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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:23 PM

Django Unchained: Might be a more important MUST SEE than Les Miz

I know there's been a lot of talk of Les Miz and the way it rings so very true in regards to these political times. But--and hear me out--I have this suspicion that Django Unchained, controversial as it is, might be THE movie to really shake things up and change things.

But! You say, it's crazy violent, has comic scenes, is over-the-top with guns and blood and is this serious subject one that Tarantino should have taken on? Should have made this kind of movie about? Isn't he disrespecting the real and horrible history of slavery?

I'll tell you why I think it's so important in spite of all of that. Because, and you'll forgive the bad pun--the U.S.A. has been trying to whitewash slavery almost from the moment the Civil War ended. As soon as the South was let back in, Jim Crowe laws went into effect negating most of what the end of slavery was meant to do. And the U.S. government turned a long term blind eye to it.

And then, as if that wasn't bad enough, the culture of the U.S. ennobled the old South with plantation romances, with movies like Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind; U.S. racism also created long-lasting memes about African Americans to excuse the South from enslaving them and to excuse the whole of America from its segregationist policies (like implying that blacks were inferior, stupid, etc. and needed to be under the control of whites). Finally, when the Civil Rights movement came about and forced America to open its eyes, America shut them again as soon as possible, going right back to the old memes with a "noble savage" twist to "placate" the blacks.

Consider the recent movies like "The Help" and "The Blind Side." Movies whites will see--all showing whites helping out the poor black people while said black people are shown on parr with saints and martyrs. Magic Negros in some aspects, they remain servants, helping out the good white people and only showing displeasure to the really bad ones.

And worst of all, some states now have history books that nearly erase the issue of slavery. The Civil War, they insist, was over states rights, and slavery is never brought up or only in passing. The confederacy has, once again, been white-washed. And though movie makers have tired, not since Roots has anything forced the raw truth into the spotlight and gotten a wide audience to see it and acknowledge it.

Until now. Yes. It's a Tarantino movie. There's comic moments, there's over-the-top scenarios, and a lot of gunfights. It is, after all a spaghetti western. But all that (for better or worse) appeals to a young male audience. So it's going to get an audience that a more "serious" historical tale on slavery would never get: young adult males both black and, most particularly, white. The same young white men that the white-washers of the confederacy want on their side. And it's going to let these young men know that the confederacy was about keeping slaves, and what that meant; it's going to have them rooting for the black hero who is active, determined, intelligent and taking out the bad guys (no "Blind Side" hero here!). Because Django unchained makes no bones about it. Plantation owners are doing evil. And they get what they deserve.

There is no nobility to these bad guys, no redeeming qualities and there is not one excuse or rational for being a slave owner. As for the excessive violence, like all Tarantino films, it may be over-the-top, but, again, I'm glad of this. Filmmakers SHOULD make such acts against other human beings gruesomely sick, so that audiences cannot forgive or forget.

Whatever else you might think of this film, it's rubbing America's nose in racism and slavery. It's making racists look stupid (the racist whites keep commenting on the hero riding a horse, which just makes them look like idiots), and slavery inexcusable. America did this. Americans did this. And Americans tried to pretend it didn't happen--or at least wasn't all that bad. They're still trying to give slavery and the Civil War that disgraceful spin. And that is why I think Django Unchained is actually more important than Les Miz at being a seminal film. Because this film will reach an audience that not only should have their minds changed on this topic--but be made aware of it in a way they'll never forget.

That, at least, is my humble opinion.

