By on January 7, 2013
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1. Texas Chainsaw 3D/LGF Wknd/$ 23.0 Total/$ 23.0
2. Django Unchained/Weinstein Wknd/$ 20.1 Total/$ 106.4
3. The Hobbit/WB Wknd/$ 17.5 Total/$ 263.8
4. Les Miserables/Universal Wknd/$ 16.1 Total/$ 103.6
5. Parental Guidance/Fox Wknd/$ 10.1 Total/$ 52.8
6. Jack Reacher/Paramount Wknd/$ 9.3 Total/$ 64.8
7. This Is 40/Universal Wknd/$ 8.6 Total/$ 54.5
8. Lincoln/Touchstone Wknd/$ 5.3 Total/$ 143.9
9. The Guilt Trip/Paramount Wknd/$ 4.5 Total/$ 31.2
10.Promised Land/Focus Wknd/$ 4.3 Total/$ 4.6

Texas Chainsaw 3D opens at number one and while January and August are traditionally the dumping ground for films the studios are contractually obligated to release, this could have been released at any time and probably would have done as well. This franchise is 40 years old and sadly shows no signs of stopping, though 3D is always a sign that they’re pretty much out of ideas…not that they really had any beyond, “This guy with a chainsaw slaughters a bunch of people.” But apparently that’s all they need.

Django Unchained holds at number two and now that I’ve finally seen it my reaction is…what’s the big deal? Clearly the people getting upset over it (i.e., Spike Lee) are unaware of a period known as “the 70’s” which this is a clear homage to like many of Tarantino’s films (this along with Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds could honestly be seen as a homage trilogy of 70’s exploitation flicks, with Django and Inglorious Basterds having been actual films). This is positively enlightened compared to films like Mandingo and Drum. Spike Lee’s problem is Tarantino’s seeming love affair with the “N word” which is legitimate as Tarantino he is one of those people who wants the ultimate “cool pass” of being able to say it with impunity to show “he’s down.” Tarantino has made claim in interviews how he should be able to say it as he’s been down like a black man understands what it’s like which is an utterly ridiculous and offensive statement. I don’t care how much Samuel L. Jackson likes you. However, either by accident or design Tarantino has finally made a film wherein the use of the word is entirely appropriate and its absence would honestly be ridiculous so Lee’s grandstanding sense of propriety is out of place. If Abraham Lincoln himself is on record for using it, what exactly do you think the men who ran plantations used? It’s like being offended by a film wherein Nazis referred to Jews in derogatory language while herding them into the gas chambers. A sadistic plantation overseer isn’t going to refer to a slave as “African American” while he sets dogs on him (which does happen in this film). That said, it’s not much more than a straight up exploitation flick though better written and with a sense of humor that the originals were sorely lacking. The scene where a mob gathers to go after Django could have been dropped into Blazing Saddles without changing a word. There is no higher praise. And Christopher Waltz continues to single-handedly justify Tarantino’s existence, once again utterly stealing one of his films on charm alone.

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