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Django Unchained - Post-Release - Page 6

post #251 of 978

I can dig that Arjen, he might not have been completely ran the show, but he's far removed from just being there for comedic relief.  Definitely one of the most interesting characters in the movie, he is so completely warped by his surroundings.  But to be the best house nigger out there, as you put it, probably requires you to step all over the other slaves, put them in place, yell, turn them in, etc... Basically actively keeping down your own people.

post #252 of 978

I don't think he is necessarily secretly in control, but I do think that behind closed doors he IS Candie's equal and Calvin obviously treats him as such.  Those that have worked there long enough, both white and black, obviously know this as well.  A partner, rather than a puppeteer.

post #253 of 978

The script refers to Stephen as "the 2nd most powerful person at Candyland" and says that he was Calvin's slave when he (Calvin) was a little boy. I imagine Stephen's love for Calvin (and anguish when he dies) is real. I imagine Stephen's reward for being Calvin's slave/babysitter/probably best friend all these years is a privileged position. It's an intriguingly complex relationship.

post #254 of 978

That scene where Candie meets him in the library is so terrific.  I love how Stephen's diction is a little bit more refined behind closed doors.

post #255 of 978

And yet despite the closeness of Candie and Stephen's relationship, Stephen still has to put on a song and dance as the sass-talking Uncle Tom, at least in front of the others, as epitomized by the cane. Once it's just him and Django at the end, he can dispense with that ruse. Just such a fascinating character, one of the most interesting and complex in any recent major release. He's offended by the idea of a black man staying in the big house, to the point of saying the sheets on Django's bed should be burned afterwards, but behind closed doors he'll tell his thick-headed master what's what while condescendingly sitting in his easy chair and sipping his drink.

post #256 of 978

Stephen's the brains; Calvin isn't too bright, though he likes to think he is. (He has that whole French pretension but he doesn't actually speak French.) In the script, Calvin has a whole big monologue (not in the movie) where he says the worst thing isn't the "niggers," it's the white trash he has to deal with. He's a snob without anything to back it up, which Schultz senses right away.

 

And the creepy thing Calvin has with his sister explains where some of that chinless white trash comes from. Plantation master fucks sister; sister gives kid up for adoption to some peckerwood family with maybe a small payment each month to cover expenses and ensure silence. Some master race.

post #257 of 978

I'm also enjoying being right about the (fairly Captain Obvious) thing I pointed out months ago: this movie has led to a whole lot of discussion, particularly about race/racism in cinema, who gets to depict it, how they get to depict it, etc. Some of the pieces I've seen around have been dumb; some have been smart but I disagree with them; some have been smart and I say "Good point, but I still loved the flick"; and so on.

post #258 of 978

Can't forget our first introduction to Stephen, forging Calvin's name on a check. Stephen isn't just the best-dressed house nigger at his master's right hand at the dinner table, giving advice in private. Calvin owns Candieland, but Stephen runs it; Calvin is the crown prince indulging in the fruits of his family's wealth, whereas Stephen is (apparently) the manager and bookkeeper of the business, making Candieland possible -- and that of course would include intimate familiarity with the economics of slave ownership.

 

It's such a fascinating, awful character that's certainly based on reality, and kudos to Tarantino for not shying away from all the horrible aspects of the antebellum South and its "institutions." It's not a lead role, but Stephen approaches the level of Joe Christmas in interest as a fictional character to study in re race issues. (Off-topic-ally, this film's made me even more curious about Milch's Faulkner adaptations for HBO, which I didn't think would be possible.)

post #259 of 978

I can't wait for those Milch/Faulkner adaptations either, though I don't see why they have to be movies. Just take all of those characters and novels and weave them together in a show called Yoknapatawpha County.

