Escape to the Movies: Django Unchained

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I think it needs to be mentioned that the movie is not a homage to Spaghetti Westerns so much as is a homage (or another homage) to Blaxploitation films, with western trappings thrown onto it, giving it a sort of duality. The kind of movie where your supposed to put your brain into neutral, and pretty much go along with "whites are da evils" and take everything at face value for the sake of "justifying" a bunch of over the top minority violence.

Nothing wrong with that really, but it's important to label it correctly.

To be honest there is nothing really all that terrible about the USA's participation in the slave trade. To be honest not only were we comparitively a set of lightweights, we're actually more signifigant for ending slavery and then championing human rights, than we are for the handfull of decades where we actually practiced it.

Historically speaking, it was the "races" (I use the term in quotes since we're all human) that are viewed as minorities within the US that practiced slavery for the longest and most brutally, and actually continue to practice it today. Indeed freedom (nobody effectively owning anyone else in a way society recognizes) is what makes the first world what it is. As many reverse-racists will point out white guys were fur clad savages living in caves while civilization flourished in The Fertile Crescent. The Egyptians and African civilizations spent thousands of years enslaving everyone, us white guys pretty much got pwned and traded by everyone up to and including the dusky skinned mediterenneans, it wasn't until after the fall of rome that what we consider a "white dude" rose to anyhing close to a position of prominance.

As things stand now, it's a huge issue that throughout Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and even large portions of Eastern Europe and Eastern Bloc states, human trafficking thrives. This is what causes all the contreversy with sweat shops, sex trafficking, and everything else that occasionally fills out a few lurid headlines when someone in the first world wants some shock value, without even getting into the simple fact that this is how life is for the majority of people on the planet (China represents like 1/3rd of the human race, India which is progressing, but hardlt there yet, is another third, Africa and The Middle East are hell holes and densely populated, and we spend so much time QQing about the situations with Latinos and the conditions they flee in our own immigration disputes nobody has any reason to act ignorant there either). When you consider that the USA and first world europe are probably the most free places in the world, and it's the muscle of countries like the USA at least trying to stop human trafficing, it's kind of odd to see movies that want to portray us as something special here... a movie trying to address an issue that is only signifigant due to white guilt doesn't deserve much in the way of credit for it's subject matter.

I'm pointing this out less to start an arguement about geo-politics, but to point out that as entertaining as a movie like "Django" might be if you don't think too hard about it, to really address the subject matter you'd need to say have your "Django" type character head back to Africa to kill the people who actually enslaved him and then sold him to europeans. Also in the scope of history if your going to think in terms of blood-soaked justified vengeance over history, you could consider douchebags like Leonardo Dicaprio's character a fitting payback for the injustices which were first visited upon whites, and for much longer. If someone wanted to do a sort of "Cloud Atlas" take on the whole thing, you might have a sort of thing with a fat black egyptian slave master sitting there beating hebrews and captured slaves while they built pyramids, torturing them for lulz, forcing them to fight each other to the death (or fight animals), and all that good stuff, then you could do the same basic character as a Persian, then as a Greco-Roman, and then finally end up with someone like Leonardo's character (all played by the same actor) doing the same thing, followed by flash backs to all the horrors whites endured for thousands of years, and then finally a transcended moment where instead of farming it for centuries we decided to try and end it to break the cycle, and actually get pro-active with it.

If your going to give someone kudos for handling a subject matter, at least they should handle it right. That said, I don't think "Django" was even trying to handle it right, which is kind of the point, it deserves no real praise for doing something it never accomplished. It's basically a piece of blaxploitation trash cinema, created with a combination of old school and modern techniques.

Whats so awesome/cool about that guy telling his thoughts with the back to the camera?

AzureFlameLord:

Benpasko:

AzureFlameLord:
I agree with everything said in this review. The movie IS incredibly well acted, shot, and paced. I have absolutely no complaints aside from a feeling I got toward the very end that they were dragging the plot's resolution out a bit too long. Even that may have been Tarantino's way of emulating a Spaghetti Western style, so I can't really fault him for it.

However, I would like to bring up a question that is not based on my own knowledge or opinions, but was instead brought up by a historically... versed friend with whom I saw the film.
He believed that Tarantino's sensationalist nature, which is focused upon riling up the audience and inciting an aggressive emotional investment in his films, played a major part in his depiction of slavery and Southern racism within the movie. For the vast majority of the film, the entire population of the Southern States (I think they focused primarily on Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) is represented as being just as aggressively and sadistically racist as Calvin Candie himself. While the mindset of White Americans at the time was programmed through generational teachings to believe themselves racially, intellectually, and culturally superior to black citizens and slaves, this sort of aggression and cruelty should not have been as common or consistent as Tarantino made it seem. Pretty much every location was depicted as being either a slave market or a plantation.

My question to anyone who has an opinion to share or wishes to enlighten me is: Do you believe this is an unfair exaggeration on Tarantino's part in order to accomplish more of an emotional weight within his film, or is he justified?

Anyway, sorry for the wall of text.

It's like why Star Wars looks to be all bars and imperial bases. I'm sure there are bakeries, but they're not relevant.

