Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds. If you didn't like it, well, sucks to be you.

Inglourious Basterds. If you didn't like it, well, go watch Transformers or something.

So I saw Inglourious Basterds over the weekend. The quick review: it was awesome.

Seriously, don’t listen to the haters who slam on Quentin Tarantino just because it’s the cool thing to do. Don’t listen to the butt-hurt sci-fi nerds who think District 9 is the greatest movie ever made, and since Basterds dethroned it as box office champion, it must be inherently flawed (on a related note, I thought District 9 was decent, but flawed, especially in the way it abruptly ditched the documentary style two-thirds of the way through the film in favour of generic sci-fi nonsense).

Indeed, despite the mixed review from the professional critics, Basterds is the real deal, and definitely up there with Tarantino’s best. Of course, what exactly constitutes Tarantino’s best is a gargantuan topic all  by itself …  with the exception of Death Proof (which I’ve only seen once when it first came out), I like all of his films for a variety of different reasons — Jackie Brown has great performances, Kill Bill is just fun plain fun to watch, etc. To pick just one and declare it head and shoulders above the rest is no easy task.

But enough about Tarantino’s previous exploits — this review is all about his latest work, Inglourious Basterds. Well, it’s not really a review so much as it is a random series of thoughts pertaining to Basterds. No in-depth analysis here, kids — after all, I’ve only seen the movie once while in a packed theatre — just a few simple observations from the film.

(WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!)

  • Brad Pitt was awesome. Sure, it wasn’t the greatest “acting”, per se — in fact, it was campy and hammy as all hell — but every time he was on screen you were sure to be entertained (especially the scene in the theatre where he absolutely butchers the Italian language).
Rumour has it that he wants his scalps.

Rumour has it that he wants his scalps.

  • For the people complaining that it was “all talk and no action”, well, it’s a Tarantino flick — what the hell were you expecting? Okay, so the final act of Kill Bill Vol. 1 is an exception to the rule, but for the most part, Basterds follows the Tarantino model to perfection.

    Is there a lot of dialogue in Basterds? Sure, but if anything its dialogue serves a much greater narrative purpose than those of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. While those films featured bloated pop culture references that ultimately humanized the thugs and thieves — hey, Jules and Vincent are chatting about burgers, they seem like likable dudes — the conversations in Basterds creates palpable tension and a sense of dread that has you fearing for the characters’ safety, as the dialogue is usually just a cover for the subtext of hiding / uncovering true identities in life-or-death, make-or-break situations (Col. Landa in the farmhouse, the Gestapo officer in the pub’s basement, etc.).

  • Hitler finally gets what’s coming to him. Yes, I can understand why some people might be upset about Tarantino’s “alternate ending” to World War II, especially those who say it disrespects the actual soldiers that sacrificed so much marching into Berlin to end the war. But hey, this was never advertised as an historical re-enactment — it’s a work of fiction that just happens to be set in Nazi-occupied France and uses some “stock characters” from that time period (Hitler, Goebbels, etc.). It’s an alternate reality, an alluring “What If?” scenario — nothing more, nothing less.
    You gonna die.

    You gonna die.

    And besides, since when is killing Hitler a bad thing? In real life, he never really got his comeuppance. Sure, the Nazis lost the war, but nobody actually got the chance to shoot Hitler down, riddle his corpse with bullets, then blow up the corpse in a fiery inferno. The history books say that it didn’t go down in that manner, but we all wish it did. Although they do say that the winner writes the history books … so why not have a Jewish hit squad take down the Fuhrer? Hitler deserved to die, anyway, if only for that wheezy, inhaling laugh of his. What an annoying jerk!

  • Nice to see that Mike Myers still exists and that he didn’t hang himself after the failure of The Love Guru. Sure, he was basically playing an elderly Austin Powers, but still, maybe some of that Tarantino magic will rub off on him and he’ll get his career back on track.
  • Even if they despised the movie, all of the critics agreed that the acting of Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa absolutely stole the show. And I definitely concur, Landa was a superb villain. Of course, the question remains — when he served Shoshanna that glass of milk in the restaurant, did he know who she was? The logical answer is that he couldn’t possibly know, having never even seen her face before, and that it was all a coincidence carefully constructed to make the audience worry for Shoshanna’s safety. But you know … Landa did have the same menacing look in his eyes as when he was interrogating the French farmer and revealed that he knew all along that Shoshanna’s family was hiding under the floorboards …
Col. Hans Landa was a deliciously evil villain.

Col. Hans Landa was a deliciously evil villain.

  • If there was on area that Basterds fell short, it was with the soundtrack — it just wasn’t as memorable or catchy as the music found in Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill. Perhaps a better appreciation of the soundtrack would come with multiple viewings, but at first glance nothing really stood out like Miserlou or Battle Without Honor or Humanity.

All in all, Inglourious Basterds is undoubtedly one of my favourite movies of the year and  I definitely recommend checking it out. Due to its 1940s setting there is a distinct lack of pretentious pop culture references, which should make the movie more palatable to even the harshest of Tarantino’s critics.

RATING: SUPER FANTASTIC COOL

Deadliest Warrior, Season Two: The Deadlierest

There’s no denying the fact that most shows on Spike TV are absolutely terrible. I mean, there’s a reason why 90% of their programming consists of UFC fights and CSI reruns — even the bigwigs at Spike realize that their original shows are downright atrocious and wish to limit their visibility as much possible.

