A Biopic and 3 Spaghetti Westerns

Django 1966

This week, I was supposed to watch Django Unchained but decided to watch some of the movies that were referenced by Tarantino.

Like most of Tarantino’s movies, he likes to pay homage to older movies from the genre he’s covering so it’s no surprise that he’d reference a bunch of old spaghetti westerns for his latest masterpiece.

However, before I started checking out his influences, I watched an epic biopic that I was putting off for a long while now.

Blow (2001)

Blow is the biography of drug dealer George Jung (played by Johnny Depp), a guy who from watching his parents struggle with money, never wanted to be broke. So he sold weed at first until he got locked up where he meets a guy who introduced him to the legendary Pablo Escobar.

Jung would then introduce cocaine to America during the seventies.

It’s fun to watch these types of movies because they’re about real life. It’s like when somebody asks you “if your life was a movie, would anyone want to watch it?”

Jung’s life was worth the watch and it’s great to see how growing up looking at his parents affected his life. I personally blame everything on his mother. It was her that made him never want to be a failure like his dad and it was her that made him get locked up the first time which led him to his fate in meeting Escobar.

His father gets credit for the way Jung treated the women in his life including his love for his daughter. There’s even a scene that mirrored his own life as a youngster where his wife argues with him about money in front of his daughter.

It’s a great movie to watch and if I had a top 100 movies, I think it would be in there as one of the finest films I’d ever seen.

Django (1966)

This is the movie that started all the unrelated Django films I think. It’s a spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci that was very successful during the sixties at the height of the genre’s popularity.

The movie spawned various unrelated Django movies where the main character was called Django but had nothing to do with Django played by Franco Nero.

Tarantino himself even had a cameo in a movie called Sukiyaki Western Django, a japanese western.

In this movie, Django carries around a coffin that contains an unlikely ally. He rescues a prostitute from some bandits and take her back to town. All hell breaks loose as he gets caught up in a feud between Mexican bandits and the Klan.

It’s a good spaghetti western if you want something to watch in this genre. Check it out.

The Hellbenders (1967)

Another Corbucci spaghetti western. This one doesn’t feel like a spaghetti western but more like your regular old Hollywood fare.

The story is fun to watch as a family of outlaws try to outwit the army and marshalls after they plunder and steal  money that they plan to use to restart the Civil War. Things manage to go wrong every step of the way but they always find a way to come out on top.

Day of Anger (1967)

Finally, I checked out Day of Anger, known in the Uk as Gunlaw with Lee Van Cleef. This was another good western that was a bit corny at times but brutal – the way I like my spaghetti.

A stranger rides into town and trouble ensues in a bar where he is quick on the draw during a confrontation but gets off due to self defense. Scott Mary, who is always being picked on and shunned turns to him for help and is transformed into a stand-up guy who will take no crap from no-one ever again.

The story continues as Talby, the stranger, tries to get back money owed to him from the high class citizens of the town. Scott inevitably has to choose between Talby and his mentor, who are on opposing sides. Another good watch.

I’m not sure if I’ll watch Django Unchained soon or continue to watch the movies that influenced it. I kinda want to check out some more before I see Tarantino’s movie.

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