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"They are not fisherman."

Quick SummaryWhether or not you know the story, it is worth all of the 2 plus hours just to watch the last 20 minutes.

I am not sure what is with the movies this Oscar season but many of them seem to hit very hard with their endings.  Captain Phillips certainly emphasizes this point.

Whether or not you read the book, heard the story, or remember the media coverage but this movie, Tom Hanks, and Barkhad Abdi make it all worth your while, your money, and your time. I was skeptical to view this movie, at first, because I couldn’t fathom watching such a long movie retell (what I thought was) a simple story of a captain being held hostage but living at the end.  Yes, as with everything, Hollywood reaches down its magic wand to sprinkle some entertainment dust on this film but watching the events (albeit dramatized) reenacted in front of your face is nothing short of stunning.  This is no Argo and Ben Affleck doesn’t hold a candle to Tom Hanks’s performance so do not worry about that. His acting was, as a friend described, “beautiful.”

While much of the first two hours is interesting, the ending alone seals the fate of this movie and the performance of Tom Hanks.  More importantly, the final scene of the movie, in the infirmary, was not in the script.  It was supposed to end with him being cleaned up.  Period.  But the ending scene scene was decided upon when the real Captain of the Bainbridge was asked to describe what happened with Philips when he came on board. There were no lines given to Hanks and the Naval officers and crew in the scene are real Navy personnel who were just directed to go about their duties as they would in that circumstance and treat it like a training exercise.

I can’t continue on my Tom Hanks rave without mentioning Barkhad Abdi, the actor who portrayed the Somali pirate who leads the takeover.  Originally from Somalia, Barkhad moved to Minneapolis, by way of Yemen, when he was 14 to escape his war torn country.  When he was cast in the film he was driving a limo in Minneapolis.  And his stature in the film is his normal frame, he stands at 5 foot 10 inches and 120 pounds. He is equally awesome.

RECOMMENDATION: Extra butter indeed. Watch the film, believe the hype, and bite down when you watch the ending. Wow.

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Quick Summary: Grab a 6 pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale, sit in a wicker chair in a beach house (a comfy couch in an apt also works) and enjoy summer loving…with a smidgen of family dysfunction.

I give you Nat Faxon ladies and gentleman.  Whoa, this writer/actor is impressive and yet a name you mat not know…despite winning an Oscar for his first (adapted) screenplay ever, The Descendants.  We first met this weird toothed chap in Orange County as the frat brother woos our female protagonist from her loving boyfriend played by Colin Hanks.  Nonetheless, this is his second movie he wrote and he is on a nice little roll.

(I preface this review by letting you all know that I was on an airplane when I watched this and also probably in a weird place, not a bad place though). It’s good. It’s a very good movie that kind of just gives you a hug.  Summer love, broken families, divorce, coming of age, first kisses, walks on the beach (yea, it happened), rebellious teens, it has all those seen-before-themes.  It’s not wildly heavy or deep, it won’t change your life, in fact, at times it’s a little cliché and maybe cheesy, but because it never sets out to be ambitious or profound it works.  You will smile, you will laugh (I was definitely that guy on the plane), maybe you’ll cry, and at the end you will have enjoyed. I promise.

All of the actors were pretty darn well cast and we finally have a movie where we don’t like Steve Carell.  Great actors are sprinkled throughout the film to comprise a great ensemble cast – Maya Rudolph, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Amanda Peete, Rob Corddry, Liam James, Allison Janney and the list goes on.  There is a range of other people that will have you playing the Oh-I-know-him/her-What’s-his/her-name-again? game.

Sam Rockwell, one of the most underrated actors, in my opinion, is more than very good. Sam Rockwell is awesome and adds yet another great character/performance to his eclectic range.  He will undoubtedly have you loving him and ultimately wishing that he were your friend, in real life.

I won’t bore you with a character breakdown of each person or run through the plot but it is set in a beach town, during summer vacation, and Duncan (Liam James) and his mom (Collette) are preparing to spend their first real vacation with mom’s new boyfriend (Carell).  I leave it at that because before seeing the movie,  I actually heard it was not so good and I only have on thing to say to those people, “I don’t think you like to have fun.”

