Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crazy Nazi Killers Run Loose In France

Few things in life feel quite like taking down an enemy. And not just taking them down, but doing it with style and brutality. It's what separates us from the dolphins. Revenge. Now, suppose that enemy is a common enemy to the entire world? That feels even more satisfying. The Nazis fit that description. Pol Pot and company don't even give the world the same feelings as the Nazis. Knowing that, it's no surprise that Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds did so well at the box office. Who doesn't like to see Nazi's beat to death with baseball bats and scalped?

This is not Tarantino's best movie. It is, however, a cinematic delight. A wet dream ending in ejaculatory fire. There's only one problem: not enough Basterds.

Anyone going to see this is going to see the Basterds do their thing. You get to see a little of that, but nowhere near enough. Instead, viewers are immersed in a story that didn't have to be there. The actors on screen are captivating, and the music is familiar to Tarantino fans, so this isn't that big of a problem, but viewers want to see heads bashed in. They want their cultural revenge, and the film's climax just doesn't satisfy that urge.

I saw this film opening weekend at Eureka's Broadway Cinema. I sent out a text to all my friends (which apparently never went out as I learned after the show). The sound quality in both theatres showing it was atrocious. (Celebrity Watchdog George Anthony Watson questioned a cinema employee on this and was informed that the sound was that way because that's the way "QT" wanted it. No, dumbass, you minimum wagers can't run a theatre.) At the end of the show I heard something I hadn't heard in quite some time: clapping. People were satisfied despite the lack of basterding. (And for the critics who said this was "torture porn," a term I hate as it is lazy and thoroughly inaccurate, you were way off base. This was not that violent, though I wish it would've been. The violence, when it came, was memorable, however.) That was a good feeling. I think Tarantino would've been happy to hear that.

As of this weekend, the Bear Jew and the Jew Hunter have dropped to number two in the box office. I imagine that once the film hits DVD (with what I hope is a lot of the dropped scenes, as it was painfully obvious stuff was missing) it will be the number sale and rental of the week. Maybe a couple of weeks. There is Oscar buzz, too, which really doesn't mean shit, but it's nice to know someone is paying attention.

And all of this from a film where there was quite a bit of subtitles. That's usually a box office killer since people don't like to "read" their movies. It made no discernible difference here, and it added to the immersion.

Tarantino has said he will give up filmmaking when he turns sixty. That could obviously change, but if that is the case, this film will rank up there as one of his most accomplished. I don't know if any other director can make that claim about a movie that is thought of as so violent and in some cases "wrong." None. For that, Tarantino should be proud.

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