Dumb Dad and I went to see Django: Unchained a few days before New Year’s.
We’d been wanting to go since Christmas, and finally begged asked Mimi to watch the Dudes to give us a chance to catch it.
Initial reaction: FANTASTIC!
Delayed reaction: fantastic!
What we think about it today: fan-freaking-tastic!
Everything from the classic vulgarity and blood-soaked violence that is Quentin Tarantino, to the soundtrack was pleasing to us.
We immensely enjoyed both the film and the opportunity to see it together in the movie theater like a couple of grown ups.
And then I heard about the controversy surrounding it.
Which made me recall the older white lady who walked out in the middle of it (who was arguably maybe just leaving because her bladder couldn’t handle the action, or the blood, or the language).
Which got me to thinking that people are crazy maybe I should learn more about this controversy business after all.
After spending a strong 30 minutes of my alone time with Google, I decided a Real Talk was in order. Here’s what you need to know…
What is Django: Unchained?
Django: Unchained (the D is silent) is a Quentin Tarantino western released December 25th, 2012. It has grossed over $112 million dollars since it’s release. The film follows a slave (Jamie ‘Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol’ Fox), freed by a bounty hunter (Chris Waltz, the bad guy from Water for Elephants) who trains him in the fine art of cold blood killing bounty hunting. The two form an unlikely, but very likable partnership to track down and then rescue Django’s wife, the German-named slave, Bromhilda (Kerry nothing-clever-to-say-here Washington) who had been sold away from Django after the two tried to escape. Multiple times. Thereby completely pissing off their owners. Lots of people die dramatic deaths, some more brutally than others, Jamie Fox shows his junk (Google doesn’t prove it’s real, but maybe?), and Leonard DiCaprio is in it looking fly while also being pretty freaking evil (I will never eat white cake again). The film takes place in 1858, when slavery was still getting buck in America.
What is the controversy?
People don’t like hearing the word n*gger, particularly not when it’s said over a hundred times in the course of a 180 minute film. Never mind that the film was about slavery and set during a time period when owning slaves and calling them n*ggers was a common and widely accepted practice in the American south. The fact that people where treated as property, handled inhumanely, and called vicious names just because doesn’t go away just because people don’t like it. It’s an ugly part of our history that really just happened. Feel uncomfy with if you must, but one’s personal discomfort with it won’t change the fact that it occurred. That being said, some critics feel as though Quentin Tarantino’s light approach to film making in general and this film specifically (it’s been called a spaghetti western, which doesn’t mean just that it was tasty), make his use (and arguable overuse) of the word and the topic both offensive and disrespectful. It’s not so much that the word is used in a film about slavery that’s making people’s panties twist, it’s more the fact that the movie had other unsavory and fun elements that detract from the significance of the topic of slavery and human debasement as it lived in the South in the 1800s.
Oh, and the dolls. Possibly the Django dolls were a bad idea.
Why should you just see the movie anyway?
Because it is good dammit! Really, really good. Entertaining. Intriguing. Even, somewhat educational. The music is killer. The acting is phenomenal. The plot is enthralling. And, if you already enjoy the film making of Mr. Tarantino, you will likely think this film is more of his good work. Don’t believe me? You should, but you don’t have to. The people who actually know actual stuff about actually critiquing films tend to agree. Django has been nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 4 Academy Awards. It was named one of AFI’s best movies of 2012. Even the NAACP has given Django some love (in yo face with a can of mace Spike Lee).
My official opinion: Django: Unchained was my second favorite movie of 2012. Right behind Breaking Dawn. Nothing comes before Twilight. Nothing.