The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 1.21.13 Issue #242: Django Unchained (2012)
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #242: Django Unchained (2012)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that doesn’t give a flying hooey about Lance Armstrong juicing, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and forty-two, I take a look at the controversial, Oscar nominated western that’s still playing in movie theatres, Django Unchained, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Django Unchained (2012)
I’m not exactly what you’d call a “fan” of Quentin Tarantino. He’s made some good movies, sure, but, to me, he isn’t the end all be all of movies. He’s like everyone else. He’s made some good movies (Kill Bill Vol.1, Reservoir Dogs), and he’s made some bad movies (Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, and Death Proof). Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained, while way too long, is easily the director’s most entertaining movie (his best overall movie, the one that holds together the best, is still Kill Bill Vol.1). It wasn’t as “talky” as I thought it was going to be, and, thankfully, isn’t told in “chapter” format. It’s a straight-up movie that goes from “A” to “B” to “C” without too much in the way of diversion. It could probably lose twenty minutes or so, though, to make it tighter.
The flick stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave turned bounty hunter who, with the help of his bounty hunting mentor Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), travels to Mississippi to rescue his wife, the slave Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the sleazy plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). The first hour or so of the movie is devoted to Django’s “rescue” from slavery by Dr. Schultz, followed by his training in the fine art of bounty hunting. This section of the movie is okay, but it drags a bit. The obvious highlight of this part of the movie is Don Johnson’s scumbag plantation owner Big Daddy, who allows Django and Dr. Schultz onto his property in a big ruse to kill the wanted Brittle brothers (the great M.C. Gainey, Cooper Huckabee, and Doc Duhame), men who just so happen to be employees of Big Daddy. We later see Big Daddy and a posse of pre-Ku Klux Klan types (one of them is Jonah Hill) attempt to take out the bounty hunters, only to be destroyed themselves with an exploding horse carriage. The movie really kicks into high gear when Django and Dr. Schultz finally get to Mississippi and to “Candie Land,” Calvin Candie’s massive plantation.
Now, the “Candie Land” section of the movie manages to shift between being incredibly offensive (the constant use of the word “nigger,” the “hot box” scene, the dog attack scene, and the “Mandingo fighting” sequence come to mind) and incredibly funny (Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen is the comic highlight of the movie. His constant ass kissing is horrendous, sure, but Jackson is funny while kissing ass. Take the scene where he repeats everything Calvin says. I actually choked laughing). Getting to know Calvin Candie, the false sophisticate who is nothing more than a piece of shit racist, makes you want the inevitable showdown between Django and Calvin’s inner circle to come even faster than it does. It’s too bad we never get to see a full on battle between Django and Calvin, but the way Calvin is dealt with is a definite crowd pleaser (there should have been more blood, though. I wanted to see it shooting out of him).
Kerry Washington does a good job as Broomhilda, but I’m surprised there isn’t a sequence in the movie where we get to know her a little more. I’d imagine that had Tarantino used the “chapter” structure Broomhilda would have had a twenty minute sequence and we would have seen a day in her life. We see her receiving punishment in the “hot box,” we see her attempting to escape the plantation via flashback, and we see her conversing in German with Schultz. She doesn’t get a big scene, though, where she does something like punch a guy in the face. Has there been a feminist backlash against the Broomhilda character that I’m unaware of? I’m shocked there isn’t more “social concern” about that.
There’s a sequence in the movie that’s a tad confusing (at least it was confusing to me) involving Stephen and Calvin in the mansion’s library. We get to see Stephen in his “natural” state, sans the cane and limp, and he’s drinking Brandy and sitting in the room like he owns the house. Calvin doesn’t appear to be “in control” at that moment. It’s like Calvin is really Stephen’s employee. What the heck is going on in that scene? Are we supposed to believe that the “master-slave” relationship between the two is just for the public, and that they’re really good friends? Am I missing something? I mean, there’s a reason the last guy Django deals with in the movie is Stephen, right? There is no Calvin Candie without Stephen, right? Again, am I missing something here?
