White Light, White Heat, White Guilt

UPDATE: Get a print of panel 3 of this comic HERE!!!

CRUISE FUNDRAISER UPDATE: All 100 “Bridge Collapse prints are sold! Woohoo! They arrive at my house this weekend (a week later than I anticipated) and will start shipping Monday the 20th.

I made a new eBook/iBook! It’s called “Sorry I Ruined Your Book Vol. 1” and it has over 180 pages of HE book 1 preorder/artist edition sketches with commentary on every drawing! Donation subscribers get it free and it’s also available to anyone for a one time “pay what you like” donation.

I had a reader tell me via twitter he was unaware that I had a store where I sold T-shirts and books and such. WELL I CERTAINLY DO.

I absolutely loved Django Unchained. Call it a base, animal reaction, but I really do enjoy seeing histories most egregious hatefucks getting served violent and almost comically gory revenge. I’m not super gung ho on cinematic violence, but how can you argue with Jews carving up Nazi’s or freed slaves cutting a swath of recently face-exploded slave masters across the South? (I guess you could argue plenty if that’s just not your bag, but it certainly hits the spot for me).

Django Unchained is a Tarantino film if there ever was one (Spoilers: There was. There was a few, actually… WERE a few. A couple of them were good.). It’s backdrop is a terrifyingly hateful period in American history and deals with some of the most unpleasant subject matter humanity has to offer, yet wraps all of that in pleasingly witty word choices, top notch performances by all and an L.O.L. (laughables outed loudly) level of cartoonish violence. Jaimie Foxx was surprisingly effective as, Django, the slave turned bounty hunter. I say “surprisingly” because, for the first few minutes he’s on screen you wonder if this movie is somehow below the Ray Oscar winner’s station. It isn’t. The movie and the actor simultaneously rise to the occasion once it gets going, and they continue to compliment each other for the duration.

That said, Foxx is not the star of the movie. Christolph Waltz, just as he did in Inglourious Basterds, STEALS the show. I was wondering if I would be able to see him as the hero, Waltz having so permanently cemented himself as the villain in his previous Taratino collaboration. If you loved to hate him as the monster of the Third Reich, you’ll love him even more as the German dentist who assassinates bad guys and sells their corpses to the government for profit. German Fancy Bastards who has seen the film will have to tell me if Waltz was doing a certain regional German dialect that I am unfamiliar with or just annunciating like a funny little German elf might. Either way, it was delightful. I could listen to that man oddly pronounce words all day.

DiCaprio did a fine job, but I felt his was the part that could have been played by nearly anyone and the movie wouldn’t have suffered. There’s just something about him that I never quite buy into, especially when he’s doing a crazy accent (which is nearly ALWAYS). Couple this with the fact that he was CONSTANTLY upstaged by Samuel L. Jackson’s doting Uncle Tom-esque house servant character and you have a performance that neither detracted or particularly added to the overall film.

Overall it was a very satisfying movie. It’s an action film, a revenge drama, a bit of a heist-flick or con job, a love story, a comedy… it covers all these genres, yet never feels unfocused. I will say that if you are squeamish about hearing the n-word oh… I don’t know… A THOUSAND TIMES, then this isn’t the movie for you. I know Tarantino has taken some flack for trying to make a movie about racism and slavery without somehow sidestepping all the racism and slavery. I’m not sure how he was supposed to do that, but I do not feel the end product was exploitive to anything other than the concept of a Spaghetti Western. Each of his films is a love letter to a certain genre of cinema. Some hit home better than others, but Django is the first “Best Picture” caliber movie he’s directed.

On a side note, every time I hear “Django Unchained” I think about Picard and that Tamarian captain in “Darmok.” Oh, and Thomas Edison is just a slimy ratcock of a villain. Fuck that guy. Seriously.

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  1. Liam Neeson, clearly. "If you are looking for money, I can tell you I'm bankrupt. But what I do have are a very particular set of technologies. Technologies I have developed over a very long career. Technologies that point out what a nightmare wide-area power distribution is for someone like you."

