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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day Late Dollar Short Movie Review-Inglorious Basterds

Happy New Year to all me readers and followers of the blog. I am none too sorry to see 2009 in the history books and 2010 has already started in a much better fashion.

That said-this is a new feature I will try to post from time to time. Most of you know my story that with a 6 year old and a 3 year along with a very tight budget it is a rarity for me to get to the movie theater to see the hot new movies. However, being an ex netflix'er mainly due to the convenience of Redbox I will generally watch the newer DVD releases. Hence the title, Day Late(referring to the time lapse at which the movie takes to go from theaters to DVD and Dollar Short(referring to either the crazy price to see a movie leaving you in a debt or the 1 buck for Redbox....take your pick and select the answer that works best for you). Truth be told I think its an old Nebraska saying that was taught to me by an old Nebraskan. Anyhow, I will try to post one of these every couple of weeks and always, feel free to comment.

To the movie, and I wont bore with the plot details because you have probably already read some other reviews if not probably having seen the movie outright but I have to say if there were any question that the Quentin Tarantino is over...this movie should bring down the gavel once and for all as this movie is barely a shade over being outright horrible. It's amazing given the press about this movie that some would have the temerity to declare "Tarantino is Back" or "one of his best" as I came out with quite the opposite conclusion that Tarantino deserves to direct another movie like the Indiana Jones franchise needs another space alien ending.

Much like the classic Tarantino movies that have merit-this is biggest, hackneyed, cliche filled POS in recent memory. From tired directorial tricks to the myriad of WTF moments, this movie was 150 minutes of waiting for something interesting to happen and instead we're treated to over the top scenes of outright gratuitous violence along with sullen moments of attempted preachy-ness and clever banter that is really not all that clever. Yes, thank you very much Quentin for letting the viewers know that Nazis were bad. As if it wasn't bad enough that the Nazi's perpetuated the greatest human atrocity of the 20th century-they also hated Black people too! Ooooh, now Im really steamed...go get 'em Brad Pitt make those Nazi's Pay!

And speaking of Brad Pitt, Tarantino chooses this stupid accent for his lead character when it was completely unnecessary. Really, if Pitt just spoke in regular English would it have made one lick of difference in the overall film? Christ-he could have reprised his role as Stoner roomate Floyd from True Romance and the payoff would have been the same. You are asked to suspend belief on so many accounts on this film that Pitt could have did an impression of Richard Nixon and it wouldn't have made any difference what so ever.

And back to my assertion that if you felt Tarantino was done as a director-this is really the smoking gun. At this point Tarantino carries about as much directorial credibility as M Night Shamalamadingdong. I actually prefer Tim Burton to Tarantino these days and I am no fan of Tim Burton which speaks volumes.

Another example of cliche and maybe a potential spoiler here but; when the black guy goes to light the pile of film in the theater-he flicks his cigarette onto the pile and the director decides to go with the most tires of all director tricks with the slow motion close up of the lit cig spinning through the air-Is this same cinematic effect not been beaten to death on almost any film and tv show for that matter that uses it mainly these days as a comedic device given that no director worth his weight in dr pepper would think it was a good idea to use such a tired cliche. If I see any flame inducing object doing a slo motion journey into a flammable substance it will be too soon. I am sure if you scour Reruns of the Brady Bunch or Gilligans Island odds are you will find this same gimmick used.

Back in the day of the aforementioned True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction Tarantino was doing some semi innovative things and making films that were very different and compelling from other films of the time. Remember these were the days long before the internet, netflix, or redbox and getting movies meant hoping Blockbuster or your local video store had the movie in stock. Some have argued that Tarantino was already liberally borrowing or outright stealing from others but at that point access to movies was so limited that it may have been new to mainstream america. And while I am not so sure those three films hold up well the dialogue is well written and there is enough in the story and the quality of the acting to make them worthy watches, but after that Tarantino's resume has slowly fallen and disintegrated into a vast pool of "look how talented and clever I am." If I had to choose a one sentence line to describe this movie I would go with "Tarantino has directed a lot of movie....this is one of them."

Delving further, I couldn't wait to see Jackie Brown when it came out as at that point I felt Tarantino still had something to offer. But after watching the 3 hour movie thats sole dialgue consisted of M F'er every second sentence and outright banal dialogue that failed miserably at trying to recreate the magic and chemistry that Travolta and Jackson had in Pulp Fiction-I was left with a simply mediocre if not semi exasperated take on what was really a long winded lukewarm film that if not for the performances of Pam Grier and having Jackson and Deniro in the cast would have surely been savaged by critics.

From there Tarantino goes into the Kill Bill territory which I found simply unwatchable. Shock does not equal quality. I couldn't make it through the first half on Kill Bill Vol.1 in spite of the fact I was on a 10 hour plane trip to Japan. I didn't even bother to watch any of volume 2 simply based on the aforementioned idea of Tarantino's diminishing returns. If Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds are considered "Instant Classics" as bandied about on Amazon reviews then I guess the ultra lameness of Seth Rogan in "Observe and Report" must have been a performance and movie for the Ages. Call me an old fart but all of those films just mentioned are pure unadulterated crap. Really. Crap.

Tarantinos catalog of Crap actually makes the works of Brian Depalma and John Carpenter look like Stanley Kubrick. Really, if Tarantino is a great director then Jim Jaramusch may as well be Akira Kurosawa. Hell, I will go on a limb and say the guy who shot James Cameron's Wedding video is a better director. Ill put more faith in the guy who held the camcorder at Spielberg's kids Bar Mitzvah.

Not to say the movie in entirely without merits, Mike Myers as well as Christoph Waltz were both good in their roles. As a matter of fact, I thought the first Chapter of the movie was very, very good which maybe let me down the rest of the movie as after the first scene I expected a continuance of quality that I simply didn't get. And while I respect Tarantino's use of music in his films-the choice of music in this film are simply cliched and overused as are most of Tarantinos self indulgent tripe. I like Bowie, I really do. I like the song "Putting out the Fire" and really enjoyed listening to it in high quality 5.1, but for this movie its just a tired, cliche. Its not there to add anything as much as it is a trick or a gimmick if you will.

All I can say in summary is is a few handpicked lyrics from Paul Westerberg that still ring as true today as when he wrote them nearly 20 years ago.

Hollywood cops
shoot each other in bed
and I wouldn't go to see 'em
they put the checkbook to my head

The fifth gripping week
an absolute must
one of the years
best ain't say'in much