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: Django Unchained (2013) - QT's SW  ( 90583 )
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« #90 : December 26, 2012, 12:58:10 PM »

So how close is "Django Unchained" to the spaghetti westerns "as we know them to be" (and by "we" I mean the members of Sergio Leone web board) in style, presentation and substance? I am not a fan of QT and I completely gave up on QT after IG. If I want to see his movie again, it would be because this time it is purportedly as "spag". Going by the D&D' review of the film, I think I can can give it a pass and save myself of the misery.

well I didn't really review the film. What I said was that I didn't find the jokes to be funny cuz they were having a good time with slavery, and that since I prefer a more straightforward storytelling style than I do the QT shtick, I didn't love it all that much. But if you do appreciate the QT style of storytelling, you will probably enjoy this.

As for your question re: the spag elements: though this movie is being billed as a spag, it obviously isn't cuz it has nothing to do with Italy. In terms of style, yes, there is a shitload of violence, which I'm sure you all know to expect from all of QT's movies anyway. I thought the violence was done very well, until the end where it just became bloody for bloody's sake, endless shootouts and more and more and more gratuitous blood.

Much of the movie takes place on plantations, but for your more typical Western landscapes ("miles and miles of sun-baked sand," which is such an important element of the Western), there are some scenes at the beginning with Western landscapes, it will be instantly noticeable to all Western fans that they are using the Sierras in Lone Pine, CA (which, of course, is a very famous location in which dozens of Westerns have been filmed, and some non-Westerns as well, like High Sierra). If they wanted to boost their spag-cred, couldn't they have at least shot some landscapes in Almeria? Filming locations here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/locations

So we've covered the violence (yes); the cast/crew/production companies (none of which, so far as I could tell, are Italian or Spanish); and the locations (none of which are in Spain).

What other characteristics distinguish a spag? Music. Django Unchained uses lots of music from the original Django. There's also a snatch of Morricone's theme for Two Mules for Sister Sara. And according to the credits, Morricone record a new song for this movie (I'm not sure what it was. (UPDATE:, though looking now on the movie's soundtrack on iTunes, I see there are 3 tracks attrributed to Morricone; a couple of them copy his theme from Two Mules for Sister Sara; the third is called "Un Monumento"; that must be the new song Morricone recorded for the movie).

What else is important about a spag, or Western in general? Well, the clothing of the hero. I'm sure you've all seen Django's clothes, IMO they won't be making anyone forget TMWNN anytime soon. Nothing distinctive about that. Nothing distinctive about his smoking habots either; he occasionally rolls a cigarette, but not much is made of it, it's not in any way used to build the character (like it is eg. with TMWNN, on whom Leone said "the cigar is playing the lead").

Another distinctive element of the spag is that the gangs are filled with characters who look like they've come from the freak show. well in Django Unchained, the only real "gang" is one scene with a bunch of KKK guys, and they all look like all-American Southerners (one of the most prominent member is Jonah Hill).. So no freak-show faces there

Hope this helps you decide whether or not this is a spag  ;)

and btw, that one scene I mentioned with the KKK guys is a comedic scene; one of the klansmen's wives has sewn the holes for the hoods, and done so very poorly so they can't see out of them. This leads to a whole comedic scene as they struggle with the hoods. One of the many scenes in the movie with humor that I found completely tasteless. For anyone old enough to even remember the KKK's marches through Southern towns in the 1960's, I don't think they'd find that scene very funny.



« : December 26, 2012, 02:35:15 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #91 : December 26, 2012, 01:00:36 PM »

D&D

I take it you never saw Blazing Saddles aswell.

no, the only QT movie I ever saw was Pulp Fiction and I didn't like it (I have no sense of humor), so I never saw another QT movie, till this one.


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« #92 : December 26, 2012, 07:53:49 PM »

Hello D&D,

Thank you for a very lucid and a comprehensive post. From whatever little snippets I have seen from the movie, the lacks that "feel" of a spaghetti western.

#1. Brightly lit sets, as opposed to light/shadow effect in the spaghetti westerns.

#2. Cast wearing clean ironed out attire, as if they just got back from dry cleaner' shop.

#3. The rugged looks, the sun burnt skin and that "rugged" voice, as if the talker has been a heavy tobacco smoker.

#4. As you noted, the film's crisp feel is rather distracting.

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« #93 : December 27, 2012, 01:12:14 AM »

I don't know why every review of this movie automatically called it "Quentin Tarantino's Spaghetti Western." Just cuz the main character, and title of the movie, uses the same name/title of a famous spag character movie? That's not enough to make it a spag.