post #260 of 978

I don't get why Stephen is "so despicable". There have been plenty of such  right hand men to the lead villains in fiction, but somehow this guy is deplorable because he's "turning against his own people" or something. If he had been a white guy doing the same thing in another film we wouldn't bat an eye. Stephen is looking out for himself and has gotten in to the best position possible. He is perhaps jealous of Django and wants to out him, because he is ascended to a higher position then he will ever be able to. Maybe this is why he's so awful. I don't know, I thought he was your typical second fiddle villain with more complexity and characterization.
 

post #261 of 978

If Stephen was a white guy doing the same thing, it would be a completely different character in an utterly different film.

post #262 of 978

Not to get all Godwin up in here, but it's like a Jew working for the Nazis at Auschwitz, and not just working for them (plenty were forced to do that), but actually buying into National Socialism, hero-worshiping Hitler, and constantly going on about how awful his own people are and how they deserve to be exterminated. A Gentile Nazi and a Jewish Nazi would be completely different animals, even if they were doing the exact same things.

post #263 of 978

I guess it depends on where you stand philosophically, but Stephen turning on his own people in such a huge way (and it is huge; the way he aggressively pushes for Broomhilda to stay in the hotbox... he wants her to suffer.) is what makes him so much more slimy and weasely and frankly more dangerous than Candie.  Devin hit the nail on the head in his review - Candie is a joke.  He's a monster, sure, but ultimately he's a caricature; a dumb white boy from the south who was lucky to come from money.  Stephen is more than that; smart, cold, and calculated, and not only is he completely unaffected by the atrocities that surround him, but he's totally willing to throw in with the monsters committing them.  In my mind that makes him so much worse.     

post #264 of 978

I also really like the point Arjen made on the last page about how Stephen represents one of the greater but less immediate evils of slavery: acceptance.  

post #265 of 978
post #266 of 978

Damn. I'd been just waiting for this discussion to turn to a more detailed examination of Stephen, who I find to be a really fascinating character. Then I'm down with the flu for a day or two, and a lot of the pertinent observations are put down most excellently by folks here in the meantime-- especially by Arjen.

 

Did want to throw something out there though: 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzy dunlop View Post

I also really like the point Arjen made on the last page about how Stephen represents one of the greater but less immediate evils of slavery: acceptance.  

 

I don't know if "acceptance" is exactly the right idea behind Stephen and his actions. It's doubtful that he was some field slave who rose to his position in the big house over the backs of his fellow field slaves, but a man who was a house slave to begin with, and rose to that position from there. As such, the life within the house would have been all he'd ever known. That doesn't really require active "acceptance" on his part, any more than any of us necessarily "accept" the life to which we're born. It's just what it is.

 

And his affection for Calvin Candie (and vice versa) is made clear in the movie. So I think Stephen considers the Candie family to be "his people", in a way he can't consider the slaves working the cotton fields to be-- people who may share his skin color, but whose experience is otherwise alien to him.

 

We usually hold special contempt for the turn-coat, or the collaborator under enemy occupation. But those are roles people choose for themselves when faced with adversity, or the opportunity for personal gain. I don't think Stephen is quite like that. Though a slave himself, he's born into a position that is part of the power structure. And as human nature dictates, he does his best to preserve what he has for himself-- like Calvin Candie or any other rich slaveholder would do.

 

Difference is, unlike Candie or the other rich slaveholders who are the power structure, he lacks the power to change anything because he is a slave. He's property, but still uses what power he has to look after his interests. Maybe that's what makes us so uncomfortable about a character like Stephen. In a similar situation, who among us could say they wouldn't do the same? So I guess I don't necessarily buy the notion that the "house nigger" is the worst of the worst. As a slave, he naturally can't possibly be as bad as the motherfuckers like Candie, who are actually running the show.   

 

That said, Stephen was still a despicable asshole who didn't have to try so hard to thwart Schultz's plan to buy Hildy. He got what was coming to him, just like the rest of them.

post #267 of 978

Said it better than I could and what I was starting to get at. Was going to bring up that his role was all he had ever known and that he somehow looked past his race automatically putting him in with the other slaves. There may be some jealousy component with seeing Django getting better treatment than him.

