, you can find an opinion about that in a hundred other places on the web- I wanted to write a short post about why Django is the best movie I’ve seen this year. In fact, every person I’ve talked to about this movie feels the same way- this is one of the best films to hit the screen in a long time.
I’m not going to give away the whole damn plot or any important parts of the film, but Warning: there are going to be a few spoilers ahead! So here is why you need to go see Jamie Foxx shoot people in the wiener on screen.
The Characters and Acting– there were a lot of great parts in this film- dialogue, story, the breath taking landscape/location, special effects- but none of these were as good as the characters. Leonardo DiCaprio was such a prick, such a believable villain- what he did with the character of Calvin Candie was amazing; Candie will surely be remembered as one of the best villains in the past decade (as good as Heath Ledger’s Joker…?). His character was powerful, but so damn immature. But then again, he was a ruthless businessman and brutal when he didn’t get his way (the dog scene…). Likewise, the character Samuel Jackson brought us was just as creepy- motherfucker was just plain evil. Cristoph Waltz brought Foxx’s counterpart/mentor of Dr. King Schultz to life in a manner than I just didn’t expect- I’m not familiar with his previous work, but if this movie is any indication, I’d be more than happy to watch his previous films. Schultz, a German bounty hunter, was hilarious, intelligent, calculating, and above all else, charming. His scenes were captivating- what shit is he going to pull next?
I never thought I would see a western film where the main characters are an ex-slave, a German bounty hunter, and a flamboyant Southern slave owner. Incredible.
Action, and by “Action” I Mean Violence– holy shit, you guys. A horse gets shot in the face in the first ten minutes of this movie. A HORSE. From there, everything is pretty much free game. The two main characters are bounty hunters and they are both very good at what they do. The last 45 minutes of this feature is non-stop action, topped off with some explosions, threats of cutting someone’s balls off, someone getting SHOT in the balls, epic Leo DiCaprio freak outs… it’s got it all.
Jamie Foxx was amazing as Django– is this Jamie Foxx’s best film? Honestly, I just don’t know. Foxx has had an incredible film career- from The Soloist to Ray, he’s proved his acting chops and it’s safe to say any film he is in will be entertaining. Do you remember how good Any Given Sunday was? Even Bait was a funny movie. But Foxx took the character of Django (known previously as a white character) and turned him into one of the most wild gunslingers to hit the screen, and that’s saying a lot considering the company he’s with (Clint Eastwood, Clint Walker, John Wayne, Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott). He’s an ass kicking former salve that’s fast with a gun and you just can’t help but root for him. He was funny, especially his dialogue in some parts- he’s not the most educated fella, so the way he speaks caught me off guard a few times and I couldn’t help but laugh (“what that is?”); Foxx really stole the show. And believe me, I’m not saying DiCaprio and Waltz weren’t incredible in this flick (Waltz deserves an award. Seriously, give that guy a prize for kicking so much ass), but Foxx’s performance really blew everyone away. From the moment Django and Schultz rode in to the first town together, it was on.
It’s surprisingly funny– no, really. I caught myself laughing in some parts, most notably the final showdown at Candie Land when Foxx gave one of the baddies a bullet to the dick. The dialogue is where most of the humor is found, but a black ex-slave bounty hunter hunting and killing white bandits and criminals? Come on, who doesn’t love that shit? Sam Jackson’s is pretty incredible in his role, which is full of humor (he reminds me of Uncle Ruckus off The Boondocks, a self-hating black man that praises the white man). In the final showdown, Foxx literally shoots a lady through a door and the audience went crazy- it was so damn funny. Also, the audience gets treated to a Rick Ross song about halfway through that caught me so off guard that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Jonah Hill’s part is probably the most humorous in the film, albeit one of the shortest scenes. I think my favorite “purposely funny” part of Django was the getup Foxx was wearing when he and Schultz went to visit slave-owner Big Daddy…
Redemption and Revenge– Schultz and Foxx get their revenge on everyone. Fucking. Everyone.
As a viewer, this part of the movie is just so damn rewarding. Honestly, everyone who crossed the pair ended up getting their comeuppance. There’s a scene near the end of the movie where Django kicks open a cabin door and guns down seven or eight baddies- it’s a relatively short scene but it’s one of my favorites. It probably wasn’t even necessary, but the fact that this cabin full of assholes got what they deserve… it was so pleasing to see.
Quentin Tarantino– is this Tarantino’s best film? I don’t know the answer to this question either- in a way, I think it might have been (I know how this sounds, give me a chance!). It’s certainly his most humorous and commercial/”Hollywood” movie, even though this is the same guy that gave us the Kill Bill saga. Yes, he really tested the “water of controversy” by having the “N-word” appear in the dialogue over one hundred times, but it’s Quentin Tarantino and it’s a movie set in 1858 that revolves around slavery and the South- there’s no avoiding it.
Is Django as good as, say, Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs? I don’t think it’s really a fair comparison, but it’s such a different sort of film that I actually think it is his best work to date. Don’t get me wrong, I love his previous films- Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Jackie Brown, Death Proof, all are favorite’s of mine that I enjoyed immensely, but Django Unchained is something else. I think this is more cut-and-dry than the rest of his films: good vs bad. I think it’s the most likable and certainly the easiest to get into- I think he proved that he can take a western story and turn it into something that is uniquely his. From the soundtrack to the camera work, it really had the Tarantino stamp on it. The previous Django movie (from the 1960’s) is credited as being one of the most violent of its time, a fact that Tarantino didn’t fail to notice- there’s a lot of violence and gore in Tarantino’s Django.
While some of Tarantino’s films might come off as pretentious, Django was overall very likable- there wasn’t much thinking involved. I caught myself a few times thinking, “man, I hope THIS happens next,” and sure enough, it did, and then something even crazier happened right after. He gave us what we wanted, and he did it on his own terms.
The characters in Django Unchained are so memorable, as are the scenes in the movie, that this instantly shot to the top of my Favorite Movies list- it’s certainly one of the best Western’s I’ve ever watched. The cast, the story, the direction, all of it was top notch and most importantly, this was one h*ck of an entertaining film. Django is a movie I could watch again and again.
Advertised as a “Southern Revenge Epic”, it was all that and so much more. Spike Lee doesn’t know what he’s missing…
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