14 Apr

Inglourious Basterds

“You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business: we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin'”

– Lt. Aldo Raine


The Setup

André here. Wow, another year, another Birthday Super Munch. Crazy how time flies, huh?

Anyway, I picked Inglourious Basterds for my movie. Why, you ask? My coworkers and I were discussing which Tarantino movie was the best one and one guy was pushing for Inglourious Basterds, which I hadn’t watched in years. Leaving the conversation, I was really craving a Tarantino movie, and I had watched my favorite Tarantino movies, Kill BIll and Pulp Fiction, relatively recently. I figured, hey, why not revisit Inglourious Basterds? 

The Food

Each dish we cooked was inspired by a different Tarantino movie. For the appetizer, we went with a Reservoir Dogs themed meat & cheese board. We had Mr. Pink charcuterie, Mr. White cheese, Mr. Brown bread, Mr. Blonde mustard, Mr. Blue jam, and Mr. Orange pickled peppers.

We followed that up with a Teriyaki Donut sandwich. Tarantino loves sticking memorable fake food brands in his movies, like the Kahuna Burger from Pulp Fiction. Teriyaki Donut was the cafe from less-well-known Jackie Brown, and we just loved that name. We made our own interpretation of that name and made some savory doughnuts, slathered them in teriyaki sauce, and used two of them as buns for a chicken and pineapple sandwich. It sounds weird, I know, but it actually tasted really good.

For dessert, we just had to do strudel. The strudel scene from Inglourious Basterds is one of the most memorable food scenes in any movie I’ve ever seen. The way Christoph Waltz controls that scene is amazing. Making Mélanie Laurent wait for the cream was such a power play. Turns out, he was right too. Our strudel was just okay without the cream, but once we added it, it was way better. If you learn anything from this movie, it should be to wait for the cream when you order strudel. That, and that Nazis are bad.

The Drink

We really focused on the colors for this Kill Bill inspired pineapple tequila sour, but it ended up having just as much kick as Uma Thurman.

The Rules

🔫  Drink when someone is shot.

🔪  Drink when a Nazi is scalped.

⚰  Finish your drink during that on Hitler scene.

The Movie

For the record, Inglourious Basterds is not the best Tarantino flick, but it is a pretty good movie. Tarantino’s signature “chapter” structure works really well here. Like a collection of short stories, each chapter has a self-contained arc, and some are definitely better than others. Since the movie itself is so long, I could see myself visiting the chapters below on their own, rather than rewatching the whole movie.

“Chapter 1: Once upon a time…in Nazi occupied France” is a 20 minute chapter and the whole thing is one, very tense scene. Christoph Waltz puts in a great performance as Col. Hans Lander, a member of the SS tasked with finding Jews in hiding. As both an actor and a character, he owns the scene, imposing himself upon the dairy farmer while putting on an affable air. He’s so in control of the situation the homeowner asks Hans for permission to smoke his pipe in his own house.

“Chapter 4: Operation Kino,” has a great game-within-a-game narrative, and is similarly very tense (I guess I like tense movies?). The titular Inglourious Basterds impersonate SS officers to pick up a secret agent from an underground bar. They get roped into playing what is essentially Heads Up – guess the card on your forehead – with an actual SS officer. While the officer is asking around, trying to pick up clues to guess who he is, he is carefully prodding the Basterds to figure out who they really are. By the end of the scene, he deduces that they truly aren’t German based on how they order whiskey. The layering of game and metagame in here is truly impressive.


The Reviews

André: Good, with a few pieces that are truly great. As a whole, it turns out Inglourious Basterds is not the best Tarantino flick, but does have some of the best Tarantino chapters, as mentioned above. Unfortunately, a few of the chapters drag the rest of the movie down, making it feel like a bit of a slog at times. At 2 hours and 33 minutes, it’s quite the commitment. If you have Inglourious Basterds sitting on a shelf at home and you’re thinking of revisiting it but don’t want to commit your entire evening to it, I’d highly recommend just watching chapters 1 and 4.

Leanna: Add this to the list of Tarantino films I could have gone without ever watching. I am generally not a fan of gratuitously violent films (with the notable exception of John Wick) which probably puts Inglorious Basterds at a disadvantage and explains why I have such a “meh” reaction to most of Tarantino’s films. In particular, this movie approaches murder with a particular sense of glee and humor that I found extremely unsettling, despite the fact that most of this is directed at Nazis, and Nazis are terrible. Maybe that’s part of the point, but ultimately it lead me to feel that I did not enjoy this film and would not like to watch it again.

Ben: 65%. For a variety of reasons Tarantino films have never really clicked for me, and unfortunately Inglourious Basterds falls into the same trap. Yes, I recognize the skill Tarantino has in building tension over a period of time until you as the audience need the release, as well as the nuances of the characters he creates, and there is impressive skill in how he creates those moments and those characters but those moments largely fall a little flat for me especially in this film with the length middle section that seems to indulge itself in the moments and violence it shows that begin to lose me as a viewer. I will probably try out another Tarantino film in an ongoing quest to figure out why people love his films so much, but that will have to wait for another day.