The flick’s gory violence is top notch stuff. The exploding blood packs are greatly appreciated (the best one is the horse one at the beginning of the movie. The horse’s head explodes completely out of the blue). And the bloodbath towards the end of the movie is one of the funniest gore scenes ever filmed. I do wish, though, that the big dynamite scene featuring Tarantino with an Australian accent should have been chunkier. I bet it would have gotten a bigger laugh if it was ever nastier.
The performances are all outstanding. Foxx does an excellent job as Django, and Christoph Waltz is a revelation as Dr. Schultz (he clearly deserves his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination). DiCaprio managed to look older in his role as Calvin Candie (he looked like a very rough 25 instead of his usual 15), and Jackson is brilliant as Stephen (he should have been nominated for something. His performance is amazing). It was a hoot to see the great James Remar (Ganz, Albert Ganz) play two parts, and Walton Goggins just oozes sleaze as Candie henchman Billy Crash. And how about Tom Wopat (Luke Duke!) as a U.S marshal and Bruce Dern as a nasty runaway slave hunter (did he film his close up scene in like fifteen minutes?)? Tom Savini, Zoe Bell, and Robert Carradine also appear (I remember Savini and Bell, but where the heck did Carradine come into the movie? Was he mostly at the end?).
Do you think Michael Parks plays a distant relative to his Earl McGraw character? Or could he be actually playing Earl McGraw? What if Earl McGraw is immortal?
It was also very cool to see the great Franco Nero, the original Django, in a brief scene with the new Django. We all saw it in the trailer, but it plays better in the actual movie. Great stuff.
Django Unchained is a great time at the movies. You will be entertained, even if you happen to be offended by the language and the violence and, well, the plot of the movie. Just give it a chance. The movie will grow on you.
See Django Unchained. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 50+
Explosions: Two big ones. The second one is insane. It’s in Phantasm II territory.
Nudity?: Nothing worth talking about.
Doobage: A retro Columbia Pictures logo, a rock field, a line of slaves chained together, a weird German guy in a horse carriage with a tooth on a spring on top, hicks, a massive bullet to the head, a massive bullet to a horse’s head, coat stealing, another exploding head, endless racism, beer from a tap, sheriff shooting, story time, a Hannibal Lecter type slave mask, clothes buying, a plantation owner that looks like Colonel Sanders, a whipping flashback, master whipping, sharp shooting with a musket, a tooth bank, a pre-Ku Klux Klan group, a funny argument about a head bag, a riding through snow montage, a hot spring bath (maybe), bounty hunting brutality, fast draw practice on a snowman, an ambush, an off screen graphic that pushes the story forward towards Mississippi, a bunch of stuff about “Mandingo fighting,” arm breaking, serious eye gouging, hammer to the head, dinner eating, dog attack, “hot box” torture, potential incest, a nasty scarred back, a box with a skull in it, skull sawing, white cake eating, dog attack flashbacks, harp playing, attempted hand shaking, bullet to the chest, a shotgun massacre, multiple exploding bullet wounds, a nasty overall shootout, a speech about castration, Australian miners, exploding movie director, birdhouse painting, a small funeral, testicle shooting, kneecapping, dynamite rigging, exploding house, and a proper ending.
Kim Richards?: None.
Gratuitous: Retro Columbia Pictures logo, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Foxx as a slave, Christoph Waltz, James Remar, a horse carriage with a tooth on a spring on top, multiple exploding bullet wounds, horse killing, coat stealing, endless racism, Tom Wopat, Bruce Dern, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson as a scumbag plantation owner, M.C. Gainey, a tooth bank, Jonah Hill, a pre-Ku Klux Klan gang, a German fable, a “riding through the snow” montage, snowman shooting, James Remar again, Leonardo DiCaprio, the great Franco Nero, Mandingo fighting, Walton Goggins, dog attack, Samuel L. Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson as a black racist, hot box torture, German, a box with a skull in it, skull sawing, white cake eating, Alexandre Dumas, shotgun massacre, a wicked shootout, Johnny Cash, Quentin Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino with an Australian accent, Michael Parks, John Jarratt, exploding movie director, Tom Savini, Zoe Bell wearing a mask, birdhouse painting, testicle shooting, kneecapping, dynamite rigging, exploding house, and a proper ending.
