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Django Unchained

A couple weeks ago the studio “lifted the embargo” as they say, and all the online critics unchained their DJANGO reviews even though non-critics wouldn’t see the thing until Christmas. I think that’s a silly ritual because I wasn’t gonna read that shit! This is the new Quentin Tarantino movie, you go in fresh. I already know I want to see any movie he makes, I don’t gotta read everything about it first. In case you’re different I’ve tried to mark the biggest spoilers in this review, but as usual I recommend seeing the movie first.

DJANGO UNCHAINED is the most straight forward movie Tarantino has ever made. It follows one main character from first scene to last, doesn’t cut away to another story or even jump around in time other than some very traditional flashbacks. There are alot of long conversation scenes, but it’s generally pretty clear what they have to do with the main plot of the freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx, STEALTH) becoming a bounty hunter and trying to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a plantation. And that’s not a misleading description, that’s really the movie, a racially charged western (or “Southern,” Tarantino likes to say) in the tradition of those CHARLEY movies I just reviewed.

So in a way it feels uneventful for a Tarantino movie, the first time he made one that was pretty much what I expected from the commercials. On first viewing it seems low in my rankings of the QT filmography, but that doesn’t say much. Tarantino sure knows how to entertain, and I happen to love this genre of badass black cowboys out for frontier justice against practitioners of the slave trade. For his first straight up genre picture that’s a good genre to pick. I love this movie.
For a blaxploitation movie it’s weird how much this centers around white man Christoph Waltz as German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (the meaning of the Dr. King reference is never clear). As an immigrant he’s mystified by America’s practice of slavery. He despises it and gets a kick out of punishing slavers even as he’s sure to follow the letter of the law in paying for Django and “acquiring a bill of sale” since he thinks Django can help him identify three outlaws with a large bounty on their head. Schultz likes to talk and show off his smarts as much as his INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS character Hans Landa, but now we can feel better about being charmed by him because he’s not a Nazi, he’s a quasi-abolitionist. (Also this seems like a nice gesture to the Germans, acknowledging not only that they are not all Nazis, but that at this particular time in history they were clearly more enlightened than we were.)

Anyway, since Django is a very stoic sort of character this means Schultz starts to dominate the movie. He’s the guy who rescues Django, mentors him, comes up with the plans, doesn’t even always tell him what they’re up to. Obviously as a talker he’s the character Tarantino can relate to, so he starts falling in love with him. And it’s fine because he’s such a great character, but at a certain point I started thinking you know what, a movie about this shouldn’t focus on the white guy. Luckily it eventually becomes only about the unchained gentleman and he gets to fulfill his mission and also kill a whole lot of bad people and destroy highly symbolic structures. And I should’ve known he could do it by the way he handled his first mission. He’s just supposed to identify these guys but he handles them by himself, quickly achieving a goal you expect to take up more movie time.

It’s really an origin story, and therefore the first Tarantino movie that ever made me want a sequel. I mean, if he decided to do that sequel to KILL BILL where Vernita Green’s daughter tries to get revenge on Beatrix of course I would be excited, but otherwise you wouldn’t want to see any part 2s of his work. But DJANGO immediately calls for further adventures. By the end he has achieved full badass icon status. There could definitely be a BLADE II of the DJANGO series.

When Foxx was cast I knew he could do well, but he seemed like a less exciting choice than some of the other people who were considered. It would’ve been an unusual role for Will Smith if he’d taken it, and I was excited that Tarantino had considered Chris Tucker. But Foxx turns out to be perfect. He begins the movie as a dehumanized slave trained not to speak up or make eye contact with a white man, but when he sees his window he quickly becomes a black superman. Foxx carries himself in a badass manner worthy of Wesley Snipes or Michael Jai White, a full understanding of expression and posture that can’t be faked.

One of my favorite things in the movie is when Django is newly freed and told to pick out a costume to wear to portray Dr. Schultz’s assistant. He’s excited that he gets to choose anything he wants and this is what he goes with:

It gets a huge laugh I think mainly because it looks silly, but it’s also an act of defiance. Foxx’s whole manner says “I will knock your head off with one punch” and the outfit says “Fuck you, I like wearing this” as well as “What, you’ve never seen a black man wearing an outfit the kid from SONG OF THE SOUTH would wear?”

It’s so ostentatious and gaudy, I think it’s like the Civil War era equivalent of strutting around in a SUPERFLY outfit. Picking out clothes is new to him (the doctor has to recommend against one of the hats he tries on) but he immediately finds a way to use fashion to express himself.

I wasn’t really expecting an action movie here, and like most westerns the emphasis is more on people putting their hands on their guns than on actually shooting them. But there are some full-on shootouts and this is post-KILL BILL Tarantino so he turns them into comically excessive bloodbaths  with industrial strength squibs (analog!), shots that send people flying through the air and innovative ways to deliver pain to characters who really, really deserve it.

Foxx and Waltz are the heart of the movie, but there are two marquee name villains worth praising. After flirting with playing Patrick Bateman and Hans Landa, Leonardo DiCaprio gets to combine a bit of both into Calvin Candie, a horrible scumbag slave owner who thinks he’s the height of sophistication. Samuel L. Jackson does a different kind of playing-against-type as Candie’s disturbingly loyal slave Stephen. Stephen (who at times reminds me of Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks) hates Django for all the wrong reasons. Note that when they meet Django is pretending to be a slaver, but that’s not what Stephen has a problem with. He has a problem with him being free and in some ways treated equal. Over the years it seems like Stephen has figured out a way to be The Man within the system of slavery, kissing Candie’s ass and laughing at his jokes in the dining room but then when he goes into the back rooms he’s in charge. There’s a great shot that follows him from yelling at teasing the other slaves in the kitchen to shucking and jiving for the white men in the living room. He’s worked his whole life to get here and now here’s Django, they let him ride in on a horse and sit at the table with the whites.

Like MANDINGO, the plot delves a little bit into brutal organized fights between slaves. It’s like – to borrow John McCain’s description of the UFC – human cockfighting. I noticed a somebody-somebody Perry credited as a stuntman. I looked it up and sure enough IMDb says J.J. Perry (UNDISPUTED 2, HAYWIRE) was the fight choreographer. This is different from alot of his other work though because it’s all about looking brutal and horrible, not showy. Tarantino stages it very cleverly so that we see one black body pinning down another, fists hammering down, but we see this over the shoulders of these rich white men sitting casually on couches, their heads often blocking the middle of the action. Unlike, say, the horrendous coverage of the tournament fights in WARRIOR, this is thematically smart. Tarantino is not gonna allow you to enjoy this as a movie fight. It’s a horror scene, made more illicit and wrong by the fact that it’s taking place just on a floor in somebody’s home, not some sort of cage or ring. Reminded me of some scenes in FIGHTING, but the effect is more like COCKFIGHTER when they’re having their competition in a hotel room. It’s so casual it’s creepy.

Despite all the violence and brutality in the movie I think Tarantino’s kind of a softie, he loves his good guys and he pulls back before tormenting them as much as he could if he really wanted to upset us. And I’m kind of a softie too so I appreciated the gesture. Thanks for not keeping her pinned down to the table for too long, I thought. I’m happy to have that over with. SPOILER COMING UP. In a vintage spaghetti western Broomhilda surely would have to die, just as O.G. Django’s wife did, and as Charley’s girl did. But I knew Tarantino would want to give them a happy ending, and I like that. It’s sweet.

It does feel a little weird to have the central female character be such a straight up damsel in distress. Like Beatrix Kiddo “That woman deserves her revenge, ” but she does nothing for herself, just gets tormented and rescued. Considering the heroines of JACKIE BROWN, KILL BILL, DEATH PROOF and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS this has gotta be an intentional choice and not just a sexist oversight. Maybe it’s to fit the western archetypes, or the Siegfried legend they talk about, maybe to make Django truly exceptional by being the only defiant slave we see, the inspiration for all others. I don’t know. I wish she got to do more but at the end she looks at Django so lovingly that I couldn’t help believe it and be moved by her.

BIGGER SPOILERS THIS PARAGRAPH. I really like that Dr. Schultz gets a death that’s heroic, but not in the usual way. He could very easily get out of there alive, and probly with Broomhilda as planned. But he takes a stand on principle. He has very successfully protected himself by staying within the law, only killing people who are wanted dead or alive, carrying the warrants, knowing who to show them to, trying to rescue Broomhilda through a legal slavery transaction instead of just busting her out, so that nobody can come after her. But now he’s faced with the idea of shaking hands with this asshole, and he can’t do it. And since he’s decided this is where he’s gonna draw the line, fuck it, no more law. No more paperwork. He decides he’d rather shoot this motherfucker and die than shake his hand and live.

Although it doesn’t entirely pretend to be a vintage spaghetti western (it has 2 hip hop songs in it – I’m torn about how well that works) this has a feeling of being a GRINDHOUSE movie. A more sincere one than Rodriguez would do, but still in that tradition. As good as everybody is in the movie, it does have that sort of “spot the cameo” feel that Tarantino wouldn’t usually bother with. But it’s fun. I didn’t realize that was Tom Wopat, I did guess the masked woman was Zoe Bell, and was pretty sure that was Tom Savini. In case you have poor judgment and are reading this without having seen it I won’t spoil the most out-of-the-blue cameo, but it’s in the stand out funny scene of the movie and it got me good. Tarantino shows up and does his most embarrassing acting performance of all time (does he really think he can do accents!?) but he’s got Michael Parks and John Jarrat (the killer from WOLF CREEK!) with him and makes an exit that justifies the whole thing.

This is not a real criticism, but I noticed a couple things that I think are mistakes on Tarantino’s part. One, why does he name Django’s wife “Broomhilda” when he means “Brunhilde”? No disrespect to one of my favorite directors, but it reminds me of a kid mixing up words that sound similar. Also, he uses the word “Mandingo” to mean slaves that are forced to fight each other, which seems to be a misunderstanding of the movie MANDINGO, in which of course Mandingo is the name for people from a specific region of Africa who the racist whiteys think are genetically good fighters. I wonder if Tarantino is one of these guys who nobody’s gonna try to correct him? Or maybe he knows and just doesn’t care, he likes his fake words.

UPDATE: I saw it a second time and as some of you pointed out in the comments Dr. Schultz always says “Brunhilde,” so it does make sense. I still don’t know about the “mandingo” though.

* * *

I’ve gone this far without really acknowledging how provocative this is, a white man making a movie about slavery that’s looking for a rowdy audience reaction instead of an Oscar. What to make of an enjoyable and funny movie about the most shameful part of our nation’s history? Of course there’s been plenty of entertainment-media drama over Spike Lee “boycotting” the movie. He’s said a few things about it being disrespectful to his ancestors to make spaghetti western entertainment out of their suffering. At least at first he presented this just as his personal feeling, and I think it’s completely legitimate for him. I wonder where he would draw the line, though. Is it wrong to have fun watching X-MEN movies, where Magneto is portrayed as a victim of the Holocaust? It’s certainly fun to see him killing Nazis in FIRST CLASS. What about SCHINDLER’S LIST? I know it’s a bummer and black and white and everything but it’s surprisingly entertaining in my opinion. It’s a great thriller. How do we know if it’s okay or not?

I don’t agree, but it’s easy for me not to agree, having not had ancestors made victims of slavery or genocide. Who am I to say?

I’ve never been a movies-on-Christmas person, but I made an exception for DJANGO, and it felt weird watching this on Christmas. The theater was sold out and very racially diverse and this made for a weird dynamic. To be honest I felt uncomfortable hearing some of the things my fellow white people were laughing at or saying to the movie. I was pretty self conscious about the guy next to me saying “Niiiice!” for any bloody part and just treating it like a shitty slasher movie or something while others had to see this as a depiction of horrors their own family may have experienced a few generations back. Something creepy about it.

We like to say a character like Django is an empowering black hero, but maybe he’s also empowering us whites. We love seeing Indiana Jones punch a Nazi, but Django blowing away slavers has even more of a kick to it because his beef is so personal and so long overdue. Like Hitler getting blown up in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS it’s a justice we didn’t really get, and the world is still damaged because of it. To cheer for Django righteously whipping the white man who whipped him probly makes us imagine some kind of ancestral absolution. Since we enjoy his revenge so much we’re on his team, we’re not with those of our ancestors who were on the wrong side of things.

That’s the mystifying thing about whoever it was on the right who was criticizing this as an anti-white movie: they’re admitting that they identify with the bad guys, because of the color of their skin, instead of the good guys, because of their hatred of slavery. I mean, that pretty much tells you everything right there. The content of their character and all that.

If somebody’s worried about us becoming desensitized to depictions of slavery and extreme racism, where we’ve seen it all and it no longer seems shocking, that might make some sense. But I don’t see that happening now – look at how absent this part of our history has been from our modern culture. Roots was a long damn time ago. How many movies really even deal with slavery directly? I think AMISTAD is great, but it mostly deals with white men in a court room, and tends to be seen as the also-ran Spielberg historical drama. As a culture our answer to the question of what to do with this history is to not talk about it, or to treat it as homework. I like Tarantino’s (and Fred Williamson’s) answer better.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2012 at 11:59 am and is filed under Reviews, Western. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

227 Responses to “Django Unchained”

  1. p.s. I’m glad they used the original DJANGO theme song! I love that song.

  2. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 27th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Good review. I’m Spike Lee-ish on seeing this in a cinema. I read your complete review because I don’t care about the spoilers. I’m concerned about Sam Jackson’s character being portrayed as worse than any of the slavers though. That’s a foul subliminal message right there.

    Maybe eventually in the coming weeks I’ll go, or maybe I’ll just wait to rent it. Almost 3 hours would probably have me checking my watch anyway.

  3. I noticed the Broomhilda/Brunhilde gaff too (unless Tarantino just thought it was a funny reference to the comic strip) and while we’re nitpicking, this movie had some awful hats! Michael Parks’ hat is the worst I’ve ever seen in a Western. It even has a plastic adjuster on the string!


    Loved the rest of the film. Probably Tarantino’s most purely enjoyable for me. A black guy was sitting right behind me in the theater loudly exclaiming his thoughts throughout the film, and while this would usually annoy me, it greatly enhanced the experience. He cheered, clapped, laughed, said “Too cold! Too cold!” during one of the dick shootings and just generally seemed to have the time of his life. Someone shushed him, but he replied, “I ain’t gonna shush. You shush!”

