Friday, August 21, 2009
Inglourious Basterds, or Tarantino's Ego 2: I Know A Lot About Nazis.
Dear Quentin Tarantino,
Do you think you're audience is stupid? Wait, I suppose you're right; most of your audience is probably stupid. But plenty of us are not, and your inability to let any subtle point stay subtle in Inglourious Basterds was borderline insulting to me. You point arrows to notable Germans to alert us to their importance. You find it necessary to spontaneously insert a split-second sex scene to provide background information that could have easily been inferred. And finally (for the purpose of this letter I won't list everything), you have Samuel L. Jackson explain to us why film burns. Of course film burns. I get the feeling that you simply wanted to point out your epic, unrivaled knowledge of cinema history...which you do constantly.
You are the worst name-dropper of all time. Over and over again, you have your characters tell us about German cinema in speeches that are sometimes so long that all I saw was you fellating yourself onscreen. "Oh...my... God! Quentin you are so knowledgeable!" It's the same thing you did with grindhouse films in Deathproof: Blatant after blatant reference like you're trying to impress a professor or something. It's unnecessary and pretentious. Just stick to subtle references, those don't make me want to hit you.
Now, Inglourious Basterds isnt a bad film, no matter how much the misspelling of the title makes me want to say it is. It is entertaining and at times, fantastic. But your lack of any emotional levity is simply tiresome. Everything is a joke, and the problem is that you've given us the same jokes repeatedly four films in a row. Okay, I'm sure many people find your little idiosyncrasies hilarious, but your capacity to completely ruin scenes with cheap jokes or stupid camera work astonishes me. IF I WANTED TO WATCH A B-MOVIE I'D WATCH A B-MOVIE! Grow up and make something worthy of the budget you are given.
For example, your opening scene: Jews under the floor boards. The excellent (he really was excellent) Christoph Waltz slowly berating the dairy farmer for information he already knows. It was a great start. Then Christoph Waltz pulls out the biggest pipe I have ever seen. The theater laughs, I groan, and the scene is ruined. Why can't you take anything seriously? Why can't a girl sit nervously in a room with the man who killed her entire family without you focusing the camera on strudel? I hate strudel! Strudel ruins scenes Tarantino. Your new nickname is "Strudel."
Your characters are nothing but stock caricatures of whatever you need them to be and none of them have more depth than a glass of water. The most diverse character in the entire film is the dairy farmer in the beginning and he's in the film for ten minutes. It is pathetic, easy filmmaking.
You did save the day with the fantastic scene in the basement bar. If this scene didn't exist, I wouldn't have thought twice about giving your film a 1/10 on IMDB (the worst insult, like, ever!) Holy Hell, this scene was fantastic! You capitalized perfectly on your "knowledge" (someone probably told you) of culture and of the various accents in your film. You did manage to throw in your interpretation of "King Kong" in there, but it was semi-plot relevant so I forgive you.
A lot of other people might be pissed at you too. I think most people are expecting an action film. I hate mindless action, but that's what you're good at! You're like Michael Bay with dialogue other than grunting. Unfortunately, the Basterds appearances are so rare that I occasionally forgot why the movie was named after them. . Much of the film moves at a slower pace than I expected, and it actually drags in spots. Now Im not saying its boring (occasionally its boring), but someone needs to get some balls and tell you to stop it with the drawn out speeches and scenarios. In a perfect world, you would have made this movie: 2 hours of Brad Pitt and friends killing people; of course taunting and giving their little speeches along the way. It would have been more fun that way. Then, you give the other half of the script (Shosanna s story) to a writer/director who has the capacity to produce substance and you have two good movies! What you have here is much more of a wishy washy, I enjoyed it--but there were some terrible problems-- sort of meh, it was good, but not amazing film. I wanted more. C'mon, Tarantino. It's time for something new.