Saturday, April 6, 2013

I review Django Unchained

I sat down to watch Django Unchained with one of my girlfriends, with whom I was chatting, and decided to post the transcript as the review itself. Let's begin.

You can even read along while you watch if you synchronize the timestamps with the start of the movie.

7:10 PM me: Start
7:11 PM her: I like this song.
7:12 PM It's got a certain... exuberance.
 me: Why are they in the West?
  I thought this was a movie set in the South?
 her: Wow, this beginning reminds me a lot of the Kill Bill series.
 me: They're clearly in like New Mexico
  Because it's Quentin Tarantino
  Same dude who did Kill Bill
7:13 PM herThat movie wasn't necessarily in the West, either.
 me: No, but this one is set in the South
 her: Dunno man.
 me: Clearly, they're not very good slaves, if they made their master waltz all the way out to New Mexico
7:14 PM her: Hah, Texas.
 me: My BS detector is firing
  So, they're mistreating the slaves pretty badly; that's apparent
  So they don't care about them much
7:15 PM Why, then, did they run all the way out to wherever they were to get them?
  If they're so cheap that they can just beat them up like that?
7:16 PM her: Haha.
7:17 PM None of this strikes me as unrealistic, though.
 me: None of it?
  Pretty much all of it is absurd
  Why are they in the middle of nowhere?
7:18 PM her: Well, the acting certainly seems really off.
 me: I mean, it's a fantasy
  I get that
7:19 PM her: But um, traveling from place to place through the middle of nowhere.
 me: But there are so many conceits about slaveowners that don't make any fucking sense
 her: Especially to get to a center of trade, doesn't seem very weird.
7:20 PM This is a fantasy, though, for sure.
 me: Yeah? But if they'll go out to the center of nowhere to pick these guys up
  Why are they being so awful to them?
7:21 PM her: I think it took a lot of walking or carriage travel to get to anywhere, really.
  And although they'd probably take a lot better care of inanimate or livestock inventory,
7:22 PM me: The gore is amazing
  I am going to have to pause it there, however
7:23 PM 12:45
 her: being nice to other humans who culture tells you are baser than yourselves is not really an attribute of human nature.
 me: What do you mean by that?
7:24 PM her: I mean that humans instinctively prove their dominance over other humans of lesser rank.
  Especially if they're insecure or if it's something that everyone does.
7:25 PM It's not efficient, but when is human nature ever efficient?
7:27 PM Most people today slip into bullying at some point or another, despite the stigmatism.
7:28 PM At a time when it's both safe and acceptable? Not really surprising that it got out of control.
7:30 PM me: I disagree
  Slavery does not equal bullying
 her: No, I'm just saying it's a byproduct.
7:31 PM me: I am sure there were some toxic slaveowners, just like there are toxic military officers, toxic bosses, and toxic leaders in general
  But our current conception of slavery
  Is essentially not exaggerated at all in this film
  And it's completely absurd
  People do not treat their property that way
7:32 PM Not unless they have issues
  And perhaps some slaveowners did
  But those would absolutely be the exception
  The thing you have to understand is that
  Slaves were not just property
  They were people
  And the slaveowners knew that
7:33 PM We act now as if they treated them like savage animals
  But I've found no evidence for that being the rule
  Hell, I haven't even found any evidence for that being the exception
  Alright, re-starting at 12:45
 her: Ready.
 me: 3
7:34 PM Also, slavery was not so big in Texas as in other states
7:35 PM Seeing a black person on a horse would not have been cause for surprise, especially not in Texas.
 her: I gotta agree with you there.
  That seems a little surprising.
7:36 PM me: What is with this 1955-era racism in 1858?