    As of now, I don’t think there’s a better director who can play an audience like Tarantino.

  4. Wasn’t Broomhilda’s scar on her cheek the same one that Django had on his? And wouldn’t that be enough to catch Candie’s “attention” that they came from the same plantation?

    I too was self conscious, mostly laughing at certain parts with the n word. This movie is hysterical, and a lot of that humor comes from the way Sam Jackson’s character speaks. Does that make me racist? I don’t know but it sure makes me sound like a racist in a theater if I’m laughing, doesn’t it?

    Oh and seeing John Jarratt was fucking awesome! I wish to god they would have made two more sequels to Wolf Creek. Shame that one of the most well traveled aussie horror films didn’t get more sequels.

  5. I’m pretty sure the Broomhilda/Brunhilde was actually explained in the dialog but it’s basically what happened to a lot of European culture when it came to America… It got Americanized. Her spoken name probably was Brunhilde but the white men who had to write it down tried to spell it phonetically or misheard it and voila. As far as “Mandingo fighting” goes, since it likely never actually happened historically, at least not as depicted, it’s like he’s citing his source for it in the film… (i.e. the movie Mandingo). It’s a very Tarantino touch for sure.

  6. It is sort of hard to say how much fun this was at the show. Being in a theater full of (mostly) black folk, I was slightly self-conscious about my enjoyment of the dialogue. It didn’t last very long, as soon the whole theater was laughing and then cheering the bad-assness.
    Samuel Jackson’s character was a highlight for me. He was indignant, intelligent, cunning, and a full-on part of the evil of Candyland. His character is difficult because he sort of showed that individual choices and actions make up the systems of hate, but he was also a product of that particular system.

    Oh, and hoods are hilarious, even if it went on a beat or two too long.

  7. Yeah, I was disappointed by this one. It didn’t have the non-linear structure we’d expect from QT, the dialogue (save for Waltz’s) was weak, and the action; while bloody wasn’t all that great. I mean say what you want about Death Proof, but at least the car chases/wrecks had a kick to them. Also the soundtrack (with the exception of the original Django tune) paled next to QT’s previous work.

    Having said that, the supporting cast was a who’s who of awesome character actors. I mean TALON from Sword and the Sorcerer was in it, so I can’t hate it. Plus, Don Johnson as Big Daddy… what more can you say? The hood-or-no-hood scene was almost as funny as anything in Blazing Saddles.

    But Jesus Christ, who told Tarantino it was a good idea to show up at the 11th hour sporting a terrible Aussie accent? It stopped the movie cold for me.

  8. Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo

    December 27th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Nabroleon – I saw Samuel L. Jackson’s character as a comment on the warping effects of slavery. He’s trapped in this life so he’s seized the power he can with the only means he has available. He’s despicable, but definitely not a greater evil than Calvin Candie.

  9. So, QT made another PC revenge movie? Neato; good for him.

    Here’s a list of fun facts that I’m guessing that QT didn’t touch upon in his movie, and (in all likelihood) will never be touched upon by any modern filmmaker:


  10. Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo

    December 27th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Vern, cool review. Regarding your fourth paragraph, QT talks about his reasons for having the spotlight on Schultz for the first part of the movie, in this interview:


  11. Haha. Good one, Larry.

    This is probably my least favorite Tarantino movie. Still makes it pretty good, but if you’ve seen the trailer there really isn’t much that deviates from the story you’re expecting. The Tarantinoisms felt especially corny this time, and the dialogue seemed tedious at times, just delaying getting to the inevitable. The action and cartoony blood splatter were kind of lame too, which made part of the ending even more anti-climactic.

    I’m not going to be one to join in the “Tarantino needs to mature” camp, but I think I can do without another spaghetti western revenge 70’s mashup thing.

  12. Re: Tarantino sequels, you wouldn’t have wanted to see the long rumored THE VEGA BROTHERS? That would’ve been a prequel but still another adventure in PULP/RESERVOIR world.

  13. I agree with Vern that this is the most straight forward story and narrative QT has ever presentenced, and in that regard compared to his other films DJANGO might underwhelm some QT fans. (SPOILER) The plot of the film is a version of the old German story of Brunhilde that Dr. King shares with Djnago in the film. However, even if DJANGO is not QT’s best work it is still a great time at the cinema, and one of the best films of the year.

    I also agree with Vern that it is awesome that QT used the original DJANGO theme song, it kicks all kind of ass.

  14. Nabroleon, Sam Jackson’s character is the villain of the film. Leo’s character is merely his narcissistic & sadistic puppet. The film is pretty clear that as bad as Leo’s Candie is he is still just some ignorant dumb shit with delusions of grandeur that relies on bullshit science and a bloated sense of self-worth to justify his bigotry and actions. Jackson’s house slave knows better, he can see Candie for what he is and knows he is full of shit, but he has figured out how to benefit and improve his status by embracing the situation. Candie is so stupid and cruel, he doesn’t even see himself as a villain. He is just operating based on an ugly and ignorant sense of entitlement, but Jackson’s character recognizes how wrong it all is and is more than willing to be an active participant in the exploitation and brutal treatment of the slaves. That distinction is what sets Jackson’s character apart as the true villain of the film.

    At the same time I can see how the framing of Jackson’s character a house slave who at the end of the day is still a slave himself as the villain could be a gross simplification of the racial politics of the era and a little offensive considering that in realty slaves had no real choice in how they were treated or exploited. However, I think QT wanted to make sure that DJANGO was not a film about the evils of racism, but a revenge story about the evils of slavery. It is not a films about white people vs black people, not all the white characters are bad and not all the black characters are righteous. It is a film about people who support and benefit from slavery vs those that stand in opposition to slavery or are exploited by it.

  15. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 27th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Amazing Larry links to a racist website complete with a “Today In White History” sidebar and Jew blaming in point #2? Statements like…

    “White people didn’t go into Africa and kidnap free black people. They barely needed to get off their ships to buy slaves, it was like buying McDonalds at a drive-through.”
    Dude, when people speak of slavery they immediately think of chattel slavery as practiced as a result of the Atlantic Slave Trade and apply this definition to indigenous African servitude systems, which bore little or no resemblance to chattel slavery. Stop trying to muddy the waters with racist idiot talk. Somebody might take you serious.

    I think Vern mentioned you in the 2nd to last paragraph of his review.

  16. Holy shit, Larry. I hope you cut and pasted the wrong URL there. Jesus. Wow. I did not see this coming.

  17. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 27th, 2012 at 5:55 pm





    I feel you, but the reviews I’ve read have uniformly stated that Sam Jackson’s character is the most despicable person in the film (and that he dies a death worse than any of the slavers). I’ve read a review that said he was the evil Dick Cheney to Dicaprio’s George W. Bush. I’m not feeling that at all. Still undecided on seeing it at the cinema. Maybe if somebody pays my way. We’ll see.




  18. Also, the idea that THIS movie could be called “P.C.” shows what a ridiculous concept “P.C.” is in the first place. I mean how can you even type something like that?

    (or was it meant as a joke?)

  19. Fred- Didn’t Tarantino eventually say because of the age of the actors, that VEGA BROTHERS would be changed from a prequel to a SEQUEL, where they reveal Vince and Vic were each one twin out of two SETS of twins in the same family?

    Larry- Jesus Christ, man. Serious or not, you could at least give a warning about sort of shit you’re linking to. The photos at the top of that page are bad enough.

  20. Shocking news: Tarantino puts out a new movie and Majestyk loves the shit out of it. Experts are baffled.

    Man, what a ride. Even though this was his longest movie, it felt like his shortest because it moved so fast. True, it didn’t have the stylistic or narrative contortions of his other work, but honestly, I see this as maturation. He knew he had a good story so there was no need to chop it up and remix it to generate interest. He trusted the story to carry itself. Also, this is probably the first one where I sense him taking an actual stand. True, it’s not a controversial one (Racists are shitheads and we shouldn’t tolerate them, no matter what the law says) but I found Schultz’s sacrifice quite moving. Has QT ever depicted a character in moral torment before? You can’t be too cool for school with evil cocksuckers like these Candieland cocksuckers around. There’s ain’t enough post-modern ironic detachment in the world to make that okay.

    I really can’t decide if it’s better than BASTERDS. That one had more jaw-dropping sequences but by sticking closely to a single protagonist for DJANGO he gave the movie more emotional propulsion and thus a more cohesive feel.

    Shit, man, I just love this movie. How do you take a Lite FM ballad like that Jim Croce song and turn it into a badass blaxploitation anthem? That’s that Tarantino alchemy. Nothing like it.

    Oh, and I bet QT named Schultz “King” just so he could use the awesome theme song to HIS NAME WAS KING, and then he got the giggles when he realized what would happen if he made him a doctor, too.

  21. Nabrolean: I think Jackson’s character was meant to show how deep-reaching the scars of slavery go, turning black people against each other to hold onto the crumbs that fall off the white man’s table. “Crabs in the bucket” syndrome. There’s no evidence to suggest that Tarantino saw him as “worse” than the slavers themselves, since it was the slavers who created this particular brand of villainy. It all comes back to the same root cause.

  22. I would like to preface my comments by saying I am not racist and I loved the movie (though I feel it has serious pacing issues at certain points).

    Did anyone else get the sense that Tarantino would have loved to call this movie “Nigger on a Horse” but couldn’t because that would be just too extreme? I know Tarantino has seen all the movie with the n-word in title that you’ve referenced lately, Vern. Feels like as a lover of exploitation cinema, and given how often people in the movie are shocked to see it and how important it is, “Nigger on a Horse” was his first choice as title. But I could be wrong. Total guessing on my part.

    Great movie all around. Kinda weird to have a Tarantino movie told in chronological order with no chapters. Never thought I’d live to see it.

  23. @Nabroleon: OK, here’s a couple of reroutes to the same factual information (albeit in greater detail) found on the “racist website” I linked to before:



    FYI, that’s not “trying to muddy the waters with idiot racist talk”. That’s factual information dealing with particular aspects of slavery (both directly and peripherally related to the history of slavery in the U.S.) that people who still make an ISSUE of it do not want to acknowledge or be held accountable for.

    @Vern: “PC” in the sense that to criticize either Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained for their SUBJECT MATTER (Jews exacting revenge on Nazis, Black slave exacting revenge on White slaveholders) could & would be interpreted as racist. Yes, QT could be criticized for his execution of the subject matter, but to criticize him for the subject matter itself would be a no-no in today’s PC environment.

  24. So your gripe is that they haven’t made a movie that encompasses all slavery throughout history?

    And quit pussyfooting around with links and just come out with your bullshit diatribe so it can be shot down. What’s your criticism of the subject matter? Just another example of Hollywood keeping the white man down?

  25. Of course slavery wasn’t just an American thing, and a lot of countries abolished it several years later than the United States. But, hell, linking to a white supremacist page doesn’t excactly help you Larry.

  26. Uh, that’s not a “racist website”. That’s a RACIST WEBSITE. And your first comment was expressing frustration that Tarantino had made another “PC revenge movie”, so you’re also an anti-semite who was already angry at Basterds for championing Jews.

    I haven’t seen DJANGO yet, but I have seen modern code words for neo-Confederate, anti-black, anti-jew hate speech. Anybody who refers to people who “still make an issue out of slavery” in “today’s PC environment” is, sorry, a racist asshole. So, unless this is all some kind of very extended joke, which if it is it’s in incredibly poor taste and not funny at all, please save this bullshit for the Tea Party rally. It ain’t welcome here.

  27. Man, I love the commentariat at your site, Vern. Bringing the logical and rational and civil smackdown when necessary. Making me proud to be a fan. Just saying.

  28. nabroleon dynamite

    December 28th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    @Amazing Larry.

    Thanks for posting to a more reasonable and factual website.

    Here’s a factual quote from the Wikipedia African Slave Trade link…

    “In most African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated.”
    So yeah, comparing fully integrated indentured slaves in Africa to non-integrated Chattel Slaves in America makes you a total fucking idiot.

    Wake Up!

  29. I’m not sure I understand the reasoning. Other people had slaves so that lets America off the hook? That’s like saying, “Yeah, I rape children, but so do other people so maybe show some perspective, huh, bud?” No. That’s not how it works. It’s a fucking atrocity no matter who does it, no matter how many times it happens, no matter who it happens to. This movie is about this one particular atrocity. It doesn’t have to display a fair and balanced view of the atrocity in light of other atrocities so it doesn’t hurt the feelings of people who for some unknown reason take offense at the depiction of the perpetrators of the atrocity as the kind of assholes who would perpetrate such an atrocity. Me, I feel no kinship with people just because they’re white. I’m supposed to put myself in the shoes of some monstrous cocksucker just because we have a similar amount of melanin in our system? Fuck those people. Pretty much across the board, I’m on the side of the guys who aren’t terrible shitheads. Yes, even if they’re members of a group I’m not affiliated with. A bunch of stats about other terrible shitheads isn’t gonna change my mind. It’s just gonna give me another group of terrible shitheads to side against.

  30. I saw this last night with the husband, and we both loved it. Whoever compared the hood scene to Blazing Saddles has it right on the money. Can anyone tell me if SPOILERS the guy who went home after his wife was dissed was Jack White?

    As for the Stephen character, I may be way off here, but I came away with a different take on the relationship between his and the character Calvin’s relationship. MORE SPOILERS After Calvin is shot, Stephen immediately goes over and hugs and rocks him in a way that one would their child. My immediate thought was that Stephen is Calvin’s father from some illicit affair the mother may have had with the slave. After all, this was a plantation where that kind of “love” was pretty common, and this is Tarantino, so why couldn’t the mom have been getting her freak on as much as the men in the family? Or maybe Calvin was his brother. (Or maybe I’ve seen Band of Angels too many times.)

    To me, a power situation due to Stephen’s control over the master explains Stephen’s anger, but it didn’t explain the way he rocked the dead body. It would also explain why he gets away with a hell of a lot with Calvin, beyond general amusement of the master.

    Oh, and was that Jamie’s fox, for lack of a blunter term, or so you all think that was a Boogie Nights-style prosthetic?

  31. You know, i cant wait to see “Django Unchained”, and i really admire Tarantino most of the time.
    We share the same age and a lot of the same favorites. I also love the fact that wich each new movie he bring some
    light to some obscure gems that we forgot, or never heard of. Remember the floodgate of DVD releases, he
    opened with “Kill Bill”. So i am really not a hater, but sometimes he just talks out of his ass.