Which makes it incredibly shocking that, despite their track record, they somehow went out and produced one hell of a television gem: Deadliest Warrior.

The best new show in a long time.

The best new show in a long time.

Daring to answer mankind’s most pressing questions (or at least the types of questions posed by history buffs and anthropology nerds), the crack team of experts on Deadliest Warrior picked apart the strengths and weaknesses of history’s greatest warriors to declare, once and for all, what would happen if a Viking faced off with a Samurai, or if a Shaolin Monk went mano-a-mano with a Maori Warrior.

Needless to say, the show was twelve kinds of awesome. Unfortunately … the season is over. All of the battles have been played out and all of the warriors have been sent back to their respective eras. The elephant in the room, of course, is the question on so many minds: Will it return for a second season? And if so, what new warriors will enter the fray?

Luckily for you, dear reader, I have the inside scoop. Yes, Deadliest Warrior will return for a second season, and from what I’ve heard, the battles will be even more insane than ever before! If you thought the Taliban versus the IRA was ridiculous, wait ’til you see what Spike has in store for next season!

Indeed, prepare to be shocked as we discover, once and for, who … is … deadliest!

ADOLF HITLER vs. JOSEF STALIN

William Wallace against Shaka Zulu was just the beginning — now it’s time to pit two of history’s most evil bastards against each other to find out who … is … deadliest! For this fight, we’re not talking about Nazis versus Soviets. We’re not talking about massive battles with armies and commanders and generals. No, we’re talking about one-on-one, man-to-man combat between two of history’s most ruthless and despised leaders!

Unfortunately for him, Hitler's arm-mounted miniguns are more fiction that fact.

Sadly, Hitler's arm-mounted miniguns are more fiction that fact.

There will be no weapons … just fists, feet, and cunning intellect. Will Hitler’s gastro-intestinal problems and Parkinson’s Disease be able to triumph over Stalin’s short stature and crippled left arm? And what impact will Stalin’s larger moustache have during the battle? Watch as the Deadliest Warrior team systematically tests each leader’s military uniform to determine which one could withstand more weak, pathetic blows!

Remember, one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic. Find out which evil monster comes to a “tragic” end in an episode that you’ll definitely not want to miss!

RCMP MUSICAL RIDE vs. BUCKINGHAM PALACE GUARD

The RCMP Musical Ride — well-trained police officers who spend their time learning how to make horses prance around in formation in order to impress children and tourists. The Buckingham Palace Guard — well-trained military soldiers who spend their time perfecting the art of standing completely still for hours at a time. Both sides wear funny red uniforms and ridiculous hats. But which of these national icons/stereotypes … is … deadliest?

Watch out! They've got long wooden poles!

Watch out! They've got long wooden poles!

Will the outstanding discipline of the Buckingham Palace Guard be enough to triumph in battle? Or will the animal husbandry of the Mounties give them the edge? In terms of weaponry, the Queen’s Guard carries an impressive looking rifle that, while unloaded and present only for ceremonial purposes, can still be used as a dangerous blunt weapon. But will they get to use it, seeing as how the Musical Ride just might have a distinct reach advantage with their non-threatening pennons and flags?

Hang on to your Stetsons and Bearskins — this one will be epic!

AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER vs. AUSTRALIAN RUGBY PLAYER

It’s time to settle the age-old debate — are football players really just a bunch of pussies that should be playing rugby instead? In this squad-based match-up, the Deadliest Warrior team will put each team through its paces to determine, once and for all, who … is … deadliest!

A deadly projectile?

A deadly projectile?

Football players are known for their size and strength — can they use their bulk to their advantage? Rugby players like to make jokes about all of the padding worn by the football players — but when push comes to shove, will they be able to find a way to break through that imposing defence? Will the versatility and endurance of the rugby players carry them past the football players, who are known as dedicated specialists that can only play for a few seconds at a time? Plus, what kind of damage can a rugby ball and a football do to a ballistics gel torso?

Yes, in a match-up this heated, we might need overtime to declare a champion!

ULTIMATE WARRIOR vs. TIE DOMI

He claims to the be the “ultimate” warrior. But is … he … deadliest? In this episode, our team of experts will find out what happens when you take two so-called fighters and set them on a no-holds-barred collision course with destiny.

Feel the DESTRUCITY!

Feel the DESTRUCITY!

In one corner, you have one of the WWF’s greatest showmen of all-time — a roided-up meathead with a severely limited knowledge of grappling and even more limited grasp on reality. In the other corner, you have one of the NHL’s greatest showmen of all-time — a small dude with an oddly-proportioned head and a severely limited knowledge of basic hockey skills. Both are fighters in only the loosest sense of the word, engaging in scripted bouts of pugilism for the sole purpose of getting the fans riled up and out of their seats. The question is, who will be victorious when everything’s on the line and the punches are real? Which sports hero will flinch first?

No count-outs. No disqualifications. Two men enter, but only one man will survive!

Wow. A bunch of classic battles, to be sure. And that’s just a taste of what’s coming up in season two of Deadliest Warrior. Man, I can’t wait!