Well, that is a problem to me, because I live in the Southern States. Yes, slavery was an unspeakable evil, and the continued racism after the Civil War was arguably worse. However, to exaggerate the hatred and ignorance present within the Southern States or to imply that there was nothing else through lack of representation is completely unfair and unjust. Certainly it was not the point of the film at all, but less informed people could watch this film and develop biases towards the Southern States. This sort of thing is the reason that many people up north think we still don't have internet or running water here. The South is where a lot of horrible things like the Ku Klux Klan thrived, but it is also the source of much of America's unique culture. Hospitality and friendliness is an unspoken code that has permeated Southern society due to its background of small agricultural communities. I just think it's ridiculous and unfair that, to Tarantino, every White American was an evil bastard while the only whitey with human traits was a German immigrant. Maybe I'm taking it too personally, but it seems to me that Tarantino may have aimed his theme of "revenge" too broadly.

Naw man dont worry about it im from mississippi I dont think it will be like that. Not for the majority of mature smart humans anyway.

The problem I think with the "it could be taken that way" is a weak arguement usually given out by brownnosing liberals whenever they want to look like there defending civil rights by pointing out in a media some sort of "possible implication"

Ill give an example:

If I made a movie where all the women were steroid buffed ou,t loudmouthed, and ripped way more than a woman is naturally capable of would you think that there are people out there who think all women are like that? didnt think so.

Now take the inverse which is used alot. All the women are skinny and frail and lack agency ergo someone will watch this one movie and think "Gee all women are weak"? I dont think so either its an insult to the senses. Weve seen body builders weve seen women talk with intelligence and be dumb as bricks even if one movie has only one of those our perception is not so mutable as some would claim. A misogynist doesnt think all women are dumber; unless there incredibly sheltered this is a misnomer that applies alot. they think that they should be dumber.

So no I dont think anyone will jump to that conclusion and Im from the south.

You know Bob, for a guy who spends so much of his time lamenting how the Hollywood machine makes his awesome job a little less awesome by shitting out an endless stream of cookie-cutter copycat films year in year out, you sure have been spending an awful amount of time spitefully sniping at pretty much any movie from the Superhero genre that doesn't come out of the gates resembling a carbon copy of The Avengers.

That whole thing with the gallery of villains was just a blatant and open excuse to fling a fresh load of your shit at Superhero movies that favour a darker and more serious tone. It had next to nothing to do with Django Unchained.

First I'm going to edit Therumancer's post to get rid of the irrelevant crap.

Therumancer:

To be honest there is nothing really all that terrible about the USA's participation in the slave trade. To be honest not only were we comparitively a set of lightweights, we're actually more signifigant for ending slavery and then championing human rights, than we are for the handfull of decades where we actually practiced it.

Historically speaking, it was the "races" (I use the term in quotes since we're all human) that are viewed as minorities within the US that practiced slavery for the longest and most brutally, and actually continue to practice it today. Indeed freedom (nobody effectively owning anyone else in a way society recognizes) is what makes the first world what it is.

As things stand now, it's a huge issue that throughout Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and even large portions of Eastern Europe and Eastern Bloc states, human trafficking thrives.

When you consider that the USA and first world europe are probably the most free places in the world, and it's the muscle of countries like the USA at least trying to stop human trafficing, it's kind of odd to see movies that want to portray us as something special here... a movie trying to address an issue that is only signifigant due to white guilt doesn't deserve much in the way of credit for it's subject matter.

I'm pointing this out less to start an arguement about geo-politics, but to point out that as entertaining as a movie like "Django" might be if you don't think too hard about it, to really address the subject matter you'd need to say have your "Django" type character head back to Africa to kill the people who actually enslaved him and then sold him to europeans.

Also in the scope of history if your going to think in terms of blood-soaked justified vengeance over history, you could consider douchebags like Leonardo Dicaprio's character a fitting payback for the injustices which were first visited upon whites, and for much longer.

If your going to give someone kudos for handling a subject matter, at least they should handle it right. That said, I don't think "Django" was even trying to handle it right, which is kind of the point, it deserves no real praise for doing something it never accomplished. It's basically a piece of blaxploitation trash cinema, created with a combination of old school and modern techniques.

Therumancer:

To be honest there is nothing really all that terrible about the USA's participation in the slave trade. To be honest not only were we comparitively a set of lightweights, we're actually more signifigant for ending slavery and then championing human rights, than we are for the handfull of decades where we actually practiced it.

Historically speaking, it was the "races" (I use the term in quotes since we're all human) that are viewed as minorities within the US that practiced slavery for the longest and most brutally, and actually continue to practice it today. Indeed freedom (nobody effectively owning anyone else in a way society recognizes) is what makes the first world what it is.

As things stand now, it's a huge issue that throughout Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and even large portions of Eastern Europe and Eastern Bloc states, human trafficking thrives.

When you consider that the USA and first world europe are probably the most free places in the world, and it's the muscle of countries like the USA at least trying to stop human trafficing, it's kind of odd to see movies that want to portray us as something special here... a movie trying to address an issue that is only signifigant due to white guilt doesn't deserve much in the way of credit for it's subject matter.

I'm pointing this out less to start an arguement about geo-politics, but to point out that as entertaining as a movie like "Django" might be if you don't think too hard about it, to really address the subject matter you'd need to say have your "Django" type character head back to Africa to kill the people who actually enslaved him and then sold him to europeans.

Also in the scope of history if your going to think in terms of blood-soaked justified vengeance over history, you could consider douchebags like Leonardo Dicaprio's character a fitting payback for the injustices which were first visited upon whites, and for much longer.

If your going to give someone kudos for handling a subject matter, at least they should handle it right. That said, I don't think "Django" was even trying to handle it right, which is kind of the point, it deserves no real praise for doing something it never accomplished. It's basically a piece of blaxploitation trash cinema, created with a combination of old school and modern techniques.

This is exactly the sort of casuistic moral equivication and moral fallacy that I'd expect from you Therumancer.

