In the days leading up to the Oscars, Sentimental Movie Marathon will take a look at each of the Best Picture Nominees. This is OSCAR BONANZA: TOO MUCH FILM IN YO’ FACE. Let’s take a walk through alternate history and talk about Inglourious Basterds, the bane to all spelling-kind.
1. WHAT IS INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS?
Inglourious Basterds follows a troop of select American soldiers during the second World War. Their mission is to brutally kill National Socialist soldiers in order to spread fear through the Nazi ranks. While this group plans an assassination mission with a German double agent, a Jewish French woman named Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) finds her self in a position to exact revenge on the Nazis that killed her family. The film also follows the villainous and opportunistic SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Walz) who crosses the paths of both the Basterds and Shoshanna.
In typical Tarantino fashion, there is violence. However, Quentin misses a golden (arches!) opportunity for the Basterds to sample a Royale with Cheese while in France. It’s ok, Mr. Tarantino, these things happen. There is also some meta-film stuff going on, you know, FILMS about FILMS.
2. WHAT DOES INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS HAVE GOING FOR IT?
Tarantino is a bit of an old hand at this Oscar thing. When he writes movies, the Academy notices (I am looking at you Pulp Fiction). He wrote this movie. He also directed, so there is a bunch of COOL STUFF to look at, like explosions, violence, and films within films. Also, strudel.
Christoph Walz turns in a scene-stealing performance which has the Oscar bees buzzing (BZZZZZZ). The rest of the cast works adroitly to mix the dark humor of Tarantino with the serious questions of vengeance and the not-as-serious questions about what movies mean to culture. Tarantino also gets in a bunch of those wacky casting decisions such as Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, Ryan Howard, and Neal Schweiber.
Plus, it’s about war. People love wars!
3. WHAT COULD TURN INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS INTO AN INGLORIOUS LOSER BASTARD?
While the film may have been marketed as an action flick, it is actually heavy on tense conversations. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but most of these conversations are in languages that aren’t American. For a film whose colors don’t run, this could be a problem.
Also, while not as violent as other QT fare, it is still violent! Blood, guts, burns, shots! For the subject matter, such violence is expected, but the Academy might not look too kindly on such an exploration.
Maybe the Academy also hates Eli Roth for Hostel 2.
4. WILL I TOTALLY LOSE MY SHIT IF INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS WINS?
In honesty, I did not go into Inglourious Basterds with many expectations. I was surprised with the film and let me stress that this surprise was pleasant. Posters and commercials with Brad Pitt may get people in the theater, but Tarantino’s violent eye follows World War II and movies in an intriguing way. So, if this film takes Oscar gold, I will give it its propers.