The Break: Django Unchained Part II (PODCAST)

The Most Hated Negro in Cinematic History

Listen in as KC and the family continue to pick apart Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained. In this episode the podcast team focuses on the choice of actors themselves, namely Samuel Jackson’s controversial role as the house slave, Stephen. Podcast guests include Chris Lehman, Toria Williams, Malcolm Darrell, Darius Gray, Leisha Mack and special guest, Merc80! For comments or questions about this episode, call the hotline at (323) 455-4219!


7 Comments on "The Break: Django Unchained Part II (PODCAST)"

  1. csd8204 Jan 4, 2013 · 3:40 pm

    Interesting inputs and opinions. Some of which I had to discount as simply a matter of personal taste. When it comes to acting and opinion (particularly when it comes from people who are in the life) it can get extremely critical, bordering on nitpicking. Were there other actors who could have played the role of Django? Of course. Could they have done a better job? Maybe. But to just discount Jamii Foxx’s performance out of hand the way some of the cast did sounded a bit unfair. Maybe it’s just me but, Jamii Foxx is an academy award winner/nominee for multiple performances and to say his award was simply because he’s a great mimic is rather trite. So, using that rationale, foreign actors who can mimic American accents shouldn’t get props for their proficiency when they do so? So, Daniel Day Lewis needs to give back his Oscar for And There Shall Be Blood? I just want to be clear if these high standards apply to all actors or simply the ones who don’t have a pedigree we feel is up to par. Just saying.

    • kclehman Jan 5, 2013 · 9:11 pm

      I think the point Malcolm was hoping to make was that when it comes to Eurocentric period pieces, Hollywood pulls out all stops: best directors, best costuming, and of course best actors. Black films sometimes get the shaft. I personally think Jamie Foxx is one of our best comedic actors and his Oscar win in Ray was due in part to his showcasing how well he could also handle a serious storyline – mimicry notwithstanding. Obviously any review of this film is coming from someone’s personal taste which can be discounted if you please, but it doesn’t mean those opinions don’t hold water.

      Knowing Malcolm as I do he would hold any actor to the highest standard; unlike him, I did not mind Jamie at all in this film and thought he did a decent job. There are only a few roles inhabited so well by others that I can’t imagine anyone else improving on it – Django is no such character, but was played well enough by Foxx.

  2. Arian Jan 6, 2013 · 12:22 pm

    Jamie was an excellent choice. You needed a black actor with a comedic background to handle the humor, which was abundant. I dont think Idris brings alot more depth than Jamie. Will makes sense. i dont think that the comedy would’ve come across with Idris.

  3. Arian Jan 6, 2013 · 12:28 pm

    Did I miss it or did someone mention the Alexander Dumas reference?

    • kclehman Jan 6, 2013 · 6:29 pm

      I don’t think anyone mentioned Dumas in our podcast, though that reference cannot be overlooked.

  4. Brother Malcolm Jan 6, 2013 · 12:41 pm

    First ,thank you for supporting BlackIs Online it means a great deal to us. Secondly, Mr. Foxx is a Oscar nominated actor for two roles, Supporting Actor (Collateral) and he obviously won Best Actor for Ray in which he portrayed a musician(which he is) with aplomb. My frustration with his portrayal of Django is the complexity and depth of character development required for a role that is not a mimic but he has to bring to life from his own creative acumen, leaves something to be desired. I mean, there are even reports that Tarantino had to check Mr. Foxx at the beginning of shooting, reminding him that he was not a star on set that he was a slave. I mention this because an actor’s job is to come to the set prepared to do the work especially if you’re working on a film that depicts your own history or any historical period. Granted this is certainly somewhat revisionists history but nonetheless a period of great american moral deficiency. To your comment about Daniel Day Lewis, I’d beg you to use another example, for DDL is a far superior actor (non american or not) and has proven he can craft roles beyond the recreation of a historical figure. I just strongly believe Mr. Foxx is inept in this role.

