Can’t Wait: ‘Django Unchained’

While my other movie series, I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Film School, looks back, I figured I should place at least one foot in the here and now of giddy anticipation.  Therefore, Can’t Wait focuses on upcoming movies I, well, can’t wait to see, along with a few reasons why.

For all the “importance” that their epic running times imply, the spaghetti Westerns of Sergios Leone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West) and Corbucci (the original Django) are some of the most gleefully fun stories ever put to celluloid.  Throughout his career, Quentin Tarantino has channeled that playfulness and, after years of crime and kung fu pastiches, his 2009 war film, Inglourious Basterds, he finally borrowed a spaghetti structural template.  With his upcoming Django Unchained, Tarantino’s doubled down on the Leone-Corbucci influence by crafting a cowboy hats-and-horses shoot ’em up himself.

Jamie Foxx and Chrostoph Waltz seem to continue doing their thing: Acting well.  Leonardo DiCaprio, though, is the surprise.  He plays against type as the gregarious villain, Calvin Candie.  His joy at being bad is palpable.  He looks comfortable in his skin without having to play a pained, tragic hero that has been his career of late — his work with Martin Scorsese in The Departed and Shutter Island especially.  Hopefully that ease will rub off on the film as a whole, outside of the promising glimpses provided by the trailer.  If that does happen, DiCaprio may finally win the Oscar that has thus far eluded him in his career.


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