Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Django Unchained - A Dukes Fanatic's Review
Ok, so I am a little late to the party. I finally saw Django Unchained over the weekend. It was an excellent movie. It depicts one of the darkest periods of our nation's history, but it has a great message and very strong characters. If you can handle a large amount of profanity and gore, you should really see it. It also has quite a few little additions that a Dukes fan might might find interesting.
Quentin Tarantino has a small history with the Dukes. He studied acting under our own James Best. Whether these aspects of the movie are actually related to love for the Dukes of Hazzard or purely a Dukes fanatic (me) digging for connections between the movie and the Dukes may never be fully divulged, but it's fun to think they are there intentionally.
The first and most obvious connection is Luke Duke himself. Tom Wopat is in the movie! He plays a U. S. Marshal and marshals in film and TV are some of the coolest law enforcement officers. (One of the coolest is Raylan Givens on Justified.) Mr. Wopat plays Marshal Gill Tatum. During his brief screen time, his marshal is nearly as cool as Raylan. It's always great to see Dukes cast members on the big screen.
The second is our pal M. C. Gainey. He played Rosco in the Dukes movie. He has a brief but memorable role in Django as Big John Brittle.
Here's a picture of me and M. C. at the Premiere of the Dukes movie. He's a big guy. He was also in Lost. I met him right after his character was introduced on Lost. It was fun to talk to him about that.
Walton Goggins was also in Django. This is not a picture of him in the movie, but it's from Sons of Anarchy. I couldn't resist posting it. Walton doesn't have direct connections to Dukes, but he plays the son of M. C. Gainey on Justified, and while playing Shane on The Shield, he was often made fun of for being a hillbilly and a few of those jokes included Dukes references.
The other references weren't as obvious. But, I believe they were intentional. There were two characters named Rosco. One was a horse, but one was a human. Maybe that was a nod to Quentin's acting teacher, hopefully not the horse. The final two are locations where the movie took place. The main characters traveled to Gatlinburg, the home of Cooter's Place, and the entire third act of the movie took place in Chickasaw County. On the Dukes, Chickasaw neighbored Hazzard. I realize these are popular southern locations and having them in the movie probably has nothing to do with Dukes, but a fan can dream.
I have a personal story about Quentin Tarantino and the Dukes. In June of 2005 I was invited to the premiere of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead in Pittsburgh. The zombie movie takes place around the Steel City, like most of his movies do. Tarantino is close friends with Romero and also attended the premiere. At the after party, I met Quentin in the bathroom, of all places. I talked about how the beginning of the movie took place in my home town, Brownsville, and the characters joking about the area being dead even before the zombies arrived. Fast forward to July 28, 2005, one of the greatest days of my life. I was in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the Dukes of Hazzard movie premiere. Before the movie started, but after the red carpet experience, I was walking around the historic theater taking in the atmosphere. I was in awe of all the stars. Quentin Tarantino was sitting in the last row with Seth Green. Quentin actually stopped me, recognized me, and asked what I was doing there. I explained to him the whole story about my love for the Dukes, my role as an extra, and about being a guest of director Jay Chandrasekhar. He was very happy for me. He couldn't have been nicer to me. I even told Seth that I liked Robot Chicken. That was just one of the many amazing things that happened to me that day. I'll eventually get them all here on the blog.
Go see Django Unchained. You won't regret it.