 

What do we think of Django's commitment to their act getting the guy killed by dogs? Why aren't people crying foul on that as much? I think Candy was going to let Schultz buy him, at the expense of some cracks in the facade.
 

post #268 of 978

Would just like to say that the only reason i haven't cropped up in this thread is because the film doesn't come out for another couple of weeks in Oz, and I want to go in as 'clean' as possible. 

 

Will say this, though: I hunger for this film.

post #269 of 978

I think Tarantino excised elements he should have kept in and kept in elements he should have excised. Cutting out the conversation between Schultz and Big Daddy but keeping in the admittedly funny but  superfluous Klan bedsheets conversation was a mistake IMO. Cutting out or not even filming Broomhilda's scenes with Scotty Harmony is probably my biggest grievance. We lost more scenes with Candie and the great sympathetic slave owner character of Scotty, and Broomhilda was robbed of any sort of character or backstory. In a film already lacking any strong or three-dimensional women, this was a terrible move. Very surprising for Tarantino, considering how strong his female characters usually are. Pairing down the Billy Crash - Stephen - Candie stuff but keeping in the overlong sequence with the miners and the extended shootouts was another misstep in my opinion. I think this movie could potentially be a masterpiece but not with this edit. As it stands now, it is a silly, haunting, immensely entertaining but seriously flawed film.

post #270 of 978

I'm glad he cut the Scotty stuff. For one thing, I like that he made a straight forward linear story, and that whole chapter would have diminished that. Don't get me wrong, I really dig good non-linear story-telling, and QT's the master of it (in film*), but like he's said in interviews, this is a quest moive, and quest movies need to follow a certain path of linearity.

 

Also, the thing about the Scotty story is that, while it does give Broomhilda more shading and backstory, it's mostly still about Scotty, a character you don't care about and who doesn't really have any lasting effect. Also, in the script, Broomhilda is shown to make the best of her relationship with Scotty, which while totally understandable, kind of diminishes her character's strength in my mind. Although I wish we got a little more of her, I like that in what little we do get, we are given to understand she's not just the type to try and live within slavery. The first time we see her outside of Django's flashbacks/dream sequences she's being punished for trying to escape Candie Land. Thus, we get the idea that this woman is just as strong and brave and Django, but that she lacks the help she needs.

 

But I do wish there was a little more of her in the movie obviously.

 

*The master of non-linear storytelling in literature is Faulkner, who I think would find this film fascinating. Also, people complaining about the use of the word 'nigger' in Django need to read Faulkner to understand that there's nothing excessive about the way QT uses it. That's how much it was used by white people even two generations after the civil war.

post #271 of 978

post #272 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Navidson View Post

What do we think of Django's commitment to their act getting the guy killed by dogs? Why aren't people crying foul on that as much? I think Candy was going to let Schultz buy him, at the expense of some cracks in the facade.
 

 

I took it on faith that they were on the edge of being revealed at this point, due to King fucking up, but as my Dad pointed out, it wasn't like Candie wouldn't have taken the money if he thought he was a rich dope. So yeah, D'Artagnon maybe didn't need to die. 

post #273 of 978

Didn't Tarantino, in that interview with Henry Louis Gates someone posted, suggest that part of the reason Schultz guns down Candie is guilt that his trying to intervene on D'Artagnan's behalf is what got him killed?  Otherwise Candie would have been content to just toy with D'Artagnan. That's pretty messed up. Also goes to how Django has more on the ball than Schultz in a lot of respects, keeping his cool in that situation.

post #274 of 978

Just saw this, loved it. Everyone in this discussion is make great points, so I just want to add my one thought that a few others made: The moment "I Got a Name" began I had the biggest, dopiest smile. That whole sequence was a gorgeous bit of classic cinema. 

post #275 of 978

Just wanted to reiterate that I loved Dr King Schultz in this. The character could have so easily just been Good Landa and worked just fine. He was conceived of just after shooting Basterds after all. But Tarantino and Waltz really created a totally different guy. I mean, he still accesses all the verbose intelligence Waltz does so incredibly well, but he's also got these shades of impetuousness and nobility and stuff. I hope Tarantino's next is the prohibition era gangster film and that Waltz plays something in it.