  This is weird
  Wait, it scared him off?
 her: This movie is not very immersive, is it?
 me: No
  It's really not
  This is definitely a fantasy film
 her: I feel like it's being played out on a stage by local amateurs.
 me: A kind of bizarre one
7:37 PM Made for the lowest common denominator prog
  Who read Roots and thought it was history
  Lol, he said 'prost"
  That's the toast my German friend taught me
 her: Oh?
 me: Yeah
  Not sure exactly how to spell it
7:38 PM But it's pronounced somewhere in between "prost" "phost" and "post"
  About the only thing that's not bafflingly inaccurate is that the foreigner doesn't like slavery
7:39 PM Europeans for some reason did not like slavery
 her: Hahah.
  Can you place that accent?
 me: I'm not really sure why
  he's Austrian
 her: Ah.
 me: I'd know he was Germanic by the toast
7:40 PM happened to know that actor is Austrian
 her: Haha.
 me: A bounty hunter wouldn't last very long if he kept shooting everyone he saw
 her: I'm not sure what the reason is supposed to be for this bounty hunter's killing rampage.
7:41 PM me: Also this conception of the Wild West is retarded
  This is like a cartoon
7:42 PM her: The gore is also very cartoon-like.
 me: Yes
  It's real, though
7:43 PM In the sense that it's real bloodbags and shit
 her: I wonder why he's wearing such huge gloves.
7:44 PM me: Because they're not his?
  They look like cattle rustler gloves
  This is a cartoon
7:45 PM I'm enjoying it, reasonably
  But the people who get high and mighty about it are baffling
 her: The music is good, I admit.
 me: No, you idiots, it's a cartoon
 her: Maybe I should get the soundtrack?
 me: Tarantino always has good soundtracks
7:46 PM Also, separating a family would be highly irregular
  WTF is that iron man-pet-cone rig thing?
 her: What, did they have tinted glasses back then?
 me: They had tinted glass, but those don't look period, no
 her: Haha, and Silent Hill style metal harnesses?
7:47 PM me: Yeah, this is a cartoon
7:48 PM It's a travesty that people take this movie seriously from a moral perspective
7:49 PM her: This is hilarious.
 me: Yes
  It's a cartoon, of course it's funny
 her: Worth watching this movie just for this.
7:50 PM me: I am just in a permanent state of bafflement as to how people take this seriously
  Just because it's about slaves?
  Also, what's this about slaves not being able to ride horses?
  What sort of BS is this?
7:52 PM her: It'd be pretty silly to travel from Texas to Tennessee on foot.
7:53 PM me: Also, why does the plantation owner talk like a nigger?
  And why do the slaves talk like city trash?
 her: Because he's a hick?
 me: He's not a hick
  He's a plantation owner
  He should talk like old money
7:54 PM her: My impression was that plantations were generally fairly isolated, getting visitors only every once in a while.
7:55 PM Making them hicks with money.
 me: Yes, but they also had class
  They were aristocrats
  Which, I realize
  Is something we don't have anymore
  So you have no frame of reference whatsoever
 her: Aristocrats who learned aristocracy in homeschool.
 me: But they are not hicks
  From other aristocrats, yes
  Why do you think all hicks have to talk poorly?
7:56 PM have you ever met a rural Mormon family?
  They talk sweet as you please
  And they see outsiders only every now and then
 her: Heh, not all people are created equally.
 me: No, they're not
  For serious, they shouldn't talk like that
 her: Sure some act like their high class, some don't.
 me: Wait, what?
7:57 PM She broke eggs and so they're going to whip her?
  This is bizarre
 her: Oh man, that outfit.
  Yes, that seemed set up just to make it sound as ridiculous as possible.
 me: So, wait, they're just gonna up and shoot people on this plantation for no reason?
7:58 PM her: And the former slave that has assumably never used a gun before is a great shot?
7:59 PM lol
 her: And really, I can't get over the fact that everyone talks with a modern accent.
8:00 PM me: He's got a modern hick accent
  Like a hick trying to talk up or something
 her: I would've expected them to shoot those two on the spot.I mean, no one that I know of would know they were there, and really, would it be surprising for a bounty hunter to just disappear?
