‘Django’ excites American audiences, angers myopic dwarf

30 12 2012

By Kleinz 57


Earlier this week, director and world’s most annoying Knicks fan Spike Lee whipped out his #1 DOUCHE trophy and polished that sumbitch up by ripping Django Unchained a new one. Lee, an often controversial black voice in pop culture, claimed Tarantino’s slave-sploitation flick and its flagrant violence was “disrespectful” to his ancestors — a bold claim, but to anyone who’s seen Django and its vomiting blood splatter, not an outrageous one. Until we find out that Spike Lee hasn’t actually seen Django, and doesn’t plan to, perhaps out of some shortsighted spiritual quest to further his career as America’s premiere windbag? We may never know.

Django begins like any offensive blaxploitation picture would: with a dentist. Having abandoned his dental practice for the more profitable bounty hunting trade, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) buys a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) under the pretense of tracking down the Brittle Brothers, three unsavory worm-headed sacks of slavin’ monkey shit. Foxx does plenty well in filling Will Smith’s shoes as the title character, a one-time slave, all-time bad ass gunslinger. While Tarantino’s quirky, deliberately stiff dialogue is magicked into comedic gold from the likes of Waltz and mainstay Samuel L. Jackson, Django’s part requires less timing and more raw cool. Foxx serves up icy stares through medallion-shaped shades and keeps his proverbial shit together in slow-mo shoot-outs as the sounds of Rick Ross and Tupac blast behind him. Seriously. For Django’s handful of BIG performances, Foxx offers a toned down interpretation that’s 100% welcome. I mean, you can’t very well have four Nicolas Cages running around in your movie, chewing on everything in sight and shit now could you? That would be crazy.

Eventually proving his worth with a gun, Django sets off with Schultz to rescue his long lost wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). That involves a pulling a fast one on her new owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a peacock’ed Foghorn Leghorn whose disgusting hobby of mandingo death fights gets drowned out in his own francophilia. DiCaprio hasn’t turned in this magnetic or engaging of a performance since lord knows when. He also hasn’t been billed not first in sixteen years. I’m not saying there could possibly be a connection between Leo’s acting and the expectations of him, but I am saying there could possibly be a connection between his acting and our expectations of him. There’s gotta be some kind of mathematical model we can come up to answer that, right? Get on it, Nate Silver. You’re doing nothing but blow until the 2014 elections anyway.

Django’s second act isn’t always sure of where it wants to go. A terrific running gag has an awkward introduction, when Schultz whips out some paperwork to cool down a small town standoff. And of course, no Tarantino film would be without a little self-indulgence and, well, a little Tarantino. Sporting a dusty rancher hat and a terrible Australian accent, Tarantino’s cameo is hilarious but distracting, with a delivery about as elegant as your drunk sister mimicking one of those Outback Steakhouse commercials. Even so, Tarantino’s formal style has clearly matured since the days of endless long takes in Reservoir Dogs. His knack for intentionally vulgar technique was always there to begin with; what’s amazing is how well Django blends the high and the low to its advantage. Whether the image is forcefully bitch-slapped across the retinas in violent zooms or sweetly cuckholded through chromatic palettes of Colorado mountain ranges, the blend of techniques is brilliant. Django is like dipping your Ho Ho into a glass of Prisoner zinfandel. Tastes like monkey butthole? You bet. Delicious monkey butthole.

David Ehrlich argues Django does “for business what [Inglourious] Basterds did for war.” He’s half right. The fine print in bounty contracts and the weird ways in which the law can empower men of enterprise, even those who kill people, is a splendiforous commentary on the slippery slope of commercial ethics. But Tarantino’s also concerned with storytelling and performance and playing to an audience — you know, haughty douche bag subjects coincidentally found in cinema, and thus, Tarantino’s endless diarrhea stream of homages and references feel more appropriate than ever before. Is Django Unchained an offensive cash grab that milks mid-19th century Southern-fried slavery for gooey blood splatter and a excuse to use the n-word? Perhaps. But really, Tarantino’s been dropping racial slurs since the 90’s, and Spike probably just wants media attention, as troublesome, overcompensating midgets are wont to do.




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