So because there was slavery of all people in the far past and slavery in the present that makes the use of African slave labour in the Southern States and the rest of the Americas less reprehensible?

So the fact that it was partially Africans or Arab Africans who responded to the American demand for slaves that somehow makes the ownership of slaves by Southern plantation owners less reprehensible?

Typical of you Therumancer that you attempt to whitewash what is rightfully considered to be a dark stain on the US past with the with specious Golden Rationalisation and Comparative Virtue. Yes, everybody country and culture that participated in the slave trade should look deep into its soul. The US makes that introspection occasionally and people like you cry tears about "white-guilt", that "other's were just as bad", that "slavery was practised for all of human history".

The US is actually so introspective is the indelible stain that it has left on US society. Slavery gave way to white supremecism and segregation. African Americans still find themselves disproportionally targeted in some areas by law enforcement. These things have gotten better, but playing the "comparitive virtue" card, that it's worse in other nations in the world, doesn't make it okay. Comparing one's culture to worse or the worst of human cultures is not interesting nor does it lead to the introspection required for improvement.

I would also ask you Therumancer about why you cry so much about "White-Guilt"? Perhaps it is because you feel the phenomenon keenly and therefore being reminded about the trangressions of the past upsets you so that you must find these flawed justifications for the things that were done?

So no. Tarantino does not need to have Django go back to Africa to kill his original enslavers. It's an American movie speaking directly to and limiting itself to the US experience with slavery. Films and other forms of discussiondo not need to explore

malestrithe:
I have no real love for Tarantino. It is not because he takes pieces of obscure foreign movies and makes his own mashups of them (Which is one those tired pop culture arguments you either missed or did not think of). Even Spielberg and Lucas did that, (Hidden Fortress is Star Wars in plot and storybeats). I dislike him for getting praise for really doing nothing. His most famous movie, Pulp Fiction, is a simplistic movie with the "innovative" conceit of showing the story out of order. If that movie was shown the way the narrative demanded, he would not have that hip and trendy label attached to him.

He's popular and great in everyone else's eyes. He must be doing something right.

TAdamson:

This is exactly the sort of casuistic moral equivication and moral fallacy that I'd expect from you Therumancer.

So because there was slavery of all people in the far past and slavery in the present that makes the use of African slave labour in the Southern States and the rest of the Americas less reprehensible?

So the fact that it was partially Africans or Arab Africans who responded to the American demand for slaves that somehow makes the ownership of slaves by Southern plantation owners less reprehensible?

Typical of you Therumancer that you attempt to whitewash what is rightfully considered to be a dark stain on the US past with the with specious Golden Rationalisation and Comparative Virtue. Yes, everybody country and culture that participated in the slave trade should look deep into its soul. The US makes that introspection occasionally and people like you cry tears about "white-guilt", that "other's were just as bad", that "slavery was practised for all of human history".

The US is actually so introspective is the indelible stain that it has left on US society. Slavery gave way to white supremecism and segregation. African Americans still find themselves disproportionally targeted in some areas by law enforcement. These things have gotten better, but playing the "comparitive virtue" card, that it's worse in other nations in the world, doesn't make it okay. Comparing one's culture to worse or the worst of human cultures is not interesting nor does it lead to the introspection required for improvement.

I would also ask you Therumancer about why you cry so much about "White-Guilt"? Perhaps it is because you feel the phenomenon keenly and therefore being reminded about the trangressions of the past upsets you so that you must find these flawed justifications for the things that were done?

So no. Tarantino does not need to have Django go back to Africa to kill his original enslavers. It's an American movie speaking directly to and limiting itself to the US experience with slavery. Films and other forms of discussiondo not need to explore

Actually it DOES make it less reprehensible, since the tone of movies like this makes it out to be a uniquely American issue. It's fine to say slavery was wrong, after all we abolished it for a reason, but to make American slavery out to be something special, or worthy of paticular consideration or vengeance, especially when there are far worse forms of slavery than anything we did continueing to go on right now, is something that I have a problem with.

Saying something like this happened is not the problem, but acting like it's still relevent, is a problem. The very fact that you seem to think it has anything to do with the current plight of African Americans in the US right now is one of the many problems I have with this kind of presentation. It detracts from dealing with the real issues like black counter cultures, and assimilation into society, trying to re-direct the blame onto "white america", when in reality we've done more for freed black slaves, than pretty much anyone else in history, and we've pretty much taken this from just our own domestic problems into an international human rights crusade.

See, the reason why I go off on things like this is not only because I find it personally disrespectful to the accomplishments of ending slavery (it would be one thing if people had forgotten and we had something similar happening again, but that's not the case), but also misdirection away from the actual issues that still need to be faced. While we have people wallowing in white guilt brought upon by this kind of treatment of the subject matter, the much bigger problems of human trafficking and slavery that still exist are going on. We have this entire mess that is the Middle East and Africa, and for the most part we never put the issues down there together, or ever want to get too critical with the culture(s) themselves, other than questions like "do they have nukes" or "what is the terrorist flavor of the month". Simply put these guys were the enslavers, who would have enslaved the people whether there was european demand or not, heck human trafficking continues now despite us not buying the slaves. A reminder that these are the people who were responsible then, and continue to do this crap now, would definatly be a good thing when we're already dealing with conflict with the region... not to mention brewing problems in Asia where it's also a big problem.