8:02 PM me: Why not just shoot them?
 her: Oh man.
 me: Especially after they told you they were worth money
 her: They're going to kill both of them, there's no one else around.
  Why the masks?
 me: I knew there was a Klan scene set years before the clan existed
  But this is kind of dumb
8:03 PM her: Hahaha.
8:04 PM me: Why isn't this set, like, postwar?
8:06 PM It would be so much funnier if it were a movie about the Klan
  'Cause the Klan was just retarded
 her: This would be a lot funnier in another setting.
8:07 PM me: Slaveowners gave the Union Army hell for five years
  The Klan's finest moment was pouting around on the National Mall in the '20s
  This would be much funnier if it were set in like 1870
 8:12 PM me: Hold on
  I want to pause at the start of the next scene
8:13 PM me: 52:33

7 minutes
8:28 PM her: I'm back.
8:29 PM me: K
8:30 PM her: Yes.
 me: 3
8:33 PM That is complete BS
8:34 PM her: The movies always make shooting look so easy.
 me: Yes
 her: It's so unfair.
 me: A human basically can't do that at all IRL
 her: Seriously!
 me: It's complete fantasy
  Which is OK! This is a fantasy movie!
 her: So... do we know where they are now?
 me: In fact, we are reminded at every turn that it's a fantasy movie
8:35 PM Looks like they're in Oregon
  Or something
 her: How long does it take to go from Tennessee to Oregon on horseback?
8:36 PM And does a bounty hunter need to go so far to find a bounty?
8:37 PM me: It might be the Ozarks
  That's in Missouri
  I could see the Ozarks, I guess
8:38 PM The Ozarks are kind of near where they are
8:39 PM Mandingo fighting?
 her: Didn't they pass a herd of reindeer?
 me: I don't know
  This is in some alternate bizarre universe
 her: No reindeer in the Ozarks.
 me: It's a bit of an insult to say that it's "set in the US in 1858"
8:43 PM If they can afford to waste slaves like this
 her: Yikes.
8:44 PM me: Why can't they have some kind of fancy arena for them?
  Who believes this crap?
  Gladiators didn't even kill each other most of the time
8:45 PM And by most I mean "almost never did they kill each other"
8:46 PM Um, that's a modern bottle
  It has a plastic top and everything
 her: Heh.
 me: I drink mead out of bottles like that
 her: Yup.
8:50 PM me: Also
8:51 PM her: What was up with feeding the horse while it's harnessed?
 me: Why are they using "nigger"?
 her: I thought that was a no-no.
 me: I don't know!
  It is a no-no
8:52 PM But why are they using "nigger"?
8:53 PM Southern money wouldn't be caught dead using "nigger"
 her: Yeah, I don't think I've heard the term 'colored' at all.
 me: Yeah, "colored", "negro", etc
8:56 PM her: I don't think he thought about much more than the plot when he made this movie.
 me: No aristocratic southern gentleman would be caught dead using that word
  Certainly not for his own property
  it makes him sound uncouth and low-brow
8:59 PM I like how de-facto
9:00 PM Slaveowners have to be evil soulless faggots
  Like, uh, OK
  So I guess pet-owners, farmers, parents, and zookeepers are soulless faggots?
9:02 PM The slaveowners in this film make no sense as people
  Only as bizarre bogeymen
 her: Well, maybe the more realistic analogue to Mr. Candi would be an illegal dog-fighter.
9:03 PM me: Except Mr. Candi is legitimate, and an aristocrat
  Yes, those looking over their shoulders for the law constantly are ill-tempered and tend towards evil
  Because they have no writ to legitimize themselves, only public shows of force
  But Mr. Candi isn't like that
 her: Sure, but it's hard to get a perfect fit. It is a cartoon, after all.
9:04 PM me: Mr. Candi is the equivalent of a cattle racher
  It is a cartoon
  And the slaveowners are bogeymen
  But they don't resemble people
9:05 PM Also the way the slaves talk is anachronistic
  The "yuss massah"
9:06 PM And that shit
  That's all post-war diction from people who lost their source of education
  Holy crap Jackson's character is amusing as hell
9:07 PM He's transplanted like
  100+ years into the past
  But he's amusing as hell
 her: You know, this plot probably would have been better off as a 'Devil owns a business in the Twilight zone' type thing.