RECOMMENDATION: Yea, why not, throw some extra butter on there, kick back, and feel good that you have not wasted two hours. It’s not amazing but it’s not bad and as a hopeless romantic at heart, I like it a lot.  Perfect for a date night.

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Quick Summary: Not a minute wasted or a scene overstated. This movie really is just THAT great.

Definitely go see this one with your mom or dad.  I hope you keep reading because you definitely should not go see this with your mom or dad. I actually recommend seeing this alone and I can’t give an exact answer why but aside from the graphic scenes, it just feels better to people watch alone sometimes.  The director, Abdellatif Kechiche has been getting a lot of mixed press about his choices, treatment of the cast, and directing style (it took 9 months to shoot this!!!) and I don’t disagree with the criticism…at all but I think he needs you to understand the toil of Adele (our main character). I am not sure I am able to write about this to share with you why I was so awe-struck by this film. Inevitably, you must go see it.

Just like you, I heard about the excessive sex and the director’s infatuation with the protagonist’s bum and yes, I heard the sex scenes were wild. There are, he is, and they were.  May we move past that? It’s easy to describe this as the lesbian-sex-crazy-sex movie and focus on the sex and miss everything else that was happening. And quite frankly the sex works.  In this intimate and almost disturbing portrayal of ­­­­­­Adele’s life, the sex is one aspect used to capture the passion and intensity of the relationship between these two women. I think it is mostly uncomfortable for viewers because it feels very real and very voyeuristic to be present for a slice of people’s lives we know exist but never see.  Yet, at the core of it, in a way, the discomfort may lie in the fact that we completely understand what is happening during these scenes.  Let that marinate. Just my opinion.

Pay close attention to the camera shots that are dominated by shoulder-up close-ups on people from either the front or back.  Then take note of the contradictory shots where he pulls back and makes you feel as if you are being creepily voyeuristic.  Watch how he concentrates on food – the taste of it, the way we eat it, the sensuality of it, the role it plays – at parties, dinners, or even just outside at cafes.  Focus on Adele’s child-like nuances and actions, while at the same time appearing to also be a middle aged woman who has the routines of life down pat..  Listen to the philosophers who are mentioned, the books being read, the dialogue between characters in books that are referenced and the art being shown. Inspect. Detect. Over analyze. Watch it twice, or maybe even three times.  The details make this.  While it may only be shot in a few different angles (which at times made me feel like I was as vulnerable as Adele) there seems to exist innumerable ways to understand this film and the characters. 

I leave it in the words of REM, “I have said too much but I haven’t said enough.”  Ha! But seriously, it’s true.

RECOMMENDATION: You know what, I will have the butter in a bucket.  No popcorn. Just the butter, extra butter. If you can move past the notion that it’s just a sexual movie with a creepy director (well, he is) it really is absolutely awesome. With so many details, it is tough to keep up but this is worth more than one viewing.  Go by yourself if you can.

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Quick Summary: “Courage is not the absence of fear” – Jesse Lee Soffer or maybe it was someone else too.

This is probably one of the most powerful openings I have ever seen. Period. If you have no idea about what it takes to be a SEAL, this is a nice introduction.  If you have no idea about the mindset of the soldiers we train, this will take you knee deep.  And if you have no idea about this story, buckle up.

This is a terribly difficult movie to digest on many levels. I spent an hour walking it off.  The reality of war, the reality of one of the highest death tolls in one day since the war began, the palpable death of the men who serve our country and the men who defend theirs, the nature of war, the unfathomable acts of valor from both sides, and the power of brotherhood, courage and traditions are all captured here by the director. Peter Berg, best known to me as Dexter Rutecki from Aspen Extreme (a classically awesome ski movie from 1993) has quietly been placing his footprint as a notable director in Hollywood over the past 15 years.  Since his true feature directorial debut in 1998 with Very Bad Things (I HIGHLY recommend this cult classic), he has gone on to do Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Hancock, (we will forget about Battleship),and now Lone Survivor.  He seems to love deeply trying stories set to the insanely emotional sounds of a GREAT Austin band, Explosions in the Sky.