It's not an actual spag, since (so far as I can tell), there is nothing Italian about it: none of the cast, crew, or production companies.

So if it's not an actual spag, it can still be called a "spag" if it's done in the spag style. But other than the extreme violence -- which we know is anyway a hallmark of all QT movies -- I really don't see anything spag-like about this movie. Having a violent Western with a Django character and Morricone/ Bacalav music doesn't make it a spag; and using the Sierras as your Western landscape locations is as American Western as can be. The Sierras are as distinctly "American Western" as are John Ford, John Wayne, or Howard Hawks. If he'd only filmed a few scenes in Almeria, I'd be ok with calling this a spag. But he didn't.
So far as I can tell, there is nothing Italo-Spanish in the cast, crew, production company, locations, gang members.
The only elements to that are in any way spag-related are: the violence; using the Django name and much of the Django music; and using some Morricone music (they use the Two Mules for Sister Sara theme, and Morricone wrote a new song for it as well).

So, in response to your questions (and hey, now that you asked, I'm having fun with this, as you can see  ;)) I wouldn't call this a spag.

------

Btw, one unrelated matter I meant to say earlier but forgot: the movie also copies a camera technique used frequently in Django: the quick, long, sudden zooms. There are several times during big moments in Django where the camera is taking a long shot, and suddenly it'll swoop in with this big, quick zoom. Django Unchained copies that technique as well.

I re-watched Django the night before watching Django Unchained (I'd only seen it once before), and I am soooo hapoy that i did; it made me enjoy the movie so much more. While I may not have loved Django Unchained I greatly enjoyed those parts where it copies/references Django, eg. using the music; the cinematographic techniques, the Franco Nero cameo, etc.

Whether you'll ultimately love or hate Django Unchained, I can assure you that it will be a lot more fun if you are thorougly familiar with Django, cuz then you will greatly enjoy those parts which copy Django


« : December 27, 2012, 01:21:30 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #94 : December 27, 2012, 04:35:19 AM »

I don't know why every review of this movie automatically called it "Quentin Tarantino's Spaghetti Western." Just cuz the main character, and title of the movie, uses the same name/title of a famous spag character movie? That's not enough to make it a spag.

It's not an actual spag, since (so far as I can tell), there is nothing Italian about it: none of the cast, crew, or production companies.

So if it's not an actual spag, it can still be called a "spag" if it's done in the spag style. But other than the extreme violence -- which we know is anyway a hallmark of all QT movies -- I really don't see anything spag-like about this movie. Having a violent Western with a Django character and Morricone/ Bacalav music doesn't make it a spag; and using the Sierras as your Western landscape locations is as American Western as can be. The Sierras are as distinctly "American Western" as are John Ford, John Wayne, or Howard Hawks. If he'd only filmed a few scenes in Almeria, I'd be ok with calling this a spag. But he didn't.
So far as I can tell, there is nothing Italo-Spanish in the cast, crew, production company, locations, gang members.
The only elements to that are in any way spag-related are: the violence; using the Django name and much of the Django music; and using some Morricone music (they use the Two Mules for Sister Sara theme, and Morricone wrote a new song for it as well).

So, in response to your questions (and hey, now that you asked, I'm having fun with this, as you can see  ;)) I wouldn't call this a spag.

------

Btw, one unrelated matter I meant to say earlier but forgot: the movie also copies a camera technique used frequently in Django: the quick, long, sudden zooms. There are several times during big moments in Django where the camera is taking a long shot, and suddenly it'll swoop in with this big, quick zoom. Django Unchained copies that technique as well.

I re-watched Django the night before watching Django Unchained (I'd only seen it once before), and I am soooo hapoy that i did; it made me enjoy the movie so much more. While I may not have loved Django Unchained I greatly enjoyed those parts where it copies/references Django, eg. using the music; the cinematographic techniques, the Franco Nero cameo, etc.

Whether you'll ultimately love or hate Django Unchained, I can assure you that it will be a lot more fun if you are thorougly familiar with Django, cuz then you will greatly enjoy those parts which copy Django



What about Franco Nero's cameo, is it just the snippet we've seen or is it more expansive?


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« #95 : December 27, 2012, 08:11:17 AM »

By definition it can't be a Spaghetti Western since it's not an Italian film. But I'm not really shocked that a QT film has QT's style. Genre is secondary here.



