Inglorious Malarkey

I had to lay out six bucks to watch Inglorious Basterds on Pay Per View because the wait on Netflix was just too long.  So clearly Quentin Tarantino’s fantasy adventure about a band of Jews who wander around occupied France killing and torturing German soldiers is doing well on DVD.  And listen, there’s no denying the director’s skill or the fine acting or even the entertainment value of the film’s first half.  The first scene, in fact, is worthy of Hitchcock.

But I found it an appalling movie – really; appalling.  I can’t remember the last time I used the word offensive about a work of art. Art never offends me – well, hardly ever.  But this film isn’t offensive in any petty Piss Christ way – you know, where some adolescent vandal scrawls obscenities on the sacred to annoy the grown-ups and get some attention.  This is offensive in the moral, “Let them eat cake,” sense:  that is, it exhibits an understanding of human suffering so shallow it falls outside the bounds of civil discussion.

Look, you don’t need me to tell you this:  there was this thing called the Holocaust, right?  I mean, right?  Where people not so different from you and me acquiesced to the logic of Satanic evil?  We do remember this, I know.  How they built factories for killing  children like your children and parents like your parents and lovers like your lover and people like you because those people had this name instead of that name, this bloodline instead of that.  A city’s-worth of crucifixions.  I know we haven’t forgotten.

Okay, so I don’t want to overstate this.  I understand time passes and we move on and books like Night and films like Shoah are almost too true to bear and we need sentimental, less true stuff like Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful and some shallowness and forgetfulness are part of the triumph of life and hooray for that.

But for Tarantino, no matter how talented, to address the issues inherent in the event as pure fodder for storytelling, to think his squirrelly man-on-man torture fantasies or his video geek understanding of life provide an adequate moral response to that level of history – I don’t know, man – it just felt to me like he was molding toy soldiers out of the ashes of the dead.  Even real Jews torturing real German soldiers would not provide a profound or even interesting resolution, but this stuff?

Which is not to say Tarantino’s a bad guy or a bad director or that there’s a special room in hell or whatever.  It’s just to point out what I think is an extreme example of an everyday problem in today’s Hollywood film-making.  When you ask yourself how our creative class could have responded so shabbily to 9/11; when you wonder how they could’ve made movies that gave aid and comfort to our enemies while our soldiers were in the field; when you wonder why so few of them thought to reconsider their ideology in the face of so  horrifying a disproof, you may be able to find the answer in a film like Inglorious Basterds.

Whether it’s because of money  or celebrity, a fierce leftist miscreed or isolation among their own kind, too many of our artists seem to have been sapped of their understanding of suffering and history.  They have lost their feel for the passion and pity of life.  They think it’s all only a movie.

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  • John

    It is a fairy tale. A handful of people who recognized brutality, inhumanity, evil… take that evil in hand and snuff it out. Fairy tales should make a point. You missed it.

  • http://Klavan'sopinionIngloriousBasterds Donna

    Tarantino, et al, strike me as spoiled children who have never studied history or been made to suffer. They have the LUXURY of living in a truly God-blessed (and so, very wealthy) country. Unfortunately, they also despise the blessings they’ve been given and they inflict it on the rest of us through their “art.” Very sad.

  • Margaret Evans

    Andrew, I’m so glad to see you back here on your own website, doin’ your thing. Yours is a unique and beautiful voice, and I never thought you quite fit in at Pajamas Media. (Which is a compliment, by the way.) Am thrilled to see this site up and running, and will bookmark you immediately! Keep the faith, and keep telling it like it is.

  • Teri

    This was the dumbest movie I ever saw. The “good guys” were just as brutal as the bad guys. Fairytale? It’s more believable that Puss in Boots talked than that the entire German high command including Hitler went to see a movie together in France.

  • David

    Andrew, what is your opinion of other World War Two adventure films such as WHERE EAGLES DARE, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and THE DIRTY DOZEN?

    Great movies, all — and all featuring WWII veterens (Lee Marvin, Anthony Quale, et al) in front of and behind the cameras… movies that had no problem having “fun” with Nazis and what was easily the single biggest conflagration of the 20th century.

  • Don

    I started to watch this on a plane and, after about fifteen minutes, switched to an honest kid’s movie that turned out to be much more believable. I usually love comic-book movies, but this was such an idiotic juvenile fantasy that I was embarrassed to be watching it. Later, when another movie ended, I caught the last ten minutes or so and found my first impressions confirmed. Teri nails it with his comment that the so-called good guys were every bit as brutal as the villains, leaving no one to root for. How this thing can be racking up the accolades from the media and the industry is a total mystery to me.

