August 28, 2009

Adolfo! Adolfo!

So I sneaked out last night to see Inglourious Basterds, which I found to be generally fantastic; Brad Pitt's craft has come a long way since Meet Joe Black.

Because, I confess, I'm still working through a stack of badly panned & scanned DVDs of lost grindhouse epics, I have fallen behind in my study of spaghetti westerns and the lesser-known works of Lee Marvin. And so I was worried that Tarantino's many subtle, referenzia cinematografistica which so many esteemed critics alluded to might slip by me unnoticed--and if that happens, what's the point, right?

I needn't have worried. From the twangy, scratchy get-go, where the opening track sounded like it was being played back on Hi-Fi to mimic the apparently primitive audio post-production facilities of Italy [1], Tarantino is not shy--hah, as if--about his stylistic references.

Oh, and contrary to some opinions, I thought Mike Myers was spot-on. I'd always joke-assumed Pitt won the Travolta/Forster/Carradine/Russell casting lottery this time as the actor whose forgotten talents and fizzling career would be nobly rescued by the director fanboi who Never Forgot. But I was wrong; it's Myers. You now have at least two years where we won't hold The Cat In The Hat against you, Mike. Use them well.

Anyway, the point, and the thing I either overlooked or never heard, was what a big, fat, sloppy kiss to the cinema this thing was. And not just the blatant, "Make me a Cannes juror for life!" applause line ["I'm French. We respect directors in this country."] either. I'm talking about how the whole plot is basically the basterd child of The Dirty Dozen and Cinema Paradiso.

Also, *SPOILER ALERT?* was there NOT a shoutout to the end of Raiders of The Lost Ark? Does this mean Tarantino's officially moved onto hommaging 80s pop film now? I see Michael Schoeffling as Robert Forster.

[1] Whenever he gets around to making it, I'm sure QT's Punjabi murder musical will sound like it was recorded in the bathtub.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: August 28, 2009.

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