To me “Django Unchained” and “Inglorious Basterds” are two halves of the same story. Sure they are about one hundred years apart BUT to truly understand the point of each story I think it is imperative to see both.
In “Basterds” the Nazis, led by Christoph Waltz, are clearly the bad guys. While the Americans, led by Brad Pitt, are clearly the good guys. This goes over just fine and we’re led through an immensely entertaining and brilliant film. Then Quentin Tarantino throws a major curveball at us by setting a story roughly one hundred years before WWII and completely reversing the good guy and the bad guy situation we had come to know.
Now the Germans, again led by Christoph Waltz, are the good guys and the Americans are the bad guys as displayed by their incredibly graphic and horrific treatment of Django and all other people of color during that time period.
What a brilliant storytelling move. Encourage us to cheer blindly for the good guys and then rip the curtain off to reveal that “hey those good guys we’re evil and those bad guys we’re good.” Really makes me question how much of what we learn in school about our “victorious” history and the history of all “victorious” countries really is true.
Plus I felt like I learned a lot about the actual atrocities of slavery from “Django”. I’ve read books, seen documentaries, written papers on said atrocities but never had I fully immersed myself in exactly what those atrocities would look like. Really scary to think that people we’re treating other people like this ONLY 150 years ago. That’s not that long ago. That’s two grandpas.
But anyway, these movies are incredible. Tarantino in my mind is the only filmmaker today who holds a candle to Kubrick. He’s the only one who can simultaneously tell you a story so enchanting you don’t even notice the blunt object behind his back that he then bashes you over the head with. It truly is masterful and I find myself watching a disproportionately high amount of his interviews on Youtube in an attempt to capture his genius.
I love both of these films. They are incredibly entertaining, violent, and enlightening. I think Jamie Foxx was the absolute right choice instead of Will Smith. I heard Will Smith refused to play “Django” because he wanted to kill the bad guy. The balls on that guy! Hearing this tainted everything I had ever loved with Will Smith and then I realized I never really loved anything with Will Smith. Sure “ID4” was awesome when I was ten but it’s pretty terrible by today’s standards. He didn’t touch on anything remotely questionable in “Ali”. What has he done that matters besides “Fresh Prince”? I struggle to answer that.
And if you think Will Smith should take more risks with his career and play Mum in “Mum Knows Best” than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because Will Smith is going to play Mum in “Mum Knows Best” (Will Smith would smartly not touch my screenplay with a ten foot pole)!