  • Mark Waldman

    Thank God someone else found this poorly made movie as offensive as I did! It not only trivializes the Holocaust, it trivializes war, Jews, and maybe even acting. This is an end product of our self-referential culture, where clever homages to other films substitute for real thought and art.

  • DWH

    This movie was not funny at all…just a jewish revenge fantasy,a baddly made one at that.

  • sensible99

    I used to know a guy that did special missions in Germany during the war. He had a hatred for Nazis like nothing else I have ever encountered. He spoke of cutting their throats, and seemed to found it amusing. He showed me a leather bag that was full of ears presumably removed from those he killed in his operations. It’s only a movie, but I can’t help but wonder if some of it was closer to the truth than what we might imagine.

  • Rono#8

    This was a terrific movie, you’ve missed the entire point of the movie. I totally disagree with you.

  • AtheistConservative

    I can see how someone would interpret the movie as being ‘offensive’, in that it uses one of history’s worst crimes as a backdrop for juvenile entertainment. But I think the problem lies more in the poor quality of the movie than its setting. Many movies are set during WWII, some of them less-than-serious. It’s just that IB is a really bad movie full of stunt casting, bad dialog, and nonsensical scenes.

    There are so many problems with the movie that a comprehensive list would be exhausting. I began disconnecting from it after the ‘tense’ opening scene where the Nazi needlessly engages in word games to reveal that there are Jews under the floorboards (who would understand the words ‘Jew’ and ‘yes’ in any language, and who couldn’t escape even if they did understand him!). But the movie became unbearably ridiculous when:

    - We find out that Nazis go to a specific movie theater for German Movie Nights
    - The Nazis make frequent and incongruous references to the supposed inferiority of black people, I guess so we remember they killed other people than just Jews
    - We see the Nazis ruthlessly hunting Jews (their real target) in the opening, and hunting them so efficiently that Jews living in a distant rural farm must hide under floorboards 24/7
    - … yet the projectionist of the movie theater where all the Nazis go is a black man, who walks around in the open

    IB is like a high school play about the Holocaust – in many ways it reminded me of that Vietnam play Max Fischer staged in Rushmore.

  • Bohemond


    My judo instructor when I was a younger was with the Maquis. Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ weren’t a patch on those seriously vengeful Frenchmen.


    Andrew, I’, one of your biggest fans, so it pains me to disagree; but I do. I can’t see how this movie ‘trivializes’ the Holocaust when the only part of the film which involves it directly, the first act, is absolutely chilling and full of the requisite moral horror.

    After that? Why should we not in our minds wish that history was more just than it is? Why should we accept, emotionally, that Hitler got off so easily, a quick, sordid suicide in a bunker? Would not perishing in a literal holocaust engineered by his Jewish victims be more fitting retribution?

  • Father Dick Byrne

    Offended? You must have forgotten to clean the sand out of your lady bits before you began viewing the film.

  • Hunter

    I think you’re all missing the point entirely, there are spoilers ahead so tread lightly if you plan to see the movie. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS isn’t a movie about World War II, but rather a movie about cinema, making it a post-modern comment on a genre. The WWII guys-on-a-mission genre (movies like WHERE EAGLES DARE, THE DIRTY DOZEN, and KELLY’S HEROES) is the ballpark Tarantino is playing in, just like he played with the heroic bloodshed genre in RESERVOIR DOGS and carsploitation movies in DEATH PROOF. In INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, Hitler and his cronies watch a movie called NATION’S PRIDE, a Nazi propaganda film produced by Josef Goebbels. The audience cheers as the lead character, a Nazi soldier, kills Allied troops with his rifle, one after another, in what is presented as a heroic stand against the enemy. This is happening within a movie that seemingly asks the audience to laugh and possibly cheer as a man dubbed “the Bear Jew” gleefully clubs a Nazi to death in a horrifying manner while his comrades giggle and shout, all finding the whole affair amusing, with Brad Pitt’s character saying, “This is as close as we get to going to the movies!” This sounds like something out of a Michael Haneke film (see FUNNY GAMES), but Tarantino isn’t attacking the audience the way Haneke does, instead he is commenting on the way people are portrayed in war movies and how dehumanization inevitably occurs. But that’s just a small part of it, at the end the Nazis are killed inside a cinema, burned to death in a place where they would forever be depicted has villains as punishment for their horrible sins. In the end, cinema emerges triumphant.

