Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)



It’s 1969, and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a fading, Western actor, struggling to maintain relevance in a rapidly changing Hollywood. His only friend is his driver, and longtime stunt man, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a Vietnam vet whom it is heavily implied murdered his wife. The two spend their days driving around LA, getting drunk, watching Rick’s various TV appearances, and debating about whether or not the latter should take an offer to make Spaghetti Westerns in Europe. Meanwhile, Hollywood director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), have just moved into the house beside Dalton. Dalton sees in Polanski a chance to become legitimate again, and eagerly tries to get in their good graces. Something that could throw a wrench in his plans, however, is a small, delusional band of Hippies living out in a place called Spawn Ranch, who may or may not be hatching a murder scheme. Continue reading


The Hateful Eight

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu is the Name, And Views Are My Game.

Have you ever been to a murder mystery party before? In case you haven’t, it’s when you and your friends get together, and are given a scenario; “We are these people, at the so and so mansion, for this reason.” Each person is assigned a character, and then gets told that there’s a killer in their midst. You spend the rest of the game trying to figure out who said killer is, hopefully before he or she gets to you. It’s silly, but very fun, and gives people the chance to get creative and show off their improv chops. Plus, who doesn’t love hanging out with their friends?

Now, imagine that you’re at a murder mystery party, but things are a little different. You don’t know anyone there, and when you do get to know them, you realize that they’re all bigots, rapists, and murderers. There’s no fun involved with the discovery of the killer, only necessity and petty jealousy. On top of that, certain people keep repeating the same lines over and over again, and it’s really starting to grate on your nerves. If you can imagine what that party would be like, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect with The Hateful Eight, the latest film from writer-director Quentin Tarantino.

The story of two bounty hunters, Samuel L Jackson and Kurt Russel, trying to bring a woman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, into hang, The Hateful Eight is a straightforward, contained thriller. 90% of the film takes place inside a single room, and, as with most Tarantino pictures, it synthesizes long, drawn-out scenes of dialogue with occasional outbursts of intense violence. Oh, and racial slurs. Lots and lots of racial slurs. I actually took the liberty of counting, and the n word is used 59 times in this movie. Yeah. 59 times. Look, I realize that Tarantino always uses that word in his films, and that his justification is that there was a lot of racism back in the 1800s, but, I’m sorry, there were other words in the English language back then. You don’t have to use it to such excess, Quentin. You’re not being edgy or provocative when you do so. You’re just coming off as an annoying little kid, screaming for attention.

But, I digress. Concerning the movie itself, I’m going to come right out and say that I didn’t like it. And before anyone says anything, it’s not because Tarantino directed it. I actually do like some of his films. I’ve seen Pulp Fiction many times, and I think Jackie Brown is enjoyable. However, ever since Kill Bill, his works have consistently managed to either enrage, or simply baffle me. And I think I can confidently say that The Hateful Eight is his worst film yet. For starters, certain things that you just expect to be good in a Quentin Tarantino movie, like the dialogue and the acting, aren’t good here. There are numerous scenes where characters will repeat themselves, like one where Kurt Russell says “You really only need to hang mean bastards, but mean bastards you need to hang,” and another where Walton Goggins asks Samuel Jackson three times in a row, “You have a letter from Abraham Lincoln?” There’s absolutely no reason to repeat the same lines over and over again. It just gets annoying. We heard you the first time, Quentin. Move on. And as for the acting, Tim Roth gives an atrociously over-the-top performance in this movie. Every now and then, like in the scene where he says, “the n***er in the stable has a letter from Abraham Lincoln?” his voice will get super high and cartoonish sounding. And while I’m aware that he actually is British in real life, there are points in this film where he sounds more like Nicolas Cage doing a parody of a British person.

So, the acting and the dialogue aren’t much to write home about. But what about the filmmaking? The cinematography? The music? Well, when promoting this film, Tarantino kept bringing up the fact that he was using ultra-wide, 70 mm lens cameras, like the ones they used on Lawrence of Arabia. Problem is, those lenses are more or less wasted in this picture, because, as I said before, 90% of the movie takes place inside a tiny room. Lawrence Of Arabia took place outside, in a gorgeous, rugged landscape, where the huge lenses helped capture the full scope and beauty of the environment. The Hateful Eight takes place in a cramped, dimly lit room. There’s absolutely no reason to be using these big, and expensive, lenses if all you’re going to do is stay inside one location. It honestly just comes off to me as Quentin Tarantino wanting to stroke his own ego by saying “hey! I’m just as great a filmmaker as Cecil B DeMille or David Lean! My shitty little western is on par with The Ten Commandments and Lawrence Of Arabia.” And lest you think I exaggerate with that statement, Tarantino also had the movie be over three hours long, decided to include an overture, and an intermission. That stuff hasn’t been used in movies since the 1960s. If that isn’t self-indulgent, I don’t know what is.