    Didn´t he ever thought something like : Wait, some Directors i really admire, like Sergio Leone, Sam Fuller,
    Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, let alone Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa named Ford a Giant and one of
    the greatest american Director ever. Maybe he was something more than a racist asshole.
    Saying bullshit like i hate Ford, is like saying : I hate the “Sistine Chapel”.

  32. He never said he was a bad filmmaker. He just said he hates him.

  33. Pretty sure this is my favorite movie of the 2012.

    I loved the two main characters and their teacher/student buddy relationship. I could watch another hour of their bounty hunting escapades. I think Waltz’s King Schultz is the most likeable character I’ve seen on the big screen this year. Schultz does have a pretty big/important role in this, but I never felt like he “dominated” the movie. It was always Django’s story. Foxx isn’t getting the awards attention that most of the other actors are getting, but I think he deserves some. He showed me a lot in this. He plays the slave, THE FASTEST GUN IN THE SOUTH, the cocky Black Slaver, the lover, the exploitation hero, etc

    Leo was quite good and scummy and charismatic. I thought the dinner scene and the contract signing scene were a bit dragged out, but that wasn’t Leo’s fault. Sam Jackson is the biggest scene stealer in the movie. In a way, he is treated like the biggest villain. They save his EXPLOSIVE death for last.

    Now bring on the “Django turns, smiles and nods” gifs

  34. It’s funny, because Tarantino often badmouths some universally admired filmmakers (like Kubrick, Hitchcock, and now Ford), but he still borrows from them. A few examples:

    1. THE KILLING: While Tarantino might claim that the fractured structure of RESERVOIR DOGS is more from the book THE KILLING is based on than the film, I ain’t exactly buying it.
    2. PSYCHO: The scene where Butch is at a stop light and sees Marsellus crossing the street is taken shot for shot from PSYCHO, where Marion is at a stoplight and sees her boss crossing the street.
    3. THE SEARCHERS: KILL BILL vol 2 referenced the famous “framed in a doorway” final shot of THE SEARCHERS. The montage scenes in DJANGO UNCHAINED where Schultz and Django ride through the snow amongst the buffalo are shot for shot from the montage scenes in THE SEARCHERS.

    All minor little things, but I always find it kind of funny. Tarantino takes from EVERYBODY, even filmmakers he doesn’t really like.

  35. Spike Lee’s being kind of short-sighted, in my opinion. I can understand (but don’t agree with) his stance that making entertainment out of the pain and suffering of his ancestors is disrespectful but surely there’s a wider issue here? Slavery is still a thing that exists in many parts of the world and you’d think that anything that brings attention to these kind of issues is a good thing. Yeah the movie is entertaining and fun but that’s the exact reason it’ll reach such a wide audience.

  36. ANoniMouse: There’s an idea I hadn’t considered, but it’s interesting. I don’t know that Stephen would be the true biological father, but it is likely that Stephen raised Calvin as a child and spent more time with him than his real father would have. Part of Stephen being such an evil cocksucker is him holding on to his power position and the legit justification of survival, but you’re right that there is probably some real love there too.

    The more I read comments here and other places the more I realize there is some serious character depth that I had missed on first viewing.

  37. Vernon – could you please give some more thoughts on the hip-hop in the movie?

  38. Nabroleon Dynamite

    December 28th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Just read Capone’s review on aintitcool and it’s pretty consistent with other reviews I’ve read.

    He says…

    “If DJANGO UNCHAINED has a real villain, it is Stephen, who enjoys his position and life and will do anything to defend it.”

    And that’s why I haven’t gone to see this yet. A slavery movie where the worse villain is another slave. SMH…

    Like I said, I plan to see it because I like crazy fucked up shit and I won’t be brainwashed by that subliminal message.

    I’m just in no rush. I’ll probably end up with a bootleg copy by the weekend anyway.

  39. Nabrolean: I don’t agree with Stephen being the worst villain. I think the reason people are saying that is because he’s complex. The other villains in the movie are racist assholes, it’s easy to see their motivation. Stephen is more befuddling, you’re trying to figure out where he’s coming from, so he’s very memorable. But of course the movie doesn’t hang the institution of slavery on him.

    I can see your concern though. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it if you see it.

  40. Well, I think Django considers him to be the worst villain in the movie. He says as much before going to Candyland. Something about how the only thing lower than a Head House [THE WORD] is a black slaver.

  41. I think the character of Stephen raises an interesting question… What is more evil? The originators of the wrongful state or those who find a way to succeed in it (and therefore perpetuate it) anyway. I’m not sure. Stephen is pretty despicable either way… I did come away feeling he was somehow more reprehensible than Candie. Him running to his master in distress after Candie had been shot was just disgusting…

  42. The movie doesn’t hang the institution of slavery on Stephen, but as far as individuals in the movie, he’s Django’s most effective foe. He thwarts the big plan that will fulfill Django’s greatest ambition. On top of that, he’s perceptive and presumably aware of the consequences that tattling to Candie will bring about – yet he does it anyway, primarily out of spite, even when he could have let the scheme happen at no cost to himself. It’s arguable that he’s so ensconced in the Candieland power structure that he’s long been intellectually infected as well as just now falling prey to a sudden surge of envy (Stephen hates Django on sight.) Still, Stephen is uniquely despicable because he presumably doesn’t loathe Django for being subhuman but for being someone who has risen above “his place” more than Stephen ever did (or would.) In other words, for some of the individual qualities that make Django awesome to us.

  43. Well, you have to think of how much time a servant, paid or slave, spends with children in powerful, rich homes compared to the actual parent. I know The Help is a very flawed movie, but it brought up the very same subject. The children become attached to a nanny or maid or butler in ways they would not be to their biological parent because their society set it up that way. This was especially true of the Deep South around the time period of Django, too. Parents were busy entertaining and running he plantation and other nonsense. to be hands-on was uncouth and had a lower-class stigma, I’m sure. Maybe Stephen wasn’t a bio parent, but he was probably more of a father and mentor to the Candie children than their parents ever were. He just also happened to use it to attain what little power he could. Probably one of te reasons he revealed Django’s con was that it was an insult to his ego that a free slave was trying to pull one over on “his”(Stephen’s) boy in “his” house. To reveal it would also prove just how much Stephen is needed in the home, not to mention it allowed the audience to see who was really in charge there.

    And you have to wonder how much Django being free and talking in a way outside of his “station” to powerful white men was an affront to many of the slaves just because they were so institutionalized and brainwashed into accepting their position as what was normal, almost like an abusive personal relationship. (Candie’s theory being oh so wrong and just plain stupid.)

  44. Everybody should definitely check out Henry Louis Gates’s 3-part interview with Tarantino. Really good stuff. Part 2 explains some of his thinking on Steven and part 3 addresses what I talked about in my review about worrying that it was turning into another story about the white guy who helps the black guy. He says he did that on purpose:

    “However, knowing you have the history of cinema where, OK, this is a movie about Stephen Biko, but we’re telling it through Kevin Kline’s eyes — that kind of situation — I actually was hoping to get a little bit of narrative anxiety going on about halfway through the movie: Wait, is this just going to be Schultz doing everything? What’s going on here?”

  45. Poor Quentin. “Still not a Brother”.

    Not that it´s a surprise. You can always bet on Armond. Dont get me wrong. I am not a White Fan, but it is kind of
    provoking. I would love to read Sam Jackson´s reaction.


  46. @anonimouse… I hadn’t even considered the fact that Stephen might look at Candie as a surrogate child. He really is a complicated character. I want a whole movie about Stephen. This movie has layers, man…

  47. Vern, where can I watch that interview? Couldn’t find it on YouTube.

  48. Nevermind, found the transcript.

  49. Vern, I agree that Stephen is a complex character and the film never explicitly singles him out as being a greater villain than Candie, or tries to hang the institution of slavery on him, but there are a number of things in the film that frame him as the greater villain. For example, Wadew mentioned the bit of dialog where Django spells out how hated black slavers and house salves are by other slaves. However, it is not just the dynamics of the racial politics of the film that treat Stephen like the villain. The structure of the story also frames him as the primary villain. (SPOILERS) Django is motivated by revenge but ultimately his quest is not one of revenge. It is motivated by love. It is the story of a black knight saving the princess from the clutches of evil. From that perspective Candie is unwillingly preventing Django from achieving his goal and reuniting with his long lost love. He is not a conscious antagonist in the narrative, (I warned you SPOILERS) but Stephen figures out what Djano’s goal is and he makes a conscious decision to make things hard for him when he could just keep his mouth shut.

  50. No, you’re right Charles. I just want to assure Nabroleon that the villainy of Steven doesn’t absolve white slavers of their sins.

    One thing about the earlier dialogue though is that Django considers a black slaver to be worse than a house slave, which means there are people out there he has met that are worse than Steven. And he has to act as one of them and even allow D’artagnan to be eaten by dogs in order to get what he wants. So he becomes “dirty.”

    I wonder if he got the idea for the D’artagnan thing while watching Paul W.S. Anderson’s THREE MUSKETEERS (since of course he was a fan of that).

  51. I really do wish we could get more stories about slavery and the antebellum south in movies. There are a lot of interesting stories that could be told. I don’t hold out much hope though.

    It’s not a criticism of this movie but I do wish there was a movie where the slave owners didnt act so overtly evil. Like if they thought they were good to their slaves and thought they were good people. I imagine a lot of slave owners saw themselves that way. Don’t get me wrong–holding people in slavery automatically makes you evil. I am just fascinated by the ways people attempt to justify evil deeds.

    I do like how in Django, the white sister who appeared on the surface to be semi-decent still got blown away by Django. Nice touch, Tarantino. Evil is evil.

  52. OK, I understand where you are coming from. I agree that the framing of Stephen as the villain in no way absolves the sins of the white slave owners. He is the villain not because of racial politics but because of his role in the story and opposition to Django and his goals. You are also right about the intent of the dialog that calls out a black slaver as being worse than a house slave. It is meant to set the table for the type of unsavory character Django must pretend to be/become to gain access to Candie Land, but it does provide insight into the racial politics of the film and the era.

    Thank you for the link to article, it was very interesting. (SPOILERS) I like the part where QT talks about the dynamics of Dr. Shultz & Django’s relationship, and how it changes once they go to Mississippi. Up until that point Django is following the lead of his mentor Shultz, but once they enter Mississippi there is sort of a role reversal where the student becomes the teacher and it is Shultz that takes ques from Django. Shultz understands the evils of the slave trade and the people involved in it, but has not dealt with the horrors of slavery firsthand the way Django has. The reality is despite how worldly and badass Shultz is he is not prepared for the evil and ugliness he encounters in Mississippi.

  53. Great take, Charles. It plays into Shultz’s rash decision to kill Candie, when he could make it out by being a bitch and shaking Candie’s hand.

  54. “Like if they thought they were good to their slaves and thought of themselves as good people. I imagine a lot of slave owners saw themselves that way.”

    A lot of them did indeed. For example: Thomas Jefferson.

  55. Exactly Chuck, all that evil and ugliness was more than Shultz could stomach. (SPOILERS) Shultz won, he, Django and Broomhilda could have just road off into the sunset, but he couldn’t handle sitting idly in the face of all that evil and cruelty.

  56. I really enjoyed this movie. I wonder how it will hold up in a few years time?

    Thought the cast was great, with two exceptions. QT, obviously, really shouldn’t be in front of the camera too much, especially if he’s called upon to do accents; and, although he was good, Foxx wasn’t the sort of great that Tarantino can often get out of his actors. To be fair I guess QT had the decency to blow himself up.

    Vern: I’m with you about how MJW would’ve been a great Django. I can’t picture Will Smith (who was the first choice but apparently not interested) in the role, but god, MJW…

    And within five seconds of SLJ’s character coming on the screen, I couldn’t stop thinking of Uncle Ruckus, so I’m glad someone else saw that.

    And this is neither here nor there but if there’s ever a Paul Krugman biopic I hope they get Waltz to play him.

  57. Toby Waller-Kinte

    December 29th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    “I do wish there was a movie where the slave owners didnt act so overtly evil. Like if they thought they were good to their slaves and thought they were good people.”


  58. Seems to me that it would have been less authentic if Broomhilda’s name had been spelled. Naming a slave child the exact name of the most famous female figure in German folklore (Brunhilde) would have been unacceptable so Broomhilda was given a phonetically sounding ‘slave’ variation of the name. Also think Tarantino was referring to the slang definition of Mandingo rather than the literal definition of the word.

    I am confused as to why the movie begins by announcing that the year is 1858–two years before the Civil War. The Civil War started in April 1861 which would have made 1858 more like 3 years before the Civil War.

  59. Seems to me that it would have been less authentic had Broomhilda’s name been spelled with the correct German spelling. Naming a slave child the exact name of the most famous female figure in German folklore (Brunhilde) would have been unacceptable so Broomhilda was given a phonetically sounding ‘slave’ variation of the name. Also think Tarantino was referring to the slang definition of Mandingo rather than the literal definition of the word.

    I am confused as to why the movie begins by announcing that the year is 1858–two years before the Civil War. The Civil War started in April 1861 which would have made 1858 more like 3 years before the Civil War.

  60. …when he sees his window he quickly becomes a black superman.

    Speaking about seeing the window… or rather, missing it entirely! Black Hercules, Vern. Black Hercules.

    Great review!

    As for the Broomhilda / Brunhilde thing, Dr. Shultz says it properly about a dozen times, so I think it’s okay to assume Tarantino knows how to say it and the name was just anglicized by the characters saying it.

  61. Hmmm… not the write XHTML to use obviously. How about this?

    …when he sees his window he quickly becomes a black superman.

  62. Thought DJANGO was good but not as good as BASTERDS. Leo and Sam were my favorite parts (though I also liked Foxx’s wardrode).

    The film has a wonderful tension, and it’s hard to fit into a genre which is usually a good sign (at least it makes for a memorable experience). One friend I saw it with described it as a “Plantation Horror movie” and at a certain point there – when Shultze starts talking about Dumas – I thought they’d get the wife back without a blood bath (sorta like how Hans doesn’t die at the end of BASTERDS). That would’ve taken real BALLS.

    I liked the following gunfights, though I think they got excessive (and the movie felt too long by then). And I’m gonna step onto my soapbox and say that despite everything that had happened to him and to his wife and to the other slaves, it was WRONG for Django to kill the sister (though it was funny how she flew out of the frame).