    One could level Klavan’s criticism at any movie based on WWII, or any movie based on war for that matter. At the end of the day, aren’t all filmmakers “making toy soldiers out of the ashes of the dead” when they dress up actors in fatigues, give them guns, and have them shoot at each other while they capture it with a camera? One can criticize Tarantino for making an “inaccurate” film where all the Nazi big-shots thoughtlessly gather in a theater, but in a movie where Hitler gets shot in the face over and over again with a Tommy gun, I can say with utter certainty that that didn’t happen either, and I’m positive Tarantino knows it too, but Tarantino isn’t making DOWNFALL, he’s not making SCHINDLER’S LIST, and he sure as Hell isn’t adapting NIGHT. He has no responsibility to depict the Holocaust in a way that is gritty or real, because that’s not what he’s set out to do, and I think he’s aware he doesn’t need to tell us that a) the Holocaust happened, and b) that the whole thing was really, really awful. Tarantino’s films play well to a very cinema-literate audience, and that audience is well aware of these things, they don’t need a filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino to reiterate it for them. Instead what he’s doing is commenting on the nature of cinema and the genre INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS stands in, and he’s doing it in his own geeky way that’s so endearing. See it without your history major hat, put that thing in the closet, and don’t get it out until you need to use it to attack something that deserves it (like CHE). Instead, put on your movie geek hat, if you have one. If you don’t, then this movie really isn’t for you.

  • AtheistConservative

    “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS isn’t a movie about World War II, but rather a movie about cinema, making it a post-modern comment on a genre”

    As much as I appreciate your patchouli-scented-beret-topped sniffy “you just don’t get it” explanation, the movie is still crap, “post-modern” or not. The story is child’s fairy tale quality, the stunt casting intrusive and detrimental to the telling of the story, and the dialog trite, smug, and hackneyed. Tarantino is only a moderately gifted writer/director (evidenced by the fact that so much of his stuff is directly stolen from others); he simply cannot handle a big story like he tried in IB. It’s like Schindler’s List written by Kevin Smith.

  • Hunter

    I never argued that the movie is good, simply because it is post-modern. I was arguing that people who state that the movie is crap because it doesn’t adhere to their idea of history or historical responsibility are missing the point, mainly because the movie is post-modern, so they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Saying that Tarantino just steals from other people aren’t paying attention. That’s like saying Terminator X just has a good record collection, or that Girl Talk is just a hipster with a laptop and cool software. Stating that Tarantino just steals from other people is an incredibly lazy assessment. Because of his abrasive, loud-mouthed personality, he’s an easy person to hate, and it’s understandable, I can barely tolerate the man appearing on screen. But what he has to say about cinema in his movies is very interesting, and is often imitated, but never equaled.

    No one is arguing that the casting of Mike Myers was a good move, but in a movie filled with incredible dialogue set-pieces and interesting performances, it’s a small flaw in an otherwise excellent film. I defy anyone who write a lead-up to a shoot-out that’s as compelling and nail-biting as the one in the basement tavern. And I don’t see calling the story outline itself “fairy-tale quality” as an insult. Most fairy tales I’ve read are really good stories. Especially the ones for children.

  • Ezra

    Remember the scene where they were playing the game with the cards on their foreheads? The German officer’s questions lead him to answer “Am I the story of the African Slave? [No.] Well, then, King Kong.”

    Tarantino is commenting on the use of fictional fantasy– namely, cinema– to capture people’s emotional understanding of history. That’s what Inglourious Basterds does; it crafts mythology out of history, crystallizing Western peoples’ long-standing disappointment with Hitler’s suicide. We didn’t get to pull the trigger. We didn’t get the catharsis of explicit vengeance. Just like the 1940s comic books that showed Captain America punching Hitler in the face, Inglourious Basterds is all about bringing to life a collective desire to see history play out in the way that would satisfy us most. This is a double-edged sword, as much of our historical understand unfortunately comes from movies, and the success of IB could lead us down a

  • Ezra

    Hmmm… HTML tag didn’t work. The end of that was supposed to say “slippery slope” and link to this site:

  • Hunter

    INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS won’t lead down a slippery slope, because movies that claim to be based on history already take obscene liberties as it is. This is a slope we’ve been sliding down for awhile now, if anything INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is a movie that takes that badge and wears it noticeably, rather than deceiving the audience, making more responsible in that regard.

