Monday, October 21, 2013

Quentin Tarantino's Perversions of History, or Death Cap for Q.T.

If I were a more intellectual writer, I would begin this by saying something like "The present continues to creep into the past."  The trend overall seemed to start most distinctly and expensively with 1999's Wild Wild West, which Django Unchained seems to pay indirect homage to throughout, and rather directly so with one of Jamie Foxx's outfits towards the end of the show.  And of course, the yearning for last generation's studio logos continues.  Superbad, Argo... the list goes on and on.
My two viewing companions had some criticisms.  One of them said it's not Quentin's best work.  I guess Pulp Fiction still is for them, and for me as well.  The other focused on the replica of Queen Nefertiti in the Candie household, which wasn't discovered until 1912 in Egypt.  (See also the IMDb Goofs page for Django)  But I'm sure Quentin could argue the consistency on that one.  Otherwise, the production design is top drawer, and certainly looks like there's $100 million worth of it on screen.
Now, as much as I hate to argue with the geniuses over at The Onion, my viewing companion parted company with them about Quentin's brief role as an Australian mining company employee.  My viewing companion felt that the contemporary music was a far greater distraction than Quentin's performance.  And to be fair, it's a less meaty role than, say, his role in Pulp Fiction.
Now, maybe I'm mistaken, but I noticed two things my own self.  1) Just as there are shouting matches in Spike Lee's movies, people seem to scream in pain a lot in Quentin's movies, and 2) the 'n' word.  I'm not sure if they used it too much or not enough.  Somehow it just didn't seem like the just right amount.  And how about those people who complain annually about the 'n' word in Mark Twain's works?  Whatever happened to 'sticks and stones will break my bones'?  Or, for that matter, the phrase "you've got too much time on your hands"?  In the Internet Age, it's not enough sleep.
Okay, here's a moment: SPOILER ALERT.  The big phrenology scene.  Here's my problem with it.  It was obviously geared for contemporary audiences since it leads to an explosive confrontation.  If it were really the late 1850s, the skull would have been sawed open long ago and used for "educational" purposes, at least by the standards of the time.  And the white people would probably talk slow to the black people; you know, just to rub it in that much further.  But I was actually more impressed with the research on Dumas.   Anything that gets me to go to Wikipedia is a small triumph.  Sure, we could quibble about fractions: half-black, quarter-black, whatever.  It's the impact of the moment that counts!
In any event, I look forward to the end of the Tarantino-Waltz trilogy in 2015... he's not going to be in Kill Bill Vol. 3, is he??!!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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