This movie sits lodged in your chest when it closes and along with the variety of emotions running through your body you may leave confused and perhaps unsatisfied. This is the closest I have seen a director depict the chaos of war and the mentality/will/bravery needed to grapple with that chaos.  I do not undermine movies like Apocolypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, or Platoon but maybe I personally find this more frightening because this my generation’s war and it is one we want to not only forget but also block out.  The reality is, whether we do either or both of those things it continues to go on.  The gunshots are loud and frightening and the injuries are painful.  I will not go on to argue any political points about the war because this movie seems to focus on so much more yet surprisingly something so simple as the will to defend.  Both America and Afghanistan, the Taliban and the innocent villagers all seem to speak this language of the will to defend (whether you agree or disagree with what they choose to defend is up to you).

At the end of the movie, the people in the theatre clapped.  But for what?  I don’t want to get all mushy but I want you to think about that when your movie is over.  Should we clap?  And what is deserving of that applause, if any?

Ben Foster should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Taylor Kitsch is fine, Wahlberg is awesome, and Emile Hirsch is surprisingly tolerable.  But it’s not the performances you get lost in as much as the story, as retold by the lone survivor.  You almost wonder how real the twists in this account actually are…but they are real, very real.

RECOMMENDATION: Extra butter for surely.  Bring a pair of walking shoes because it took me an hour of wandering around the streets of New York City to feel okay again. It’s heavy, it’s well done, and it will make you think. Yes, think. You know, that thing movies used to do to you all the time.

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THE QUICK SUMMARY: Ben Stiller Executive Produced it, Ken Marino wrote it, everyone funny is in it.  It’s not a guilty a pleasure, it’s just awesome.

The trailer: http://screen.yahoo.com/burning-love-season-2-trailer-120000466.html

I used think of web series the same way I thought of creepy family members with a comb-over in that you always want to avoid seeing them. But these creepy comb-over sporting people are, well, people too and just like them some of them, looks may not tell the whole story (but it’s probably safe to say that you still should avoid those family members at all costs).  This safely brings me to Burning Love Season 2 (regrettably, I had no idea there was a season 1).

So we’ve all watched ABC’s premiere reality television show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. (Again admitting things that I immediately regret).  Whatever, I have watched it.  Moving on. 

Last Tuesday, however, I was able to check out the Burning Love Season 2 screening. Burning Love may sound more like an A&E reality show about people living with STD’s who are in search of a life partner but in fact it’s an amazingly hilarious parody of The Bachelor.  The idea is so simple that it almost makes you angry to watch because you realize that Ken Marino (MTV’s The State, Party Down, Wanderlust) has taken all of the jokes you’ve made with your friends and family and made them funnier.  I was literally sitting through the screening laughing out loud while crying inside wishing that I had this idea.

Without changing much of the show or the characters, Burning Love takes you through a (hyperbolic) season of The Bachelorette as we wait for one single (and lonely, horribly lonely and crazy) woman to find true love. Of course, none of it is real but it’s insanely funny if you know how to laugh.  The beauty is that you don’t actually need to have watched The Bachelor because the show still stands as a great twenty-minute comedy (it’s not even a waste of time if for some reason you don’t like it).

The star studded cast of every top notch comedian running around Hollywood (Nick Kroll, Adam Scott, Roy Huebel, Michael Cera, etc) gives the show a Children’s Hospital element that is impossible to hate.  You’re most likely going to be playing the “oh-what’s-his-name-he’s-from-the-show,-you-know?” game.  Good luck. Just watch it with IMDB open.

RECOMMENDATION: I watched the first six episodes with a small popcorn that only had a little bit of butter on it and I wish there was more.  Check it out online on Yahoo TV, there is not a doubt in my mind will you laugh.

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LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE DIFFICULT PLACES

THE QUICK SUMMARY:  "It was torturous but it was beautiful," one of the women in the audience said to break the silence.  Another woman chimed in, “It was sort of like a nightmare you can’t wake up from." And then, in the most simplistic of summaries a man whispered, “It was taxing. “ 

There’s something to be said about seeing a movie by yourself: “Yea, you’re a loser.” Kidding. I see a lot of movies by myself (and I’m not a loser. Right?) and certain films tend to lend themselves to a solo expedition. Amour certainly does and if you have the opportunity, I would (without offending anyone) follow through with the option.