It's cohesive with a lot of my other politics, many of which are incredibly militant. The bottom line is simply that instead of wallowing in self guilt when we were actually the global pantywaists of the slavery racket, and more notably the guys trying to end it, we should be instead focusing our efforts on getting a lot more aggressive with the human traffickers still out there, as well as considering this in passing judgement on certain cultures being so broken for so long that they should be eradicated (which is an entirely differant discussion, this being one of many factors that have figured into some of my rants about what we should be doing abroad).

To put things into perspective, Tarantino made a blaxploitation movie where he pretty much took the most horrible isolated incidents on record, and combined them into one portrayal of what slavery was like to inspire rage and justify vengeance against an over-the-top villain.... right now if you read about some of the stuff being done by tribes in The Middle East and Africa, it makes Tarantino's excesses seem pathetic (and he was stretching) except this is real, and is happening right now. Outside of The Middle East and Africa we've had Chinese sweatshop labourers hiding pleas for help in products being sent overseas, just as far south as Mexico which is actually one of the more civilized places south of the US we've had incidents reported in articles where criminal syndicates which have taken over the goverment for all intents and purposes are boldly occupying busses, forcing the people on them to fight to the death, and then taking the winners and using them as slave soldiers in their cartel wars.

Okay sure, it wasn't nice that we bought a bunch of convicts (people taken into custody by African/Middle Eastern authorities who were the slavers) and put them to work picking our cotton and crap. All horror stories aside, it was a business, people wanted their slaves to be able to work, sadism waan't that common, and the overseers were in many cases other slaves anyway. I won't deny it sucked though... and it was wrong. We stopped it however, and decided to try and end this. That's a good thing, and right now when I see the conditions in a bloody conflict diamond mine, I think we should spend more time getting angry about that and judgemental of that culture, than beating a dead horse. We don't need to make up villains for movies like Django, when right now we've got guys far worse than anything Tarantino cooked up doing their thing.

Of course I'll also tell you exactly why we don't do anything. It's because the USA has become a group of introspective wimps who can't bring themselves to do anything. We as a people prefer to cry into our lattes nowadays and wait for th emagical "solution fairy" to hopefully appear one day and solve all the problems. It's easier to sit here and pick on ourselves so we can feel compassionate, and like we're "doing something", than it is to engage in the morally ambigious practice of doing bad things like killing hundreds of millions of people to make the world a better place in the future, and end the crap going on now... and really that is what it would take because honestly a lot of the places where this stuff happens sees it going on because it's ingrained into the culture and has thousands of tens of thousands of years worth of deadlocked inertia behind it. That's too big a problem for anyone want to deal with, so instead people like me get insulted, and everyone goes and watches "Django" so they can pat each other on the back about caring about an issue long since resolved, and entirely irrelevent, not that it was ever that bad to begin with in the big picture.

I'm not saying Django is a bad movie on it's own merits, it just doesn't deserve credit for being anything other than a blaxploitation action movie, it doesn't go anywhere paticularly new, or say anything remotely relevent.

MegaManOfNumbers:

malestrithe:
I have no real love for Tarantino. It is not because he takes pieces of obscure foreign movies and makes his own mashups of them (Which is one those tired pop culture arguments you either missed or did not think of). Even Spielberg and Lucas did that, (Hidden Fortress is Star Wars in plot and storybeats). I dislike him for getting praise for really doing nothing. His most famous movie, Pulp Fiction, is a simplistic movie with the "innovative" conceit of showing the story out of order. If that movie was shown the way the narrative demanded, he would not have that hip and trendy label attached to him.

He's popular and great in everyone else's eyes. He must be doing something right.

By that standard, Michael Bay should have a mantle full of Oscars by now...

Tarantino's a good director but I get the feeling that the only reason people give him as much praise as they do is because he's Tarantino and he's awesome or something. Take his name away from it, and I wager a movie like this probably wouldn't even be considered big enough to be reviewed by Bob, let alone it getting a good review. His movies are pretty much formulaic, but it's a good formula I guess.

It's more a testament to the fact that action movies are so shitty nowadays that when a director can consistently make great R-rated action movies they're always considered to be Oscar contenders.

Therumancer:

I'm not saying Django is a bad movie on it's own merits, it just doesn't deserve credit for being anything other than a blaxploitation action movie, it doesn't go anywhere paticularly new, or say anything remotely relevent.

Apart from being an unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature? Dunno.

Therumancer:
Bla bla white-supremacist diatribe

While I'm always in favour of telling african-americans to get over themselves and stop acting like all whites everywhere are responsible for slavery, there's a pretty fundamental flaw to your argument;

Two wrongs don't make a right. No amount of previous injustices ever mitigate the evil of a later one. Would you argue the Berlin Wall wasn't too bad because, after all, they were only Germans?

... Also, "black egyptian slavemaster"? Egypt was never a "black" nation. Great Zimbabwe is the greatest "black african" empire to exist, Egypt was inhabited at first by north africans (what we today would consider ethnically Semitic or Persian) and later by Greco-Europeans (Cleopatra was Greek) and today by Arabs.

It's commendable that the movie doesn't attempt to sugarcoat slavery and shows it for how brutal it really is. But why should guilt come along with it? Why should you be expected to feel bad for sins you didn't commit? What irks me even more about this is the fact that it's always when Africans are involved; as if to say what America did to them is the worst sin in the history of the country. Never mind the fact that America is responsible for conquering the indigenous peoples; slaughtering thousands all so they can claim the land as their own. Never mind the fact that America bombed civilian locations killing thousands in the initial explosions while countless others died of radiation poisoning and injuries. All of that is rarely if ever touched upon. If it is it never comes with the same pathos that anything having to do with slavery or black oppression does.

