Here are a few thoughts about Django Unchained:
1) I saw this movie on Christmas Day at the Regal 12 cinema at the Greece Ridge Mall (The Number One Spot for High School Kids to Make Out!) in Greece, Rochester, Monroe County, upstate New York, New York with my brother John. I cannot say for sure that the audience was 100 percent white people, but I’d estimate that it was close to 85 percent, at the very least.
2) The funniest part of the movie is a scene in which a bunch of grouchy southern slave enthuisest try and fail to lynch Django. The second funniest scene occurs after Dr. King Schultz kills a town Sheriff.
3) The funniest part of the movie that made me feel uncomfortable for laughing occurs the first time Django shows up in this getup, which reminded me of Dumb and Dumber:
We’ll get back to this idea in a minute.
4) There are two rap songs in the movie and what is interesting about this is that, in the context of the movie, one is a complete success and the other is an unmitigated failure, while outside of the movie, the complete opposite is true.
Let me explain. About two-thirds of the way through the film, this song plays…
…and it totally ripped me out of the movie. I’m still not sure why this song was so distracting to me, but I think it has something to do with Django being a movie about slavery (a very serious subject) and Rick Ross being a cartoon character (or, if you prefer, the exact opposite of a serious subject). These two ideas coming together seemed very incongruous. When I think blacksplotation, I don’t think Rick Ross (although, you could make an argument that Ross’s brand of faux-opulence is the new blacksplotation.
That said, this song is pretty dope on its own.
Let’s get back to the movie. About 30 minutes after that Rick Ross song plays, there movie’s most violent scene takes place. I will give away as little as possible and simply say that it is an old west shootout shot by Quinten Tarantino, so it looks exactly like you think it would look.
While that goes on, this song plays …
… and while it comes off as pretty limp outside the context of the film, it framed and accented the scene in a very lovely way on screen.
The moral of the story: what works in real life doesn’t always work in movies
Seeing Django Unchained in theaters will force you to ask some questions of yourself about how you feel about race.
There are several points in the movie in which funny things happen, but there are also several points in the movie when unfunny things happen, but people will laugh at them because they are confused or nervous or they don’t know any better and their first instincts take hold of their bodies.
I will give you a personal example: there is a point in the move when Don Johnson shows up, dressed up like the dude from the KFC box. Southern gentleman Don Johnson says some pretty unkind things to a slave in a particular scene, and while what is said isn’t funny, the manner in which it is said caused me to giggle at a time when I really shouldn’t have.
Does this make me a racist? I don’t think so and I hope not. But it bears mentioning.
When you see Django Unchained (and you really will have to go and see Django Unchained), enjoy the movie, but take notice of when you laugh, when those around you laugh, and then ask yourself if this is funny because it’s funny, or if its humor is based on making another person feel bad.