The Big Picture: Is Django Racist?

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Is Django Racist?

MovieBob gives us his opinion on Quentin Tarantino and race in this.

[This review contains spoilers concerning Django Unchained]

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19 seconds till the accent showed up, that's a new record.
And where was Spike Lee's outrage when Tarantino made a movie confronting the actual Holocaust?

Bob has nailed it. Again. Combine him with Jim and Yahtzee, and you have a super nerd with enough common sense, charisma, and international followers to scare the world's politicians.

Short answer, no. Long answer no it is not racist.

Yes, the only way we can learn from these atrocities is to face them in the same way that removing any reference to Nazi Germany in games like Wolfenstein is only going to ensure that atrocities like the Holocaust happen again.

I am confused (haven't seen Django yet), but is this not the same argument that can be used for Inglorious Bastards; i.e. that the oversimplification and cartoonization of a dramatic period and the protagonists makes the power fantasy backlash on its intent? So, I guess Django is as racist as Inglorious Bastards was antisemitic. Or is it that nazis are a valid karmic target for people, while white colonial landlords are not?

I am genuinely curious, since I didn't like the way the power fantasy plays on Inglorious Bastards, but I got that it was not meant to be an historical reconstruction; so I don't really get where the Spike Lee comments come from.

Huh, wasn't even aware that supposed racism was even a thing some people were worrying about... ignoring that rivalry, it does seem like Spike Lee meant to say it was disrespectfull rather than racist given the wording of his follow-up comment, not to put words in the dude's mouth or anything.

And yeah, trying to make somber stories about atrocities runs the risk of distancing people from the true brutality and suffering that went on then, causing the next generation to subconsciously downplay just how serious the crimes were.

Good thing I'm not a Tarantino fan and wasn't planning on seeing this movie. 4:50 seems like a bit of a massive spoiler.

Nautical Honors Society:
Short answer, no. Long answer no it is not racist.

Short answer, no. Long answer noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

FTFY

It sounds like Mr. Lee should speak to Mr. Brooks on how to handle controversial points in world history.

Even if it was just a very violent exploitation movie I don't think racist would be the proper word anyway.

Dr. Schultz added another literary reference by quoting a philosopher (whose name I forget) who spoke out against slavery or abuse right before...

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Good thing I'm not a Tarantino fan and wasn't planning on seeing this movie. 4:50 seems like a bit of a massive spoiler.

You're missing out its a good movie.

On topic Spike Lee complains just for the sake of gaining attention probably because he stopped being relevant after the 90's.
The movie was good I along with all the other black people in the theater enjoyed it I heard laughter coming from all around and no one left during the entire movie...except for me because a girl kept calling me...

DVS BSTrD:
19 seconds till the accent showed up, that's a new record.

Amazingly inconsistent in this one. Like he's screwing with us.

OT: Bob lost me when he started talking about Tarantino as savvy and someone who understands the context of the movies he's imitating. That's what's always made his movies ring hollow.

Bob, I liked your analysis of Tarantino's meta-textual work.

I really enjoyed the film. Great performances all around.

I think Spike Lee is a good filmmaker. I'm glad he feels so passionate about some issues he'll confront a Hollywood luminay like Clint Eastwood head on over them, even when he might be in the wrong.

Am I going to wade into a debate with other white people over whether Django is racist when I've already seen black Americans passionately arguing both sides online? Not likely.

I just saw a video where these guys (The Young Turks, actually) were critiquing the fact that there are action figures of characters from Django Unchained, saying it's a "slap to the face of our ancestry". I'm like "they're just action figures, what's so racist about selling action figures?" I kind of knew there'd be a controversy, but seriously, some people will just find anything to bitch about.

Although, I kind of get the idea that some people don't want to see something they take so seriously drummed up in a fun, exploitative kind of way, and I respect that. That being said, I still enjoyed Django Unchained, and I like how the real heroes and villains at the end of the day were the black characters played by Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson. Actually, I liked how Jackson was kind of "the man behind the man" in this movie, even though he still serves and even greatly admired Leonardo DeCaprio's character. Somehow, the image of a black-hating black man feels a lot more disturbing and effective than the white bad guy.

For once I thought this was a great episode with a very rigid logical structure, but I wonder; if someone made a movie about all the black-on-black slavery that took place during this same period, would that be okay?

No.
No no no no no no no.
N. O.
People, if you're gonna complain about prejudice and hidden mesages in media, at least complain about the ones that are actually there and not just you panicing over the slightest "controversy".

The only problem I see about Django in regard to race is the ending, when Django and his wife have seemingly switched places with the recently departed white people. I mean, I understand the idea of a revenge story, and I understand that all them white folk who died deserved it, but when you are getting vengeance on someone who tortures and murders people, you shouldn't end the story with the hero torturing and murdering people. Or, at least they shouldn't be so damned happy about it. Django himself had misgivings about killing people, in the scene where he shot that man in front of his son. But after that, he turned into a remorseless killing machine, and he fared far better than the German with a heart of gold. Not to be racist, but I am a bit worried that some black people may walk away from Django thinking that it's a good idea to murder white people and blow up their houses, because then you'll get a wife and some fancy clothes, and overall a pretty happy ending. But I guess that's the world we live in, where anything, no matter how thought-provoking and good-intentioned can turn into an elementary school massacre.