It's like the Resident Evil 5 racism scandal. No one gave two shits when a white dude was killing infected Spanish villagers but the moment it's a white dude killing infected African villagers, suddenly it's racist.

The idea of white guilt or expecting whites to feel guilty is inherently racist in itself and only helps to keep racism and racial stereotypes alive. The movie should be celebrated for being an unflinching look at a brutal period in American history and allowing introspection about the history of the US and the sins its fathers committed. But it shouldn't be praised for making people feel guilty about having a certain skin color. "You're white you should loathe yourself for what your people did" is a little unnecessary.

TAdamson:

Apart from being an unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature? Dunno.

An unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature would instead focus on the everyday actions and inaction of everyday people that allows for the triumph of evil. Quentin Tarantino should really quit his dabbling in historical revisionism. Re-imagining these historical events in a fictional context as the result of the actions of extraordinarily evil caricatures fails to reflect the mundane, ordinary face of evil.

Ultimately, it will prove to be unhelpful.

HellbirdIV:
Two wrongs don't make a right. No amount of previous injustices ever mitigate the evil of a later one.

Best comment ever!

To be fair to Django (1966) it did have faux KKK as Antagonists during the first act (who hated Mexican and Django was a "Half Bred") before the film devolved into a Yojimbo/Fistful of Dollars plot. And one of Quentin's other favorite films is Soldier Blue which used the western genre to comment on the Slaughter of American Indians in what at the time were considered extremely graphic scenes.

DUC is not without precedent if you are aware of Tarantino's influences (intimately not just ostensibly). From the review the film sounds pretty close to how I would picture it.

Paradoxrifts:

TAdamson:

Apart from being an unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature? Dunno.

An unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature would instead focus on the everyday actions and inaction of everyday people that allows for the triumph of evil. Quentin Tarantino should really quit his dabbling in historical revisionism. Re-imagining these historical events in a fictional context as the result of the actions of extraordinarily evil caricatures fails to reflect the mundane, ordinary face of evil.

Ultimately, it will prove to be unhelpful.

I was mostly retaliating against the way Therumancer uses the golden rationalisations and relative virtue to fallaceously absolve America's past.

You at least have a cogent argument against the way Tarantino portrays history. I agree an adaptation of something like 'Huckleberry Finn' or 'The Longest Memory' by Fred D'Aguiar would probably promote more understanding.

HellbirdIV:

Therumancer:
Bla bla white-supremacist diatribe

While I'm always in favour of telling african-americans to get over themselves and stop acting like all whites everywhere are responsible for slavery, there's a pretty fundamental flaw to your argument;

Two wrongs don't make a right. No amount of previous injustices ever mitigate the evil of a later one. Would you argue the Berlin Wall wasn't too bad because, after all, they were only Germans?

... Also, "black egyptian slavemaster"? Egypt was never a "black" nation. Great Zimbabwe is the greatest "black african" empire to exist, Egypt was inhabited at first by north africans (what we today would consider ethnically Semitic or Persian) and later by Greco-Europeans (Cleopatra was Greek) and today by Arabs.

Well, speaking for myself I felt The Berlin Wall was a good thing. Germany basically made two attempts to take over the world, and had developed some truely frightening technology which we were in the process of divvying up with the Russians. Contrary to the Hollywood version, the Nazis were not some tiny minority within Germany, that somehow still managed to be omnipresent, and there was the issue of Germany's international influance and the alliances it managed to pull together both before and during the war, and the rather ambigious nature of some of the allies who were as much fair weather friends as anything. Simply put, I pretty much feel that keeping Germany split in half forever and never letting it regain it's feet would have been appropriate. As things stand now, I consider Germany's rapid recovery into a world power, especially economically, so quickly after the wall went down rather frightening. I don't care how much remorse they might claim for the World Wars, I personally do not trust them as a nation, and probably never will. As it is, I kind of depressingly notice that for every case of them removing all the Swatstikas from "Lego Indiana Jones" out of shame, it seems that someone manages to find some really "rocking" German Death Metal and innocently queries "wow man, why are the Germans so much better at this than everyone else?". Of course I am a militant at heart. While we should have let Germany re-unite eventually, the 80s were too soon (one of the few things I disagreed with Reagan on). I think we needed to keep them divided a few human generations at least, at least until nobody born during the baby boom after the war was still alive at any rate. Yes, it was mean, it divided families, it damaged their culture, etc... but that's kind of the point as far as I'm concerned. We should have waited for Germany to be broken before we pulled the wall down, shattered enough where this kind of immediate recovery wasn't going to happen. I know the reasons for the wall with the USSR, and what was said publically, but to me the idea was to ensure Germany would never be powerful again after two global wars. Right now Germany might not have a military like it did before, but economically speaking it's an absolute beast, and there are more kinds of power than military, I don't like Germany having any kind of weight in global affairs, at all.

Also, yes, I do believe that previous injustices do mitigate further ones. There is a point where you just have to get over it though. In the context of this discussion I think that QQing about slavery in the US is a problem because not only is it over with, but the guys who did it also ended slavery. We were also probably some of the nicest (comparitively speaking) slave owners ever. We could have justified keeping slavery alive forever by way of payback and being the most astronomically cruel bastards ever by way of payback and we would have just been square... we didn't though, we ended it, and have been trying to end it on a global scale. That's why it pisses me off when people want to continue to harp on this like it's somehow relevent, when even at it's worst it's nothing compare to crap going on right now in other parts of the world.