    I started thinking about QUIGLY DOWN UNDER a few hours after seeing this. There’s a house elf slave in that one, too. Probably not as good as I remembered (and it’s rated PG13, I think) but Tom Selleck has some great, badass cowboy moments, and Alan Rickman is the main villain. So there. I’d like to hear your take on it, Vern.

  63. The sister had originally ordered Django’s balls to be cut off. Then she “came up” with the idea to send him off to a worse fate. She lives off the year of slavery for years and worried more about how the “help” looked in her home rather than how they were treated. She got a quick death, which was on many ways deserved. But I’ll point out that she was in a similar (though not as dire) position that Stephen and many house slaves were in, for how many opportunities did a woman, even a rich white woman, have that would help her foster independence and fight against the slave system? And if she is comparable to the house help in terms of living and surviving within the system she grew up in, it’s interesting that he let the other women go. But again, she ordered someone to cut off his balls after having him hung naked upside down. Then she sent him to a death camp. Who knows what was to happen to Hildy.

  64. @ ANoni, I must not have been paying close enough attention to what was being said. I attribute that partially to the pitfalls of Telling instead of Showing. I was primarily focused on the fact that Jamie Foxx’s dick & balls (or prosthetic dick & balls) were doingling around that white guy with the red-hot knife, and that he was upside down wearing that Hannibal Lector mask. Amidst all that horror I missed the part where we learn she ordered Django’s balls to be cut off.

    And yes, I fixed how my handle is spelled.

  65. Vern – I dont think you need Paul W.S. Anderson to get the idea of a francophile Plantation Owner, named a Slave
    after a character of one of the most famous french books ever written.
    I am also pretty sure that Tarantino loved the 1973/74 Version by Richard Lester (One of the greatest Films ever)
    still more than the Anderson bullshit.
    My Mom use to breed persian Cats when i was a kid. In her first litter, two cats named Athos and Aramis, and we are
    not even french.

  66. Haven’t slept much the last few weeks, and my ears & head are still swimming in air travel blah-ness, but here’s my semi-coherent thoughts on a narrow range of possible issues to discuss here since seeing DJANGO UNCHAINED a few hours ago:

    If I recall correctly, Dr. King (ha ha, oh QT, you scamp) Schultz proposes to Django X (the ‘X’ is silent in my opinion) that they together go bounty hunting for the winter, “until the ice melts,” I think he says. That is, to remain in Schultz’s service/assistance until the time when [life-killing] solid water becomes [life-giving] liquid water, then take on the role of free man (indeed calling himself Freeman, as so many blacks did in 19th century America) and find the girl in springtime.

    Upon Django X’s 1st non-flashback, non-hallucination sighting of Brunhilde
    (fake name, fairy tale name that paradoxically is also a slave name, that is also simply a reflection of her most obvious, definitive trait – German fluency – via the perspective of amused white property owners)
    aka Broomhilduh or however the less literate spelt it in the days before linguistic standardization tyrannized our nation’s comms,
    she is in Hell, burning underground, below the soil that gives nutrients to crops, naked as a baby, lifted from her hole by her brutish masters, delivered kicking & screaming into the world by vile rednecks
    (as unnatural, jarring, and poignant a sight as the brief shot of whitey’s bright red blood splashing across the cotton field in the film’s strongest moment:

    and has water splashed on her, causing liquid water to become gaseous water.

    You can choose to invest meaning in the symbolism of the seasonal timeline

    (roughly Christmas-birth (via immaculate Tooth Fairy gunfighter, not immaculate insemination)-to-Easter-rebirth (after the hooded crucifying, crossburning type crowd make fools of themselves) -to-descent-to-the-torture-&-summery-conditions-of-Hell-to-Resurrection-to-glory-&-love in DJANGO UNCHAINED, handled with much more subtlety, visceral-ness, & intelligence than, say, the silly tacked-on Christmas-to-New Year’s background nothingness faux-symbolic gibberish in PROMETHEUS)

    and you can choose to invest meaning in the symbolic role of the properties of water

    (ice; winter; shot up snowman; melted ice; springtime;
    bucket of liquid water vaporized in the pit when poured on Brunhilde’s skin;
    canteen of cleansing water Django pours on his own head after shooting/blowing up the idiot Aussies;
    champagne in an ice bucket somehow staying chilled (How is ice available in summer in Mississippi? Did I imagine this?))

    in relation to

    -Django’s introduction,

    -his “birth” into freedom & a new professional servitude to/with some German white guy (who turns out to be a brilliantly serendipitous choice, almost a personalized guardian angel or specialized secret agent type of being, as liaison to Django’s wife once they get to the belly of the beast),

    -his servitude to an agenda of vengeance,

    -his reclamation of a fake personhood,

    -his self-guided descent into a newer level of Hell as a black slaver (worst of the worst, according to the script),

    -his sacrifice & further painful descent (not self-guided this time) when the vengeance plan fails,

    -the topsy-turvy-ness of his identity/identities
    (flips roles constantly
    from nothingness
    to man-in-love
    to devastated unpaid slave in dirty rags
    to paid employee Mister Freeman in fresh blue velvet
    to powerful uppity slave owner & mandingo scout
    to weakened slave owner & mandingo scout who is acutely threatened by the keen house nigg*
    to slave again (– and literally flipped upside-down when re-captured; and has physical manhood threatened & nearly snipped, almost literally losing his identity as a male)
    and finally to free man)

    -Brunhilde’s torture, and the rest of Django’s journey to & through Hell, and the literally explosive finale in which he transcends the simple chemical possibilities of water and takes his journey to the next level by turning blood, flesh, and the solid structures of enslavement (CandieLand) into dust & fire.
    No fairy tale, this. Django X’s vengeance is an angry science.


    The whole plot of the movie, the microcosmic story of these few characters in 1858-1859, sort of presages the near-term future of the United States, of the Civil War (1861-1865), the perils & strains of postwar society, and the continuing, often violent struggle for equality through the 20th century before racism in the US officially ended in November 2008, of course.

    Good movie, great discussion here. Shame about that ignorance link near the top of the thread. Guess we gotta shun that guy now, but, like the awesome Irishman says in BRAVEHEART, I never liked him anyway. He wasn’t right in the head.


    I wasn’t quite blown away by DJANGO UNCHAINED as I watched it, but in the hours since the ending credits bonus scene I know you all stayed to watch
    (Uh-oh, an excuse to re-watch!),
    I keep finding more to chew, more to argue. Fuckin’ Tarantino; this is not even close to his best movie… but he did it again.

  67. I guess I missed all that about the white sister. Need to see this again.

  68. The sister absolutely had to die. Django wasn’t just getting revenge. He was bringing down the whole plantation (i.e., the institution of slavery in microcosm). If she’d been allowed to live, she would have reopened the plantation and started the horror all over again, perhaps even more brutal out of a sense of vengeance. But the Candie family had no heirs, so killing the sister represented the end of their dynasty. It was the ultimate revenge. Their line ended, just as their way of life would soon end, while Django and Hildie von Shaft would start a family that would eventually produce a certain black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks.

    Bonus points to Django for taking his wife’s name. That takes a real man.

  69. And the sister and Calvin have a thing going on, right? Or am I reading too much into their delicate touches?

  70. Even if they weren’t necessarily fucking, there was definitely some inappropriate attachment happening between those two. You can’t do Southern Gothic without aristocratic incest. I believe Faulkner said that.

  71. Chopper, I got that feeling, too. Maybe they weren’t actually sexing, but the relationship was a little more than brother and sister in the way they carried on. Makes you wonder what happened to the sister’s husband.

    We didn’t stay for the credits. Now I’m bummed.

  72. A comment to the author on the Broomhilda/Brunhilda — my actual house is in the movie and is where the first mandingo fight takes place (although that cut away to a soundstage). I’m writing this about 20 feet away from the Nefertiti bust in that was in the movie, which I got to keep. The setting in the movie was called the Cleopatra Club (you can see the brass/gold plaque they put on both sides of my front door), but the symbol for the club is Nefertiti, which was deliberately done. It was a clever way to show something about Candie.

    Earlier, a title says “1858, two years before the civil war”, but the civil war didn’t start until April 1861. I had a party last night where we all went and saw the movie. I asked maybe 10 people about that, and most of them said something seemed wrong when they saw the title, but they weren’t sure what. Maybe Tarantino meant that it was less than 3 years, or maybe he was messing with us subtly.

    Generally, the level of intelligence and craftsmanship in the writing and the movie itself is immense. The people that worked on the film were amazing and strived to create something significant. I suggest to the readers here that every detail like that is more likely chosen deliberately than accidentally. There’s probably a message or meaning in there.

    And by the way, Quentin (as everyone calls him on the set) was about the friendliest person I have ever met. When he checked out the house scouting locations, and even during the shoot with a 100 extras and a large crew, he was totally accessible and nice to talk with.

    So he made a great movie I utterly love, and was a prince of a guy as well. I think we’ll be figuring out his meanings and easter eggs through the movie for a while to come!

  73. I think the Stephen dynamic is laid out when Candie says, “I can’t figure out why the slaves don’t fight us” (not exact words) because the whites are so outnumbered. Stephen is the enabler of the institution — it only works if africans help enslave each other. Notice that he pours himself a brandy without asking in the study. When alone, they are equals. Earlier, he signs Candie’s name to the check he writes. He runs the show, as he did for Candie’s father. They are partners running the area’s largest business.

    There is a great, great scene where Candie explains phrenology and the 1 in 10,000 remark. It ran 2-3 minutes, and I assume just had to be cut. It’s what Django is referring to at the climax when he says he is that 1 in 10,000. I truly hope Tarantino does an extended edition and adds back 30-40 minutes into the movie.

    What I’m wondering, is did Schultz think they would die anyway as part of a trick with the handshake?

  74. Thanks for sharing that, wizsquid, that’s good stuff. I definitely would not have picked up the Cleopatra/Nefertiti thing on my own.

  75. Thanks, Vern. Just read the Henry Louis Gates interview, great stuff. The Mandingo fight scene QT referenced as having a more violent version, as I had heard it when they were shooting, originally had dismemberment, but they went back and shot another version like the next day. QT made a good call on that one. I didn’t need to be any more traumatized. I assume there was the same in the dog scene where they must have showed even more.

    I have a family member that married an heiress to a plantation as large as Candieland (40,000 acres). Her father was 13 at the end of the civil war, and had her in his mid-fifties, and she lived till the 21st century. She explained to me some of what had happened. Essentially the plantations were like factories in a way, and all of the capital was in the slaves and the land. The end of the war caused the land to have no way to work it (they were “land poor”), and people became sharecroppers. She knew many people born into slavery, and there were things that some of them never really understood because of that, like money.

    I wish I had thought to ask her more about the darkest sides of that business. She was part of the movement to abolish all segregation in the 1950s and 1960s, and I think QT did a great job of bringing those issues up. Other female family members described the mid-1900s in New Orleans where a black man would cross the street rather than pass by a young white woman on the same side of the street. It wasn’t worth the risk. Why whitewash this stuff away? I think Spike is doing himself a disservice… QT is doing something great with his movie.

  76. Saw this last night, one of the most uncomfortable moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had. Obviously I enjoyed the movies (had a few problems with it, but QT always delivers the entertaining) but felt like the audience I saw it with was taking entirely the wrong idea from it. They LOVED Samuel Jackson’s character, laughing uproariously whenever he appeared. Granted, his character is obviously funny in a pathetic, sick kind of way, but their enthusiasm for the character (which went all the way to his final appearance) just unsettled the hell out of me. It would be like if an audience clapped and cheered for Zed in PULP FICTION. It’s maybe the first time I’ve ever felt like I truly understood what made Dave Chappelle leave the business — yes, it IS a joke, but you’re laughing at the wrong thing. They also cracked up when they saw Foxx naked and chained up upside down (?!?!).

    I was totally OK with Tarantino making an apolitical film about slavery, purely as entertainment. The guy loves revenge, and what more black and white injustice to avenge than slavery? Fine. But I was kind of unprepared at how repulsed I’d be by seeing people have THIS much fun with the subject (not just the revenge, but with the hi-larious foibles of the slave system). I don’t know, I thought I would be more able to separate the over-the-top revenge thriller from the real-life horror of slavery (particularly since historical reality barely even makes a cameo in DJANGO). But I dunno, watching the Mandingo fighters was one of the most upsetting things Ive seen in a movie this year, and watching it with an audience hooting and hollering at it felt really disturbing. Even though I know it (probably) never happened in real life. I just wasn’t ready for people to find the villains and the whole institution equally entertaining as the revenge. Obviously QT wants to make an entertaining film, not a moral statement, maybe I shouldn’t be upset by people being hugely entertained by a film which is obviously intended to entertain them. I mean, superficially a Jason film is just as purient, and I have lots of fun with those, right? But something about the whole experience made me end up feeling dirty and disturbed.

    Anyone else have this experience, or did I just pick the wrong showing?

  77. I think/hope you just picked the wrong showing, Subtlety.

  78. You must have went to a bad showing. The one I went to people (myself included) were laughing at Sam Jackson’s character’s introduction (and pretty much half the time he was on screen since he started getting all schemy) but shit got quiet during Broomhilda flashback with her getting whipped, the Mandingo fight scene you mentioned, and especially the dog attack. I really doubt those scenes were intended as comedy.

  79. FWIW, Mr. Subtlety, sounds like your response echoes that of one of our best bloggers on issues of race in America:


    He’s a bit tough on us white folks in that review, based solely on the audience with whom he happened to see it. But in any case these seem to be genuine and important concerns.

    (I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t really comment either way.)

  80. If his “downtown Brooklyn” cinema is the one I’m thinking of, the audiences there are universally tone-deaf and hateable.

    That’s not to say he’s wrong though. There are going to be a lot of dumb white folks who, as Vern says, aren’t going to like the movie for the right reasons, but I don’t think that’s something we should hold against the movie.

  81. I agree with that, M. Casey. But I suppose when you make a movie so connected to defining American images and histories and stories, you have to be aware of how it hits different audiences in relation to them, and how different choices will fit into those narratives. So it’s part of the conversation, I think.

  82. I should say, I saw it in a theater in DC with a pretty racially diverse audience. Definitely not the whole audience was reacting that way, I would say maybe a third was, but I didn’t get a sense of exactly who. It was a pretty youthful group (mostly 20somethings) so maybe that had something to do with it.