9:08 PM me: Yes
  That's what this is like
 her: It would fit with the dreamlike quality of the film.
 me: This is some really uncouth behavior from such a man
9:09 PM Also he looks gay
  Mr. Candi looks real gay
9:10 PM Also Django's gun isn't loaded
  Holy crap now it is
 her: Well, such is the actor.
 me: I guess?
9:11 PM Why does Leo think that southern gentleman means gay?
  Why do all the ranch hands have guns?
  Do they routinely have to fight off bandits or something?
9:12 PM her: Leo can't be anything else but gay. It's hardly his fault.
 me: You think Leo's gay all the time?
  I haven't really noticed that
 her: Hahah.
 me: He's just really effete here
 her: I'm making fun of his face.
 me: Oh
 her: If you didn't catch that.
 me: Yeah, his face looks a bit gay
  I didn't
9:13 PM her: Haha.
  It's a gay face.
  Takes a lot of work to make him not look gay.
 me: Yeah
  He looks like a bottom
 her: ?
  A bottom?
 me: Bottom takes, top gives
9:14 PM Bottom is gay speak for a man who receives
9:16 PM Her glass is fuller now than it was five seconds ago
 her: Hahah.
9:21 PM me: Also, such a well-to-do southern gentleman would most likely speak French
  In the same way that anyone in Germany above middle class speaks English
9:24 PM her: Holy crap buckets, that old parrot is so annoying.
 me: Which old parrot?
9:26 PM her: The old butler type.
 me: They're doing this just to make Django uncomfortable? Or something?
9:27 PM Samuel L. Jackson
  Or because Candi is a bogeyman?
 her: Uh, both, surely.
9:28 PM me: I guess?
  This is sort of a weird cartoon

5 minutes
9:34 PM her: I don't think it's even pretending to be period anymore.
 me: Old Ben has some great fucking teeth for being an old slave
9:35 PM What is this?
  Because your entire universe makes no sense?
9:36 PM Pretty sure that didn't exist until the 20th century
 her: So obviously he gets the lastest journals all delivered to his home by carriage post.
9:37 PM me: Oh, OK, it was developed in Germany 1796
9:38 PM "Developed" as much as a pseudoscience is
  So he could have known about it
9:39 PM I mostly know about its advocates in the 20th century
9:41 PM Candi is retarded
  He's a stupid bogeyman
  I'm not afraid of him
9:42 PM This is affecting my ability to care about the plot
 her: Yeah, it kindof is.
 me: So they're out 12gs
  Oh noes
  I uh
  Don't give a damn
 her: It sounds like they're going to get out alive...
 me: Am I supposed to care that they're now slightly less rich than they were?
9:43 PM It's not like this is a heist movie
  It's not like the money is the object
  No, Brumhilda is the object
  They've got Brumhilda
9:44 PM her: At the moment, I think the Austrian is the object.
 me: At somewhat greater pain and agony than they were going to
  I mean, he's interesting
9:45 PM Which is why I haven't stopped watching
  Uh, Dumas would only be considered black today
 her: Oh yeah?
 me: Back then he would definitely be a mulatto
  His "black" parents were mulattos
9:46 PM her: Ah well, it sounded dramatic.
 me: So he's a mulatto
9:47 PM her: An idiot?
 me: What's with this "Chikasaw county" crap?
9:48 PM Why would an aristocrat appeal to the local governmental authority?
  He's an aristocrat
  He would say "here in Candiland, we"
 her: Welp.
  Now everyone dies.
 me: And the shotgun doesn't go off right then, why?
9:49 PM her: I really don't know.
 me: This is such a cartoon
  Why did he fly out of the room?
 her: Seriously.