Of course, I never recap a movie because you wouldn’t be able to read this and then see it but the intensity of each scene, albeit sometimes a quiet intensity is impossible to capture through writing and almost rude to the reader to try to attempt. The director, Michael Haneke, (who I only know because he wrote the remake of Funny Games with Naomi Watts) challenges the viewer to sit with silence.  He doesn’t require much from the viewer except to watch and listen closely, as a third party.  We are voyeurs. While we are given the opportunity to meticulously observe each scene, I felt I was never truly invited into the lives of the characters (which perhaps explains my mood at the end of the film) and that starts from the very beginning when he opens with us staring into the faces of people filling a theatre.  He holds this shot, invites us to be voyeuristic and begs us to deal with the discomfort of watching a film this way.   I guess he is preparing the audience for the next two hours and fifteen minutes.  

“Tumultuous” may be too violent of a word.  “Difficult” maybe works.  “Startling” gets the wheels turning.  “Heavy” starts to hit the nail on the head.  This movie is one I am not at all afraid to recommend but it is troubling to articulate exactly why. 

I found myself slowly taking on some of the behaviors of the characters in the film at various times throughout the movie.  Specifically, when it ended, I sat in my seat unable to move, almost mimicking the exact same position of Eva, the daughter, in the last shot of the movie.  Everyone else around me remained seated and absolutely silent.  We were all left thinking, wondering, while some were crying, which was essentially embodying the sentiments shared by the characters in the film. 

The film itself is not horribly complex (which is why I am so frustrated by my inability to write a cohesive review).  There are some difficult decisions that characters make and there are some trying moments that are uncomfortable to watch but the essence of the film is not convoluted.  Yet, in its straightforwardness there is an incredible depth that seeps its way into impacting every viewer, of every age, of either gender.  It is as if it is impossible to avoid any type of connection with this film whether it be life, death, love, loss, commitment, or family.

RECOMMENDATION: “Would you like a medium popcorn?” “No, a small. I’m by myself” “Not a problem. Butter?” “Yes. Extra butter please.” Interestingly this movie appeals to anyone who is willing to see it. It deals specifically with the relationship of an elderly couple but I never harped on the age of the characters and sometimes not even at the situation at hand. The film just seems to have a purpose in everyone’s life, each scene touching on some trial, lesson, hardship, relationship, or feeling that comprise our lives. 

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THE QUICK SUMMARY: “I’m not THAT crazy so there must be someone out there for me too.” – a close friend

I am not exactly sure where to begin with praising this film but I almost want to just stop writing this review after the following sentence. I got to watch Rober De Niro (genuinely) cry on film. There’s not much more of a case to build as to why you should see this movie after I am able to say (and prove) that Robert De Niro cries in this film. Honestly, it may have happened in the Meet the Parents (questionable) and Analyze That (doubtful) but these are both comedies and while I am not undermining comedic actors (I think they SHOULD be allowed to win some Oscars), De Niro hasn’t had a genuine performance like this since, I had to check IMDB, 2000. I am being a little critical (obviously, that’s the point) but aside from maybe The Score in 2001, Bobby has adulterated his career mainly with sub-par comedies, weird cartoons and forgettable performances. It seemed he was headed down Eddie Murphy road. Fear not, he shines in Silver Linings Playbook and that is not at all taking away from the awesome performances of everyone else around him…but he really kicked ass.

I was on fence with Bradley Cooper, missed the hype about Winter’s Bone (even my mom can’t forgive me for that), lost faith and remembrance for Chris Tucker and thought the romantic comedy was dead. Yea, I like romantic comedies, good romantic comedies.Silver Linings Playbook offered me one of most heartfelt, authentic, emotional films I saw in 2012 and that is simply the best way to sum it up.