    It’s weird, because of course the film IS supposed to be funny. The guy in the blog that Ben linked to wasn’t pleased that the white audience he saw it with laughed at the town’s shocked reaction to seeing Django on a horse, but honestly I feel like that is a legitimate and earned comedic moment. They’re laughing at the awkwardness of it, and with confusion as to what the fuck Schultz thinks he’s doing causing such a stir. I sincerely doubt they’re laughing because they agree with the racist white townsfolks, right? And I feel like a lot of their enthusiasm for Jackson’s character is simply because everyone loves Sam Jackson and it’s a funny turn to see him essentially playing Uncle Ruckus instead of the badass characters we’re used to. I don’t think it was really malicious laughter, I think they just accepted Tarantino’s offer to keep an ironic difference between themselves and the horrific history the movie is riffing off of. Can they be blamed for that? I don’t know, honestly. By the end of the movie, I ended up seriously wondering if maybe Spike Lee et al were right, riffing off slavery for entertainment might not be the best idea in the world. Maybe people shouldn’t have an excuse to distance themselves from it, maybe there’s just too much room for people to feel like because the movie is trying to entertain them they have license to find entertainment in any part of it they want, even the horrific stuff.

  83. @Ben: OK, I read that article by Darnell Moore you linked to. Is this guy naive or stupid, or both? Did he REALLY expect a mixed-race audience to have a uniform reaction to a movie that has slavery as its focal point? Also, why is he putting the onus on the audience for not reacting in a manner suitable to him? Tarantino both wrote & directed the movie, and the man’s not stupid. I’m quite sure he knew the response certain scenes would elicit based on how they were written, directed, and acted. Moore is aiming his gripe at effect rather than cause… which is absurd.

  84. Nabroleon Dynamite

    January 2nd, 2013 at 11:01 am

    @Amazing Larry. That was the first post in this thread by you that I agree with. Cheers!!

    @Mr. Subtlety. Although I haven’t seen it, I’m sure I would end up feeling like you in a theather. I’ll most likely see it at the crib and take from it what I and I alone get from it.

  85. Larry — I’m not quite sure what you mean about mixed-race audiences having uniform reactions, but I think that Moore, like me, is struggling with what to make of an audience that seems to be on a completely different wavelength. You can’t really blame Tarantino for that, of course — it caught even me off guard– except maybe in the sense that perhaps tying this subject matter to a fun semi-comedy wasn’t in the best taste (when has Tarantino ever been accused of that?). But it’s fine, I don’t think either of us is arguing it shouldn’t have been made, just that it brings up some dicey divides in the way different people relate to the sore subject of American slavery. It’s a sensitive topic, and hence it’s hard not to be aware of how other people are reacting to it.

    Nabroleon — honestly, i think you’ll like the movie (or at least find it interesting with some great parts), I just struggled with the way I thought the audience was taking it. Since you already seem on the fence, you might be right that watching it on your own might be the better way to go. But don’t let me turn you off it altogether, because it’s definitely worth seeing and thinking about, and because I’m curious as to what you’ll think when you finally do get around to it.

  86. I cannot believe that guy has the nerve to come back here and post AGAIN after what he did before. And to make this statement about a mixed-race audience, i.e., all those darn black people who had to ruin it for the whites. GO AWAY.

  87. @Nabroleon Dynamite: Word up.

    @Mr. Subtlety: People are different, hence people comprising an audience will very often have different reactions to what’s being presented to them. Plus I doubt the respective origins of those differences in opinion can be merely attributed to being in different ethnic groups. I think maybe both you and Mr. Moore are in search of the answer to a riddle, and that there’s no riddle to begin with. Just sayin’.

    @JD: Does this mean we’re not going to prom?

  88. Either this guy’s a racist, or he posted those things just to start trouble and be annoying. Either way, I agree with Mouth. Shun him.

  89. Here is an interesting piece from grantland.com about addressing the use of the “N” word and how we approach conversations about race and racisms in America and how it relates to DJANGO UNCHAINED.


  90. I forgot to say that the piece you wrote ,Vern was pretty great. The Sergio Leone connection should shut most of the QT haters up. That was pretty great writing. And getting a career best out of Chris Tucker…was that a sarcastic remark? Well…I hope so,because he has never been better than as an Samuel L. Jackson victim in JACKIE BROWN.

  91. Charles — that article is probably the best I’ve seen about it, and he even addresses the apparently fairly common experience of seeing it with an audience that wasn’t necessarily on the same page about what was and what was not funny about the concept.

    Man, I wonder if I would have said the N-word to Samuel Jackson? Hard call. It perfectly sums up with awkwardness of trying to discuss race and not quite knowing where the boundaries are with anyone.

  92. At some point you reflect on The Odyssey and realize it’s sort of about how Odysseus would RATHER be galavanting around then going home. Like, why does Django fuck around all winter while his wife is having to do slave shit? Anything worth investigating there?

    As far as the Spike Lee stuff goes, I haven’t read the Tarantino interviews yet but it sure seems to me that this film (and his last one) are PRIMARILY about the issue of how okay is it to make entertainment out of sensitive issues. I mean without getting into whether Tarantino has done something tasteless or not, it seems obvious to me that he’s not simply being exploitative, but is interested in the nature of exploitation itself where cinema is concerned, right? I believe that Tarantino might find it ridiculous to say that making a film is equivalent to “making light” of something; lots of stuff in BASTERDS about how cinema has a real and potent effect on real shit, such as you can literally use it as an incendiary weapon.

    SPOILERS The only glaring flaw of DJANGO in my estimation was the third act of the film, as it were. It’s been mentioned by Vern and talkbackers that Django and his wife aren’t quite as developed characters, and once it’s all down to the two of them it felt like it had turned into a more typical shootout-based revenge flick. Until the deaths of two really riveting characters, I was pretty sure it was my favorite Tarantino film yet.

  93. On the question of the Cleopatra Club logo… The iconic Nefertiti bust which is now at the Neues Museum in Berlin wasn’t discovered until 1912 (and exhibited in the 1920s). Nefertiti and her husband Amenhotep IV were largely erased from history by their successors and it was only during the early part of the last century that their name become known again.

  94. Finally saw this, and loved it. Both as a great western and as one of Tarantino’s best movies.

  95. 11 days left until this motherfucker reaches my town. However the ticketprices belongs in an exclusive whorehouse. Fucking shit is expensive. I aint gonna watch any movie soon in the cinema with these prices. I will never go the the cinema again with this fucking shit going on. Cheaper buying the dvd thats for damn sure.

  96. Its extremely annoying never being able to participate in ANY discussions for several reason. The movie hits Europe later and when it does, I can´t afford the ticket prices. I´m so much of a fucking luddite I will literally burn down any fucking 3D cinema soon, thats how close I am at snapping.

  97. Vern reviews lots of movies here weeks after they hit home video, when differing theatrical release dates are meaningless.

    Surely there’s lots of active discussions you can find here regularly to occupy & spill your thoughts rather than arson-terror threats.

  98. Sorry about my asonine comments.Mouth, you are correct. I will do so.

  99. Farewell and adieue to my fare spanish ladies…

  100. SPOILER WARNING; Even if I loved DJANGO there are a few things I wish Tarantino had done better. As David said earlier there are quite a few bad and/or stupid hats and costumes that look more like something from BONANZA than a spaghetti western wannabe. He has also instructed a few of the actors who play slaves to talk like something out of GONE WITH THE WIND, and that’s not cool in 2012. My biggest beef with the man, though -SPOILER- is the ROADHOUSE style killing of the sidekick/mentor figure Schultz. It was a huge mistake to kill of Sam Elliott in ROADHOUSE and it’s almost as big a mistake to kill Christoph Waltz in this one. That would never happen in a real spaghetti western.

  101. Shoot, maybe you should protest by downloading shit?

  102. pegsman – now that I´m sober, that seems like a better option than turning buildings into gigantic flames of fury,yes

  103. END SPOILERS IN RESPONSE TO PEGSMAN’S END SPOILERS. I strongly disagree with you there, Pegsman. I think he had to die for two very important reasons. #1 is to bring meaning to his character. He has to finally have enough with “using this slavery malarky to my advantage” and draw a line. Of course in reality he could do more good by becoming an abolitionist or something, but this is a story, a legend, where a highly symbolic and heroic death does more. #2 it absolutely had to become Django’s story. If this movie called “Django Unchained” about a slave being freed and becoming a badass bounty hunter left you mostly thinking about the white guy who helped him I think it would have been unforgivable. Django had to come into his own for the last section if not earlier.

  104. Pegsy — do you get this riled out about Obi-Wan’s fate in A NEW HOPE, too?

  105. Vern, I don’t have a problem with Schultz’ death per se. But for Doc’s death to be really meaningful he would have had to sacrifice himself so that Django and Brunhilde could escape, leaving the killing of Candie to Django. In spaghetti western folklore a character like Schultz does not get killed by a low rank henchman like Butch, he gets tortured and/or killed by the main villain, or possibly by next in command (Jackson) so that the hero can get even madder and go medieval on the bad guys’ collective asses.

    When it comes to who we think about when the credits roll, that’s totally out of Tarantino the writer’s hands when Tarantino the director hires an energic and charismatic actor like Waltz to play Schultz and the more low key Foxx to play Django.

    Mr Subtlety, what do you think?

  106. This is the first time I’ve ever heard Tarantino criticized for not ripping off old movies enough.

    Schultz’s death was perfect the way it was. He died for a principle, not for a plot point.

  107. Before this turns into another pegsman vs the world thing, let me just say that I love this movie and think it’s the best western since the 70’s. I just think that Tarantino could have given King’s demise a bit more panache.


    You mean shooting him through the boutonnière right in his own den while his henchmen look on, knowing you’re gonna die but doing it with a smile on your face isn’t enough panache for you?

    I can only stress that I can’t disagree with you here enough, pegsman. Giving him a big torture scene and rescue attempt and vows of revenge and blah blah blah would have just stolen more of Django’s thunder and needlessly stretched out an already long movie. Schultz made his point succinctly and definitively and then exited with style and dignity, in the process finally ceding the movie to its star. I’m willing to say it could not possibly have been done better.

  109. What’s with the blah bla blah?

  110. Just a shorthand for the standard rigamarole a movie would have to go through for the scenario you presented. You’re right, it is more of the standard structure for a movie like this, which is why I think the way it actually plays out is so much better. You can see it coming but aren’t sure they’re actually going to go through with it, and then it happens and it’s a surprise and a culmination all at the same time. It doesn’t need to stretch it all out with torture and vows of vengeance and etc. It says it all with one line and two gunshots.

  111. You are of course absolutely right, the movie is perfect as it is. The best I’ve seen in a long, long while. I guess it’s just that the dead partner stick have been so overused by lazy screenwriters over the years that I couldn’t believe that Tarantino would use it. But he did, and who am I to question the Masters choice?

  112. I just caught this one again and something occurred to me – a couple of parts were really similar to scenes in Kill Bill. First you’ve got the night campfire scene where the mentor uses a story to impart some wisdom to his protégé, then later on there’s a bloody battle that is staged in a similar manner – just a few opponents at first that are easily dispatched, then just when you think it’s all drawing to a close a shit-ton of dudes pile onto a balcony. There’s a human shield part in the middle of both battles too. So I suppose my question is: is QT getting lazy or is he up to something?

  113. heh, Seem’s we we’re both wondering about QT’s possible laziness at the same exact time pegsman.

  114. SPOILER SPOILER SPOIELR By the way, did anyone else find Django’s moment with Schultz’s corpse after he returns to Candieland to be surprisingly sweet? Django is in general such a stoic badass that this little show of his affection for the guy is surprising. I don’t know if Fred Williamson would do a scene like that. In a movie like this, the little gesture of touching his hair is the emotional equivalent of a day-long crying jag in a normal movie.

  115. Mode7, I think 80% to 90% of all westerns (if not more) have a scene that takes place around campfire.

  116. Mr. S – I definitely found that scene to be surprisingly moving. There hadn’t really been a moment that explored how Django felt about his friend’s SPOILERing, and I think delaying it made it that much sweeter than if he’d gotten all emotional during the big gunfight. He mourned when he had a second, like a true badass.

  117. I must say I like the way this is going when the bloodiest western…well, ever…gets 5 Oscar nominations.

  118. And what’s this Tarantino thing that some actors play more than one role in his movies all about? It isn’t even the role Kurt and Kevin dropped out of.

  119. Mode7, I also noticed that Stephen said “that will be the story of you” to Candie at one point when he was cautioning him about Schultze and Django. It definitely felt like a nod to Kill Bill to me (as Bill said something very similar to Beatrix when cautioning her about proper Pai Mei etiquette). I also noticed how the scene with the opponents rushing into the Candieland ‘big house’ to confront Django was VERY reminiscent of the Crazy 88 arrival in KBv1. I didn’t really see it as laziness tho- and homage doesn’t sound like the right term either. Whatever you’d call it, I personally dug it! I think if it was an accidental coincidence it would have seemed lazy, but this was obviously intentional. I could see how some would find it a bit too cute tho.

  120. Yeah on further reflection I don’t think it’s laziness either, or unintentional. I think QT is going for another level of meta-ness(?) by pulling bits and pieces from his own filmography. The guy is definitely up to something, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  121. I can’t get behind the idea of Stephen being the villain over guys who are branding women and setting dogs on people, but since Mouth brought up Django’s descent into a newer level of Hell as a slaver, it’s worth noting that in Dante’s inferno, the circle of traitors is the lowest, so Stephen would probably be down there with Judas, and Burke from Aliens. A friend who read the script said Dante was actually namechecked in it. Not sure which part though.

    Mr S: That final auf wiedersehen was a powerful moment, as was the stroke of King’s hair. The guy deserved a burial.

    Pegsman: I did not get why Dexter’s dad got killed at the start and then turns up at Candieland. As a casting stunt, it’s weird. At least in Kill Bill, the actor playing the sheriff and the pimp were almost unrecognisable.

  122. I have a suspicion that he filled in for Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner who both dropped out, but it’s still a strange stunt.

  123. You’re talking about James Remar? I didn’t have a problem with the two roles, but I wonder if they cut out some Butch stuff, because they made a doll of that character (the guy who Django chastises for wearing a hat indoors), even though he doesn’t really do much.