See, also the complaints about American slavery fuel the counter cultures which are holding back minorities in the US. Adding validity to "hey, your owed for how badly wronged your people were" which hardly speeds assimilation into mainstream culture.

Simply put, this isn't a forgotten issue, so there should be no real reason to throw it out there. Just let it take it's place as a historical footnote and move on.

TAdamson:

Therumancer:

I'm not saying Django is a bad movie on it's own merits, it just doesn't deserve credit for being anything other than a blaxploitation action movie, it doesn't go anywhere paticularly new, or say anything remotely relevent.

Apart from being an unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature? Dunno.

"Roots", "Amistadt" [SP], we've been here before in the media. It's a fairly popular thing for people to drag up to get some quick contreversy. It's not like this is something people forgot about.

That said, my point isn't so much that the movie was made, it's that it receives any kind of Kudos for it, when it's just a generic violence "Blaxploitation" movie trying to use a really over the top version of historical events to justify the violence. While a decent movie on it's own, you can't say it carries any real menaing on the subject or has any redeeming value because of it. At the end of the day it's just an excuse to have a black dude shoot a bunch of white guys and be 'edgy' because of it.

Tarantino doesn't deserve a whole lot of credit for this one.

TAdamson:

Paradoxrifts:

TAdamson:

Apart from being an unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature? Dunno.

An unflinching portrayal of this dark stain on American history that has not been seen outside of written literature would instead focus on the everyday actions and inaction of everyday people that allows for the triumph of evil. Quentin Tarantino should really quit his dabbling in historical revisionism. Re-imagining these historical events in a fictional context as the result of the actions of extraordinarily evil caricatures fails to reflect the mundane, ordinary face of evil.

Ultimately, it will prove to be unhelpful.

I was mostly retaliating against the way Therumancer uses the golden rationalisations and relative virtue to fallaceously absolve America's past.

You at least have a cogent argument against the way Tarantino portrays history. I agree an adaptation of something like 'Huckleberry Finn' or 'The Longest Memory' by Fred D'Aguiar would probably promote more understanding.

More accuratly I don't think the USA needs to be absolved at all. The most notable thing about slavery in the USA is that we ended it, and then have been trying to end it on a global stage, as I've said before.

Trying to portray the USA's slavery as something unusually terrible is kind of ridiculous, but it's a grindhouse movie, so that's kind of forgivable. My problem is people like you and Bob acting like this movie has some kind of weight to it, when really it was probably some of Tarantino's worst work, pretty much a blaxploitation flick, trying to come up with an excuse to justify a black guy killing a bunch of white dudes, and thus being 'edgy' and 'contreversial' because of it. It doesn't merit praise, or even derision, just a basic "meh" since it's a pretty average movie.

If you wanted to have the movie carry meaning, and actually go somewhere new, then Django should have gone back to Africa to gun down a bunch of slavers and such there and fighting the trade from that end. That's something that hasn't really been done before, and would show a better understanding of the subject matter. Not to mention being a little more relevent to today, since that's where a lot of the current human trafficking still goes on.

Therumancer:

The most notable thing about slavery in the USA is that we ended it.

More white-washing

Most other Western countries also abolished slavery long that time and in their colonies around that time. Being one of the last doesn't make American slavers any less vile than those of other countries.

Trying to portray the USA's slavery as something unusually terrible is kind of ridiculous,

As is trying to justify it using morally fallacious arguments involving golden rationalisation and relative virtue.

My problem is people like you and Bob acting like this movie has some kind of weight to it,

My problem with people like you is you dismissal of US slavery as something minor using golden rationalisation and relative virtue.

If you wanted to have the movie carry meaning, and actually go somewhere new, then Django should have gone back to Africa to gun down a bunch of slavers and such there and fighting the trade from that end.

No, you would have that happen because you are uncomfortable with southern whites slave owners carrying their fair share of the blame for the slave trade.

If they hadn't demanded slaves in the New World the slave trade wouldn't have reached the extent that it did. But no, you want to blame the enslavement of black africans on other black africans, not the people that demanded black africans to exploit.

Note that I don't think that North africans shouldn't also shoulder blame.

Even if it were going to be playing where I live, I don't think I'll be giving money to Mr. Jaime "Our Lord and Savior" Foxx.

Before anyone immediately calls, "Ohai butthurt Christian", I'm not a Christian, butthurt or otherwise. I just find that kind of cultish idolatry very offputting, and reserve my right in a free market not to support its purveyors.

Man, why the Bane hate?

I get that you didn't like Batman, Bob, but you're just trying to rile up the fans who did like it now. It's crass, and it came out of nowhere in the middle of an otherwise fine review.

you didn't even really make a joke, it was just "Bane sucked! On with the review."

Therumancer:
I don't like Germany having any kind of weight in global affairs, at all.

So you're admitting that your entire schtick is based on the fact you're a bigot. Well, that was a whole minute wasted typing up a reply, give or take five seconds for this second one.

TAdamson:

Therumancer:

The most notable thing about slavery in the USA is that we ended it.

More white-washing

Most other Western countries also abolished slavery long that time and in their colonies around that time. Being one of the last doesn't make American slavers any less vile than those of other countries.

Trying to portray the USA's slavery as something unusually terrible is kind of ridiculous,

As is trying to justify it using morally fallacious arguments involving golden rationalisation and relative virtue.

My problem is people like you and Bob acting like this movie has some kind of weight to it,

My problem with people like you is you dismissal of US slavery as something minor using golden rationalisation and relative virtue.

