Monday Morning Quarterback Part III

By BOP Staff

January 9, 2013

It just got weird up in here.

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Kim Hollis: Django Unchained, the latest three-hour Quentin Tarantino killfest, earned $20 million this weekend and has now earned $106.4 million since Christmas Day. Are you surprised that this film has become a blockbuster?

Bruce Hall: I'm not. Lost in all the usual press about Tarantino's penchant for ultra-violence and ultra-naughty language is that this might be his very best film. Tarantino flouts convention, logic and often, the limits of good taste. But his chaotic stories are usually populated by unlikely heroes and villains whose stories are compelling in unexpected ways. Just when you think you feel yourself losing interest, something pulls you forward in your seat and suddenly you're into it.

And he's getting better at it. His ratio of style to substance comes more into balance with each effort. Even if you don't like his methods, it's hard to argue with the steadily increasing stream of revenue and critical acclaim. Tarantino is legit.

Felix Quinonez Jr.: I'm very surprised by how big it is. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge Tarantino fan, but if you look at his career before Django he only had two movies cross the $100 million mark domestically. To me it seemed that Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds deviated from the way his movies usually perform and I thought after the career high of Inglourious Basterds Django would level out a bit and perform more similarly to the Kill Bill movies. But I am very happy to see that I was wrong and I hope it gets enough Oscar attention that we see the first Tarantino film hit $200 million domestically. I know that's still a long shot but we can dream can't we?


Jay Barney: I saw it over Christmas break and liked it a lot. There are a couple of slow moments, and the end drags on a bit more than I would like, but Tarantino didn't disappoint me with this one. His appreciation for 1970s westerns really comes out. The cast, characters, and performances were all first rate, and I think word-of-mouth has had a lot to do with the success of Django Unchained. Westerns as a genre have been pretty much ignored of late, so it is nice to see a worthy entry.

The one down point I would note, with all of the fun of the blood spatter and characters meeting gruesome deaths, is the prism of looking at the real world. I have to admit that during one of Tarantino's creative depictions of villains getting offed in nasty ways, my thoughts returned to the school shooting at the elementary school several weeks ago. I enjoyed the film, but cringed at the excess gore and violence a few times.

The parent in me hoped there were a few other people cringing as well.

Brett Ballard-Beach: Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. At the bare minimum this will be Tarantino’s and The Weinstein Company’s highest grossing film. Last year there was talk about how a dark film like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would do as an Xmas offering. It wound up surpassing $100 million in the end, a figure DjUn, which is both darker and lighter, has already blown past. I don’t think anybody (not that I read and certainly not myself) thought that this might wind up as the True Grit of 2012 but the masses are happy, and the critical praise, and probably a few Oscar noms on Thursday support it. It’s captured a zeitgeist talking about slavery, and reimagining history, whether it’s worthy of all that is another matter. QT with a $100 million budget, a near three hour running time and little in the way of restraint is not a great thing in my opinion. Having seen it, I’ll take Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Death Proof, over Django, Basterds, and KB Vol. 1.

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