  Did he leap backwards off a trampoline?
 me: Why is the innocent guy who seems to just be a gentleman getting shot repeatedly?
9:50 PM Why did he drop his hammer to check if his gun was loaded?
 her: Candi was right. Guy was a really bad loser.
 me: Are they trying to say he's that dumb?
  You mean Schultz?
 her: Yeh.
 me: Yeah, he was sort of a dick
 I like all the real gore
9:51 PM Why is he alternating guns?
  'Cause it looks cool?
  Why aren't the bullets penetrating his body?
9:55 PM Why aren't they going through the wardrobe?
9:56 PM What is that nonsense?
10:01 PM her: Heh, boy, it would have been a juicy twist if it turned out the Devil was Candi's butler.
 me: There's our director
  White Boy is our director
10:02 PM her: Most convincing actor so far.
 me: You are just not a fan of the acting
  Why not?
 her: Well, he just said it.
10:03 PM He doesn't sound like a slave.
 me: Heh
 her: Everyone sounds and looks like that walked off the street onto the set.
  With some new clothes for the costume.
10:05 PM me: Why are they Australian?
10:06 PM her: Twilight Zone?
  Maybe my plot is the real plot.
 me: LOL
 her: Woah.
 her: See, I was about to predict that the Austrian was about to come back to life as the Devil Incarnate, but this is much stranger.
 her: Yep.
  People spontaneously explode all the time there.
10:08 PM So this is proof.
 me: He was carrying dynamite
 her: He's got a horrible seat on that horse.
 me: Yeah
  He's gonna get tired real quick
10:09 PM her: Heh.
  Maybe she's the Devil Incarnate?
10:10 PM me: Maybe?
 her: He's just going to kill everyone, huh?
  Holding his rifle in the air.
10:11 PM me: yeah
  I guess
  It's not like they didn't have saddles
  I love how that document has no blood on it
  Despite the guy taking a shotgun blast to the chest
 her: Everything had blood back there.
 me: But not the document
10:12 PM I mislike the fake blood they're using
  Because real blood dries dark
  Almost black
 her: Or his clothes, much.
 me: But the fake blood they're using dries pink
 her: Huh.
10:13 PM me: You know
  I can just hear some folks talking about how this movie is wonderful
  because it's great that our society can villainize its regrettable past
  Without sweeping it under the rug
10:14 PM To which I say
  It doesn't take chops to demonize your enemies!
10:15 PM If this were a movie with the same kind of story involving murder and shit
  But about the Japanese interment during WWII
  That might be special
  I think it would be pretty classless
  But it would be bold
  This isn't bold
 her: Wow, she just got blasted in a completely different direction from where she was shot.
 me: I mean, it's bold because there's a bunch of murder and shit
10:16 PM That's bold and fun
  It's not bold because it's about a defeated enemy of Progress
  I was about to point that out
 her: It was very obviously ridiculous looking.
10:17 PM me: I can't get over that they speak ebonics
  Did ebonics exist then?
  I don't think it did
10:18 PM I think this movie demonstrates
  That race relations in the US are basically completely disconnected
10:19 PM White people apparently believe that black people want to torture and murder them.
  With a smile on their face
 her: Yep.
10:20 PM me: Maybe I'm overthinking this
 her: Probably.
 me: It's difficult to imagine it as just a strict fantasy
10:21 PM her: More holy crap buckets.
  Is this righteous rap music?
 me: Yes
  I think this movie would be really cool if it weren't tied into American culture so heavily
10:22 PM her: Rap music doesn't really jive very well with the Southern (but really Western) theme.
 me: Like, I have been trying to forget that it's "historical", but they keep slapping me in the face with that dick.
 her: Yeah, it really needed to be more period to be a serious movie.
 me: And less period to be a fun movie
 her: And it really needed to be more modern to be a properly silly movie.
 me: I had enough fun, I guess
 her: Haha, yes.