  • Immanuel Goldstein

    It’s a spaghetti western. It’s a low budget movie filmed largely on sound stages, and little in the way of special effects. But it has some of the most engrossing scenes I’ve seen in some time. The first act is excellent. It introduced the best villain in a long while. Cultured, friendly, affable. likely to quote from Rilke, or dash off a little Mozart on any available upright. Make your blood run cold. The scene in the cellar was like something from Eugene O’Neill. The blending of multiple conversations, in a dialogue that goes on for almost 40 minutes, a huge chunk of the movie, and the gradual buildup of tension. Most of the dialogue is in German, and the language itself becomes a topic of conversation. It builds up to the inevitable bloodbath, but what came before it is what one remembers. This movie is of several parts. Some cartoonish, some just gross, but a lot of excellent acting and a director not afraid to create long, leisurely scenes that contain both plot and character development.

  • Ezra

    Hunter, that was supposed to be a joke.

  • Brian Social

    I’m Jewish and, although too young to remember, am told that I lost at least 14 family members in the Holocaust. I’ve learned so much about that event over my life and still can’t get my head around it. And when people call each other “Nazi” for stupid, petty reasons, it boils me. But (and maybe you knew a “but” was coming) there’s a special sort of catharsis that comes with taking someone like Hitler down a peg. Mel Brooks (a Jew) did it brilliantly in The Producers (“Springtime for Hitler”) and Quentin Tarantino (not a Jew) does it brilliantly in Inglourious Basterds. Even those people who pass around the Hitler “Downfall” video meme on YouTube do it with some flair (at least, some of them).

    I enjoyed watching Hitler’s face get perforated with bullets from a Jew’s machine gun. I know it wasn’t real. I don’t care. I enjoyed it. And on a film-geek entertainment level, the film delivered as well.

    And I constantly honor and remember the unspeakable losses we suffered in the Holocaust, not only Jews, but also other non-Aryan minorities.

    Those statements can all coexist.

  • jaciscully

    Thank you! I found the movie, past the opening scene, total crap. But, like Avatar, it’s next to impossible to find someone else who feels the same.

  • Tommy from Chicago

    I agree the opening scene built up some good tension… and after that, UGH. I absolutely HATED this movie. It was barely watchable.

    - It was a sick fantasy, kinda like watching a snuff film or something grotesque like that.

    - The good guys were just as sick and twisted as the bad ones, I wanted them both to be punished and had nobody to root for.

    - Not a single main character in the movie had a redeeming quality about them. It was like everyone lacked empathy? It was very hard to watch.

    I was shocked that almost everyone I spoke to about it loved this movie? But then again, they liked Transformers 2 and had no problems with the plot of that one either… LOL

  • Cpm

    I think you overstated it. Try renting at Redbox. $1. Reserve online. Pick up .No waiting. Movie sucks, you’re out $1.

  • Sage

    I agree. I’ve always said that. I’m glad to see someone else finally saying it publicly.
    The people who were victims of the holocaust were not potential torturers themselves. They were mothers & fathers & children. It does them a disservice to try to portray them as fierce, crazed, violent fighters.

  • mike

    I liked the movie. All WWII movies (and especially Tarantino not serious ones) don’t need to be solemn reminders of the Holocaust. It was an enjoyable movie. Catch 22 didn’t mention Jews or Holocaust once but it was still a terrific book. This movie really wasn’t about the Holocaust or WWII at all, the fact they executed Hitler in a movie theatre should have been a strong indicator of this but I digress. You are being a little too uptight.

  • mike

    By the way, I actually had more respect for the German sgt who refused to tell where Germans were located on a map than the Basterds who hit him with bats. I don’t know if that was intended or not. I am a sgt in the Marines, so maybe I just liked the idea of a soldier doing his duty and what was right even in the face of death. Killing unarmed prisoners is never acceptable, even if they are Nazis.

  • yagur

    FWIW, I’m not a conservative but I agree with Andrew. There’s no right or wrong “answer” to a movie; this is all subjective. But personally, for me, this is no sandbox to be playing in.

