Candyland White Cake Showdown: DJANGO UNCHAINED

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I always say I would have enjoyed the Antebellum South were it not for the total degradation, abomination and heinous practice of slavery.

However, I like to imagine taking color and race out of the equation and instead put in robots or an alien race who truly live to serve. Then, I could picture myself with a pretty sweet life of sipping mint juleps on a colonnade porch, attending balls in fancy gowns, sleeping in the afternoon heat and entertaining suitors in the parlor.

Writer/Director Quentin Tarantino also likes to rewrite history, but not in an idyllic manner – No he imagines some kick ass retribution that levels the playing field. First annihilating the Nazi's in Inglourious Basterds and now doing damage to slave owners and overseers in Django Unchained.

This movie has gotten a lot of buzz and I talked to friends and colleagues who all said they plan to see it again, despite it's 180 minute running time. That's because there's never a dull moment, and yet it doesn't have a manic pace. It's not action killing after action killing. There's room for relationships, romance, characterization and it leads the audience to reflect on this period in our American history without taking itself too seriously. Tarantino puts the film in the genre of a Spaghetti Western, in fact one of the most popular to spawn this wave of 60's cinema was called Django (but Tarantino's Django is in no way a remake). I only just learned the term “Spaghetti Western” was coined for Westerns made by Italian directors.

Jamie Foxx has solidified himself as a lead actor with this role. He's heroic, bad-ass, funny and a convincing romantic lead. (I'm sure they'll be a Django Unchained II ). His determination to find and reclaim his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) is a palpable story motivation. In reverse, Leonardo DiCaprio should do more character acting and less leading man roles, because his take as a bloodthirsty, megalomaniacal plantation owner is inspired.

Christoph Waltz (Academy Award winner for Inglourious Basterds) plays a German dentist turned quick talking bounty hunter. His chemistry with Foxx works on many levels, each of them being part Lone Range and part Tonto.

Samuel L. Jackson (almost unrecognizable) labeled his character Stephen, the most detestable black man in the history of cinema; and he's probably right as this old man sets the bar as an “Uncle Tom”. However, the role is sidesplittingly funny, especially Stephen's indignation upon seeing Django ride up to the plantation on a “nag”.
Yet the below video interview of Jackson is uncharacteristically serious-minded:

Yeah, yeah, there's the movie's detractors who take offense at the “N word” being bandied about so loosely. But during pre-Civil War, I'm sure the term was interchangeable with slave. And slaves had so much misery to contend with, taking offense over a derogatory name would have been the last thing on their minds. It is interesting how some words hold such power and the ability to see history through its use - a hateful insult during segregation, unspeakable, post Civil Rights, claimed by rap artists in the late 80's early 90's, and now almost necessary in a pop art, highly regarded, mixed cast, set during slave times movie, written by a respected director.

In the TV One Django Unchained special, Cathy Hughes brings up the soundtrack, always a major part of any Quentin Tarantino film – a process in which he goes through his vast collection of vinyl, picking out the beats and tones of his movies before shooting even one frame of film. Foxx revealed that the Rick Ross cut "100 Black Coffins" started with his input and in fact, he wrote the hook:

“I need a hundred black coffins for a hundred bad men
A hundred black graves so I can lay they ass in
I need a hundred black preachers, with a black sermon to tell
From a hundred black Bibles, while we send them all to hell”

(Rick Ross Song Video)

Food Footnote: It was a shame all the killing had to start before dessert at the Candyland Ranch, cause that scrumptious looking white cake they planned to serve went all to waste.

My Cinema Snack Sneak In: Meatball Parm Sub and fries from Manayunk Diner3 Tines.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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