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Reply Django Unchained: Might be a more important MUST SEE than Les Miz (Original post)
Moonwalk Dec 2012 OP
roguevalley Dec 2012 #1
Daemonaquila Dec 2012 #10
roguevalley Dec 2012 #12
Mojorabbit Dec 2012 #22
roguevalley Dec 2012 #37
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #2
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #6
rocktivity Dec 2012 #3
dorkzilla Dec 2012 #8
lapislzi Dec 2012 #21
dorkzilla Dec 2012 #23
lapislzi Dec 2012 #24
dorkzilla Dec 2012 #38
Gregorian Dec 2012 #4
TheManInTheMac Dec 2012 #17
Gregorian Dec 2012 #30
TheManInTheMac Dec 2012 #36
TheDebbieDee Dec 2012 #39
Arctic Dave Dec 2012 #5
RainDog Dec 2012 #7
TDale313 Dec 2012 #9
whistler162 Dec 2012 #11
FSogol Dec 2012 #13
TheKentuckian Dec 2012 #20
Blue_Adept Dec 2012 #29
bemildred Dec 2012 #14
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #15
OldHippieChick Dec 2012 #16
DavidDvorkin Dec 2012 #25
TheDebbieDee Dec 2012 #40
Warren Stupidity Dec 2012 #18
shanti Dec 2012 #19
Skittles Dec 2012 #27
shanti Dec 2012 #32
Skittles Dec 2012 #35
Skittles Dec 2012 #26
exboyfil Dec 2012 #28
Zax2me Dec 2012 #31
Jim Warren Dec 2012 #44
chaska Dec 2012 #33
DevonRex Dec 2012 #34
Baitball Blogger Dec 2012 #41
XemaSab Dec 2012 #42
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2012 #43

Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:27 PM

1. all that might be true. it certainly might be a discussion point.

I won't see it due to the N word. I can't hear that anymore without puking. I grew up in Jim Crow and segregation. I'm done with it.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:42 AM

10. Personal choice, but it bothers me.

I am glad to hear that word banned from our general vocabulary, but it bothers me every time someone wants to avoid hearing it, edit it out of books, etc. This word is part of our history - brutal, disgusting, and... factual. Hiding from it make it easier for others to hide that shameful past. Every generation gets a more sanitized version as they grow up.

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Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:29 AM

12. I see your point but I also remember when lynchings were common

I guess I just am tired of hate. Hugs, honey.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:28 PM

22. I am there also

I find the older I get the less I can stomach a lot of things.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:02 PM

37. agreed, mojorabbit

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:28 PM

2. I hope you will review the link below before writing off all Caucasians in the

 

struggle for racial equality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lewis_Moore

Also, the Communist Party-USA stood at the forefront of the campaign for racial equality long before said campaign became fashionable among liberal elites. That history also gets whitewashed out of our collective memory. Come to think of it, the CP has been 20-30 years ahead of most social reforms later championed by liberal elites. There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can cypher it.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:37 PM

6. oh wow how cool

Thanks for that link. I never heard of William Lewis Moore before. Learn something new every day.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:31 PM

3. You mean it's NOT about that jazz guitar player?




rocktivity

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Response to rocktivity (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:51 PM

8. As a Django FREAK, with a DOG named Django...

the title of this movie upsets me. Why??? I eat, sleep and poop Django Reinhardt. Django is the thing that brought me and my 5+ year wonderful "boyfriend" together and we named our chocolate lab mix puppy Django. Django is a Romani word meaning "I awake". Hot Club of France was, with the Beatles, the soundtrack of my childhood (thanks, Dad!) and my life. NOW, people are asking if we named our BROWN DOG after a slave. It makes me look like a racist asshole.

Seriously? Why couldn't we have named him something more common? I could have named him "Cooper" like every other dog in my town and that would have been that. But noooooooooo, I had to pay homage to this guy (great freakin' video of Hot Club playing together)



Sigh...

For those of you who don't know who the ORIGINAL Django is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Reinhardt

Most amazing guitarist ever.

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Response to dorkzilla (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:23 PM

21. Have a cat named Django!

Most awesome cat ever!

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Response to lapislzi (Reply #21)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:03 PM

23. I bet he is!

My dog is just the coolest, most chilled out dog ever. He definitely was a jazz musician in another life...

Here's to great animals named Django!





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Response to dorkzilla (Reply #23)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:14 PM

24. He has Twitter followers...

@djangosugarcat

and he is quite popular with the Ladies, like his namesake...original Cool Cat(TM)

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Response to lapislzi (Reply #24)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:29 PM

38. now THAT is a cool cat!

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:32 PM

4. Holy crap! It's getting an 8.8 on IMDB. I cannot wait to see it.

I've been watching only movies from 7.0 and up. And a 7.0 is a GOOD movie. An 8.0 is pretty much best of the best.

