When I first heard about Django Unchained, I was overjoyed at Tarantino’s taboo choice of a slavery/revenge storyline ‘cause I remember what adults used to say about the movies that inspired it back when they were “new”. Those days – without the Internet – things didn’t move as quickly and movies stayed fresher longer, so “new” would be roughly the equivalent of 2008’s Iron Man or Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Catching a Shaft marathon five years after the release of Shaft in Africa was seeing Shaft when Shaft was “new.”
In addition to the usual back ‘n forth about Tarantino movies’ racism, violence, denigration of women, and dialog-heavy scenes, Django has inspired talk of whether or not it’s okay for whites to laugh at certain jokes (Djokes?) or revel in a fictional, slavery-themed film. And people should hear themselves talk! The fact that they could be taking a Tarantino movie seriously enough to assign blame, find fault, claim victimhood, and make false conclusions is asinine. Some of these cabbage heads are actually saying they enjoyed Django while walking out of the theater in protest against it. So while that’s all very pious, Django Unchained made me want to give my mom a big hug.
On Saturdays, my mom would announce to my brother, me, and any other neighbor kid within earshot that we were all going to the movies. Every child that could fit in her car was headed for the Holiday Cinema, which we knew as the “The 49¢ Theater” because the top of the marquee read, “ANY SEAT 49¢.” If you got into the car, you knew you weren’t coming home until that evening.
“It isn’t so terrible,” our parents must’ve been thinking. The place was only blocks away; it was cheap as hell and supervised; and it was located in what then passed for a respectable shopping center — if you looked at it through a bad hangover. Some of our parents qualified, so the Holiday was aptly nicknamed. (more…)