10:23 PM me: I really liked the effects
  They were classic and well-done, even if the blood medium was regrettable
  The plot was very linear and a bit weird at times
  Requiring me to swallow that slaveowners in this universe are basically easily outsmarted bogeymen
  Who, um, don't know how to barter
10:24 PM her: Teh.
 me: "I could sell Eskimo Joe for $9,000 any day of the week"
  "So you should, um, give me more for him, for some reason."
 her: Yeaaahh, it shouldn't have taken the butler to figure out they were just apeing it.
 me: yeah, so
10:25 PM Dumb evil bogeyman
  Who like
  Condemns everyone in association with him
  "You were in the same room as him two scenes ago! Die motherfucker, die!"
  "You're related to him, and also ugly, die!"
10:26 PM It's really difficult for me to identify with Django when he's clearly just a psychopath
  yeah, he killed evil people
  But he never really shoes mercy on anyone in an exceptional way
 her: Yeah, that killing spree wasn't quite as justified as I think it was supposed to be.
 me: *shows
  Like "they're a part of the system, and that's all the excuse we need to murder them comically"?
10:27 PM There was no depth to anyone
 her: And that comment near the end? "Ya'll black folks stay away from white folks."
  I laughed at that.
 me: In Inglourious Basterds you had characters with some depth.
 her: Not very progressive, really, hahaha.
 me: Not a lot; they didn't need it
10:28 PM Oh, that's just Tarantino trying to reduce crime in mixed race neighborhoods nationwide.
  But some depth
  Does Django develop any?
10:29 PM We don't even get a proper montage of him sucking and then getting better
  We get
 her: I think Django actually loses depth as the movie goes on.
 me: Um, Django is mysteriously really good at shooting
  And then we show the last scene in a marksmanship montage
  OK, so Django is just a freak trick shooter
  Like, by nature or something
 her: He goes from a stereotype to a different, even more stereotypical character.
10:30 PM me: Yeah
  By the end, he's just angry at white people
 her: All white people.
  Even the dumb sister for some reason.
 me: WTF did she do?
10:31 PM her: I guess he quickly got over his previous trouble shooting the robber with a son.
 me: The thing is
  he's not
  Like hopping mad during this scene
  He's calm and collected
10:32 PM And just murdering more or less innocent people
 her: Yep.
  Any further picks?
 her: He's just simply adopted the belief that all white people must die.
  And no good can come of them.
 me: What a milestone for race relations
 her: Holy moly.
10:33 PM The hero becomes an exemplary example of racism by the end.
10:34 PM me: Pretty much, yeah.
  The irony I think
  About films like this and the Progressive crusade on racism
10:35 PM Is that there really wouldn't be big-R Racism (that is dumbass unfounded prejudice that causes people to put on sheets with eyeholes poked through) without Progressivism
  Progressivism tells black people that they should be angry at white people
  Which causes black people to be angry and stupid to white people
  Which causes white people to fear and hate black people.
 her: Yes, they're all very angry.
10:36 PM me: It's no accident that the KKK was a postwar thing
10:37 PM Gee, you released a bunch of former slaves into the economy who would work for peanuts, told them they should be angry and obnoxious towards white people, and you didn't think the middle class whites would do anything about this?
  But I digress:
  Final verdict, Django Unchained?
 her: Haha, many digressions.
 me: Out of ten
  What do you give it?
10:38 PM her: Outta ten? Um, 6?
  Watch if you have nothing better to do and you want some laughs.
10:39 PM me: Yeah, compared to his other films, it's not anywhere near as good
10:40 PM Inglourious Basterds is basically the same film
  But more satisfying
  The Nazis make better villains
  And, I mean, Inglourious Basterds is insensitive as hell
10:41 PM And really unfair to people like mid-level Nazi officers.
  But it's way more entertaining
 her: Yes.
 me: I'm not trying to give IG a pass
10:42 PM But the characters had a reason to kill that theater full of mostly innocent people, and they kind of regretted it.
  So it was easier to identify with them in the end.
  There were more satisfying moments, too

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