    Costner and Russell apparently were supposed to play a character named “Aced Woody” who was a “mandingo” fight trainer. They cut out his scenes and gave some of his stuff to Walton Goggins, according to what I’ve read.

    Has anybody noticed Tarantino’s other role besides the one with the embarrassing Australian accent? Hint: he has maybe the funniest line in the movie.

  124. Ah, okay, I figured Kurt Russell for the Billy crash role (Walton Goggins worked well though), but thought Costner would have been up for Big Daddy.

    So, Tarantino was one of the Klan members as well? The one whose wife made the hoods and rides off complaining? Ha! I just read the interview where he gives John Ford a chiding for playing a member in Birth Of A Nation.

  125. It was my understanding that Sacha Baron Cohen was going to play the charter that was folded into the character Billy Crash Walt Goggins plays in the film. I think the character of Crash was created by combining the roles that were originally set to be played by Cohen and Costner/Russell into one character.

  126. From what I’ve read, Jonah Hill was a character whose rich father buys Broomhilda for him to bust his cherry, then Candie wins her from him in a bet. After Hill couldn’t do it it was gonna be Cohen, but he had to choose between that and The Miserables, and it was basically just one scene so he chose The Miserables. This would’ve been in a long flashback explaining Broomhilda’s story.

  127. The scene with Candie winning Broomhilda isn’t in the movie? That’s too bad, I absolutely loved it when reading the script. Can’t wait to see the film btw, it’s finally being released this week in The Netherlands.

  128. Just how long was this shoot? Jonah Hill didn’t have time to do one more scene?

  129. nabroleon dynamite

    January 14th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I have an excellent copy of DJango that I have watched 3 times this passed week.

    However, I think it’s a different cut than the one you guys are describing.

    There is no scene with Django and Dr. King’s corpse for instance.

    The version I saw was a good action movie that seems to take place in some alternate universe similar, but not exactly the same as ours.

    Nothing offended me. Slavery was almost non-existent and with a few seconds here and there clipped, this could have took place 2 years after the Civil War instead of before.

    I thought it was a good movie (not great). I’m surprised that the screenplay beat Lincoln’s in the golden globes.

    So there’s my thoughts on the version that I saw.

  130. So can anyone explain what the point of Zoe Bell playing one of the trackers with a bandanna over her face was supposed to be? I kept expecting her to have some kind of showdown, or moment when she whips the bandanna off, or something, even just getting gunned down in a particularly spectacular way, but she was just sort of there. Did her character have some business that was cut? It was kind of a strange cameo, especially since there are a couple times that she has a semi-close up as if to point out to the audience that hey, it’s a woman, maybe that will be meaningful later.

  131. Just came out in the UK and saw it today. Loved it. It was unsettling when it needed to be but I think was best done with it’s aim to be entertaining, just like BASTERDS. I think a lot of the comedy was “you had to laugh or you’d cry about it”, when it came to the depiction of the racism, like with how Big Daddy struggled to articulate how his slaves should treat Django because he didn’t want to acknowledge him as an equal, even though he was free. The cast is superb from top to bottom and while Waltz does steal a lot of it, I didn’t have a problem thinking of Django as the protagonist, probably because we get into Django’s head more with his hallucinations and flashbacks, and from seeing him from the very beginning and most of the events from his perspective. A couple of thoughts/questions about the movie though (SPOILERS):

    -Did a couple of lines of dialogue feel a bit anachronistic to anyone else? Like King saying meeting a real life Siegfried was “kind of a big deal”, and Stephen using “motherfuckers”. Granted, I don’t know when either phrase was coined, but they did stick out a bit. I watched the first series of BOARDWALK EMPIRE recently and Michael Kenneth Richards uses “motherfucker” at one point, confusing Buscemi’s character because he’s unfamiliar with the term.
    -To what legal degree were Django and Brunhilde actually married? They seem to want to emphasise that she’s his WIFE by having King ask if Slaves believe in marriage, and Django saying they believed in it more than their first owner(who I’m surprised didn’t pop up again after that flashback with him).
    -What was the point of Stephen putting on an act of being more infirm and hobbled than he really was? I’d get it if he was doing it for Candie’s benefit too, but the way he was talking and sitting in the library scene made it clear to me Candie knew it was an act too.
    -During the winter montage, that scene where they deliver some bodies to a sheriff didn’t really seem to need to be there, did it? I mean, unless the Sheriff not having heard of the bounties was meant to show Django and King had become so effective a team they were claiming the rewards before the Sheriff had even gotten notified about it, perhaps.

    Jimbolo- Tarantino was the one in the hood who said “Why don’t we just not wear them tonight, but make a better job of them for the next time?” and was the only one who didn’t briefly take his hood off.

  132. Stu:

    Motherfucker was indeed apparently first used in America sometime in the 19th century, as best as anyone can figure, and seems to have originated in the slave states. It apparently was related to the practice of breeding slaves like cattle.

    It was definitely in use during Prohibition (there was a 1920s blues song called “Dirty Mother Father”): I got a kick out of that scene in BOARDWALK EMPIRE too.

  133. So wait, does that make “motherfucker” a racial slur?

  134. Oh and I’m reading part three of that interview(I some of it before but when some spoiler stuff came up, I put the rest off until I’d seen the movie), and it explains that scene with the sheriff. I did notice how he treated Django, but didn’t think it was the sole point of it.

  135. Wasn’t sure if I should put this here or in the DEATH RACE thread
    [I’m in the midst of a DEATH RACE marathon, since #4 (or #3?) just came out],
    but I feel the need to announce that I recently watched Paul W.S. Anderson’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D, and in my opinion Quentin Tarantino was not totally crazy for naming it as one of his favorite films of 2011. I’m as much a hater of much of the oeuvre of “the other Paul [initials] Anderson” as anyone, but, goddammit, this MUSKETEERS thing is fun as hell.

    Seriously, the costumes & set design are In. Sane. Award-worthy, no lie.

    Okay, that’s not a great badass first pitch, sorry. Umm…. All the actors are clearly having the times of their lives in it. The action is fun, though, yeah, kinda inconsequential, ultimately, not any weighty stakes once you realize how fantasy-ish & anachronistically video game-ish everything is (not like ripping off THE MATRIX for a 18th century setting is a *bad* idea, though), once you fail to be invested in who lives and who dies, who reigns and who perishes in whatever century it’s ostensibly set, but it’s surprisingly well done, clear, and did I mention how *fun* it is?

    You can tell Anderson cares about framing, perception, scope, and foregrounding, which are all things that a good 3D director *should* care about. He really does get a lot of excellent shots. Like, still photograph-worthy moments.

    And, in the more overtly kinetic moments, he’s got stuff jumping out at you.
    He’s got stuff floating near your eyelids.
    He’s got easter eggs of stuff floating in the margins of many scenes, stuff that you won’t notice on first watch.
    He’s got an awesome stupid flying zeppelin-ark-gunship. Two or 3 of them, actually. (spoiler)
    He’s got a MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE / OCEAN’S 12 homage scene with a laser-type security system that is defeated via misty cosmetics & Milla Jovovich flying-spinning-diving en route to some MacGuffin diamonds.

    Mathew Macfadyen (My personal choice for breakout star in the near future — loved him in ANNA KARENINA, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and that one episode of MI:5 I saw),
    Christoph Waltz (Ah ha!, you say, realizing why Tarantino pushed this movie),
    Gabriella Wilde,
    Orlando Bloom (for real),
    Ray Stevenson (fuck yeah!),
    Mads Mikkelsen (fuckin fuck the fuck yeah!),
    and Juno Temple (slightly more toned down in her naked helplessness than what we saw in KILLER JOE)
    are all good, with the advantage of realizing that they are not, like, doing a Christopher Nolan statement on the post-9/11 NYC human condition or something. It’s glorious, dumb, well-made fantasy adventure with just a bit of witty humor and loads of inventive violence.

    THE THREE MUSKETEERS 3D (2011) is very underrated. Except by Tarantino, apparently.

  136. “Christoph Waltz (Ah ha!, you say, realizing why Tarantino pushed this movie)”

    Well, GREEN HORNET was in the same year on his “worst” list.

  137. Well, Matthew Macfadyen was also allegedly in the “DON’T” trailer in Tarantino & Rodriguez’s G****HOUSE (2007), so maybe that had something to do with it, too.


  138. CJ, GREEN HORNET was in his “Other good movies” list. People keep asking about Zoe Bell, according to the costume designer, it was to be revealed that she had no jaw.

  139. Interview with the costume designer: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/01/django-unchained-costume-design-oscar-nomination#slide=1

    They do mention that anachronisms weren’t an issue, but a Spaghetti Western costume designer like Carlo Simi would have never let something like Michael Parks’ hat or the zipper on Broomhilda’s dress slip by. Simi actually did try to be as accurate as possible, and even though he screwed up here and there, his costumes and production design were top notch.

    Uh…oh yeah, the link mentions the fact that Zoe Bell was to have no jaw.

  140. History books and old photos will tell us that bowler hats were the most common head gear in the old west. But in westerns it’s another story. Hats are important. The hats have to fit the actors AND look cool. Carlo Simi, Sergio Corbucci and Franco Nero used half a day just to find the right hat for DJANGO back in ’66. It’s all in the details. Tom Wopat’s hat in DJANGO UNCHAINED does so much damage to that scene that it’s hard to believe that Tarantino didn’t notice it when they were shooting. He is after all a big fan of several of the movies Simi worked on in the 60’s.

  141. What’s the damage Wopat’s hat does? I didn’t notice any damage.

  142. Wopat looked like a modern country singer. Probably be the second worst outfit in a mainstream Western since Bruce Dern’s denim get-up in the Kirk Douglas-directed POSSE. The first, of course, would be the shit Michael Parks wears. He looked like a tourist in Ensenada. John Jarrat takes the number 3 spot for straight up wearing a collared shirt over a T-shirt and some modern jeans. I know these are all minor/stupid complaints, but they made me wince. The film was kind of lacking in terms of bad-ass Spaghetti Western costumes. Carlo Simi at least tried to capture the look of the Civil War Era in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (take a look at Blondie’s strange straw hat and billowy shirt). He screwed up with the cartridge belts, but that’s ok, because everyone looked suitably bad-ass.

  143. I can’t say I noticed much anachronism (though I’ve since read that there’s faded confederate uniforms in the moive?), but Django’s outfit at the end made me think of the WILD WILD WEST music video.

  144. As my wife keeps telling me, not everyone looks cool wearing a hat. And I think it’s kinda important, especially in westerns, that the director and costume designer take their time finding out what looks good and not for all the actors. The characters of Wopat, Jarrat, Parks and Tarantino all ruin the mood a little bit because they look more like they come from THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE than a spaghetti western. As david said, these are minor complaints, but still something that could easily have been avoided.

  145. I look damn cool with a hat.

    Just saying.

  146. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that, although I look good in a hat, I don’t actually enjoy wearing hats. They fuck your hair up for the rest of the day, you have to keep your eye out for it when you go out so you don’t lose it or sit on it, and you can’t sit in a seat with a headrest without crushing the brim. Luckily, this led me to give up on my dream of rocking a rad fedora a few years before every hipster douchebag started wearing one. This was almost as big a dodged bullet as the time I stopped tucking my hair behind my ears less than a month before Hanson got famous.

    In conclusion, Tarantino is a hack because hats.

  147. It never occurred to me that DJANGO UNCHAINED was trying for perfect period detail. Didn’t realize this hat & costume anachronism nitpicking was such a scandal.

    Next you’ll be telling me that Rick Ross didn’t even record any songs until well after 1859.

  148. Not period detail, Mouth, but western detail. The reason dirt cheap Italian westerns from the 60’s and 70’s still hold up is because everybody looks cool in them.

  149. As the costumer designer states, DJANGO UNCHAINED was supposed to be a period film within a period film, i.e. a film taking place in the 1850s that was shot in the 1960s. I don’t think the costumes reflected the 1960s Spaghetti Western aesthetic very well. It’s not a “scandal”, just a light critique of one aspect of the film’s visuals.

  150. So fuckin’ happy that I finally got to see this. Had such a good time. Ol’ Quentin is arguably the best crowdpleaser in Hollywood.

    Haven’t read any of the comments yet, so I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this, but I just wanted to comment on the blood splatter in this movie. How amazing is it that Tarantino could actually do something new and exciting with blood. Those hard light backlit splashes really knocked my socks off, and added an extra “Pow!” to each squib.

    When it comes to blood splatter in movies, there isn’t really anything new and innovative left to do. You’re either gonna go practical or CGI (boo!), and you’re either gonna keep it natural and restrained, or go all over the top. The fact that Tarantino could add a new element to the mix really impressed me.

  151. The Original... Paul

    January 29th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Ok, here we go, finally. Just seen “DJANGO UNCHAINED”. I don’t think anybody here will have a problem with spoilers since it came out pretty much everywhere else a month or more before it came out in the UK, and if you were going to see it, you probably already have. But first let me start by addressing this:

    Stu: “I can’t say I noticed much anachronism (though I’ve since read that there’s faded confederate uniforms in the moive?), but Django’s outfit at the end made me think of the WILD WILD WEST music video.”

    And his shit-eating smile (seriously, Quentin?) looked like Will Smith at his most obnoxiously smug.

    To fully convey the problems I had with this movie, I think it’s best if I go through what I can remember, scene by scene, and my reactions to them.

    1) Opening titles. “Hmmm, this music is no “Miserylou” or “Little Green Bag”, that’s for certain. Still, I can kinda get into it.

    2) Christoph Waltz. “This could be a great character.”

    3) “The North Star is that one.” “Yep, this IS a great character. Loving this so far.”

    4) “You owe me two hundred dollars.” “Just… freaking… awesome.”

    5) Django’s first revenge. “About time we got us some Django.”

    6) Django and Siegfried. “About time we got some more of Django.”

    7) Django’s first contract. “So Waltz’s character has no compunction about killing a man in front of his son, but hates slavery? They’re setting up the moral heart of the film through him.”

    8) Django gets dirty when Waltz refuses to do so, then a man is torn apart. “Just how much of a monster is Django really? This is great setup for his character. Also shows just what he’s willing to do for his wife.”

    9) Candie is introduced. “This is a great, great villain.”

    10) Steven is introduced. “So is this. His hatred of Django is fascinating, can’t wait to see more of these two.”

    11) The dinner scene. “This is tense as hell. Also, awesome.”