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« #96 : December 27, 2012, 08:42:00 AM »

What about Franco Nero's cameo, is it just the snippet we've seen or is it more expansive?

it's very brief, just that one scene


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« #97 : December 27, 2012, 02:48:05 PM »

I disagree that it portrayed mistreatment of blacks as a joke. The whole movie may be presented in a goofy, blaxploitation-esque matter, but the more serious racial scenes are dealt with rather dramatically. There may be some slight racist humor, but nothing that should bother people unless they don't know how to take a joke. There's no reason to trash IB or Django. Everyone knows the history, and filmmakers have reiterated time and time again how horrible these moments in history were. Tarantino is a filmmaker, he knows these horrors, shows these horrors, and is still able to present them in a lighthearted matter. He's not trying to convince people that these were actually lighthearted events, but instead just making a damn entertaining movie based on events which occurred many, many years ago.
I saw the film in the Bronx with a largely black audience. They laughed all the way through, and no one, as far as I could make out, got offended and left.
Quote
That being said I'm pretty disappointed with the film. The conflict is so, so, so weak. The characters face very little to no challenge in finding the people they are searching for or accomplishing their goals. There's not a single moment where Django or King Schultz is worried about something. Everything is rushed and happens way too abruptly, with little to no payoff for the major plot events. One sequence in the film which lasts 30-40 minutes and mirrors the Inglourious Basterds basement scene is the dullest part of the movie by far, lacking any wit or tension whatsoever. The sense of adventure which the film SHOULD have is almost completely missing.
Spot on.  O0



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« #98 : December 27, 2012, 05:28:16 PM »

I don't know why every review of this movie automatically called it "Quentin Tarantino's Spaghetti Western." Just cuz the main character, and title of the movie, uses the same name/title of a famous spag character movie? That's not enough to make it a spag.

It's not an actual spag, since (so far as I can tell), there is nothing Italian about it: none of the cast, crew, or production companies.

So if it's not an actual spag, it can still be called a "spag" if it's done in the spag style. But other than the extreme violence -- which we know is anyway a hallmark of all QT movies -- I really don't see anything spag-like about this movie. Having a violent Western with a Django character and Morricone/ Bacalav music doesn't make it a spag; and using the Sierras as your Western landscape locations is as American Western as can be. The Sierras are as distinctly "American Western" as are John Ford, John Wayne, or Howard Hawks. If he'd only filmed a few scenes in Almeria, I'd be ok with calling this a spag. But he didn't.
So far as I can tell, there is nothing Italo-Spanish in the cast, crew, production company, locations, gang members.
The only elements to that are in any way spag-related are: the violence; using the Django name and much of the Django music; and using some Morricone music (they use the Two Mules for Sister Sara theme, and Morricone wrote a new song for it as well).

So, in response to your questions (and hey, now that you asked, I'm having fun with this, as you can see  ;)) I wouldn't call this a spag.
A poster at criterionforum.org made this excellent observation:
Quote
Tarantino's picture certainly isn't a remake of the earlier Django. In fact, other than the appropriation of the name and the style of the theme music, it owes little stylistically to the Spaghetti. When one considers the main character's motivation (an obsessive love for a wronged wife), the use of the iconic stone formations in Lone Pine, the charismatic villain who admires the hero, the font used for the title, and even the late 50's era Columbia logo, it would seem that this is a deranged offspring of the Boetticher/Scott Ranown cycle.

« : December 27, 2012, 05:29:41 PM dave jenkins »


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« #99 : December 27, 2012, 06:24:17 PM »

I saw the film in the Bronx with a largely black audience. They laughed all the way through, and no one, as far as I could make out, got offended and left.


I saw this at the UA at Sheepshead Bay (first time I was there; it's now officially one of my 2 favorite theaters, along with AMC on 34th; the screens are enormous) and sitting next to me was a black woman, her husband, and child. They laughed through the whole thing as well. And as far as I could tell, nobody left in middle either. But that doesn't mean I am wrong to believe the movie has too much of a good time with slavery.

On a peripheral note: there are many blacks -- particularly the young hip hop generation -- who use the N-word all the time. Does that mean that I am wrong to believe that it's an offensive word? (And that the ones how use it are idiots for using a word that is so hateful to a group that was so mistreated).
btw, I do not have a problem with the movie's use of the N-word; it's a fact of life that that word was used and it shouldn't be sugar-coated; my problem is in that the abuse of blacks is portrayed in a very comedic way. My point about blacksblacks' use of the N-word is just to make a general analogy, that even though I am not black, I can feel that certain things are offensive even if there are  some blacks who don't. So yeah, I am sure there are many blacks who will see this movie and laugh straight through it. I still think its portrayal of racism was ridiculous.


