Movies On Demand: Django Unchained...5 Mics?!?!?

Posted On Monday, January 28, 2013

Let me start off by saying that I've never written a movie review before BUT don’t get it twisted, just because I've never written one doesn't mean that I don't break down movies the exact same way I break down hip hop. See, I'm the dude who’s always watched DVD's with the director talking over the film and watching the "behind the scenes" hoopla because whether it’s a beat, rhyme, song, movie or whatever, I’ve always been interested in how things come together. All of that to say after seeing Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" there was absolutely NO WAY I wasn't writing something up about this movie! Now first things first, let me explain how I got put onto Quentin Tarantino. When I went to Morgan State, me and some of my peoples went to see this movie (that I had NO interest in seeing but everyone else seemed hyped to see) called "Pulp Fiction"....and I HATED it! I hated that movie so f-cking bad it didn't make sense. I didn't get all of the story lines, why was it so damn long? Why was some dude banging Ving Rhames while Bruce Willis waited for his turn? Why did Sam Jackson have a jerri curl? It was just bad...I’m talking real bad, Michael Jackson. And to be honest, I don't think I ever put name to face with Tarrentino and Pulp Fiction so I didn't even know he did it. Hell, at that time I don't think I even knew what a Quentin Tarrentino was.

The next time I would hear the name Tarrentino was 3 years later when I was up late one night and caught the last 15 minutes of a flick called "The Usual Suspects." Now if you paid attention to what I just said then you'd know that by turning on "Usual" with only 15 minutes left, that I found out who Keyser Soze was which of course ruined the entire movie for me! So, after telling one of my people’s about how I just royally screwed myself out of taking parts of one of the illest twists in modern day cinema, he suggested that I watch the movie "Reservoir Dogs." He told me that if I liked the whole "who done it" act of "Usual" then I would rock with "Reservoir" so, I checked the jawn out and my dude was right, I LOVED the movie! The writing was dope, the acting was dope, the dialogue was sick and that was all before I found out who the cop was. And the funny thing is, while I was watching "Reservoir" I kept thinking to myself...this reminds me of that movie I hated. Which made me wonder, why did I hate that movie but love this one? And the answer to that was simple, I had matured.

What do I mean by that? See, as a kid, I rhymed "F-ck the Police" and ANYTHING off "Straight Outta Compton" as loud as I could JUST to be disrespectful. I never cared what a rapper said in his rhymes whether it was "fuck all these b-tches" or I'm gonna shoot you in your head." But then around '95 all of that hoopla started getting tired to me. I remember riding back from Howard one night with my team and we had been blasting Mobb Deep's classic "The Infamous" ALL day long and by the time we were headed back to B'more I remember asking my man "if he could turn that sh-t off” cause I just couldn't take it anymore. I had listened to 2 midgets from Queensbridge tell me over and over and over and over how hard they were and how they were gonna knuckle you down and shoot you and rob you, blah, blah, blah for an entire day and I just couldn't take it anymore. And that was around the time I started actually caring what cats said in their rhymes. So in '94 when I first saw "Pulp Fiction" I didn't care about dialogue or writing or even good acting for that matter. Hell, if a rapper wasn't in it or at least on the soundtrack or if Spike Lee, John Singleton or the Hughes Brothers weren't directing it or 100 people weren't getting shot with uzis and AK's, I wasn't rocking with it. But now all of a sudden I cared about those little things like the writing, dialogue, acting, character development…you know the things that make a good movie a good movie. So THAT'S how I got put onto Quentin Tarantino. And after rocking with "Reservoir" I went back and re-watched "Pulp Fiction" and fell in love with that and me rocking with his flicks stayed the same with "Jackie Brown", "The Kill Bill" series and "Inglorious Bastards." And don’t even get me started on "Inglorious Bastards.” "That opening scene ALONE is better then most director's ENTIRE movies! So it shouldn't have come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, how hype I was to see "Django Unchained." And before me and my wife sat down in the theater to check it, she told me "I hope this is good" and I simply told her, “don’t worry, it will be.”

After seeing “Django” I don’t even know where to start. To me this is Tarrentino at his best...hands down. I've told folk that I can break down this movie in two different ways for them. The first way is, from a film making standpoint and the second way is from the average movie watcher’s standpoint. So let's start with the film making standpoint. And I know I'm not the “deep in the trenches” type film maker...yet, but since I started shooting these two documentaries and directing videos and reading over 20+ books on film making, cinematography, scriptwriting, character development, etc. I think I kinda know what I’m talking about a 'lil sumthin sumthin from a technical standpoint. So after doing the knowledge, I now look at films in four categories. Cinematography, story/plot/writing, music/music direction and acting. So from the filmmaker standpoint, this movie is flat out amazing!

Now, before I dive into the cinematography category, let me break down what that is for cats who may not know what that is. Basically cinematography is the way a movie is shot and the way it looks. It’s basically the 1st cousin of photography. And with that said I can’t even begin to talk about how INCREDIBLE the cinematography is in “Django” because it’s TRULY amazing! I lost count of how many times I was in awe by how beautifully this movie was shot. Whether it was the scene when Django gave up at Candie’s mansion and Quentin moved the camera out from him throwing his gun to an overhead shot that gave you an overhead shot of how many guns were aimed at him or the scene at the end when Django was coming to the cabin and you saw he silhouette through the cabin’s boards walking to come get his woman. It’s to the point that I’m going to see “Django” again, just so that I can take notes on the ways the movie was shot. (I have a notebook full of shots I’ve seen in movies/videos that I want to attempt to emulate to get my skills up) And since we're on the cinematographer tip, one of my personal fave cinematographers is Ernest Dickerson who came up under Spike and help to perfect his standing while moving scenes he used to always rock. Plus money directed “Juice”…so there’s NO way you can front on him after that lil tidbit of info. But, in case you never heard of dude, PLEASE google him...not now but right now.

