Welcome to Prep School. Here we’ll guide film fans towards those important movies of the past that’ll help you to get the best out of any future cinematic releases that might benefit from a bit of extra knowledge. This time, it’s Quentin Tarantino‘s upcoming spaghetti western Django Unchained.
It’s well-known that Quentin Tarantino’s movies are greatly enhanced through the eyes of a dedicated cinephile. Not to say that your average audience member can’t enjoy his movies greatly, but the Tennessee-born director’s flicks are made for movie geeks by the world’s biggest movie geek. Really, they’re just vibrantly-written, densely-realised pastiches. Homage-clad exercises in genre deconstruction. And for somebody familiar with all the puzzle pieces that Tarantino assembles his movies from, sitting in a theatre for the runtime can become a deeply rewarding experience on a whole new level. You’re in on the joke, so to speak.
After deconstructing the blaxploitation, samurai, pulp and slasher movie genres, Tarantino has finally come around to his fully-fledged western. The western genre actually happens to be the most influential genre on Tarantino’s entire career: even his movie Inglourious Basterds was a western cloaked in WW2 iconography, and Kill Bill, Vol. 2 wasn’t far from being a labelled a western in itself. Just look at all those Ennio Morricone tracks/Sergio Leone camera tricks that Tarantino is so desperate to showcase.
So, given that Django Unchained is out in theatres in just over a month, here’s our list of ten movies you should watch to prepare yourself for what promises to be one of the most entertaining movies of the year. No doubt there will be references to all of these movies somewhere in Django Unchained‘s blaxploitation/spaghetti western blender. In the words of Quentin Tarantino himself: “I only work in homages.” Let’s check ’em out, then.