It sounds like a real epic.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:58 PM

17. Hard to go by that early on. I remember when *Inception* came out

it was way overrated on IMDB. Same with that blue alien picture.

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Response to TheManInTheMac (Reply #17)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:57 PM

30. I know. It is a good sign. But only time will reveal it's true value.

Thanks. I realized that immediately after posting it.

I restrict myself to movies that were made before 1970. And it has served me well. Once I've seen everything, I'll move on. It's like music, except in reverse, for me. I've just spent 40 years listening to everything that's brand new. Just this year I decided to listen to everything ever written. Max Roach, Clifford Brown, Coltrane, Miles, Beefheart, Zappa, Sun Ra. I love Youtube.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #30)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:46 PM

36. Yeah. They usually hold off before adding them to the top 250 for just that reason.

However, I believe *Inception* is still on the list tied with *Goodfellas* and several others, and ranked higher than *Casablanca*. It was OK to watch once, and quite breathtaking, but it sure ain't no *Goodfellas* or *Casablanca*.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 09:51 PM

39. I saw this movie earlier today with my two adult daughters......

It's a great movie and we were very much entertained.....

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:36 PM

5. You have piqued my curiosity.

 

ARE YOU A TROLL!! LOL

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:42 PM

7. I saw it. I say it's worth seeing

An African-American female is the romantic interest in the film. The man she loves is African-American and he moves heaven and earth to get to her.

This film is what we wish could've happened, over and over, in the U.S. during that time in history - as we look back with the wisdom of hindsight.

The white woman in the film who figures into much of any of the story is concerned with everything being "nice." She doesn't care about the way the African-Americans are treated - except when it interferes with her little world. Sort of like some women today in regard to the well being of, say, the poor in this society. Be a little charitable and wish that whole world away from view.

And, yeah, the violence of the slave toward the owner is cathartic. And the violence toward others who help the owner continue to live as he does.

Tarantino is a known quantity with a predictable approach to the world via cinema. If you liked his other movies, you'll like this one (tho I think it could've benefited from about 30 minutes left on the digital cutting room floor.)

He's engaging in fantasy - the role of fiction in our lives. We all wish we could've been a hero and rid the world of some nasty people - like Hitler in the previous IB.



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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:57 PM

9. I have not seen it yet,

but intend to. I have seen and read a fair amount about it, including an hour long look at it on BET. I think one of the best, and possibly slightly subversive, parts of it may be that, at heart, it's a love story. That is Django's motivation, more than hate or vengeance. He is willing to do anything to save the woman he loves. Not an image of an African American male or couple that we see enough of in our movies or tv.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:56 AM

11. Sorry don't go to "MUST SEE" films.

usually piles of crap.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:36 AM

13. One quibble: "Spaghetti western" refers to low budget westerns filmed in Italy.

"Django Unchained" was filmed in New Orleans with a big budget. It is in no way, a spaghetti western.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:14 PM

20. I understand but I definitely felt the vibe of some of those flicks was in the mix.

My non-spoiler "review" is pretty much-Spaghetti Western+Roots+Save True Love+Buddy Team Up+Tarrentino=what's not to love?

Sure, Star Wars isn't one of the old serial flicks like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers but the soul of them is an ingredient and I think relating Spaghetti Western is not unfair to either.
The fingerprint of influence is strong, though technically not the same at all when speaking specifically. I don't folks are trying to imply location or budget rather a feel.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:41 PM

29. Spaghetti westerns...

Are continually adapted in other ways by other cultures.

Tarantino made this film, stated it often enough, that he was making a spaghetti western style movie for the south, calling it a "Southern". It's an accurate reference to make in calling it that.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:57 AM

14. "whitewash slavery", ah ha ha ha ha ha.

I plan to see it.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:34 PM

15. We saw it last night. It's a terrific movie.

I had never heard of the costar, Christph Waltz, before. He deserves to be a major star.

The movie certainlyd doesn't paint all whites as evil and all blacks as noble victims. Waltz's character starts out as a white man who hates slavery but whose own profession is based on callousness. Nonetheless, he's a noble hero by the end. Django learns to explore and use his own callous side. Samuel L. Jackson gives a remarkable performance as a slave who considers himself a member of the ruling class.