  • Stratomunchkin

    One can go on a tangent and bicker why Tarantino does not thematize the holocaust in “Inglorious Basterds”. Or one can act like the supposedly adult one claims to be and accept that “Inglorious Basterds” is a dialogue-heavy adaption of the spaghetti western genre and doesn’t want to be more than that. Wanting this kind of depth from “Inglorious Basterds” is like walking into “Independence Day” expecting to see a serious war movie depicting the effects and after-effects of a global attack from aliens…

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  • FTracy3

    Putting aside whether the movie was good or bad (I loved it and I think seeing it in a theater makes a difference..that smoke filled projection ending really packs a wallop), where was the outrage over half the WW2 movies produced since the end of the war? While some do steer to the solely serious side (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan), others, for better or worse, are big entertainments with the war as a backdrop. The Great Escape, the Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes. where Eagles Dare, etc. InGlorius Basterds falls into the latter category and at least acknowledges the Holocaust happened, those others don’t. I have no problem with a revenge fantasy in which Hitler gets his due at the hands of Jews, and I really feel the criticism here is based on a dislike of Hollywood in general or Tarantino himself. The earlier points about “To Be or Not To Be,” and other films (“The Producers, anyone? Where a bad taste take on Nazis is the central conceit?) are well taken. If Inglorius is upsetting, I’m glad Hogan’s Heroes is off the air.

  • LPB

    It’s a comic book, albeit an “over the top” comic book. Sort of like “Sgt Fury and His Howlin’ Commandos”.

    It did piss me off that, of course, they had the Nazis acting more honorably (in terms of keeping their end of bargains) and less sadistically than the GIs.

    I’d say more, but we’re getting in to “spoiler land”.

  • natalie

    I also recently watched this for the first time. It seems to me that this movie brings up a lot of issues of history, and how it is interpreted – many people interpret this sort of revenge brutality as a sort of Funny Games-like comment on the nature of voyeurism and the manifestation of our violent desires in cinema. For me, this motive is unconscious at best in Tarantino films. Consider his other plots – establishing a bad guy so bad, that any amount of ruthless vengeance is ‘justified’. I think he used Hitler and the backdrop of WWII as a shorthand for basically, ‘the worst guys in all history’. therefore, he doesn’t have to take the time to explain why the bad guy is bad, and any of the holocaust is taken as generally acknowledged. And thus, any violent action that the Bear Jew and Brad Pitt’s squad takes is supposed to be cheered on by the audience.

    The narrative of the film takes the focus away from the holocaust and the larger scale of the war on a national level, and seeks to personalize the conflict with a small number of ‘protagonists’. This may be why it seems trivializing and narrow. And although the rage and grief of the protagonists is supposed to be monumental, it never seems great enough to rewrite history (by killing hitler). it makes it seem more like a Kill Bill moment of personal vengeance. ‘Oh, hitler was YOUR personal enemy.’ it disregards by ommision the millions of people whose lives were torn apart by the nazi regime.

    Certain elements seemed to trivialize it further, such as the (unintentionally?) comic elements of brad pitt’s performance, and casting mike myers, and introducing a character with a screen shot of their name with accompanying sound effects, etc. just left me completely cold. I didn’t identify with the killer jews, i recognized it as disgusting. (scalping??). the brutality of the main characters TAKES THE PLACE of the nazi brutality, on screen at least. that is what we are shown the most. and we’re supposed to like it?

    I think tarantino takes too much for granted in assuming that he is justified in doing whatever he wants to nazis, including asserting his own juvenile revenge fantasies. it is because one might assume that he is only half serious that one might not be disgusted or confused, but this also to the movie’s detriment. As Tarantino takes a god-like stance of rewriting history, punishing the wicked and rewarding the uh.. awesome?(they’re not really that ‘good’), he is simultaneously morally ambivalent, and this is a queasy mix for me.

  • Thomas A. Hennigan

    I had a similar feeling to the one expressed here. For me the film’s growing ad absurdum quality (as a counterpoint to very real tension) — it’s almost Tarantino’s “Springtime for Hitler” successfully prevented me from laying so serious a charge against it or seeing it as emblematic in the way Klavan does. The film’s final note, especially and (perhaps) fittingly shows us the way back through the looking-glass to the realities of “Never Forget!” and “Never Again!”

  • Brian Social

    FTracy3, I agree, and I did mention “The Producers.” (See Comment 22 above.)

  • Skip

    In addition to trivializing the Holocaust, this stinker takes aim at Jews by equating them with contemporary suicide bombers. Intentional political statement? Ya think?