  2. I totally agree with this. Django Unchained really was Tarantino's best work so far, and I loved every bit of it. Also loved the subtleties, like his own -very small- role in the movie.. you could have easily missed him if you weren't paying attention.

    I think the slavery-theme is a bold move, but he pulls it off. Also, I think it's a good thing that despite the heavy subject and some of the bloodcurling scenes, this isn't some heavy movie about the horrors of slavery: he simply points them out in a movie that's still mostly entertainment. Yeah, this movie deserves a few Oscars.

  3. I disagree with the "anyone could have played" comment about dicaprio. That scene where he smashes the wine glass on the table and cut his hand? Actually happened. He kept going with the scene like a boss and pulled a fucking piece of glass out of his hand on camera.

    • I should rephrase my comment (because you are correct), to "any actor of DiCaprio's calibre could have played the character." Yes, he did a VERY good job, but I feel like a lot of talented actors could have played the part. It didn't seem to rely too heavily on his specific looks, or charisma.

  4. Oh Joel, thank you for that. You are hilarious, and Django was amazing, and all the people getting their panties in a bunch about it need to calm the hell down. I think that a movie like Gone With the Wind, widely concidered to be one of the greatest American movies of all time, is MUCH more racist than Django simply because it does try to side-step the deplorable conditions under which black Americans lived. I have a great deal of respect for Tarantino for being brave enough to broach the subject and not shy away from the disgusting truth.

    Now, that said, this movie is not "historical" and should not be taken that way, and anyone who does is just dumb. Movie makers are not in any way obliged to teach Americans their history, and I'm sick of hearing people rant and rave that the movie isn't "historically accurate". Of course it isn't; it's a Tarantino blood-bath, not a documentary!

  5. I went to go see 'Django Unchained' with my partner & his brother, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was hesitant about the movie for two reasons – 1) I'm leery of revenge-flicks focusing on a member of a minority group that aren't coming from someone who is from said group, and 2) Tarantino's love of sexualizing violence when women are the victim doesn't sit well with me.

    That being said, I really liked the movie. Maybe it was just me, but I thought Tarantino managed to create very different moods and encourage very different reactions from the viewers depending on WHO the victim of the extreme violence was. You weren't supposed to enjoy scenes of slaves being horrifically killed or brutalized, but you WERE supposed to enjoy watching slave owners, slave overseers, and various bad guys with bounties on their heads being the victims of gratuitous, extreme violence. And although Brunhilda was a key character and spent time on screen, I didn't feel like Tarantino took advantage of having a female character who was a slave. In fact, the way she was treated was actually pretty historically accurate, and Tarantino passed on at least one very obvious chance to use the sadly all-too-common 'use an imminent rape to heighten the tension' trope.

    And I want a Tesla Uncoiled t-shirt. I would wear the shit out of that.

  6. Great strip! What did you think of the soundtrack? I liked all the music, especially the songs by Brother Dege and the new one from John Legend. Tarantino usually does a great job assembling film music, and the streaming tracks/commentary he did before the film opened was fascinating.

  7. Django Unchained was near the top of the "Movies I desperately need to see" list, but Panel 3 just knocked it down a spot…

  8. why not do a steampunk movie about Tesla as the first super hero fighting against the evil Edison

    and for the record the n word is dropped 109 times in the filem (some one counted and i read what he wrote)

  9. I don't know if it's taboo to bring up a webcomic on the site of another webcomic, but if you're into Edison hating, Joel, you should check out The Oatmeal. He has the biggest crush on Tesla, and even raised a $1 million for a Tesla museum. Also, there have been a few comics about the battle between Tesla and Edison, including this one: http://shop.theoatmeal.com/collections/frontpage/

  10. hee hee hee. According to Assassin's Creed, Tesla was a friend of the Assassins and Edison was a Templar, along with Henry Ford and the guy who founded Firestone.

  11. Tesla was unspeakably rascist even for his times and was a strongly staunch eugenicist, to the point of selective genocide and euthanasia. Overlooked for his technological acumen and genius perhaps, but he is no hero of mine. He ranks with Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and even Thomas Edison, each incredibly antisemitic and racist, whose personal views should completetly overshadow their accomplishments.

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