If you wanted to have the movie carry meaning, and actually go somewhere new, then Django should have gone back to Africa to gun down a bunch of slavers and such there and fighting the trade from that end.

No, you would have that happen because you are uncomfortable with southern whites slave owners carrying their fair share of the blame for the slave trade.

If they hadn't demanded slaves in the New World the slave trade wouldn't have reached the extent that it did. But no, you want to blame the enslavement of black africans on other black africans, not the people that demanded black africans to exploit.

Note that I don't think that North africans shouldn't also shoulder blame.

It's not "white washing" or anything of the sort. Just the simple facts. You are just so in love with the idea that you don't care about any point demonstrating how stupid it is, and need to find any lopsided way you can to try and dismiss a point you don't like. Never let the truth get in the way of a good rant. :)

Truthfully I think you've gotten so fixated on argueing with me, you've long since lost sight of what your argueing against, which is why your getting thrashed, not that anything other than a debate was going to come out of the internet. You keep having to stretch futher and further.

For example, what are we argueing about here? Here is a hint. It's not slavery. It's about whether "Django" is a profound and praiseworth effort for approaching this forgotten and taboo subject, or a very average blaxploitation movie that has nothing paticularly original or profound to say on the subject. See, on most levels you've already lost by your own arguements, as pretty much everything you say is "known" pretty much means "Django" loses more and more points so to speak.

That said, you REALLY need to do some research, I mean big time. I hate to tell you this but slaving in Africa and The Middle East didn't come due to demand by europeans for slaves. Rather they were enslaving people there as a way of life, and it was simply a product that was exploited. The interest of Europeans neither expanded the market, or reduced it when they stopped taking slaves. Indeed human trafficking exists to a substantial degree all throughout that region much to the outcry of human rights groups.

To be honest slaves were simply a way of making money on the last part of a voyage. Do some reading about the "Trade Winds" and the triangle traders used to run. Slaves were simply something for them to load given the lack of anything else of value in the region so they wouldn't have empty holds on the way back. There weren't really that many dedicated slave ships, contrary to mythology, most were just traders which hung up some chains in their holds for the last leg, which is why the conditions were so deplorable. A lot of money could be made from slaves, but not so much that many people ran that as a dedicated path, this is one of the reasons why slaves were so expendable, unless the ship had failed to make a reasonable profit on the other legs of the trip. The ship would pretty much run the winds in the same directions, around and around in a gigantic circle doing the routes.

Yes, europeans DID exploit Africans and Arabs willing enslave each other, but had no real part in encouraging it as the slave trade was both establishing long before their involvement (and before there was civilization in Europe) and continues on until this day.

As far as the fault of Southern Slave Owners, well consider these guys DID wind up having their lands and fortunes destroyed. The South was pretty much devestated after The Civil War. The slaves were intentionally freed in the most irresponsible way in history so they would go crazy and level the infrastructure, with the Yanks using black soldiers disguised as slaves to make surgical strikes against hold outs and such.

It's not like people just said "your free" and after that war The South just went back to business as usual. The guys who were responsible got their butts pretty badly kicked, and then continued to be kicked while they were down.

See, there isn't any real social commentary or anything in Django, it's all about trying to be edgy with the black on white violence, with the slave thing just being an excuse, rather than any kind of an important point. It's neither accurate, or something that was glossed over.

If you wanted to be profound with the statement, having Django go back to Africa to kill the people who enslaved him (or his parents) would be, simply because that's something you generally don't see. The whole "white slave owners were da evil" is pretty much "duh" territory by modern sensibilities, and counter culture keeps the memory alive for political gain to the point where it's not like anyone forgot. There is literally nothing at all profound or worth of praise about this movie, it's an over the top "grindhouse" version of slavery (not accurate as mentioned, but meant to be over the top), with a lot of over the top gunslinging and fighting (at times). A pretty typical Tarantino movie overall, but without his usual intellectual touches since that's missing from the premise. You can say it's a pretty average move... good guy, bad guy, bad things, much violence. But nothing special to make it stand out as "OMG, this is so special because of the subject matter". Truthfully "Roots" covered a lot of the same material if you just want a condemnation of slavery (and that's the movie that arguably launched Levarr Burton, who aside from his role as Laforge was also insturmental in directing a lot of Trek episodes and such through DS-9, and thus worthy of being a subject of geekly worship).

HellbirdIV:

Therumancer:
I don't like Germany having any kind of weight in global affairs, at all.

So you're admitting that your entire schtick is based on the fact you're a bigot. Well, that was a whole minute wasted typing up a reply, give or take five seconds for this second one.

On some things I am indeed a bigot, that said I don't really consider this one of them. Two attempts to take over the world in one century is enough for me. I don't feel it's bigoted at all to think there should be repercussions for that, since this is something Germany actually did. Dividing the country up and rendering it irrelevent is NOT a nice thing, and pretty bloody extreme, but so are the reasons. It's not a situation where I think simple sanctions were sufficient, and to be honest I don't think having trust issues is unreasonable after that.

Look at the amount of money going through Germany right now, and the amount of economic power it has. During this global recession it seems to be weathering the storm fairly well compared to most other countries. I imagine as time goes on, especially with the climate the way it is, Germany is just going to become economically stronger, banking and such has always kind of been their thing.

You might trust them, I personally think it's too soon. In this case I think it's more cautious than bigoted. Culturally speaking germany has always been very, very, powerful. I don't see germany as being inferior to the US so much as I see a threat. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, but cripes... do we really want to go
for three times?

