This is Overrated, the final destination for venting about film on the internet. I’d like to emphasize that this column is intended to be a bit of fun and my aim isn’t to upset anybody. I love film, and don’t enjoy people who hate on people with different opinions, so please take everything here as lightly as possible!
Right off the bat I’ll remind everybody that the title of this column is ‘Overrated’, not ‘Piece of Shit’. So I’m not here to tell you that Django Unchained is a bad movie, but it definitely doesn’t deserve the admiration it has cultivated over the last half a year or so. It’s also most certainly on par with Death Proof as Quentin Tarantino’s worst film. His wonderful ability with dialogue and characters, so prevalent in Inglourious Basterds, is nowhere to be seen. Also, Christoph Waltz won his second Oscar for playing a nice version of the character for which he won his first Oscar. But the main issue with Django Unchained is that it’s just plain patchy, highlighting Tarantino’s obvious discomfort with straightforward narrative.
Tonally it’s chaotic, not necessarily a hallmark of a bad film but unfavourable in the case of Django Unchained. Tarantino’s interest in slavery and his brutal depiction of the South in the film is negated by theatrical violence and sensational scenarios. In one case a man gets his penis shot off and it explodes everywhere. Tarantino doesn’t have the skill to consolidate the semi-eloquent examination of slavery with his own exaggerated filmic sensibilities. Like in all of Tarantino’s films since Kill Bill, there is a great film hidden in the depths of a decent one and his skill as a collector of cinematic ideas and moment far outweighs his skill as a director.
Also fucking hell, that bit with the Australians is so shit.
(Star of The Lone Ranger)
Time is up, Johnny. Judgement day. Nearly ten years ago, Johnny Depp made the grave error of mistaking behaving as inanely as possible for credible acting, and ever since we’ve had to endure a string of performances that you could be forgiven for mistaking as Captain Jack Sparrow’s long lost brothers. We are not totally faultless. It’s our own blind encouragement of this man’s actions that have led us down this road – Alice In Wonderland (which if I’m being generous I would probably give zero stars to) made over one billion dollars at the box office worldwide. I’d love more than anything to say that was a filthy, unprovoked joke, but in a world where Gangnam Style is king, our culture continues to throw money at crap. And Johnny Depp continues to act in it. It must be great to have a job where you just have to turn up and act like an idiot and get paid millions of dollars for it.
Thankfully of late the world seems to have caught on to Depp’s antics. Sighs of “Oh, I just love Johnny Depp” have been replaced with “Johnny Depp? Isn’t he that dipshit white dude playing a native American with a bird on his head in The Lone Ranger?” There was a time when Depp was capable of generating interesting performances. That time is a distant memory, clouded by a decade of dismal crap. Bow out, Johnny. Your time is up.
The filmic equivalent of the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, The Proposition has blinded us all with its pretty cinematography and connection to pop culture icon Nick Cave. Make no mistake, dear ReelGood readers, The Proposition is not a good film. The fault lies almost completely with Cave’s script. I had a tutor at university who was an aspiring screenwriter. She gushed over The Proposition, wondering out loud to me how it was possible that Cave wrote the script in JUST TWO WEEKS. I kept my answer of ‘have another watch of the film and you might get an idea’ to myself. To paraphrase Aaron Sorkin’s amazing The Social Network script, The Proposition stands on the shoulders of amazing films and calls itself tall. There’s a bit o’ Leone, a bit o’ Coppola even a bit o’ Scorsese in there. Unfortunately, for the most part Cave seems to miss what made the films he’s referencing so special.
It’s unfortunate the script is so regrettable, since The Proposition is an otherwise reasonably, albeit uninspired, made film. John Hillcoat (or the poor man’s Andrew Dominik) is a fine director. The cinematography by Benôit Delhomme is beautiful and Caves own score (composed alongside regular collaborator Warren Ellis) is fantastic. But as Kurosawa says (or said), the buck stops at a good script. Again, I’m paraphrasing; I doubt the Japanese use that expression.
At the end of the day, everybody knows Nick Cave’s best contribution to the world of cinema was the song ‘Red Right Hand’ in Dumb & Dumber’s ‘Little old Lady’ scene. A great Australian Western would be amazing. Cave wasn’t the man to give it to us. “Australia…what fresh hell is this?” Fuck off. Also sorry Jim Hodge, I borrowed your DVD of The Proposition and lost it. I’ll buy you a new one.