Best lines: (there are many more but these are the ones that I caught and wrote down) “I’m from the Karukan plantation,” “What’s your name? Django,” “Speak English goddamit!,” “You goddamn sonofabitch! You shot Roscoe!,” “You go to hell, dentist!,” “It’s a nigger on a horse,” “What’s everyone staring at? They ain’t never see no nigger on a horse before,” “I got no use for a nigger with sand,” “It is against the law for niggers to ride horses in this territory,” “I like the way you beg, boy,” “After this, we’ll see if you break eggs again,” “Jon Brittle. You remember me? I like the way you die, boy,” “I’m positive he dead,” “Anybody bring any extra bags?,” “What happened to mister ‘I want to shoot white folk for money’?,” “Doctor, Django, how the hell are you?,” “What’s your name? Django. Can you spell it. D-J-A-N-G-O. The D is silent. I know,” “What makes you such a Mandingo expert?,” “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention,” “You got a problem with your eyeball, boy?,” “He is a rambunctious sort, ain’t he?,” “You silver tongued devil, you,” “Two weeks in Boston! Ha!,” “You know that nigga, don’t you?,” “I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist,” “Hold your fire! Hold your fire! Stop shooting goddamit!,” “I can’t hear you, nigga!,” “You’re all right for a black fella,” ” D’Artagnan motherfucker!,” “It’s me, baby,” and “Tell Miss Laura goodbye.”
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
– Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning: This Universal Soldier sequel did get a small theatrical release (I know it played in New York City), and I believe it was filmed in 3D, although I’m not sure if it was actually shown in 3D during its theatrical run. Van Damme and Lundgren are back, along with director John Hyams, and Scott Adkins appears, too. It looks weird, sure, but I bet it kicks ass anyway.
– End of Watch: I missed this when it played in theatres, but I did see the trailer for it about fifty times (the only movie trailer I saw more last year than the one for End of Watch was the one for Chernobyl Diaries). The first person POV thing is a bit worrying, but the shootouts look badass, and that’s what you want to see in a cop movie like this.
– Death Race 3: Inferno: I haven’t seen Death Race 2, also starring Luke Goss, but I did see the Death Race remake starring Jason Statham and I liked that quite a bit. I doubt that either part 2 or part 3 will be as thrilling as the remake, but I’m willing to give both sequels a chance. I mean, part 3 here has Ving Rhames in it, and Ving Rhames is awesome. Why would I not want to participate? Dougray Scott and Danny “Machete” Trejo are in it, too. That’s cool.
– Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft: The great David DeCouteau directed this low budget genre flick, and apparently Eric Roberts is in it in some fashion, but the PG-13 rating gives me pause. Did DeCouteau and company want to make a PG-13 movie, or did they decide to fashion one out of the footage that they shot? I’m curious to know. The trailer really doesn’t hint one way or the other.
– Officer Down: The trailer for this action flick is pretty nifty, and the cast is pretty dang top notch (James Woods, Stephen Dorff, David Boreanz, and Elisabeth Rohm are some of the names on imdb.com’s cast page). Why isn’t this getting, at least, a small theatrical release? You know, like 300 theaters? I think people would go to see it in a movie theatre if given a chance to.
– Deadly Blessing: Collector’s Edition: I haven’t seen this Wes Craven directed movie,, but now that it’s coming out on a “Collector’s Edition” DVD I think I have to, at least, check it out. Ernest Borgnine is in it. Is that cool or is that weird? The great Michael Berryman also apparently shows up. That’s always cool.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
Conrad Bain 1923-2013 RIP
The Big Question: What kind of movie should Quentin Tarantino make next?
“See, I still don’t know if I should have orange soda. I should probably have grape soda. That would seem to go better with the burger and fries I’m getting. But do they even have grape soda here? Shit, I don’t see it. What the hell?”
