Nazi Bastards

I love Quentin Tarantino. He gets away with revisionist history by making Inglourious Basterds (even the misspelled title is revisionist) an epic, delightfully indulgent Jews-vs.-Nazis revenge fantasy with no basis in fact. But most war films—in fact, most historical dramas—play fast and loose with the facts. By creating something so outrageously removed from reality (events that never happened, caricatures galore), isn't Tarantino's film actually more upfront and honest about its approach to world history?

Anyway, you probably already know the story—a ridiculously amusing Brad Pitt leads a crew of blood-hungry Jewish Americans on the hunt for Nazi scalps in WWII France, while a sexy Jewish cinema owner plots to massacre a theater full of high-powered Nazis—so I won't say much more about it other than I loved it, even though not all of you might. (But I bet you'll agree that the "Jew Hunter" played by Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who won the Best Actor prize at Cannes, is a darkly funny, absurd, creepy, scary creation.)

Your appreciation of the film, I suppose, depends on whether or not, after all these years, you still buy into Tarantino's usual (and unique) rhythms as a filmmaker: long, tense scenes of sometimes brilliant dialogue followed by bursts of action and violence; repeat formula. (After re-reading that last sentence, I realize how reductive that might sound. But make no mistake—Tarantino's talent for craft and structure has few rivals.)

Incidentally, here is how I rank Tarantino's oeuvre:

1. Jackie Brown
2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
3. Death Proof
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. Reservoir Dogs
6. Pulp Fiction
7. Kill Bill: Vol. 2

I know, I know, Pulp Fiction is near the bottom of the list! But read about how much I love Jackie Brown.

What about you?


  1. Jackie Brown is a fabulous movie! I think most of the movies based on books by Elmore Leonard turned out quite well. There was an amazing TV series based on Maximum Bob. You should see that if you haven't already. His characters are always so interesting and realistic (even if they are way over the top some times).

  2. I still haven't seen Inglorious Basterds (criminal, I know) but Death Proof is one of the best Tarantino films out there, followed closely by Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs, respectively. I do like Kill Bill volume 1 and 2 but it reminds me too much of Lady Snow Blood, so I'll stick with Death Proof.

  3. Cris, thanks for the tip. Also, as readers may know, I don't really read novels, but if I did I think I would read me some Elmore Leonard. The books I've flipped through in the store have always intrigued me.

    Ashley, I hope you got to see the longer cut of Death Proof. As much as the Grindhouse version was great, the longer cut is even better. Also, see Basterds in the theater if you can--I always love sitting with audiences at Tarantino films because many times they are stunned silent. It's weird and wonderful.

  4. Basterds was effin' incredible. That's all I have to say about that.


  5. I really can't believe that Pulp Fiction is so low on your list. There's so much more going on in a film like that than, say, Kill Bill or even Inglourious Basterds (which I really enjoyed).

  6. So glad to see some love for "Jackie Brown"--it may be Tarantino's best overall film (though I love "Pulp Fiction," too). I must be one of only a handful of people on the planet who didn't like "Basterds," though. I suck.

  7. Will, you have to see Jackie Brown (see other comments above)! Come over sometime; I'm overdue for another viewing anyway.