If you think this movie is cheesy, I would have to say (you’re wrong) it’s the kind of cheese that is deep fried and wrapped in bacon. It is hard not to find something in this film that speaks to you – Romance, comedy, drama, love, mental illness, loss, self-exploration, sexiness, forgiveness, football, rejection and, winning and losing. I have nothing at all negative to say about this film. Seriously, I won’t even try to be witty, I literally don’t have anything bad to say (I may make my own history here).

I can’t go too much further without high-fiving the work and career of David O Russel. His resume of films that he has written is near flawless (just a few include Flirting With Disaster, Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees and Silver Linings Playbook) and he also directed The Fighter. Since starting off with comedies, O Russel is really moving into a nice niche of the “dramedy” genre and managing to navigate and own that space quite impressively. He makes you laugh and cry while dealing with dark themes like bi-polar disorder, drug addiction, death, and family dysfunction. The man is on a roll.

Bradley Cooper has finally stepped outside of the “Look at me, I’m a GQ model” and actually showed off his amazing ability to be a quality actor. Jennifer Lawrence, who I fell in love with, redefines sexy and may have created some of the most memorable scenes of the year (the first time she meets De Niro, the first time she meets Bradley Cooper, the first time she meets Chris Tucker, etc.). And Chris Tucker has made a small but legitimate case for Hollywood to invite him back into the game (who doesn’t love Smokey).

I am going to avoid retelling any scenes from this movie because I would not do them their justice so just go see it.

Recommendation: I’ll take some extra butter please. Oh, and I will take some extra butter please. Aside from the performances, the big take away is the revitalization and twist on romantic comedies (Nichols Sparks, please go far far away to a land where movies can’t be made). Men finally have a film that they can watch with a girl without having to sacrifice any of their prerequisites. If this doesn’t win an award it simply solidifies the notion that the Academy is made up of a bunch of stupid dumb idiots (wait, we knew that).


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(shout to Bell Hooks, I know I am not doing her all of her justice)

On a serious note, in light of both Django and Lincoln, as special (one being “special” and the other actually being special) as these movies are, I want to point out that White directors directed them both.  I want to point out that White directors usually direct almost all African-American Slavery films, South African Apartheid films and/or Black V. White films that deal with oppression. 

I am not looking to turn this part of my blog into an all out sociological or philosophical discussion on race, but it is very important to think about this. These films focus on and directly deal with racism, black/white opposition and, at times, the use of the N-word.  Interestingly, all of this is shot through the eyes/lens of a White male.  This is Spielberg’s third film on African-American Slavery and Tarantino’s umpteenth film where he overuses the N-word, I think it’s okay to let someone else take a stab at making one now.

Google “films on slavery,” “last slavery movie made by a Black director” or look up IMDB’s list of the “greatest black movies” and you will find that most of them have been directed by White males.  On the IMDB list, five of the top ten films are directed by White males (FYI, Cooley High’sMichael Schultz is African-American) and one of the films is City of God!  When you Google “last slavery movie made by a Black director,” the top searches on Google are all about Django!

While the insanity of this makes me laugh, it is also deeply perturbing.  I think it is something that should not go overlooked and instead should be highlighted.  I am not asking for anyone to go Occupy Hollywood but just take a second to think.  Think about Hollywood’s unwillingness to put the camera in front of a Black male or Black female and have them retell the story of African-American history through his/her eyes.  We let Spielberg do Munich and Schindler’s List and I am pretty sure there would’ve been a hell of an outcry in Hollywood if Mel Gibson wanted to do it, let alone some guy who had family members in the Third Reich.  Why then do we continue to make it difficult for Black directors?

It is clearly an issue for numerous reasons – as a society we are afraid of handing over that power, as a business Hollywood is afraid to take that risk (the fact it is a risk is depressing), as a commercial art it is fearful of driving away its viewers – and it is unfortunate that we suffer this loss. 

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THE QUICK SUMMARY: This movie does not take the place of all of the literature YOU NEED to read about our country’s history but damn Hollywood, you still have some juice left in the tank.