Quentin Tarantino has made three crime movies (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown), two kung fu action flicks (the Kill Bill movies), a western (Django Unchained, and I refuse to call it a “southern”), a sort of comedy (his segment of Four Rooms), a war movie (Inglorious Basterds), and a sort of horror thriller (Death Proof). What should he do next?
Now, the internets has already started to speculate on what his next movie will be. He might do a side story/prequel/sequel to Basterds called Killer Crow, about black American soldiers “going apeshit and blazing an Apache warpath towards Switzerland,” or at least that’s what he told website The Root. I doubt that will happen, as Tarantino has thrown out possible sequels/prequels/continuations of his previous movies before (we’re all still waiting for that Vega Brothers movie). Whatever his next actual movie ends up being it will probably be an original idea.
So what kind of movie should he do next? Should he do another crime movie? Should he venture into science fiction? Should he maybe do a romantic comedy?
I’d like to see him make a movie as a “for hire” director. I’d like to see him take a script that he didn’t write and make a movie out of it. The movie genre doesn’t matter, but I’d like to see him shape someone else’s script, someone else’s idea, into a movie. He’d probably never do that, but I think it would be interesting to see him try. I think the pop culture world would forgive him if he failed.
So what do you guys think? What do you want to see Tarantino do next?
Do you read Shock Cinema?
If you do, awesome. If you don’t, what the heck are you waiting for?
Shock Cinema, published by Steven Puchalski, is a movie magazine for “fans of cutting-edge, retro cinema. Each issue features in-depth interviews with the most intriguing character actors, cult celebrities and maverick moviemakers of all time and critiques a wide array of film obscurities, including grindhouse action, blaxploitation, sexploitation, horror, science fiction, drive-in favorites, kitsch gems, overseas oddities, and arthouse dementia” (from the mag’s website).
You can buy the magazine at bookstores, comic book shops, and any other place that sells, well, cool movie magazines. You can also buy individual issues or subscribe at http://shockcinemamagazine.com/.
So, like I said, if you’re not reading Shock Cinema, what the heck are you waiting for?
Shock Cinema magazine! Yeah!.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Kerry Washington
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
– Night of the Templar: This low budget action flick has a good cast, featuring Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, and David Carradine, who, despite being dead now for four years, still finds work. What a goddamn trooper.
– Cujo: I’m not sure if there are any actual special features on this particular DVD from Olive Films (amazon doesn’t list any), but I do like the new DVD cover (very spooky), and, heck, Cujo is a damn good Stephen King adaptation. Definitely worth getting.
– Hold Your Breath: Holy hooey does this movie look messed up. Go ahead, watch the trailer below and then say “No, I don’t want to see this.” Go ahead, I’ll wait.
See? You can’t do it. I definitely plan on checking this out.
>- Dark Angel: The Ascent, Bad Channels, Mandroid, Zombie Ed, and Arcade: It looks like Chuck Band at Full Moon is releasing a bunch of Full Moon classics on DVD. I’ve seen three of these flicks (Zombie Ed and Dark Angel: The Ascent are the two that I missed, but I have seen the trailer for DA. I’m surprised that it isn’t on youtube). Mandroid is fun, and Arcade is one of the best low budget killer video game movies ever made. It’ll probably be easier to get these from amazon than a store, since most stores aren’t cool enough to carry Full Moon flicks.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the National Rifle Association, for asking the following question in a recent attack ad against President Obama’s potential gun control policies: “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical of putting armed security in schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards in their school?”
Really? The NRA is wondering why the family of the President of the United States is protected around the clock by armed security? Is the NRA actually trying to make a point here with this question? If it is, I’m mystified by what that point is. Because the last time I checked the President’s family, regardless of political affiliation, becomes a target of various lunatics as soon as it becomes the First Family. They are under constant real threat of kidnapping, etc. Are regular American citizens under such real, constant threat each and every day?
No, not really. So, again, what exactly is the point of this “question?”
As usual, the NRA and its legion of ultra right wing lunatics fail to offer anything constructive to any ongoing problem the country faces. Shocking, right?