 

Movies is sticking with me. Want to see it again. Too many movies.

post #276 of 978

I really, really hope Tarantino adds Goggins to his regular roster. If I had one complaint about this movie it's the complaint I have about everything Goggins is in save Justified - not enough Goggins!

 

Dude was born to make dialog sing, and when you combine him with Tarantino dialog it's just a match made in heaven. If he's not in the next Tarantino flick I'm gonna be disappointed.

post #277 of 978

What's wild is that QT must actually watch Justified, just like us.  I mean, he's a huge Leonard fan and it's an excellent show - there's no reason he wouldn't watch it.

 

Kinda gets into what Andy Warhol said about how you can be the world's richest man, but you can't really buy a better soda than a fifty-cent can of Coca Cola.

 

Speaking of being just like us, I'm actually kinda sad to see that QT is still so high strung after years of being rich - in his recent interview with Howard Stern he still seems super-upset about his father and school.  Dude needs to drop at least 50 pounds too, I'm glad his output is so amazing, but even at a movie every four years or so he really needs to cut back on work and learn to meditate and shit.

post #278 of 978

I remember reading an interview with Goggins years ago-- around the end of "The Shield" or his appearance in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna-- where he said he was tired of playing racist redneck assholes. And that still seems to be the bigger roles that he gets (Boyd on "Justified" evolved, but he started out that way too).

 

So yes-- here's hoping that Tarantino or somebody else gives him a substantial part that doesn't involve being the evil, ignorant Southerner. He's far to good an actor to be typecast the way he has been.

post #279 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slim View Post

I remember reading an interview with Goggins years ago-- around the end of "The Shield" or his appearance in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna-- where he said he was tired of playing racist redneck assholes. And that still seems to be the bigger roles that he gets (Boyd on "Justified" evolved, but he started out that way too).

Yeah apparently the character was written as a racist who died early. When they wanted him to stay on he told them that he didn't want to be a racist but a guy who was using racists as a means to an end. 

post #280 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waaaaaaaalt View Post

Yeah apparently the character was written as a racist who died early. When they wanted him to stay on he told them that he didn't want to be a racist but a guy who was using racists as a means to an end. 

 

That part of the character is actually there in the pilot.  In their first scene together, Boyd gives him a big racist shpiel about the Jews being a mongrel race and Raylan calls him out on being to smart to buy that load, and using the neo-nazis as easily-manipulated muscle for his own ends.

post #281 of 978

Right on. Post-Neo-Nazi Boyd reads a lot closer to Goggins's personality that I've gotten from different interviews I've heard or read. He seems like a thoughtful guy, and I've gotten the impression that the racist stuff he's had to do really bugs him. As much as I loved seeing him appear as Billy in DJANGO, I thought, "What, again? Give the guy a break."

post #282 of 978

I don't think I can really add much of anything that hasn't already been said. This movie was fucking great. Brutal where it needed to be and funny in the right spots. Foxx, Sam Jackson and Waltz were great. Jackson deserves at the very least a Oscar nom. And I guess I'm the only one that wasn't bothered by Tarentinos Aussie Accent.

 

Just a great fucking movie.

post #283 of 978

It wasn't so much the lousy accent, as it was the fact that 1) he's the director, and 2) he looks more like a pudgy white boy movie geek than a sun baked Aussie slave trader. 

post #284 of 978

What's Goggins gonna do? He's got racist face.

post #285 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

 

That part of the character is actually there in the pilot.  In their first scene together, Boyd gives him a big racist shpiel about the Jews being a mongrel race and Raylan calls him out on being to smart to buy that load, and using the neo-nazis as easily-manipulated muscle for his own ends.

