Inglourious Basterds has hit the theatres with Quentin Tarantino’s special flair for polarizing people. Those who love him, love it. Those who hate him, hate it. Though, to his credit, according to Rotten Tomatoes, 88% of the critics love it.
I admit . . . I don’t know how I feel about it. So the premise (of one of the plotlines) is that a group of spelling-challenged commandos infiltrate Nazi-occupied Europe and explain to the Nazis as best they can why it was a mistake to do all they’ve done. They’re led by a larger-than-life Brad Pitt, who commands them to bring him the scalps of their Nazi prey. Violence ensues. Oh, and there’s an evil Nazi guy and women who use sex to kill.
Confession: I hate, hate, hate Quentin Tarantino, the man. He’s just such an arrogant fuck that every time he opens his mouth, I want to punch him in his teeth. That said, I tend to kinda love his movies. I loved Reservoir Dogs when I first saw it; I love Pulp Fiction; I love Kill Bill Vol. 1.
I dunno. Lately, I think about his movies and I’m kinda blasé. Alright, that’s not exactly true. I still love Pulp Fiction; I still love Kill Bill Vol. 1. I’m kind of over Reservoir Dogs though. I mean, I think about that movie, and . . . I shrug and I’m ready to move on. I didn’t like Jackie Brown; I hated Death Proof. Even Kill Bill Vol. 2 got on my nerves a little. Though I think that was more the disappointment of having to sit through a Spaghetti Western when the first volume got me pumped for more fast-paced kung-fu action. Maybe that’s just me.
But I hear about Brad Pitt and Eli Roth bashing in heads and taking scalps and my reaction is . . . eh, I don’t wanna watch that. It doesn’t help that I also hate Eli Roth and wish he would never do anything even tangentially involved with filmmaking ever again.
I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about this movie. On the one hand, I dig postmodernism and some of the things I heard he does with the conventions of film and storytelling I think I will love. On the other hand, I don’t sanction scalp-taking from anyone. My sister, Kerry, has pointed out that Tarantino probably isn’t actually advocating the collecting of scalps, but it is in the movie. And hearing him talk about his films lends me to believe he recycles little tropes or conventions simply because they were once in some obscure film that he happened to have watched. And that inevitably means he’s gonna dig up some convention that’s either deeply racist or deeply sexist or both.
Then again, maybe it’s genius; I don’t know. I study books, not film, and the critics are orgasming over it. Roger Ebert, who is usually the first critic I go to, gave it four stars. I have a feeling it’s going to boil down to me just watching the damn movie and deciding one way or the other.
Ehhhh, I have my reservations though. I read a review by Lee Siegel on The Daily Beast, and he negatively drew the comparison between defending Tarantino’s movie and a lawyer “defending his client by wearily deriding a ‘guilty’ verdict as uncool: ‘I know what you’re going to say, members of the jury, that killing a candy-store owner is wrong, heinous, morally repugnant, blah blah blah. Could we just get over it and talk about the defendant’s technically impressive approach to crime, and about his phenomenal knowledge of the history of murder?’
That analogy resonates with me. But, then again, I haven’t seen the movie, so what do I know?
Coincidentally, also on The Daily Beast, I read an article by Kim Masters about the real basterds on which the movie can be said to maybe sort of be based. And that story sounded really fucking cool. It made me wish someone would make a film about them.
What do you think? Anyone seen the movie yet?