Friday, September 4, 2009

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

YEAH, OKAY, IT’S BEEN TWO MONTHS since my last post. Told you I’d be posting more frequently! Better than six months between posts, wouldn’t you agree?

I have been busy, though. I managed to get through a couple more classes at school (Therapeutic Media and Functional Anatomy I) and pulled out another couple A’s out of them, so that’s something to be happy about. Family’s doing great. One kid’s vocabulary and reasoning skills are taking leaps and bounds everyday and he’s starting preschool next week (to my amazement and a little trepidation), and the other one is cutting teeth, sitting up, and learning to crawl. Life is good.

My wife and I had a date night last week. That was a rare event, I can tell you. We ended up at the local IKEA, of all places, and walked around getting ideas for the kids’ rooms for about an hour, then hit the cafeteria. You can’t beat the Swedish Meatballs with Cream Sauce and Lingonberry Jam for $4.99. No way, no how, and darn tasty, too. Then we went over to the Rave cinema and took in a show: Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

You gotta realize going into a QT film what to expect. He’s going to give you skid-loads of crazy action, a winding storyline, snappy dialogue, irreverent characters, and lots and lots of gratuitous gore. And boy, did he deliver! My wife asked me as we were leaving if I liked it. I hesitated. She loved it, of course (anything with Brad Pitt in it and she’s on board), but I told her I’d have to let it “sink in a little.” I needed to let it gel on my brain for a while.

On the drive home I told her it was a little tough for me to get past the gratuitous scenes (which I won’t spoil here), and I felt it would have been a stronger film without them. But that’s Tarantino’s bag. Which is probably why the Academy has him on some secret, unspoken blacklist, I’m sure. The guy’s completely unconventional. Too unconventional for the tastes of many of Hollywood’s elite. And maybe even for myself, a little bit. I respect him as an artist. I respect his love of all the old pulps, and martial arts movies, and grind house films. But I just can’t seem to take the guy too seriously. Then again, maybe that’s what he wants.

inglourious_basterds_xl_07--film-AI certainly can’t take a film like Inglourious Basterds too seriously. I enjoyed Brad Pitt’s performance and two other standouts: Christoph Waltz, who was brilliant as Col. Hans Landa (this guy basically stole the movie), and Michael Fassbender as Lt. Archie Hicox (see left -- who wasn’t in the film enough, in my opinion, and who you may recognize from another film). There were other notable performances in the film, but no one else I’d mention by name save one: Mike Myers. You know, Austin Powers/Dr. Evil/Wayne/etc. What the hell was he doing in this film? His part was bit and weird and just out-of-place. Very unnecessary to cast him in the role of Gen. Ed Fenech. You or I could have played it. He was probably reading directly from the script, since his character had a dossier in his hands the entire three minutes he was actually on screen. Definitely not a credit-worthy cameo, certainly not like Tom Cruise in the outrageous un-Cruise-like role of Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder (which I won’t link to in case my mom reads this blog).

So if you haven’t seen Inglourious Basterds, should you? Yes. Just be ready for your pulse to race as you anticipate what sort of psychological cinematic torture Tarantino’s about to heap up on you. It’s purely an exercise in extreme epicaricacy, and I’ll suggest it’s worth a matinee, maybe even full price, as long as you understand that it IS a Tarantino film you’re going to see. I think that was something I forgot until the “Bear Jew” emerged (at long last) from a dark tunnel with a baseball bat, feverish eyes, and an unthinkable “love for the game.” Oh, then I remembered real quick.


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