Yeah but I think he specifically asked them to do that as a reshoot or something, the article is out there somewhere, I will try and find it later.

post #286 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z.Vasquez View Post

I really, really hope Tarantino adds Goggins to his regular roster. If I had one complaint about this movie it's the complaint I have about everything Goggins is in save Justified - not enough Goggins!

 

Dude was born to make dialog sing, and when you combine him with Tarantino dialog it's just a match made in heaven. If he's not in the next Tarantino flick I'm gonna be disappointed.

I loved Django Unchained, but I admit that the movie could have used a little more Goggins. One of the best Southern character actors alive and one of the best character actors period.

post #287 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post

What's wild is that QT must actually watch Justified, just like us.  I mean, he's a huge Leonard fan and it's an excellent show - there's no reason he wouldn't watch it.

 

Kinda gets into what Andy Warhol said about how you can be the world's richest man, but you can't really buy a better soda than a fifty-cent can of Coca Cola.

 

Speaking of being just like us, I'm actually kinda sad to see that QT is still so high strung after years of being rich - in his recent interview with Howard Stern he still seems super-upset about his father and school.  Dude needs to drop at least 50 pounds too, I'm glad his output is so amazing, but even at a movie every four years or so he really needs to cut back on work and learn to meditate and shit.

Eh, I heard that interview and I didn't get the strung-out impression at all. Stern kept badgering him about his dad (as well as other stupid shit like how much money he makes off his movies) and he answered everything honestly and calmly, he even laughed when they started joking about it. He got much more upset at Terry Gross when she asked him about Newtown, and rightfully so, since he's correct in that trying to tie these shootings in with movies is disrespectful to the victims.

 

Also, why does he need to lose 50 pounds? What's his weight have to do with anything? He's a big guy but he's not obese. Being a tub of lard didn't stop Hitchcock from making great films through old age, and Tarantino isn't half as fat as that Brit. And far be it from me to tell anyone not to meditate, but whatever he's doing now to put out these manic, brilliant masterpieces one after another, he should keep doing that.

post #288 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Matrix View Post

I loved Django Unchained, but I admit that the movie could have used a little more Goggins. One of the best Southern character actors alive and one of the best character actors period.


I want to see a film staring Goggins, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt, so that we can determine who the best American actor alive is.

 

Or at least white American actor, since Wendell Peirce and Clarke Peters rule everything.

post #289 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z.Vasquez View Post


I want to see a film staring Goggins, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt, so that we can determine who the best American actor alive is.

It can be called 'The Three Supporting Actors'
post #290 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z.Vasquez View Post

Also, why does he need to lose 50 pounds? What's his weight have to do with anything? He's a big guy but he's not obese. Being a tub of lard didn't stop Hitchcock from making great films through old age, and Tarantino isn't half as fat as that Brit. And far be it from me to tell anyone not to meditate, but whatever he's doing now to put out these manic, brilliant masterpieces one after another, he should keep doing that.

 

Yeah, that last piece of advice did sound quite a bit like that silly shit you might hear from a friend's nosy parent or that aunt you barely see. Lose weight and meditate?  Only advice I might give Quentin is no more Aussie accents.

post #291 of 978

I respectfully disagree.  I don't think he sounded good on Stern or Charlie Rose at all.  I think he sounded manic and angry, which is par for the course for QT, but his fuck-you money and blatant drug use are not making him more emotionally and intellectually mature ... he's getting worse, and that's disconcerting, despite how good his work has stayed.  Hitch was always fat - QT is a skinny guy who is suddenly obese.  You guys sound like enablers - "let's not get in his way" is probably what everyone close to him is saying too.

post #292 of 978

Your basing this off of a perception that no one else shares. He wasn't angry on either Stern or Rose at all. And he's not obese, he's just a pudgy 50 year old. He's always been kind of manic, that's just his personality. Don't be so quick to diagnose someone you've never met based off their energy level in interviews. Interviews in which he talks ind depth about his steady writing process, his long-term (reasonable) plans and, in the Stern interview at least, his healthy romantic relationship. Just because the guy talks fast doesn't mean he's gakked out.