    12) The denouement. “This might be as good as the bar scene in “Basterds”. Which was very very very good indeed.”

    13) Leo dies. “Haha, I knew that was coming, Waltz is so awesom-OHMYFUCKINGGOD WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT AWFUL RAP MUSIC IN A PERIOD MOVIE SET IN 18-FUCKING-60??!!!”

    14) Film hasn’t ended yet. Django gives up his life for the love of his life. “Well, it’s a downer ending, but it’s more satisfying than… wait, what’s going on, there’s more?”

    15) Film STILL hasn’t ended yet. Django negotiates with mine owners of dubious authenticity and accent. “Seriously, why isn’t this film over yet? What’s the point of all of this?”

    16) Django gets dynamite. “Oh, so this is like that iconic scene in the “Friday 13th” remake where Leatherface finds a mask lying about and decide to wear it. Django gets the tools he needs to finally destroy the estate of his enemy by taking them off some random dead guy’s horse. How utterly unthrilling.”

    17) Django gets final sadistic revenge on his enemy, a crippled black guy who he only met twenty-four hours ago. It’s completely underwhelming. “This is what we’ve been building to? Seriously? No army of freed slaves turning on their captors, just one guy kneecapping another guy?”

    18) Final shot of Django giving idiotic backwards smile at camera in stupid pose for no good reason. Cut to credits with more fuckawful rap music which consists of some dude telling the story we just saw using a trying-too-hard ghetto accent. “FUCK YOU, movie.”

    In summary, if I had to recommend this film to anybody, I would tell them to watch until Leo and Waltz gets killed, then leave. Just leave. I would also ask producers of movies starring black guys to kindly remember that they don’t have to use badly-fitting hip-hop music at the worst possible moments of said movies. I don’t know – I might like the rap music if it wasn’t playing over a QT film – but I sure as heck hated it when it was there.

  152. SOME GUY? GHETTO ACCENT? Come on, Paul. Seriously. You’ve been around here long enough and seen enough Tarantino movies to know who that was. Also there are credits and an internet.


    I hate to break it to you, but Jim Croce was not making music in the 1850s either. Those electric spaghetti western guitars? Not invented yet. In other news, David Bowie’s theme from CAT PEOPLE is not period-appropriate for a movie set during WWII, yet it showed up in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS anyway.

    But that’s all white people music, isn’t it? Basically, what you’re saying is that you’re okay with a movie that exploits the greatest tragedy in the history of the African Americans as long as you don’t have to listen to their music.

  154. Vern- Some of us are just too much of a limey cracker to identify some american rappers by sound alone. Your Jay-Z’s and such, sure, but RZA’s not in the charts too much over here.

  155. – Paul

    That`s more or less the same way I felt about it. Except that the Django score is freaking awesome. Not as good as the japanese version in Takashi Miikes Django, though..

    I dug the first use of rap, but it totally ruined the shoot-out for me. It kinda took me out of the movie. Jamie Foxx fake penis looked really fake and the editing was not as good as Tarantinos other movies. I`m still going for second servings tomorrow night…

  156. Wait, do you UK guys really think the way RZA speaks is in any way a standard representation of an actual human dialect? Because it’s not. Nobody else on the planet talks like the RZA. Half his vocabulary consist of made-up slang, 5 Percenter numerology, Shaolin lingo, and the word “knawmean.” He has a litany of speech impediments. (He has a lisp. He can’t pronounce his R’s and L’s. He stutters. He’s from Staten Island.) Even people with an actual so-called “ghetto accent” think RZA talks funny. I interviewed him over the phone once and it was like talking to an alien.

    But I guess it would be no different than me being able to tell a normal Cockney accent apart from an abnormal one.

  157. “Wait, do you UK guys really think the way RZA speaks is in any way a standard representation of an actual human dialect?”
    I don’t think anything about it, I’m just explaining the lack of recognisability his voice would have with the average UK punter.

    “But I guess it would be no different than me being able to tell a normal Cockney accent apart from an abnormal one.”
    Yeah, especially since Cockney isn’t an all encompassing expression for an english accent. It’s very specific to a certain group from London. Yet I’ve seen Stephen Merchant’s accent described as cockney.

  158. The Original... Paul

    January 29th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Majestyk and Vern – I didn’t know who did the rapping. I didn’t CARE who did the rapping. I care that the rapping took me completely out of the movie. Ruined the immersion. If I don’t like a film’s soundtrack, I won’t IMDB it.

    And for the record, I loved – and own – the soundtrack to “Kill Bill: Vol. 1”. That was RZA, right? I thought he did a good job with “Django” as well for the most part, although it definitely didn’t have the “iconic” moments of some of Tarantino’s other films for me. I just hated the rapping.

    Majestyk – “Their” music? Like, blacks have hip-hop, we have the rest? Good to know.

    “The greatest tragedy in the history of the African Americans”? I actually had to IMDB this one now to see if Django was supposed to be based on a real person. You’re talking about slavery here, right? This does not strike me as a film based on real events.

  159. Paul: Of course anyone can listen to or make any kind of music they want. Music is universal, etc. But at this moment in time, and for a few decades now, the form of music most closely aligned with the African American experience is hip-hop. It would be disingenuous to argue otherwise. Personally, I think it would be kind of offensive for a director like Tarantino who is known for using music from all over the spectrum not to use a few hip-hop songs on the soundtrack to a movie that appropriates black rage as the fuel of its plot engine. Using only music that does not originate from that same emotional source would be sending a clear message: This movie is about black people, but it is not for them.

  160. I do wish he’d used better rap songs, though. Rick Ross? Really? The beat works for the movie, but that man has got to be the dullest household-name rapper of all time.

    I’m on the fence about the Tupac/James Brown mashup. Pac was a good choice, since his whole appeal was that he provided more emotional catharsis than the average rapper, who’s afraid to betray too much vulnerability, lest he be labeled soft. But “The Payback”? Kind of on the nose, isn’t it?

  161. The cultural appropriateness of it may trump my taste in music, but it took me out of the movie as well. Of course, I have a tin ear for the rapping music and until recently only knew RZA as the guy whose song I always skip on the KILL BILL soundtrack.

  162. Paul, I’m just flipping you shit, but I do think it’s weird that you couldn’t recognize “Ode to Django (The D is Silent)” as being the same voice as “Ode to O Ren Ishii,” or “Black Mamba,” or the guy we’ve discussed here extensively as writer/director/star of THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS and composer of GHOST DOG: WAY OF THE SAMURAI. I probly wouldn’t have reacted if you hadn’t called him “some guy” and said the weird thing implying that his accent is fake (?).

  163. Watch QUIGLEY(sp?) DOWN UNDER already, Vern.

  164. Yeah, QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER is awesome!

  165. Mr Majestyk; “But at this moment in time, and for a few decades now, the form of music most closely aligned with the African American experience is hip-hop. It would be disingenuous to argue otherwise.” I’m no expert on either genres, but I would say that the shit they call soul and r’n’b are, and have been for quite a while, the main African American music genre.

  166. pegs: I’m not trying to pull rank here, but I did just spend the last ten years of my life editing a magazine that catered almost exclusively to African-American tastes. Rap has been king for 20 years now. It’s the music that is used to express the dreams, fears, aspirations, concerns, and regrets of the community. Its stars are that community’s role models, heroes, and tastemakers. R&B/soul hasn’t been particularly relevant in that capacity in a long time. It’s still popular, sure, but no one ever called it “the black CNN” either. And when’s the last time an R&B singer had dinner with the president?

  167. The Original... Paul

    January 30th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Vern – I’m absolutely the last person to claim any knowledge whatsoever of rap music. But that final rap song over the end credits was just… bizarre. It was like one of those Disney animated movies where you’re absolutely caught up in it, and all of a sudden there’s some awful pop princess or boyband crooning obnoxious generic pop fluff over the end credits. Absolutely breaks the mood of the film. I’m not saying the rap song is generic, pop, or fluff… I’m not even saying it’s bad (although it probably got me up out of my seat a lot faster than I’d otherwise have gone), but it absolutely does not work for ending the movie, in my opinion.

    And let me say a word about the “awesome shot” at the end of “Django”. You know what that reminded me of? the slow-motion sunglasses-putting-on in “Blade 2”. Which was also ridiculous. Look, Blade is a badass because he’s a self-assured stoic who never for a second hesitates to do what he sees as the best move and never second-guesses himself. He’s a badass because he won’t let anybody bullshit him and is totally clean and efficient in what he does and what he says. He’s not a badass because he looks cool in sunglasses. Flo Rida looks cool in sunglasses. And he’s probably not a badass!

    What I’m getting at is, if you have a character who’s a badass because he’s a stoic motherfucker who never compromises or takes shit from anybody, the absolute LAST thing you want to do is make that character strike a blatantly artificial pose for an “awsome shot”. It might make an uncool character goofy-awesome, but it makes a badass character just ridiculous. With “Django Unchained”, though, [i]it’s the last shot of the movie[/i]. Is that really the last image you want to be in the audience’s minds when they leave the cinema?

    Oh, and one final point. This isn’t an “African American” movie, any more than “Independence Day” is an African-American movie because it stars Will Smith. It’s a revenge fantasy made by a white guy that is set in a time when slavery was a generally-accepted thing. That and liberal use of the N-word do not a “black movie” make. Nobody is ever going to mistake this for a Spike Lee film. The two most interesting characters in the film, as far as I see it, are both white; and arguably the least interesting characters of the five leads are Django himself and his wife. Heck, the moment DiCaprio and Waltz are killed, the quality of the film and the writing drop like an anvil out of a hot-air balloon. Before that point it’s fantastic. After that point – honestly, it’s kinda dull and anticlimatic. Django doesn’t start a revolution or inspire others to do so, he kneecaps a black manservant. And ok, as great as that character is, and as great as Sam L Jackson is in his performance, it’s still a massive letdown.

  168. Majestyk, as I said I don’t know much about this genre, so consider the rank pulled and accepted.

    Paul, as david mentioned earlier DJANGO UNCHAINED’s supposed to be a movie about the 1850’s made in the 1960’s. And if you’ve seen any of the spaghettis made during that era you know that there’s almost always a little epiloge that’s not quite as powerful as the final showdown. Tarantino just follow the rules.

  169. “It’s the music that is used to express the dreams, fears, aspirations, concerns, and regrets of the community”.

    REALLY, Mr. M? Is that what rap music is about? Because the lyrics (in large part) would seem to convey an overriding preoccupation with bitches, blunts, 40s, fly rides, and kickin’ it with one’s homies. Perhaps you can send an open letter to the foremost rappers of today, and properly chide them for straying from their communal responsibility.

    Tarantino put rap music in Django Unchained for one simple reason: an attempt to make the movie more appealing to black people. I very much doubt he gave a damn whether or not it was fitting or appropriate.

  170. Larry, I think it’s frankly ridiculous to think Tarantino put rap in his movie to “make it more appealing to black people” any more than he put “whoo hoo” in KILL BILL to make it more appealing fans of Japanese Surf Pop. Tarantino uses exactly the music he feels captures the mood of what he’s trying to convey with his film, and he’s worked with RZA to do that on his last few films. They’re always a mix of different styles, and DJANGO is no expection.

  171. Point taken, Mr. Subtlety. I haven’t seen Django Unchained, so I don’t know what other types of music figure into it. My first impression about Tarantino’s inclusion of rap music here was that it was meant to be a selling point, since it seems rather incongruous with the subject matter.

  172. Really? I interviewed RZA last year for Man With the Iron Fists, and while he certainly has a distinctive drawl, I wouldn’t call his voice alien in any way. Of course, that was in-person and Eli Roth did a lot of the talking…

  173. The Original... Paul

    January 30th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    My two cents: it’s nothing to do with marketing, demographics, “appealing to black people”, etc. It’s just an incongruous scoring choice that didn’t work for me.

    Pegsman – it’s not a genre that I know much about. I just know that the last part of the film didn’t work for me.

  174. Tawdry— Nice to see you’re still among the living (having been MIA from here since late November). Vern thought you’d been abducted by an Anti-Seagalogy splinter group. Griff supposed you were dealing with the repercussions of an extended poon hunt. I myself had an arcane theory (see “Bad Ass” talkback) SO obnoxious, the senior posters used to beat me up once a week.

  175. Tarantino has been homaging himself for some time.

    For example: The underground bar scene in Inglorious Basterds is a redux of the scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2 where Beatrix Kiddo first discovers that she is pregnant. In that scene, the assassin lets Kiddo live, in this scene, our “Heroes” kill the new father. The set up and many of the shots rhyme with one another too closely for it to be an accident. They even have a through-the-door gag.

    The point is this; The Basterds are not meant to be heroes at all. Rather, they are made to be worse than the Nazis. By placing the Basterds in the villainous role from a previous film, but flipping the outcome, Tarantino underlines this dichotomy. It all plays out beautifully in act III when the real-world audience (who whooped and hollered at the brutal murder of the honorable Nazis during act one) sees the Nazi hierarchy whooping and hollering at the German propaganda film in exactly the same way. It’s fuckin’ Brechtian.

    Also brilliant: Mike Meyers shows up briefly doing his Austin Powers accent to prefigure the bad German accents in the next scene. Tarantino made this movie for an English speaking audience, most of whom would not ‘get’ the bad German accent, so he included a terrible English accent to subliminally prepare the audience for the next sequence.

  176. Woah…I leave for a bit because I’ve been writing and working at a playhouse and people actually noticed? I feel all warm and gooey inside. No ‘Poon’ hunting for me. I’ve actually had a steady girlfriend for about 8 months now. Tomorrow we’re gonna go see Rachmaninov at the Disney Concert Hall. On Sunday it’s Phillip Glass’ opera take on Fall of the House of Usher. Next Wednesday, we’re gonna go make out in the mosh pit at a Marylin Manson show.

    Ya’ll should follow me on twitter, @mylifesacartoon

  177. caruso_stalker217

    January 30th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Would “the bad German accent” be a reference to Diane Kruger? Because her accent in that film is fucking atrocious.

  178. caruso_stalker217

    January 30th, 2013 at 11:12 pm


  179. But Diane Kruger IS German! (Actually her name is Diane Krüger.) Shouldn’t her German accent then sound good? (I haven’t seen the movie, I just think it’s weird when a German is accused of having a weird German accent.)