  • Steve In Yulsa

    I love this movie. Apparently Klavan was not paying attention long enough to notice this was about the French Occupation and not about the camps. It was about the open and blase way the NAZIs killed Jews out in thhe open without any care. And the response to that hatred by certain people. It was a small story and a fairy tail. It could not trivialize the holocast. It wasn’t about the holocast. It was about the NAZIs own blindness of what they were. It did not glorify any NAZI. And it pretends that Hitler could ahve been killed before America joined in the fray. What a wonderful idea. And many people tried it and many came close. But some how those plots never worked out. This playful movie imagines how nice it would have been had one of these plots against Hitler come true.

  • Jarrod Thalheimer

    I dunno Andrew. I’m usually on-side with your comments but not this time.

    I really enjoyed “Basterds” – I didn’t personally find it offensive to the memory or reality of what happened. It was a “What if…?” kind of piece that in many ways struck me as quite profound. Specifically, the standard MO for most Nazi movies is to have them screaming and spitting and coming off as bat-shit crazy lunatics the entire time (making it easy to think that that kind of evil would “of course” be recognized should it ever rear it’s head again). In “Basterds” the Nazi’s (and especially the Jew-hunter) were sort of shown to be the heartless bureaucrats they in many ways were – coldly carrying out their appointed tasks to “improve” the world to their liking and offering more than a few glimpses into the actual reality of socialism/fascism. It’s always nice to think they’ll come marked with a sign so we can know them but in reality it will be more about clipboards and lists and social improvement programs that are “best for us all” than anything else – and without a doubt they’ll be smiling the entire time.

    Anyway – I enjoyed the film and, your comments notwithstanding, still enjoy you too.

    Take care,

  • El Gordo

    Apparently Steve in Yulsa was not paying attention long enough to notice this was not about Hitler being “killed before America joined in the fray”. The Basterds are Americans. The movie finale takes place right after the D-Day landings in 1944.

    Inglorious Basterds is a movie about other movies Tarantino has seen.
    Of course it trivialises history, our war effort and the Holocaust (that it doesn´t show the camps makes it no less about the Holocaust, Steve – you are making a meaningless distinction).

    I can´t say I was appalled. If you switch off your brain it is a very entertaining movie. But where does it say you have to switch off your brain?

    As for the “fairytale” defense, somehow I don´t think most of you guys would be lining up around the block for a re-release of Sleeping Beauty. There must be more to it than that.

  • Hunter

    @ natalie: The use of a film within a film juxtaposed with cartoonish lead heroes, and killing scores of Nazis in a cinema is no coincidence, it’s too obvious of a statement and saying it’s not is just looking for an excuse to give it less credit.

  • Steve In Yulsa

    Thank you gordo. I have watched the movie several times and had not noticed that the dates indicated it was after the d-day landings. I wonder what clued you in to that. I did not notice the movie discussed it.

    As for the fairy tale defense, there were endless numbers of plots against the NAZI leadership. Imagine one of the worked! Plenty tried!

    I was not aware that the US had sent in actual insurgents called the Basterds. I thought that was completely made up but you, Gordy, seem to have some inside line telling you they existed and were really there. Well, if you say so…

    I think Klavan, who I usually enjoy, is just reading a little too much into this movie that just isn’t there.

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  • dm1776

    Andrew, I respect you but in this instance, you do not even try to explain your accusation. I don’t agree with your assessment but I don’t even understand it either. You made a statement but not an argument. WWII was not just about the Holocaust. It was about socialism and expansionism. As a GenX/Yer, I must tell you that my cynical generation has a certain bloodlust (see: Fight Club.) To me, Inglorius Basterds was saying, “Look, the Nazi’s deserve the worst pain and torture and suffering because of what they did and I’m going to exact a little bit of what deserve on them in this movie.” I know there’s a lot more to it than that from other perspectives (which many explained on Big Hollywood and Commentary) but I believe it is that simple to the GenX/Yers. There is a generation gap happening here and like Fresh Prince famously said “Parents just don’t understand.” Or to put it another in the words of Dennis Prager, “The desire for revenge is noble.” But he also warns that acting upon it is not always the right thing to do. Of all the movies that could offend you and for many different reasons, this one just seems bizarre.