 

Also, what evidence do you have that the guy is abusing drugs? He talked about smoking hash with Brad Pitt a while ago - dear lord, someone start an intervention!

 

Finally: what's his money got to do with anything? Last I checked, he's not getting arrested every other week outside of night clubs or punching Target employees and fleeing on three-wheelers. He bought a really cool movie theater in Los Angeles. I look at Tarantino and see a guy who has matured over the course of years into a really cool dude while still maintaining the level of creative energy he came into the business with. Apparently you see Jim Morrison in 1971, which I honestly find baffling.

post #293 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
You guys sound like enablers 

 

And, with all due respect, you sound like one of those kooky people who think they know celebrities based off of media coverage.

post #294 of 978

Tarantino's cocaine problem is well-known around Hollywood. David Carradine even mentioned it after a screening of BOUND FOR GLORY at the American Cinematheque:

 

"Quentin Tarantino doesn't beat Hal Ashby, and he's one of my favorite directors. Quentin is incredible. And he's a big cocaine freak, too!" 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-willman/bound-for-hell-or-glory-d_b_177884.html 

 

I'm convinced the drug problem really became an issue after JACKIE BROWN (in that six-year period when he was basically sitting in front of the television). His output in the past decade has been ridiculously self-indulgent, so far divorced from reality it's kind of scary.

 

I've enjoyed most of the films, but I've also understood that they're the work of a genius surrounded by drugs and enablers. They hold about the same appeal for me as a late-period Ashby or Peckinpah. 

post #295 of 978
Just saw this. Individual scenes work better than the film as a whole. This movie is too fucking long. Leo going apeshit at the dinner table was my personal highlight. Waltz is a dream, and seeing his body laying there in the stable/shed/whatever really made me sad. Kerry Washington is really pretty. That's all I got.
post #296 of 978

Pauline Kael reborn, you are.

post #297 of 978

To the people complaining about Tarantino's cameo in the second half of the movie: what did you think of his cameo in the first half? He was the proto-klansman with most of the dialogue in the bag scene.

post #298 of 978

Oh for the love of... So now we're taking a joking comment made by a guy who's been dead for a few years as proof positive that someone we've never met is surrounded by enablers and has a serious drug problem? A guy who's been putting out consistently good work and staying out of the tabloids? There is such a thing as a recreational drug user. Despite the propaganda that gets put out there, it is possible to use cocaine recreationaly. Of course, maybe he has a raging drug problem - I don't know since I don't fucking know the guy. But the idea that any of us can make that judgement call based on rumors and some ridiculous perception of him being divorced from reality because of his style of filmmaking is beyond ridiculous.

 

Hey, David Lynch movies are even more self-indulgent and divorced from reality - he must be on smack! Terence Malick movies are also self-indulgent, and the break he took between Days of Heaven and Thin Red Line was way longer than the period between Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. He's clearly smoking meth!

 

And give me a break comparing Tarantino's output - which includes what may be his two greatest films yet, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained - with late era Peckinpah and Ashby.

 

This conversation is taking a really stupid turn.

post #299 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph P. Brenner View Post

To the people complaining about Tarantino's cameo in the second half of the movie: what did you think of his cameo in the first half? He was the proto-klansman with most of the dialogue in the bag scene.

Wait, seriously?

post #300 of 978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post

Wait, seriously?

 

Yeah, Tarantino has a pretty distinctive voice and I'm surprised that the Australian scene is the only Tarantino cameo people are talking about. As soon as that masked person started talking I knew it was just Tarantino with a southern drawl.

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