Rest assured because Spielberg is back from the dead.  Some of you may be asking when he dug his own grave and because I love my readers, I have done my research so you don’t have to (it wasn’t terribly difficult).  I mean Warhorse, The Adventures of Tintin, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull weren’t exactly riveting and since Munich in 2005 I was starting to lose faith in the man.  Okay, perhaps he wasn’t six feet under but without a doubt, Stevie was digging himself a nice, deep and dark director grave.  Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL if you haven’t caught up on the cool movie-nerd-lingo) wasn’t riding high on my list either after doing There Will Be Blood (yes, yes, go ahead and say what you will) but then again, he does a movie every ten years so aside from Gangs of New York, there was not much I could find to critique.

Before I stepped into Lincoln I was praying I wasn’t about to sit through a six hour plot-less character study and at the very least I was looking to a higher energy to help Spielberg avoid any excuse to interject some type of subplot involving aliens. Fingers. Were. Crossed.

Let me eat my words, whole, without chewing.  Let me choke on my words and my extremely low expectations.  Those of you that wish to continue following me may find this to be a common theme (I thank you now for your pity support).

I had goose bumps within the first three minutes of the film’s opening.   We begin with an amuse bouche consisting of close-up shots of a gruesome Civil War battle (forgive my lack of knowledge of our own country’s history) and the tone is set.  But then they grab you (Spielberg and DDL).  With his back to us, listening to four soldiers, Lincoln is hunched over, the silhouette of his top hat carved out by the glow of the moon with his large body commanding a presence without saying word.  Lincoln’s character is captured and he has yet to speak a word (and DDL’s performance never relents throughout the rest of the film).  His head is dipped between his shoulders and he calmly listens, as if he were a commoner instead of the President of the United States.  It is this precise demeanor that he carries throughout the film that makes the audience (and his country) love him.

As the movie progresses it delves further into his family dynamic, his inner struggles to please his wife, his country and his morals, and his ability to marry the two strongest opposing views this country has ever seen between the Democrat and Republican parties (ehem, we think the Fiscal Cliff and Obamacare was hard to overcome?). I don’t think we need to look too hard to find the relevance of many themes in this movie.

Lincoln’s fight for freedom did not come easy and in the beginning, neither did staying awake during this movie.  It takes some work to adapt to the fast-paced, political rhetoric and inundation of historical facts (that made me feel like a terribly stupid American – that may be redundant) but you will be rewarded with an emotional path down one of the most (even if you don’t believe the best) intriguing presidencies in our nation’s history. Oh, right, and there’s also that thing called African-American Slavery, which is this kind of big deal that continues to shape (complicate and question) the identity of this country. 

Back to Lincoln.  As for the actors, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field (almost) stole the show while JGL (Joseph Gordon Levitt) was blah and probably could have been played by anyone. GIRLS fans will be delighted to see Adam Driver make an appearance and Lincoln’s youngest son actually is pretty good.  DDL, however, is the true reason why everyone should go to see this and his dominance on screen is conveyed in a way that almost feels like he is the conductor of an orchestra instead of the being the guy who plays the loudest instrument.  This is why “in my book” (that few people read) he has earned back his awesomeness. 

At a time when studios are pumping out “quintequels” (yea, I said it) of amazingly terrible comic book movies, reviving (really ruining) washed up actors careers by making them into action heroes, and remaking movies that just came out, Lincoln is that much needed breath of fresh Perri-air (obscure movie reference). Lincoln is a remembrance that great films can still be made, great directors still exist and great actors still work to perfect the craft/art of acting. 

The film is compelling and upsetting, motivational and disheartening. Good for Spielberg, good for DDL and good for an audience that can finally walk away and feel some sense of optimism for Hollywood.

Recommendation: You can screw your caloric intake and cholesterol levels.  Break out the defibrillator and load on the extra butter, ask for packets of salt and forget your napkins.  A must-see on any screen at any time. PT Anderson take some notes. 

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The Weinstein Company, 2012

The Quick Summary: Listen to a Rick Ross album (sober), then play Modern Warfare, and smoke some Marlboro Reds. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Django Unchained ladies and gentleman. Wait this makes it sound awesome.