  • debbie 1960

    Having never seen the movie I will not comment on the content. However, a long time ago I made a decision to not see R rated movies. These movies usually are R because of violence or maybe to much sex. Can’t say that is anything to miss out on. What I do miss are movies that make you excited to be alive, in love, married, family country. The really important parts of life. I really do not care to see movies about death and violence, it’s already all over the news.
    Thanks for your post.

  • Frank Bunyard

    All of Tarantino’s work is a reflection of the nihilism that is modern culture in the West. There is nothing to believe in except “life is meaningless.” Tarantino is apparently happy with the meaninglessness of life. He’s certainly made a good living off our dead culture. Do the words “hyena” and “vulture” ring a bell. I think I just coined a neologism: “culture vulture.” This term describes Tarantino perfectly.

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  • 12-String Infidel

    Um…how’d ya feel about ‘Hogan’s Heros”?

  • Bonjour

    someone obviously missed the point of this movie XD

  • Eric-Odessit

    Well, I can’t say I liked the movie, but it was OK. Looking at a Jewish guy bashing a Nazi soldier’s head in with a baseball bat gave me satisfaction. But then, I am a Jew from Russia, whose family members were murdered by the Nazis, so what else would you expect?
    I did not expect historical accuracy from this movie. For that you should see “Defiance”, really a great movie.
    As for “Schindler’s List” and the likes, I am tired of movies where Jews are led to slaughter and occasionally saved by some Gentile. I prefer watching Jews shooting back, as in “Defiance”, or the fantasy of a Jew bashing a Nazi head in, as in “Inglorious Basterds”.

  • Dirk Diggler

    “Inglorious Basterds” is one of the stupidest movies I’ve seen in a long time. It fails epically as shoot ‘em up entertainment and doesn’t aspire to do anything other than satiate Tarantino’s obsession with portraying human cruelty.

    Frankly I’m tired of Quentin Tarantino’s unquenchable sadism, pitter-patter dialogue, and homage to every lousy genre in the history of cinema. I’m especially tired of this self-referential crap being touted as genius and art.

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  • Joe

    Basterds is basically Mossad vs. Nazi’s. Its sheer revenge fantasy. I’d
    like to see one about the Soviet Union but won’t hold my breath.

    Then again, this is how the guy makes his money, pandering.

    Pandering works, if done with the great cinematic skill the guy has.

  • Jonny

    I have to disagree with you on this one, Andrew. Basterds was along the same lines as Kellys Heroes, the Dirty Dozen, Von Ryan’s Express, etc–a WWII adventure flick. Also, considering Tarantino’s penchant for grindhouse flicks, there was probably a some Nazisploitation influence along the likes of Ilsa, Private House of the SS, SS Hell Camp, etc. thrown in there too (minus the porn). I can understand knocking it for the camp, shoddy quality, and brutality if those aren’t your bag (though I feel those qualities add to the grindhouse-style experience). Just don’t knock it for not taking itself seriously when it wasn’t supposed to in the first place. If folks want to tear down Basterds for this reason, then they should also be laying into Hogan’s Heroes, Hellboy, the Wolfenstein video game series, Captain America, Nick Fury, the Rocketeer, Indiana Jones, etc.

  • Thomas S.

    This movie is disgusting filthy propaganda! It teaches kids thats it cool and okay to kill unarmed defensless people. This had no point at all. It was propaganda making Germany look worse that it was.

  • Anonymous

    I know im late to this one but

    It says to me that Tarantino is the poster boi director Americans deserve. Interestingly raised by a single mother, he refuses to grow up like most of AMerica, forever lounging in his pop culture fantasia of comic books, guns, hawt killer women, cheeseburgers, chop suey- really could you ask for a better patron saint? He exemplifies what  alot of Americans believe in the most- Surface image, glib hipster cool, macho posturing to compensante for an innately childish core, encylopedia pop culture, etc. 
    The Effect, the Pose, the *Image* above all else.
    His movies are based on other media he’s devoured and memorized, not real life, so its forever dimishing returns for people who want more than ironic winking at the screen, like a mirror held up on a mirror held up on a mirrror held up on….

    He can’t comment on Real life, only movies and how we digest them, the increasing unreality of a media driven world. People like Tarantino have no concept of higher truth, in fact they spit on the very notion. Life is meaningless, nihilism for all. So why not score a pop song to a torture scene where a guy cuts off a prisoner’s ear? Why not depict ultra violence as a gag, mere sh*ts & giggles?? Just why the hell not?