And then there’s the ultra right wing media machine, for constantly asking gun control advocates what they’re going to do if someone breaks into their house in the middle of the night and rapes their family. I’d imagine that gun control advocates will do the same thing strident, ultra right wing gun nuts will do if someone breaks into their house in the middle of the night to rape their family. Panic. What gun control advocates won’t do, though, is accidentally shoot their own family members attempting to “protect” them from armed intruders, making an already horrific incident even worse. Perhaps you’d be better off investing in a good, strong door, or some kind of home security system if you’re worried about constant home invasions and endless rapes.
Or you could use a hammer, which, according to the FBI (not really) and just about every right wing gun psychopath on TV, is far more dangerous than any gun.
And finally there’s former comedian Dennis Miller, for going out on tour with fellow Douchebag Hall of Famer Bill O’Reilly. Again.
Remember when Miller was funny, when he had his own point of view and wasn’t an insane right wing psychopath. Do you think he would have endorsed a guy like Herman fucking Cain back in 1996? And wasn’t the last O’Reilly/Miller tour enough?
God, thinking about Dennis Miller is depressing. Incredibly depressing.
Why can’t we have this guy back? Why?
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
There isn’t much going on in either NASCAR or Indycar at the moment. The lack of NASCAR news is kind of disturbing since Daytona is only a few weeks away. And I’m surprised that we haven’t heard more about the potential Indycar starting grid for the opening street race in St. Pete.
The biggest news in NASCAR at the moment involves Landon Cassill deciding to leave the Burger King team for “other opportunities.” According to Speed, Cassill left the team because of contract issues (I’m guessing the team hasn’t paid him what it was supposed to). I’ll admit that not getting paid is a good reason to leave a team, but it seems like a bad move to leave a team that has some kind of sponsorship deal already in place. What kind of opportunities are out there? What good team is looking for a driver at this stage of the pre-season?
Over in Indycar, Speed writer Marshall Pruett reports that the spare parts issue for the new car that the owners have been bitching about for almost a year has been resolved. The owners aren’t all that happy with the resolution (shocking) but it sounds like most of them will stop openly complaining about the cost of spare parts at least until Indy in May. That’s the first oval on the schedule and, according to the owners, massive wrecks on ovals are always more costly than massive wrecks on road and street courses (bullshit, yes, but that’s what they believe). And there seem to be some rumblings that AJ Allmendinger may run Indy for Michael Shank Racing. Allmendinger apparently owns a piece of Shank’s team, and since Allmendinger has open wheel experience this could be a good match. Unless Allmendinger can latch on to a lucrative NASCAR deal. Doubtful, but it could happen.
The 24hrs of Daytona is this coming weekend. Speed will have live coverage of the race starting on Saturday at 3pm. Live coverage will then shift to, I assume. Speed’s website, and then the Speed Channel will pick up the race at 9am Sunday morning. I’ll probably get a chance to see some of the race on Saturday night, and then more on Sunday afternoon (like at 1pm or something). That’s when things tend to get interesting. I would like to see Speed do a full 24 hour live broadcast one day, though. I bet people would watch intently at 2:30am.
Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
Jamie Foxx- Django
Christoph Waltz- Dr. King Schultz
Leonardo DiCaprio- Calvin Candie
Kerry Washington- Broomhilda
Samuel L. Jackson- Stephen
Walton Goggins- Billy Crash
James Remar- Butch Pootch/Ace Speck
Laura Cayouette- Laura Lee Candie-Fitzwilly
Don Johnson- Big Daddy
Franco Nero- Amerigo Vessepi
James Russo- Dickie Speck
Tom Wopat- US Marshall Gil Tatum
Bruce Dern- Old Man Carrucan
M.C. Gainey- Big John Brittle
Cooper Huckabee- Lil Raj Brittle
Doc Duhame- Ellis Brittle
Jonah Hill- Bag Head #2
Zoe Bell- Tracker
Tom Savini- Tracker
Robert Carradine- Tracker
Michael Parks- The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee
John Jarratt- The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee
Quentin Tarantino- The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee
Ato Essandoh- D’Artagnan
Sammi Rotibi- Rodney
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Distributed by The Weinstein Company and Columbia Pictures
Rated R strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity
Runtime- 165 minutes