Django Unchained, Tarantino’s Explosive Cameo

Django Unchained

Man, I love Tarantino movies. They’ve got action, adventure, thrills, sass, and hilarious amounts of blood and dismemberment; everything a good flick needs. That’s the short version of this Django Unchained review, to be sure, and it is bloody. That tends to happen when a freed slave turned bounty hunter gets to exact revenge on the sadistic slavers who took his wife from him. Paired with a charming German ex-dentist named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and armed with enough guns to change the air-to-lead ratio, Django (Jamie Foxx) sets out on a quest to buy his wife’s freedom from the nefarious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) of the Candie plantation.

Now, the first thing you should know about Django Unchained is that the story takes place in 1858 in the South. If gratuitous use of the N-word makes you uncomfortable or outright offends you, steer clear!

Django UnchainedThe story begins with a transaction gone foul: Masquerading as a dentist, Dr. Schultz approaches two slaveholders and their latest purchases in the night, wishing to acquire a particular slave that might harbor knowledge of his latest bounties. In truth, he is a bounty hunter employed by the United States government. When the slavers threaten to kill Schultz if he doesn’t depart immediately, one winds up with a hole in his head, and the other with his leg broken underneath a dead horse. Despite the bloodshed, or perhaps owing to it, Django agrees to help Schultz in his hunt, and the two depart for the Gatlinburg plantation where the Brittles are employed.

Over the course of their journey together, Django proves himself to be a competent bounty hunter, and so Schultz takes him on as a sort of partner/apprentice. They roam the land, exchanging the corpses of criminals for cash money, and getting themselves into particularly tight situations that are resolved only by Schultz’s immaculate charm. At a point, Django tells Schultz of his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was sold at an auction in Mississippi. Schultz realizes that he’s witnessing a real-life rendition of the German fable of Siegfried. He feels compelled to help Django, and so the movie shifts to its main attraction: Candyland!

Calvin Candie, the owner of Candyland, is a man that deals in mandingo fighting; a brutal form of one-on-one combat to the death with virtually no rules beyond winning at all costs. Schultz and Django – disguised as a novice mandingo aficionado and a talent evaluator, respectively – veil their desire to purchase Broomhilda with an outlandish offer of $12,000 for one of Candie’s top mandingos, Eskimo Joe. The head house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), doesn’t take too kindly to the fact that Django, a black man, isn’t treated like a slave. While Candie is seduced by the prospect of making money, Stephen sees right through the sham and lets his master know what’s what, forcing the two bounty hunters into a very dire situation indeed. And that’s the cliffhanger I’ll leave you with.

Django UnchainedOh, right. And that Quentin Tarantino himself appears as an Australian slaveholder and explodes within minutes. Horrible as it may be, that was the hardest I laughed throughout the entire movie.

This movie is two hours and forty five minutes long, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re touchy about racism or ultraviolence, you’re going to have a lot of both on your hands if you try to sit this one all the way through. If you’re sufficiently jaded as I am, you can laugh at the overdone violence, revel in the righteous vengeance Django and Schultz lay down on the sadistic slavers, and feel pretty good when the movie ends with a literal bang.

Anthony Quinn of Independent.co.uk thinks that Tarantino’s delicious Western spaghetti wasn’t cooked enough, and may have a bit too much sauce. In a single word, one might describe Django Unchained as tropey or campy, requiring viewers to take the film’s sporadically silly and dramatic content with a grain of salt. But as I said, I’ve got a blatant bias towards most every Tarantino film I see, so perhaps you’d best check out the Independent review here for more perspective before you watch.

Sublime: Not the Band, but Just as Trippy

Sublime

I have never been so confused in my life. What the hell is Sublime about? It just takes a whole bunch of at-the-time fears and stirs them up in one melting pot of “what the hell is going on?” Everything comes together in the end, but getting there is just a pain in the ass. One thing I CAN establish is that there are far too many freakin’ flashbacks, and that in order to make any sense of the movie, I’ll need to spoil everything. Let’s get this synopsis over with.

On the day after his big 40, IT consultant George Grieves heads to Mount Abaddon Hospital (note the conspicuous demon name) for a colonoscopy, but doesn’t quite get one. Instead, he gets a perforated colon that turns into an infection that turns into a coma that turns into a vegetable state. All throughout, he’s tormented by insane images of his social phobias or something of the sort. Begin commentary.
SublimePsyche. FLASHBACK. During his 40th birthday party, he’s given a genie picture viewer, a knife-holder that looks like a person being stabbed, and an olive tree. Even further flashback! He sees his son watching a video of an African crude surgery and gets a little freaked out. Yet another flashback! Everyone talks about unnecessary surgeries secretly performed on immigrants in order to get insurance money. Even more flashbacks! When will it end? George says he can see that his stay-at-home wife is truly happy because he can see it in her eyes, and is proven wrong.

PRESENT. George is experiencing vivid hallucinations based around his social fears. In his comatose delusion, he believes he has received an unnecessary surgery in the place of an immigrant with a similar sounding name, and as a result, he sees some pretty hilarious stuff. He sees his daughter making out with some goth chick called Ravyn, and then he gives a touching speech. Then he finds out he’s lost a leg. The nurse that’s been taking care of him suddenly decides to diddle him, and he finds out that she’s got an olive tree tattoo on her back. Relevance? No idea. Must be profound.

SublimeNext up, he goes to the “in construction” East Wing of the hospital and uncovers the illegal surgery operation, only to be captured by a black doctor who slices the skin between his fingers and goes on a gigantic rant about being black, and making fun of George for being xenophobic. The entire scene is stupid and annoying and it drags its ass and serves no real purpose. Then, George suddenly remembers a seemingly irrelevant conversation he had with his wife about dying in his dream and subsequently dying in real life. So he breaks the imaginary window and jumps to his imaginary death. Then he dies in real life.

That’s all I’m giving you. Do I think it’s a good movie? No, absolutely not. I don’t find this movie scary, deep, or even the slightest bit interesting. It’s a 113 minute yawn fest that tries to preach about at-the-time close-minded phobias, but winds up offering little more than an a heap of moldy ideology. Lesbian jailbait, sexy nurses, sadistic black men, poor immigrants getting cheap surgeries for made-up illnesses! It’s like someone plucked stereotypes from a hat and threw them in all motley. In short, Sublime is a terrible movie. Don’t waste your time.

Lee Roberts of Best Horror Movies calls Sublime thought-provoking; something that not a lot of people get. While I don’t get it (because it feels like Quentin Tarantino mixed with booze and narcotics), I think its message was better understood at the time it was released. So hey, I may have been harsh with Sublime in my review, but it can be put in a better light. Maybe. Check out the friendlier review here: http://www.best-horror-movies.com/review?name=sublime-2007-review