The movie's not a nuanced documentary about slavery and abolition, and it doesn't pretend to be. It's great entertainment with a message. For me, it made up for the time I wasted watching Lincoln.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #15)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:56 PM

16. Waltz won the Academy Award

for his role in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds". I believe he is the only one from a Tarantino film to win the Oscar. He was absolutely fantastic in it.

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Response to OldHippieChick (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:20 PM

25. I didn't see that movie

I'll watch for it on cable.

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Response to OldHippieChick (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 09:56 PM

40. Jaime Foxx won the Oscar for Ray.......

He did his own singing and piano playing in that movie - He's very talented.

Christophe Walyz deserves another Oscar for his performance in this movie, too.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:02 PM

18. So les mis is a wont see for me, so i don't kno where that puts django.

Reconstruction lasted until 1887-1878.

It took a more than a decade for conservative white democrats to undo the reforms of reconstruction, the Nadir starts around 1890.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 01:04 PM

19. as a tarantino fan

of pretty much all of his movies, it goes without saying that i want to see this! i'll probably wait until it comes out on netflix, though. i just don't care to go to theaters anymore except for 3D movies.

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Response to shanti (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:24 PM

27. I used to be a movie buff

now it is overpriced and I just cannot stand the ASSHOLES who are unable to go a couple of hours without playing with their handhelds.

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Response to Skittles (Reply #27)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:19 PM

32. definitely overpriced

and i'm kind of a cheapskate on certain things. can you believe $17 for a movie?? fuggedaboutit!

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Response to shanti (Reply #32)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 04:38 PM

35. especially sickening when you see the profits they rake in

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:23 PM

26. I declined to see both "The Help" and "The Blind Side" beause the promos struck me as phony

but I WILL be seeing Django (and nah, no les miz for me; I hate don't like musicals)

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 02:30 PM

28. Sorry I will pass on another

Taratino ultraviolent flick - even one with a good social message.

I like my Les Mis - it has enough violence to suit me. I already know how bad slavery was (you just need to look at the still pictures of the times to see the whip marks on slaves backs). I know women in slavery where sexually exploited (one of our founding fathers attests to that - it was known at the time even). You just need to see the illustrations of slave cargo holds.

I think I have had enough violence for the year.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:03 PM

31. Hogwash.

 

You've seen one Tarantino revenge film you've seen them all.

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Response to Zax2me (Reply #31)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:12 AM

44. Bingo

Guy is a one trick pony and hugely overrated. I'll pass.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:23 PM

33. Who paid you to write this crap?

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:42 PM

34. It IS the movie to see.

I refused to see The Help. I'm from Mississippi. I know how things really were down there. Django is the movie a black director would have made if he felt he could just lay it all on the line. But it's Tarrantino through and through, too, quirks and all, and that means people will go see it. They must see it.

God help me, there's Faulkner in it. Those who have studied his treatment of women will know what I mean so pay close attention to the sister of the house. It's interesting and telling and horrific in a very genteel way, of course. But blatantly grotesque at the same time, just like Faulkner could do, like with Emily.

There are a couple of parts you may want to look down at the floor. That's what I did. The rest is violent but in the obvious Quentin way that's like a comic book. But definitely remember the floor is available for a couple of parts. You'll know when.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:06 PM

41. I was walking behind two women in a store and heard one of them say,

"Well, I've heard that slavery didn't really last that long." The other woman knew not to answer.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 11:15 PM

42. "Lincoln"

was full of noble, long-suffering black people with tears welling up in their eyes in gratefulness that whitey finally threw them a bone.

I have a problem with that that I can't quite put my finger on.

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Response to Moonwalk (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:58 AM

43. But Spike Lee said it would be disrespectful to his ancestors to see it

I don't know how he can know that since, as he says, HE HASN'T SEEN IT. Sorry, that just doesn't work for me. I felt the same way when there were protestors at "The Last Temptation of Christ". They protested it because of what they had heard about it, not what they had seen with their own eyes. I found LTC very moving, and I'm not religious!

I will skip it on the big screen and wait to watch it on cable or DVD. Leonardo Dicaprio said that he definitely felt they were pushing the envelope with the violence.

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