I Don’t Get It. Is Inglourious Basterds a Bad Comedy?

Apparently this is what all the kids are talking about, so I guess I need to talk about it?  Inglourious Basterds is a movie, after all.  I’d rather not. This trailer does speak for itself, after all.

Really?  I haven’t seen war until I’ve seen it through Quentin Tarantino’s eyes?  ‘Cos his eyes look terrible.  It’s all bad Brad Pitt southern accents and exploitation levels of violence against Nazis because, as the trailer reminds us, “Nazis ain’t got no humanity.”  So much truth, Mr. Tarantino. You should write the definitive history book on the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.  After all, black-and-white conceptualizations of a complex historical moment are infinitely more accurate than the complicated moral ambiguity of having to sacrifice your humanity in order to safely live under a fascist regime.  Awful is the new shades of grey.  Duh.

Oh yeah, and Adolph Hitler was nothing more than a silly clown.  I forgot!

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Tarantino person.  I find his personality, whenever he’s placed in front of a camera, to be as irritating as a diaper rash.  I’ve never seen Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, and I get that his whole schtick is a post-modern pastiche of various high- and low-genre film tropes.  That’s just fine.  The Kill Bill movies are an enjoyable and interesting kung-fu/western/women’s film mash-up anchored by an excellent Uma Thurman, a smartly self-aware script, and some wickedly violent black comedy.    Maybe it’s just a poorly constructed trailer, but Inglourious Basterds looks like it’s missing the mark in a RUH-ROH! sort of way.  

Something about it seems too stylistically self-aware to really be clever or engaging, and the movie looks so determinedly violent that I doubt any character in the film will be conceivably likable.  Is this movie really anyone’s idea of entertainment?  Maybe the film is actually an indictment of our current political moment, one in which soldiers deliberately deny the humanity of their enemy as a perceived act of righteousness and retribution only to thereby lose their own through said act?  So many questions!  Then again:

“Each and every man under my command owes me One!  Hundred!  Nah-zi!  Scalps!  And ah want mah scalps.”  And also:

Swastika forehead man.


I’m by no means making light of the horrors the Nazis committed, but this movie is such a tone-deaf attempt at being HARDCORE and WICKED AWESOME (two things that any movie dealing with Nazis probably should try to avoid as a simple measure of good taste) that Inglourious Basterds could very well be (fingers crossed!) the Showgirls of war movies.  Seriously, it looks so incredibly bad that my camp radar is threatening to explode in a glittery blaze of catfights and sequined dresses.  Damn, I hope Gina Gershon and Elizabeth Berkley have cameos as sexy Nazi vixens with fabulously painted nails.  That would be the best.

This movie seems like a hard sell, so good luck, Harvey Weinstein!  I know I for one can’t wait to see it.  On bootleg.

3 Responses

  1. […] given Obsessed and we’re soon going to get Powder Blue.  There’s no way in hell that Inglourious Basterds is not going to be garbage-and-a-half (the prospect of witnessing Eli Roth’s acting is just […]


  2. Yyou’re not supposed to take it seriously but enjoy it ironically. To me it mocks all those shitty “holocaust cinema” tearjerker movies in which nazis are the ultimate evil. It’s been overdone and and people are tired of that shit especially young people who’ve been told about the atrocities of the nazis over a million times.


    • Oh, I get that. When I wrote this post forever ago, I hadn’t seen the movie, and I was merely reacting to a trailer. It looked tongue-in-cheek and irreverent, which felt uncomfortably at odds with how sacrosanct the Holocaust is often regarded. I saw it a while back, and while I had a few problems with it (particularly in how it treats women), I’ll totally admit it’s a lot smarter than I initially gave it credit for.


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