Somewhere, inside of a strip club in Tampa, Florida, Quentin Tarantino is finishing a bottle of Jack, getting a lap dance (from a Black stripper?) and laughing out loud as he yells to the deejay, “Yea, play that NPR interview again and again and again.” 

A Spaghetti Western.  An entertaining one at that but that is where my praise ends and honestly, it is where most peoples’ lauding should as well.  Somehow, only God or those aliens in outer space could speculate as to why this simplistic, unintelligent, drawn out, unsophisticated movie (oh right, a Spaghetti Western) has been garnering academic and philosophical discussions.  In fact, that may be the funniest thing about this movie (the KKK scene is stupid and feels like a joke your drunk uncle wont stop telling).

This is NOT a premeditated thoughtful screenplay on the social construct of race, the history of slavery, the dynamic of the use of the n-word OR a commentary on Black/White relations in today’s world. Yet the publicity is trying to drive this point home and is succeeding. Perhaps I am missing the genius behind this film or maybe it came and went as fast as Django shoots his Peacemaker.  Nonetheless, I struggle to give QT any credit beyond his homage to a Spaghetti Western. 

I typically look for those classic monologues to make me think or his themes that provoke discussion or his characters that ask to be looked at beyond one dimension.  I found nothing of the sort. 

I am not sure if this film was never cut but at one point, when a man was torn apart by dogs I almost envied him. The plot had no twists (like in Pulp Fiction), had no amazing choreographed fight scenes (like Kill Bill), lacked any witty dialogue (like Reservoir Dogs) and failed to be multidimensional (like True Romance). I watched this movie fall apart just as quickly as Django was…(yup) unchained. 

Django is chasing his wife and killing anyone in his way (that’s it), Dr. Schultz is killing people for money (that’s it) and Mr. Candie is nothing more than a cliché plantation owner (that’s. it.). 

We open with a classic homage to a Spaghetti Western, with a Quentin twist, of slaves wandering through the terrain to the tune of a pretty cool Spanish song (don’t worry you get to hear modern, and some of the most ignorant, rap along the way).  I was into it.  Jamie Foxx (he’s Django by the way) is quiet, mysterious and almost intriguing when we first set eyes on him.  We wonder who he is and why we he will be our protagonist. Okay, I can dig this.  Cristoph Waltz’s character (Dr. Schultz) enters the screen and is witty but basically Col. Hans as a good guy.  He delivers his lines as awesomely as he does in Inglorious. No problems here. The plot begins to build as Dr. Schultz and Django set off to murder the slave masters who enslaved Django and separated him from his wife.  This is where the movie builds. I am still awake.  Django gets some slick threads, Dr. Schultz agrees to share his bounty with him if they can find the targets and off they go.  I thought this was the end goal, the driving force, the revenge I hope Django gets in the end.  30 minutes into the movie and they reach their targets, murder them and ride off.  Repeat, repeat, repeat but just with other senseless characters. Oh, and they also have to search for Keri Washington (Django’s wife) who has as many lines as the young Black child in Scrooged.

Maybe it’s me but I was hoping that subplots would build as we find out more about Dr. Schultz and maybe he even  has ulterior motives or a past of being involved with slave masters.  Perhaps there is slave uprising somewhere else and a parallel plot arises. Something, somewhere, anywhere? No, the movie drags on for another 2 hours and nothing of any significance happens (I mean aside from everyone dying because, they’re supposed to all die?).

I am pained as I write this because Quentin is one of my favorite writers/directors and it hurts, in my heart, because I want to like it or at least give it credit for all of the positive and negative press.  Unfortunately, I (along with many other people I spoke to) wanted to walk out after half an hour.

Yes, some of you have already watched and are saying, “Aaron, it’s entertaining so just enjoy a movie” and I say back, “I agree, however, it is nothing more than a jacked up action film that enjoys gratuitous violence and an overindulgence of the “n-word.”  Done. Period.  Goodnight.  Next. Rent any Charles Bronson film and have NWA in the background.

RECOMMENDATION: Serve the popcorn but save the butter. I find little reason to see it, I find even less reasons to philosophically dissect this film and as for a film, it’s a great dinner party conversation and will probably help you feel accepted in groups of people at random social events.