I really love stuff like that, so many layers of thought going into that that I was completely oblivious to. And I like that you took me from flat out disbelieving Django could be racist on a superficial level, to opening me up to the idea that it actually could be racist in a slightly more subtle way and then ending up showing it was flat out not racist again but in a much cleverer way. And in five minutes

When you talked about Tarantino using genres to heighten aspects of his own films, you flashed up Kill Bill, would anyone like to explain to me what was going on in Kill Bill? There's so much I#ve missed/failed to understand when watching these films

Oh god fucking dammit Bob, you forgot the spoiler alert. Everything was pretty fine until "that one bit".

Nautical Honors Society:
Short answer, no. Long answer no it is not racist.

Oooooooh, that's a Bingo!

Not only this but it's very obviously a fantastic film.

Spot on, Bob!

Daaaah Whoosh:
Not to be racist, but I am a bit worried that some black people may walk away from Django thinking that it's a good idea to murder white people and blow up their houses, because then you'll get a wife and some fancy clothes, and overall a pretty happy ending. But I guess that's the world we live in, where anything, no matter how thought-provoking and good-intentioned can turn into an elementary school massacre.

What are you going on about? You think that black people are suddenly going to become remorseless killing machines after watching Django? The same way video games cause young, stupid people to start school shootings? You might want to review your prejudices.

The guys over at Spill.com are still banging on about how this movie was "just an excuse for Tarantino to use the N-word" so I doubt this controversy is going away anytime soon.

Liked the movie just fine, myself. Would like to see Samuel L. Jackson get some very deserved props for infusing so much sheer hate into his character.

Yeah, I think this will be a skip week for me. I really don't care about the opinions of someone who's relevance ended after he made Crooklyn in 1996. On top of that, I really don't see the point of people wanting to defend a movie they like as though liking it means you have to apologize for it.

I like a lot of movies that are questionable nowadays. I do not feel the need to defend them.

Some of the criticism of the film gives me the impression that it's The Help with guns. If I ever watch the movie I'll see how that pans out.

And of course, another jab at The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, we know that you hate the film. Can you shut up about it?

If the movie was made by a black director and writer, Spike Lee would say it was one of the most poignant movies of our time. If you ask me, the only thing that's racist about this movie.. is Spike Lee.

Wouldn't it be funny if Spike Lee's ancestors would trace back to the African warlords that got rich from slave trading?

Couldn't have MovieBobby just left this topic alone, instead of coming off as a righteous, pretentious cavalier shmuck?

Zachary Amaranth:

DVS BSTrD:
19 seconds till the accent showed up, that's a new record.

Amazingly inconsistent in this one. Like he's screwing with us.

OT: Bob lost me when he started talking about Tarantino as savvy and someone who understands the context of the movies he's imitating. That's what's always made his movies ring hollow.

Tarentino is savvy.

Does anyone know if there's a topic for this interview? This guy is awesome.

Also Samuel L Jackson deserves an Oscar for this movie, it took me time to realise he was him. To bad he's not even nominated.

Of course Spike Lee was going to be against this movie...it's a movie about black people (well, person in this case) and he didn't make it.

On a bit of a tangent: evidently a lot of people in Hollywood are pissed off at the director of Zero Dark Thirty because the director didn't use the movie to openly criticize "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" torture.

So apparently if your movie isn't openly pushing liberal/progressive messages, Hollywood's gonna be upset with you.

Dana22:
Oh god fucking dammit Bob, you forgot the spoiler alert. Everything was pretty fine until "that one bit".

Yeah, tell me about it. Didn't even think it was a spoiler until you pointed it out then it finally dawned on my that "that one bit" was probably a big enough plot twist to take some of the fun out.

Then again, wasn't going to spend any money on this movie in the theaters at least. I'm not a big western movie girl.

Nice one Bob. I always love to hear your thoughts on issues like this. My sister is with a black man and has a kid by him. They aren't married but are very much in love. I love my little niece and her father. They are part of my family. I had an awkward conversation with my sister's man before I went to see Django. (I friggin' love the film, by the way.) He isn't sure how he feels about the part of history the film reflects. For him, just hearing the word...ah I don't even want to type it. The "N" word will have to suffice I guess. You thought so too, it seems. For him, just hearing that word repeatedly and in the context of how it was used in the film was too much for him. He watched a bit of it and walked out. He said it was too much. He didn't really have anything negative to say about the film other than that. It wasn't that he didn't like the film. He just couldn't take the visceral stuff. He and I had a great conversation though. A series of them actually. I posited that maybe he didn't stick around long enough to allow the catharsis of the film to take hold of him. He posited that it was difficult for him to have fun in the film, even though he knew that was what Tarantino was going for. My sister's man "got" the film, he just wasn't having fun and in fact, was made so uncomfortable that he left. He wasn't mad at me for staying or anything though. The conversations are not done yet either. Tarantino accomplished what he was going for in my family for sure. We're thinking, and talking unguardedly about a very painful subject. It's been good. All that aside, holy crap was that a good movie. I really loved it! Great topic man. You nailed it.

Me: "Oh, Spike Lee must have seen a screening and..."

Spike: "I won't see the movie because..."

Then your opinion is irrelevant, isn't it?

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