Therumancer:

That said, you REALLY need to do some research, I mean big time. I hate to tell you this but slaving in Africa and The Middle East didn't come due to demand by europeans for slaves.

No-one said it did. Slavery has been around for thousands of years. But do you really think that demand doesn't affect supply?

Which brings me to your next point:

The interest of Europeans neither expanded the market, or reduced it when they stopped taking slaves.

I'd really like to see your evidence for this one.

Then again you're the sort of person who thinks that "documentries" on the Discovery channel are proof that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012, and that your experience as a casino security guard gives you evidence that all homosexuals are potential paedophiles.

josh4president:
Interesting how every single white reviewer I've seen loves this movie (Jeremy Jahns, MovieBob, etc.) while a lot of black reviewers despise it (the guys over at Spill.com, for instance).

The Spill guys have shitty taste in movies

May I just observe that there are a disturbing number of people, both on the board and IRL, who seem to believe in the concept of bloodline guilt; one of the savage tendencies of humanity that we ought to be quit of to be called "civilized"?

It's comments like these that make me think Poe was right in the house of usher. People seem to be unable to escape the baggage from our ancestors past, then let it define us.

GamerFromJump:
May I just observe that there are a disturbing number of people, both on the board and IRL, who seem to believe in the concept of bloodline guilt

It's one thing to say that white americans should be held accountable for the actions of their ancestors, and another to make them admit that their ancestors were horrible, horrible people. What this movie does is the latter.

I will certainly go see this film when it comes out here in Sweden. However, I wanted to bring up that the Spill Crew (who very frequently disagree with Bob) didn't care much for the film. Their criticisms of the film were - among others - that it was widely uneven in terms of tone, that the N-word was overused in a way that just felt exploitative, that the characters played by Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson were uninteresting. They said that people are letting all these problems with the film slide just because it's directed by Quentin Tarantino. One of the reviewers, Martin "Leon" Thomas, was so offended by the film that he no longer wanted to be a member of the Austin Film Critics Association, because he didn't want his name in an organization who would recommend a movie like this for everyone to see.

Anyway, this is their video review:

Here's their audio review, which is much longer:
http://my.spill.com/profiles/blog/show?id=947994:BlogPost:6042812

And this is a podcast in which one of the reviewers, Korey Coleman, discusses the film with his fans via phonecall (I haven't listened to this one yet for fear of spoilers):
http://my.spill.com/profiles/blogs/spill-call-in-show-django-talk

Anyway, what do you guys think of their opinion of the film?

EDIT:

Gunnyboy:

josh4president:
Interesting how every single white reviewer I've seen loves this movie (Jeremy Jahns, MovieBob, etc.) while a lot of black reviewers despise it (the guys over at Spill.com, for instance).

The Spill guys have shitty taste in movies

Examples?

Aiddon:
problem is Bane is DEFINITELY better than Red Skull or Loki.

yes, bane is undefeated.

Therumancer:
As it is, I kind of depressingly notice that for every case of them removing all the Swatstikas from "Lego Indiana Jones" out of shame, it seems that someone manages to find some really "rocking" German Death Metal and innocently queries "wow man, why are the Germans so much better at this than everyone else?"

Your whole post reeks of sciolism and historical inaccuracy, but that part's truly hilarious. What the hell has Death Metal got to do with anything? You think they're good at making music because they have "experience" killing people? (Also, in case you'd like to know, removing the swastikas has less to do with shame than the fact that Nazi symbols are banned in Germany.)

So the basic premise is "black Punisher goes up against Hazama's slave owning great great great grandad." I want to see this movie SO bad. This has been a good year for violent works that have some meaning to them huh? Stuff like this, Zero Dark 30 and Spec Ops show we can talk about serious things in action films and games.

On a side note, how long before someone tries to get this film banned for saying anything about America that doesn't amount to "EMERICUH FOK YEH!"?

MegaManOfNumbers:

He's popular and great in everyone else's eyes. He must be doing something right.

By that logic, Justin Bieber is one of the greatest musical artists and performers in history.

I'm just sayin', popularity is not an accurate metric for quality.

Markunator:

Anyway, what do you guys think of their opinion of the film?

I mostly agree with it. I think they harped a bit too much on the overuse of the word "nigger", but I agreed with everything else. Essentially, it was a decent to good film with a few awkwardly paced sections and some other bits feeling disjointed.

It was by no means a bad film, not even by any stretch of the imagination. However, I'm not sold on it being one of the "best" films of the year.

Even so, some of the performances were amazing. Especially Foxx and DiCaprio. However, Jackson's was a tad dull and Taratino's "cameo" was awkward.

Gunnyboy:

The Spill guys have shitty taste in movies

Compared to what? Movie Bobs?

The same Movie Bob that openly defends Sucker Punch as a decent film?

Joking aside, neither the Spill crew nor Movie Bob have "shitty taste" in films. Taste, by it's nature, can't be "shitty". It's opinion. Opinion is subjective.

indieman1:
Somebody needs to put Tarentino on a leash. This one felt schizophrenic. FIrst hour good, went downhill, end kinda redeemed itself. Leo was good though.Also, some dumb kid talked through the whole movie, and he was analyzing it too, badly.

You know, this is probably true. If someone would just step in, once in a while, during filming to keep him from going off-the-rails, I'd probably be able to agree with some in seeing him as one of the best directors in the industry. One of my biggest complaints with many of his films is his tendency to over-indulge in some of his more pretentious eccentricities; of which often led to his films feeling uneven.

That's all he needs. Someone to say, "No Quentin. No."

(that and to lay off the coke a bit)

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