As far as the writing category is concerned, I don’t care how much you don’t like Tarantino, there’s no way if you’re a literate human being that you can front on this man’s pen game cause it’s THAT ill. Dialogue has always been one of the things I look forward to when it comes to Tarantino movies and that dialogue ties into how Tarantino does a great job of making his characters come to life the way they do. And if you’re a writer, then you know that making characters pop the way his does is no easy task. And do ya’ll REALLY need me to get started on Tarantino’s ear when it comes to the music that comes with his movies? Hell, I'm still bang the “Jackie Brown” soundtrack like it just dropped! And before cats start talking about “well, his soundtracks are just compilations of good songs” which is somewhat true but the beautiful part about that is not only does he pick great songs, but he picks great songs that match his movies perfectly! And if it was REALLY that easy, why doesn’t every director do that? That’s like saying a DJ putting together his playlist to rock a party ain’t REALLY doing nuthin’ that ANY ole Joe could, which we ALL know is just dumb. And it’s not just about the music he chooses but it’s also how and when he chooses to use it. There was a scene in “Django” when I was saying to myself, “yo, this would a DOPE time to drop that Rick Ross banger 50 Black Coffins” and as soon as I finished that thought…the song dropped. Trust me when I tell you Quentin’s music game is A+! And as far as the acting is concerned in “Django” I don’t know if it gets much better then this cast Tarantino put together. Riddle me this, when you saw Jamie Foxx playing Django, did you see Ray Charles or think about the old Jamie Foxx TV show? Nope. When you saw Kerry Washington playing Broomhilda, did you see Olivia Pope from “Scandal?” Nope. When you saw Leonardo DiCaprio, did ya’ll see Jack Dawson from the Titanic? Nope. And don’t get me started on Christoph Waltz’s roll of the Doctor. I'm just glad the Oscars came correct with his nomination in the best supporting actor category cause if they would've fronted, I would've been done with the Oscars. (which happens to be the last mohican of awards shows that I do watch)

And from a average movie watcher's standpoint, I honestly don't understand how you couldn't enjoy "Django." I can totally get if you didn’t LOVE the movie the way I do but to just flat out not like the movie? Come on ya'll. This movie has it all, action, comedy, a love story, great acting, etc. not to mention, I had no idea how this movie was gonna end! Of course I knew that Django would go on to rescue Broomhilda but I had no idea how. Now tell me when's the last time you saw a movie that had great acting, great writing, great cinematography, a great score AND you had NO idea how it would end? I'll wait. To me, if you didn't like "Django" you fall in one of 3 categories. The first one being, you just don't like Quentin Tarantino (the man) and/or you don't like his style of movies. Cause trust me, I know A LOT of people who don't like Tarantino the man, so that's self explanatory as to why ya'll didn't like it. And what I mean by not liking his style of movies is the excessive violence or his 3 hour running times. My only question for those folk is...why did ya'll go see the movie? Ya'll should've been on your Spike Lee jawn and just boycotted it. Cause best believe if I don't like 2 Chainz or Souljah Boy, do you think you're gonna catch me at their concert, putting money in their pocket, hoping they'll do something that's the OPPOSITE of why I DON'T like them in the first place? Now that doesn't make much sense, now does it?

Now, for the second category…and let me try to say this in the nicest way, you're one of those over sensitive black folk OR you're white and just can't stand to see the black man come out on top at the end. For part 1, there are those black folk who just can't stand to see a movie about slavery period and to get deeper, they can't stand a movie about slavery made by a white person. I've actually heard of people getting up and leaving the movie cause they didn't like the way we were being depicted or because they didn’t like Sam Jackson's character and with that one, I’m stuck on stupid. You think I'm gonna spend $9.50 and get up and leave cause I don't like a character?!?!?! My question is, exactly how were we depicted in “Django?” Did Tarantino have us shuckin and jiving in the movie? Did Tarantino have us speaking in that over the top slow slave drawl like in a Key and Peele skit? Naw, so what was the problem? So you're telling me the last time you saw a movie and you didn't like a character, you got up and left? Hell no! So, why this time? Cause Sam's character was a house nigga? You do know there actually were house niggas during slavery right? Hell, there's STILL a RACK of house niggas working alongside of you in your office right now! See, THAT’S what I mean by "over sensitive black folk." Now the 2nd part is white folk who just don't wanna see the black man win. And that one right there is kinda self explanatory too cause y'all do know that there are still white folk out here who don't like blacks right? Cool…just checking.

And #3 is simple and it actually takes me back to when I first saw "Pulp Fiction." And that is, you really don't care about good writing, characters, cinematography, the score or none of that “good stuff” you just wanna see stuff up blow up and go "boom." Which is cool cause I peeped "It's A Good Day to Die Hard" aka “Die Hard Part 25” is about to come out, so y'all folk who really don't care for much more then catch phrases like "I'll be back" or "yippe kay yay" will have something droppin' for ya’ll real soon. But at the end of the day, if you fall into anyone of those three categories, I REALLY hope ya'll can get past your issues cause if not you're truly missing out on enjoying one of the best movies I’ve EVER seen. And yes, I said EVER!

5 outta 5 

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