« : December 27, 2012, 08:00:34 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #100 : December 27, 2012, 09:37:28 PM »

LA Times article "Django an Unsettling Experience for Many Blacks"  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-django-reax-2-20121228,0,1771716.story

The comments of one of the people interviewed here, named Tim Cogshell, are so fucking stupid that they don't even deserve to be acknowledged any further. But otherwise, this is an interesting article, and I see there are some people who feel just like I do: it's not a question over the use of the n-word (doesn't bother me), or whether QT believes slavery as evil (of course he does). Rather, the issue is whether slavery should be used as a source for comedy. IMO there some things that are too sad and too serious to be used as a basis for comedy.

« : December 27, 2012, 09:40:42 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #101 : December 28, 2012, 05:03:54 AM »

Anthony Lane from The New Yorker:

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The new Quentin Tarantino picture, “Django Unchained,” stars Jamie Foxx as a slave named Django, and mid-nineteenth-century America as the chains. Our hero is freed by Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a bounty hunter posing as a dentist, who appears to have escaped from a Buñuel film; trim of beard and florid of rhetoric, he would rather die than act uncivilly, and would rather kill than prolong an unsavory argument. He needs Django as a witness, to identify potential targets, and the pair become a team, dispatching wanted men and handing over the corpses for cash.

The first half of the tale is skillfully balanced, the best thing that Tarantino has done since “Jackie Brown,” and its comedy bristles with barbs. To watch a posse of marauding Klansmen, hooded with white bags, complain that they can’t see through the eyeholes is to wish dearly that D. W. Griffith, who lauded the Klan in “The Birth of a Nation,” were at one’s side. But something happens to the pace and the poise of “Django Unchained” as the hunters head South and the screen fills with the word “Mississippi.” Here resides Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), slave owner, brocaded fop, and master of Candyland, the plantation estate where his subjects toil, among them Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Django’s wife. But is Tarantino truly engaged with those subjects? He is happy to film whippings, in unstinting detail, or the incarceration of Broomhilda, whom Django has come to save. Yet she barely exists as a character, and even Django seems to morph from a near-silent sufferer into an avenging angel, grinning in glory, without passing through the usual stages of personhood. What really grips Tarantino is the chance to bait us, as he has done before, with metronomic mentions of the N-word—uttered with especial relish by Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), the majordomo of Candyland, and the most terrifying of Uncle Toms.

The reason for the crawl and slither of these later scenes is plain: the director is coiling himself, as is his wont, for an apocalypse of blood. Dr. Schultz triggers it with one brief deed. “I couldn’t resist,” he says, and that mix of mock-apology and merry boast is purest Tarantino. He has such a fine eye, and his travelling shots of horses and riders are a hint of what tremendous cowboy flicks he might have made, in a straighter age, but his films continue to be snared in a tangle of morality and style. Tarantino is dangerously in love with the look of evil, and all he can counter it with is cool—not strength of purpose, let alone goodness of heart, but simple comeuppance, issued with merciless panache. That is what Django delivers, and it’s the least that Candie deserves, together with other defenders of the Southern status quo: such, at any rate, will be the claim of Tarantino’s fans, although I was disturbed by their yelps of triumphant laughter, at the screening I attended, as a white woman was blown away by Django’s gun. By the time Tarantino shows up as a redneck with an unexplained Australian accent, “Django Unchained” has mislaid its melancholy, and its bitter wit, and become a raucous romp. It is a tribute to the spaghetti Western, cooked al dente, then cooked a while more, and finally sauced to death.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2013/01/07/130107crci_cinema_lane#ixzz2GLbLyOSN

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2013/01/07/130107crci_cinema_lane?currentPage=1

Again, this sounds not dissimilar from my beef with Inglourious Basterds. Something tells me I'll hate this film, yet I still want to see it.



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« #102 : December 28, 2012, 11:19:04 PM »

LA Times article "Django an Unsettling Experience for Many Blacks"  http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-django-reax-2-20121228,0,1771716.story

The comments of one of the people interviewed here, named Tim Cogshell, are so fucking stupid that they don't even deserve to be acknowledged any further. But otherwise, this is an interesting article, and I see there are some people who feel just like I do: it's not a question over the use of the n-word (doesn't bother me), or whether QT believes slavery as evil (of course he does). Rather, the issue is whether slavery should be used as a source for comedy. IMO there some things that are too sad and too serious to be used as a basis for comedy.
Tim Cogshell in this article is the reason I still have to be a racist prick to some people.

