Ramblings: Tarantino Rewrites History–And His Ending’s Better
In a shotglass, this is a Tarantino fan’s movie. If you like Tarantino, chances are you’re gonna love Basterds. If you’re one of those critics who rag on him, you’re not going to like anything he does anyway, no matter how good it is.
And Inglourious Basterds is good. More than good. There may be a couple slow spots that keep this film from being a full five-shot review, but this movie is great for all the right reasons.
It’s a solidly made movie. Straight to the point (much of the time), beautiful shots and interesting angles. It is also superbly cast. Brad Pitt’s performance as a 1st Lieutenant from Maynardville, Tennessee is solid, down to an incredible accent. Mélanie Laurent may be a in little over her head surrounded by such talent, but she’s cute, twenty-six and French, which makes up for a lot. Of course, the performance of the film is that of Christoph Waltz, an Austrian actor who owns the pivotal role of Nazi Jew-hunter Colonel Hans Landa. USA Today reports that Tarantino almost didn’t make the movie because he couldn’t find anyone who could master the poetry of three languages (German, French and English–Are you trilingual? No, but i’ll try anything once). Inglourious Basterds would not rock half as hard had the part gone to anyone else (there was early talk of De Crapio trying to fill Landa’s storm boots). Waltz won the Best Actor palme at Cannes and has the inside position for an Oscar.
From a pure drinker’s skewed view, there might be some problems seeing this movie under the influence. Much of the movie is in foreign languages, so you’ll have to read subtitles (no problem for me, i speak German like a trooper) but the authenticity of the language is one more factor in Basterd‘s favor. After the Valkyrie disaster, where Tom Cruise plays a Nazi who speaks English with an American accent and other actors are SS with British accents, it’s nice to see a film that sounds good. Just keep telling yourself you’re not hearing drunk, that the people actually are talking foreign. The other drawback of seeing Basterds while soused is that, like i said before, there are a couple slower parts and if you have too much of a buzz you may nod off.
Overall, Inglourious Basterds is fun to watch, as most of Tarantino’s movies are, but Basterds has an added depth (both historical and artistic) that elevates it above the rest.
Final Proof: 4 ½ shots (Killer)
Buzz Kills (Watch Out For Spoilers)
Sex: 2 Shots (A Little Weak)
The real story here is not Diane Kruger, the German actress who plays a German actress in the movie. Sure, she’s hot but she doesn’t really show it off here.
You wanna talk sexy, though, you’re talking about Mélanie Laurent. This French cutie makes her US film debut with the Basterds and what she lacks in experience she takes care of with her looks and the adorable mole on the side of her neck that you can see in the scene when she’s back-lit by streetlights, smoking a cigarette and leaning against a wall in a low cut red dress that does her justice, body and mole.
Drinks: 4 Shots (Pretty Killer)
There wasn’t enough drinking in Inglourious Basterds for me to fill up a fifth shot, but what was here was smooth.
i’ve included some of the better dialogues below, but the main drinking scene was full 200 proof.
In this basement café in Germany, Nazi soldiers and Diane Kruger make a drinking game of “Who Am I?” (the game where you can’t see the name of a famous person you stick to your forehead, and you have to ask other people questions about the person until you guess their identity). The true revelation in this scene is Alexander Fehling as Master Sergeant Wilhelm/Pola Negri. You’ve heard me bitch before (and if you haven’t you oughta) about actors trying to act drunk but Fehling pulls it off with complete believability. Look for him in this year’s Drinkademy Barwards, for Best Supported Male Drunk.
Rock ‘n’ Roll: 3 Shots (Sweet)
As for the literal Rock & Roll in the movie, there isn’t much. In that scene i was talking about Mélanie Laurent smoking hot, Tarantino makes good use of David Bowie’s “Putting Out The Fire (Theme from Cat People)”. It’s an interesting choice but the way QT works it works really well. The other thing is that there are chunks of the movie with no background music at all, which made the action less cliché and therefore more powerful. Sometimes the lack of rock and roll is rock and roll itself.
But the reason i gave this section 3 Shots has more to do with the rock and roll attitude of the film. The quick pace, hard-hitting action (like Eli Roth as the Jew Bear who hits hard with a baseball bat) and patented Tarantino violence (some cool scalping scenes) rock the movie hard.
General Fenech: General Ed Fenech, at ease Hicox. Drink?
Lieutenant Hicox: If you offered me a scotch and plain water, I could drink a scotch and plain water.
General Fenech: That a boy, Lieutenant. Make it yourself, like a good chap, will you? Bar’s in the globe.
Lieutenant Hicox: Something for yourself, sir?
General Fenech: Whiskey straight. No junk in it.
Lieutenant Hicox: What should we drink to, sir?
General Fenech: Down with Hitler.
Lieutenant Hicox: All the way down, sir.
[In a tavern with drunken Germans]
Lieutenant Hicox: You might not have worn out your welcome with the fraulein, with your drunken, boorish behavior, but you have worn out your welcome with me.
Major Hellstrom: Allow me to refill your glasses gentlemen, and I will bid you and the fraulein adieu. Eric has a bottle of thirty-three year old single malt scotch whisky from the Scottish highlands. What do you say, gentlemen?
Lieutenant Hicox: You’re most gracious, sir.
Major Hellstrom: Eric, the thirty-three and new glasses! You don’t want to contaminate the thirty-three with the swill you’re drinking.
[Later in the tavern, Lt Hicox (undercover as a German soldier) holds a glass of 33-year-old scotch in one hand and a pistol in the other. The pistol is pressed against a Gestapo agent’s testicles. Said Gestapo agent is holding his luger against Hicox’s family jewels as well.]
Lieutenant Hicox: There’s a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch. And seeing as I might be rapping on death’s door momentarily…
[He downs the stuff.]
Lieutenant Hicox (To the Nazi Major): I must say, damn good stuff, sir.
[He puts the glass down.]
Lieutenant Hicox: Now, about this ‘pickle’ we find ourselves in. It would appear there’s only one thing left for you to do.
Major Hellstrom: And what would that be?
Lieutenant Hicox: Stiglitz.
Stiglitz: Say ‘auf wiedersehen’ to your balls.
Lieutenant Aldo: The doggie doc’s gonna dig that slug outta your gam. Then he’s gonna wrap it in a cast and you’ve got a good how-I-broke-my-leg-mountain-climbing story. That’s German, ain’t it? Y’all like climbing mountains, dontcha?
Bridget Von Hammersmark: I don’t. I like smoking, drinking, and ordering in restaurants. But I see your point.
NOTE: The original script was leaked and appeared on various internet sites. It has since been taken down everywhere at the behest of the executive producers, the Weinstein brothers. i have a copy in pdf format and would be more than happy to shoot you a copy if you leave me your e-mail address.
Boring Technical Crap
Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Brad Pitt – 1st Lt Aldo Raine
Mélanie Laurent – Shosanna Dreyfus
Christoph Waltz – Col. Hans Landa