    The ultimate point I want to make is Hollywood has no problem searching their white actor depth charts for their historical figures or budding ingenues. WHY WAS JEFFREY WRIGHT (one of the finest actors of this generation) NOT IN THE ROLE? Or as I mentioned Idris Elba or any number of “waiting in the wings” actors who have proven their abilities. Maybe both of these men and other were considered or tuned down the role. While I’ve heard reports that Will Smith turned downed the role, again, these are big name stars not necessarily great actors( I don’t care that Mr. Smith did Ali, his portrayal was TERRIBLE!)

    As a 15 year plus professional in theatre I’ve seen some of the best and worst acting in the world. I don’t just spout off random unfounded opinions, I know what I’m talking about, opinion or not.
    Be well.

  5. Dez Jan 8, 2013 · 12:09 am

    Some thoughts i wrote down after viewing…

    Jamie Foxx once said that Quentin Tarantino had the swagger of a man who’s just dropped an album. And while Tarantino’s past films have embraced a variety of musical genres, Django Unchained feels like the filmmakers’ Hip Hop masterpiece.

    Sampling the original 1966 Django spaghetti western the same way Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad sampled in jazz in 1986, Tarantino took a familiar western genre, remixed it, and told it from an unfamiliar perspective. While most “westerns” bend over backwards NOT to mention slavery, Django Unchained is a refreshing breath of authenticity and originality. But just like a classic hip hop album, this movie is bound to ruffle the feathers of those who entirely MISS the point.

    Django Unchained is not a movie about slavery. Django Unchained is a heroic, damsel-in-distress love story, that happens to be set in a time and place that employed slavery. The context of the film’s setting allow for a controversial backdrop, but all-in-all, the story is simple: Slave becomes a bounty hunter, trains to become the fastest gun in the South, then goes to rescue his wife.

    The media reaction to violence in this movie is laughable (almost as laughable as criticism of the film’s use of the N-word). Let’s just keep it real, it’s not the violence itself that is upsetting the critics. Remember RoboCop in the 80s? There was a scene where a police officer gets shot like a million times, and that movie is being remade as we speak. No outrage. No protest. The issue with Django’s violence is that it is happening to slaves. And you should feel bad as you watch that. The truth hurts, America. Just don’t blame your guilt issues on the same guy you praised after he made Kill Bill and Inglorious Bastards.

    But at least Tarantino can make us laugh to break up the tension, and that’s where Samuel L Jackson’s “Stephen” character is introduced. Ultimately revealed to be the darkest villain of the film (pun intended?), kudos goes to Jackson for his ability to play what I counted as 3 different versions of Stephen in a brilliant performance. Although out-acted by Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie and Christopher Waltz as Dr. King Schultz, Jackson’s Stephen is firmly the film’s most complex character. Loved him.

    Ok, now let me geek out on some things I noticed, and have to give Tarantino props on:

    + don’t let that “I’m the 1 in 10,000″ talk fool you, Django was simply the 6th slave in the chain gang. He was not special, he simply had help. That is important to this story.

    + Loved the shot of the bloody cotton field, after one of the Brittle Brothers is gunned off his horse. There IS blood on that cotton, and I love the message. lyrical and beautiful.

    + Broomhilda Von Shaft? YES! Django and Broomhilda are the great great grandparents of the 70′s hero Shaft. Dope.

    + “Dr. King” liberated Django from his chains. I see what you did there Quentin. Nice.

    + Enough with the talk of Broomhilda being too helpless in the film. When we met her she was being punished for running away (again!), and the last time we see her, she’s picking up a shotgun on her horse. She’s no punk.

    + Love that Calvin Candie was such a clueless idiot. His character was the perfect symbol of ignorance and rage, and Dicaprio made him impossible to take eyes off of. The hint of a relationship with his sister was a lovely subtext, too.

    + Love how, if you covered your eyes during the dog fight, Tarantino catches you off guard and makes SURE you see that horror in an unexpected jump cut later in the film. clever, clever.

    + 2Pac and James Brown as the soundtrack to a slaughter of slaveowners on a plantation. I bet they BOTH would be proud.

    All in all, I recommend the film to movie lovers, country western buffs, and all us liberal folks who love a good “The Man’s gonna get it” storyline. Oh, and every Black adult in America.

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