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« #103 : December 29, 2012, 11:49:12 AM »

I'm having blog difficulties so I'll post my review here first:

At different points during Django Unchained (2012) I felt like I should be amused or excited, offended or sickened. But Quentin Tarantino's new flick mostly inspired indifference. You can only see the same tricks umpteen times, and Django's only marked distinction from Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds is its genre.

Texas 1858. Dentist-bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) frees slave Django (Jamie Foxx) and enlists him as a partner. King needs Django to identify the Brittle brothers, three slave overseers-turned-outlaws. The two quickly bond, with King agreeing to help Django track down and rescue wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Unfortunately Broomhilda now works for Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a brutal Mississippi plantation owner with a nose for intrigue.

Tarantino's nominal branching out from crime films has paid off handsomely. Audiences loved Kill Bill's blood splatter and Uma Thurman's strong performance, while Basterds won acclaim as a deconstruction of war films. Yet Groggy finds Tarantino's style extremely grating when applied to other genres. Django Unchained approaches the Western as Pulp Fiction in Stetson and chaps. (Aside from cribbing Luis Bacalov's title tune and a cutesy Franco Nero cameo, it bears no resemblance to Sergio Corbucchi's Django.)

Django Unchained is a lumpen, self-indulgent mess. Scenes go on interminably for their own sake, dissolving the expected tension and humor. You initially admire Tarantino's audacity in staging a Birth of the Nation-style Klan rally with the vigilantes complaining about ill-fitting masks. When it goes on for five minutes though the charm wears off. Every scene is like this, with Tarantino seeing no need to cut a single frame. For all the pretty scenery and loquacious persiflage there's not enough to justify the 165 minute runtime.

The film's treatment of slavery raised many eyebrows. Suffice to say Tarantino dwells on its nastier side, from whippings and dog maulings to brutal slave fights. These scenes aren't played for laughs but feel jarring contrasted with Tarantino's jerky zooms, blood-gushing shootouts and jaunty hip-hop score. Django Unchains riffs on exploitation films like Mandingo and Boss Nigger, without their sleazy earnestness. Instead it plays like a really rotten joke.

In fairness, Tarantino gets a few things right. Django's evolution from submissive slave to self-assured action hero is an effective character arc, making him an amiable black avenger. His buddy dynamic with King provides the film drive and focus. Tarantino sends up "scientific" racism by making Candie a phrenologist who justifies slavery by studying a Negro skull. Making Candie's house servant (Samuel L. Jackson) an even worse villain is another nice touch. These bits show the film Django Unchained could have been.

But mainly Django is just repetitive and overly familiar. Long passages merely rehash Basterds: King's verbose introduction, a "private" conversation auf Deutsch, Candie's tense dinner party, the explosive ending. Robert Richardson provides gorgeous photography but the landscapes and luscious detail don't advance the story. The last 20 minutes are completely superfluous. Tarantino throws in nifty homages to Spaghetti favorites like A Professional Gun (the bleeding carnation) and Sabata (King's derringer-rig) but they're fleeting moments.

Jamie Foxx is solid. Django's not the deepest character but Foxx has the perfect defiant swagger to pull him off. Christoph Waltz though falls too readily back on Hans Landa shtick. If Waltz has anything else in his repertoire he'd better break it out soon. At least he's less irritating than Leonardo DiCaprio, whose cartoon Southerner quickly grows annoying. Samuel L. Jackson's vicious Uncle Tom proves the most memorable character.

Tarantino provides numerous B-lister cameos. Not only Franco Nero but Bruce Dern, Don Johnson, Robert Carradine, James Remar, James Russo, M.C. Ginley and Michael Parks make brief appearances. More ill-advised are Jonah Hill as a budding Klansman and Tarantino himself, sporting the gnarliest Aussie accent this side of an Outback commercial. These walk-ons are fun but don't add up to much.

Which sums up Django Unchained perfectly. A movie with this much violence and controversial content ought to provoke some reaction. Sadly, Django Unchained is just more Tarantino silliness in a slightly different package.

« : December 29, 2012, 12:12:50 PM Groggy »


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« #104 : December 29, 2012, 06:10:28 PM »

I agree that the last 20 minutes or su are completely superfluous. The movie definitely should have ended, one way or another, at Candieland. It's ridiculous how the had this loooooong scene at Candieland, and then a huge shootout, but then the movie continues long after they leave Candieland! Maybe that's just QT saying "you thought it would end here, well it's not, haha" but I definitely thought that those scenes after Candieland should never have been there


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