  180. Uhh, that’s kind of weird that you think that caruso, because Diane Kruger actually IS German. I believe she was raised in Germany to boot. Also, I remember picking up on her German accent buried under a not too convincing American accent in NATIONAL TREASURE. Enough for me to look it up at the time because it was irritating me (sorta like Bale’s weird sounding cadence in HARSH TIMES). Maybe she just sucks at talking?

  181. caruso_stalker217

    January 31st, 2013 at 6:24 am

    I know she’s German, that’s what’s so fucking bad about it. I can’t vouch for her accent when she’s actually speaking German, but when she’s speaking English it’s just awful.



  182. caruso_stalker217

    January 31st, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I know that she doesn’t have much of an accent in real life, but I think she went overboard there.

  183. Yeah, I guess Quentin asked her to speak with the thickest Family-Guy-In-Hellboy-2-accent that she can come up with. Most Germans I know (including me) don’t sound like that when speaking English)

  184. So are you saying that Django Unchained is not a blaxploitation movie, Paul? Because I sure as hell think it is, even if it was made by a white guy. Hell, Coffy and Foxy Brown were made by a white guy.

    Also, did you really want Django to lead a revolution? That would have been boring as hell, like the kinda shit Robert Rodriguez does in Machete and Once Upon A Time In Mexico.

    P.S. Is anyone else super curious about what Tarantino’s gonna do next? I mean, we all knew he’d make a Western one day. His whole career’s been leading up to it. But I have absolutely no idea what he could possibly do next. I know he’s been flirting with going back to World War 2, but I don’t see that happening. Wouldn’t mind him taking on something more in line with the French New Wave. I know he’s a fan.

  185. The Original... Paul

    January 31st, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Knox – I wanted him to do SOMETHING other than kill a couple of Australians and a cripple.

    And as for it being Blaxploitation – I saw “Truck Turner”, and it was unquestionably about Truck Turner. And I saw “Shaft”, and it was unquestionably about Shaft. Whereas in “Django Unchained”, Django is the lead in name only, at least until the final stretch of the movie, which is exactly where it lost me. When the movie was about Waltz, it had me hooked. Hell, I was all about ready to declare it one of my “best of 2013” and we’re not out of January. After that point… not so much. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no chance at all it’ll be on my “worst of” list. But unless it’s a really really bad year, it probably won’t be on my “best of” list either. And that’s a shame.

    As for accents, I think I’ve made the point before that I find it hard to watch mafia films, even classic ones like “The Godfather”, for many reasons related to me just not finding anything remotely relatable in the movies; but one minor point there is that the Italian accents all sound like parodies to me. It’s a completely subjective point, but it’s really off-putting.

  186. Knox- Tarantino’s take on the superhero movie? Not a pre-existing one, because he was asked about that once and said he wouldn’t want to have to deal with the fans nitpicking the liberties he’d take, so if he ever did it, it’d be his own creation.

  187. Given that Tarantino has said that BASTERDS and DJANGO are the first two in a trilogy, I think a post apocalypse movie along the lines of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK or MAD MAX would be the right thing for him to do next.

  188. caruso_stalker217

    January 31st, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I’d like to see Tarantino tackle horror. Like ghosts and shit.

  189. Pegsman- if they’re part of a trilogy, the obvious theme seems to be revenge based an actual historical atrocity. Tarantino’s mother has Cherokee ancestry, so maybe something based around a Native American protagonist? Though that would probably be in the form of a western and bit too similar to Django.

  190. Don’t have much to add, but just wanted to say that the instant in DJANGO UNCHAINED when Leo Dicaprio loses his shit and slams his hands on the table is possibly the most intense, cardiac-y moment in 2012 cinema.

    The sudden change in the look on his face is absolutely fucking priceless, not to mention the fulfillment of the dread you were probably feeling leading up to this outburst. Like, I’m about to rewatch the whole movie only, *ONLY* so that I can see this 4 seconds of cinema.

    It’s up there with John’s disruption from his own brain surgery in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING or the girl’s abandonment of shopping bags & fashion in GIRL WALK // ALL DAY.

  191. Or that bit with Tom Cruise’s penis in All The Right Moves.

  192. I almost hated Tarantino when he came around in the early 90’s. Loved his movies, but couldn’t stand the man. But watching him at this years Oscars, I realized that right now he is the king of Hollywood.

  193. *SPOILERS* Finally saw this – like Inglorious Basterds I was a little underwhelmed at first, but the more I’m thinking about it, the more I like it. There’s alot of problems – it’s too long, the whole “saving the damsel in distress from the dragon” fairy tale thing is surprisingly unsubtle and on-the-nose for Tarantino, his cameo is incredibly distracting and couldn’t come at a worse time in the movie (let’s follow up a torture scene and the death of the mentor with….a wacky cameo even M. Night Shyamlan wouldn’t try to pull off, plus with a terrible accent!). I also don’t know how i feel about the whole “Stephen is worse than Candie” thing, and what it’s trying to say. Or the fact that I don’t know if we can make Indiana Jones comparisons because I don’t think Indiana Jones would blow away an unarmed German woman to “comedic” effect.

    But there are some genius touches that keep me thinking about it. Jackson’s awesome performance, Foxx’s subtle yet powerful one. The significance of the multiple uses of water that Mouth pointed out; the sweet final scene between King and Django. The fact that this subtly pulls off the “faux Grindhouse” feel better than any of the other faux Grindhouse films – the old-school opening and closing credits, music and the relaxed pace really made me feel at times like I was watching an old unearthed spaghetti western, moreso than artificial film scratches ever could. Plus, as someone pointed out, there’s a simple genius to the fact that Waltz kills James Remar in the first five minutes, and Remar comes back to kill Waltz as another character!

    Anyway, I probably said this already about Basterds, but it really feels Tarantino is making some next-level shit these days – movies that are long and talky and don’t have much action, but can be dissected like a book they make you read in high school, and are still giant crowd-pleasers and make a ton of money ($162 million – I can’t believe a movie this unconventional and with this subject matter is DiCaprio’s 4th biggest hit of all time)

  194. About the names… I am pretty confident that Broomhilda is used on purpose – and I assume that slaves in America wouldn’t have known too much about medieval German names or how they’re spelt and would repeat Brünhilde much like a kid just like you said.

    However, what I don’t get is why Tarantino used an entirely wrong name for the story. In the original epic poem Brünhilde is NOT the wife of Siegfried, as told in Django, but only her sister in law! Siegfried’s wife that he waits for years to be with was named Kriemhilde! (He could have named her Cremehilda….^^) WTF?


  195. I guess Tarantino wrote it in the same way he wrote the bible quote Julius uses in PULP FICTION. It’s not from the bible, really, but from a Sonny Chiba movie.

  196. Yup,that quote is from THE BODYGUARD and not THE BIBLE.

  197. Just saw Twelve Years A Slave tonight and everyone should do the same. Looking forward to your review Vern.

  198. Jam — I don’t buy this for a minute, he’s just having a public temper tantrum. He’ll calm down and make the movie in the end, OR for whatever reason he decided he didn’t want to make it anyway and just wants to blame someone else. Either way, this is pretty obnoxious behavior.

  199. It sounds a bit fishy. If I were him I wouldn´t have gone public with it. Also I am pretty sure some of his scripts has been leaked before,right?

  200. How is this obnoxious? He gets betrayed by some asshole who can’t keep a fuckin’ secret for five seconds, gives out somebody’s first draft, which is like seeing a bride on her wedding day before she gets her makeup done, and QT calls out the only couple of motherfuckers who could have done it…and he’s the asshole? I don’t get that. Industry bitches with no respect for storytelling running to the press every time they get a little sniff of inside info is a major reason why it’s almost fucking impossible to go to the movies without having every little goddamn thing spoiled for you ahead of time. If getting called out by one of the biggest names in Hollywood is what it takes to teach these snitches some fucking manners, then I’m all for it.

    Plus, the way Tarantino tends to work is he writes some parts with specific people in mind. If one of those people fucks him over and makes him not want to work with him anymore, I can see why that might make him feel like scrapping the whole project rather than rejiggering it for somebody else. Especially when you’re Quentin Tarantino and you got like eight awesome ideas on the backburner at any given time.

  201. I´ve never come across leaks of scripts simply because I honestly can´t see why I would read a script before I see the finished movie. A very pointless endeavour if you ask me and only the truly obsessive QT fans would have got their hands on it. I really don´t understand any of this business of reading scripts beforehand.

  202. I’ve never read a script ahead of time either, but other people do and then post their findings all over the internet, and then all of a sudden everybody assumes it’s common knowledge so they just give it all away in every article even tangentially related to the movie.

  203. Mr. M — Well obviously it was a shitty move of whoever it was to go public with it. But as Tarantino himself even says, pretty much every script these days leaks, it’s just the nature of the beast. Hollywood is full of opportunistic fuckos, and I seriously doubt this is the first time he’s realized that. So his whole “I’m taking my ball and going home” routine seems a bit ridiculous to me. Yes, it’s annoying, but its a pretty silly reason to scrap a whole movie, unless he was just looking for an excuse to do it anyway.

  204. I think the blame seemed to be circling around Bruce Dern’s agency (CAA) rather than the man himself.

    I’m with Majestyk on this one. As a working screenwriter, I’d be fucking enraged if an early draft hit the net a year (or more) before the film came out. Screenplays are blueprints, a process you have to work through before the story comes into focus (and well before the inevitable rewrites once cast, locations etc have been finalized). Suddenly the advance word is going to be based on something that is a shadow of what the film was going to be.

    Having said that, all of QT’s scripts have tended to leak before filming (I’ve got copies, but would only read the first ten pages or so out of curiosity, not wanting to spoil the film) and it didn’t hurt them much. But maybe it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Tarantino could well turn it into a novel; he’s been talking for a long time about moving into books (film criticism mostly) once he retires from directing. I’d read it.

    This is the reason I’ve been wary of websights like Scriptshadow.

  205. Sorry, that last line was a thought-thread I was toying with, but didn’t follow through on. Which was… Someone like Tarantino isn’t going to see his career hurt by a script leaking, but it could really bite a lesser-known writer and cost him a job. Hence my uneasiness with Scriptshadow and other sites like them.

  206. If you read the Deadline article Tarantino is quoted as talking about that all of his scripts eventually leak, and that he even likes that people review them, considers it part of his process. He just felt betrayed that this happened immediately when he shared it with a handful of trusted collaborators. Maybe it will blow over though. Who knows if he’s made angry calls like this before and they just haven’t turned into columns?

    Personally I hate that they leak, because some day I’d like to see a Tarantino movie fresh, not having suffered through a year’s worth of headlines from know-it-alls talking about “the Bear Jew” or whatever to show off that they’ve read it. Reminds me of seeing a Disney movie on the first name and the little kids know the names of all the characters ’cause they already have the dolls at home.

    If you missed it though, the best part of all this is that asshole Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere bragging last night that he had the script and would give it to anyone who emailed him. He didn’t realize that some wiseass had sent him Seth McFarlane’s western script with a big fake “TIM ROTH” watermark across the pages. Even now his update just notes that “There are concerns about authenticity.” Classic!


  207. Yeah, I should be clear: leaking scripts is some stupid bullshit. Both people who do it and people who publish it are fuckin’ assholes, and they can really hurt artists. I get why he’s annoyed, but his public response to it seems a little out of proportion to the actual harm it could do to him.

  208. Tarantino is going to feel really dumb when the Magnificent Seven remake gets made before he’s done with his own. Poor guy.

    I might read his film criticism, though. Read, not watch, only read.

  209. Casey, the script is nothing like The Magnificent Seven. Much more like Cutthroats Nine mixed with Reservoir Dogs.

  210. An interesting article on QT and his shit-canning of Hateful Eight.


    Whatever happens, he’s still the man.

  211. “I won’t spoil the most out-of-the-blue cameo”

    Vern, since it’s been a year and a half since the movie came out, can you finally tell who you were referring to with this cryptic quote?

  212. Michaelangelo – I’m guessing the Jonah Hill cameo. Speaking of which, your picture reminds me how at one time Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner were supposed to be in this. And remember when Inglorious Basterds supposed to be an Expendables-style movie with Stallone, Schwarzenneger, Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler? It’s weird how QT’s movies change drastically from conception through production, yet despite their flaws never seem to reek of rewrites like 95% of most movies today.

  213. Fuck yeah. Looks like Roth plays a character who could be related to Dr Schultz. Good to see him back in a QT joint. Bichir has been blowing my socks off lately – just finished season 2 of the US version of THE BRIDGE where he virtually carries the entire series through some of it’s inconsistencies (also worth noting that Diane Kruger plays one of the most fascinating weirdo’s I’ve ever seen, alongside Bichir’s equally flawed but for different reasons cop).

  214. I suspect this could end up being my favourite Tarantino movie. 70mm as well. Nice touch with the whistling from DUEL AT RIO BRAVO at the end.

  215. I´m glad Walton Goggins has a much bigger role in this one.

  216. Yes, Walton’s The Man!

  217. Saw Hateful Eight yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely my favorite Tarantino joint since Kill Bill. It’s mean and nasty and crude, and it has that slow creeping sense of dread you get from DePalma’s best work. Performances were all fantastic, especially Sam Motherfucking Jackson. I always enjoy Walton Goggins, so I was happy to see how big his role was here. The cinematography is gorgeous, and it’s really nice to see something on film again, but I think the real star of the movie is the score. Ennio Morricone delivers some of his best work here, often haunting and hypnotizing at the same time. I think it’s mostly original work, though I did recognize one track from John Carpenter’s The Thing. In fact, this movie kept reminding me of The Thing over and over again. The isolated, snowy setting, the sense of distrust among the characters, Kurt Russell, etc. So I may have been more susceptible to loving this movie than others will be.

    By the way, see the 70mm road show version if only because it really helps to have that intermission.

  218. Tarantinos quest of preserving “film” will not extend to Swedish cinemas so I will see it on “non-film”

  219. Hateful Eight is easily one of my favorite Tarantino movies. It’s like he’s taken all the superb filmatistic techniques he learned over the years, and then applied it to a back-to-basics, Reservoir Dogs style screenplay.

    I really do love all the different phases Tarantino has gone through and aspects of his career. I don’t think he’s really ever repeated himself, and I think there was a fear that he had finally done so by doing two consecutive “westerns” (making it three consecutive period pieces). But I think this is a very very different movie from the last two. Can’t wait to discuss it with y’all.

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