But by far the biggest problem I had with this movie were the characters. It’s not that they weren’t well-rounded or fleshed out. It’s just that they were all such complete and utter assholes, that I really didn’t care if they lived or died. I know that Tarantino likes to write about morally ambiguous, or even downright evil people, but, usually, he tries to give them some redeeming qualities. Samuel L Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction becomes a kinder, less violent person by the end of the movie, and Bruce Willis’s character, as selfish and proud as he is, does go back to save Ving Rhames. None of the characters in The Hateful Eight have redeeming qualities. Kurt Russell is a misogynist who repeatedly hits Jennifer Jason-Leigh, who is a racist and a murderer. Samuel L Jackson is a rapist, and a murderer. Bruce Dern is a genocidal bigot and, well, you get the idea. No one is worth caring about in this movie, and that’s sad. Why have we become so determined to not write kind, decent, or generous characters anymore? Why do we hate seeing good people in our entertainment? Hell, even Superman, the quintessential boy scout, has gotten turned into an asshole in recent years. Why, I ask you? Why?

But, yeah, as you can probably tell, I wasn’t a big fan of The Hateful Eight. It’s got everything you’d expect from a Quentin Tarantino joint, just not done very well. It’s a 5 out of 10, in my opinion. If you’re a fan of his, whatever. You’ll probably love this anyway. But if you want good quality entertainment, avoid this picture.

Gozu, or Salvador Dali’s Trip Through Shinto Hell.

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

It’s funny how, sometimes, it’s the most obvious aspects of our personalities that have to be pointed out. For some of us, this anomaly comes in the form of discovering strange little quirks, like arranging the food on our plate in a certain way, that we never knew we had. For me, it came in the realization that I absolutely adore strange stories. Now when I say “strange stories,” I’m referring to imaginative books or films with slow-paced, intricate plots, and vivid, dream-like images. Such stories often take unexpected turns into the realm of the surreal or fantastic, usually with little to no explanations why. Books that might fall into this category include The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami, One Hundred years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and The Trial by Franz Kafka. Films that fit this classification include Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and just about every picture produced by David Lynch.


Anyway, I came to the realization that I have an almost insatiable appetite for the absurd while waiting for Takashi Miike’s Gozu to arrive in the mail. Gozu, which literally means “Cow’s Head,” is a 2003 cult film from one of Japan’s most infamous directors. Nearly every review I’d read described it as, hands down, the absolute weirdest, most surreal piece of work put to the screen. This, of course, caught my attention, and so naturally I placed it at the top of my Netflix queue. It was while I was waiting for that lovely red envelope to appear in my mailbox that I realized something. This was, without question, the most excited I’d been to see a movie in a long time. This got me thinking. Did I like weird movies more than regular ones? No, I told myself, of course not. It was not the strangeness of the picture that had attracted my interest. It was the fact that the movie was directed by Takashi Miike, the man who brought the world such masterpieces as 13 Assassins and Hara Kiri: The Death of a Samurai. Still, as time passed, I started to notice certain details that flat out contradicted my denials. Some of my absolute favorite movies–The Big Lebowski, Life of Pi, and The Triplets of Belleville–are pretty darn weird. In addition, four of the movies that I’d reviewed on my blog–Dead Man, Oldboy, Valhalla Rising, and The Crying Game–were extremely strange. Faced with all this cold, hard evidence, I decided there was no point in lying to myself any longer. I loved weird movies, and that was why I ordered Gozu. Having finally accepted this part of myself, I was able to view the picture with no inhibitions.


Now some of you might be thinking, “Alright, so you had no inhibitions while watching it, but did you actually like it? Was it any good?” Yes and yes. In addition to being highly entertaining, Gozu was just as weird as everyone described, if not more so. It had unique, effective cinematography, extremely creative characters, and an eerie soundtrack that leant itself well to the story. Watching it was like seeing a René Magritte painting get turned into film. Yet despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this picture, I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. It’s over two hours long, meandering in some places, and flat out disgusting in others. Also, I’ve learned over time that most people don’t share my love of foreign films so, for all you out there who hate having to read subtitles, this movie’s definitely not for you. But, all weaknesses aside, Gozu is still a highly unique work of art that should garner more attention from analytical movie-goers. That’s actually what I intend to convince people of in today’s analysis. However, before I can do that, I feel like I should explain a few details to those readers who are unfamiliar with the director and genre.


First of all, the man who made this movie, Takashi Miike, is someone who  recently made his way to the top of my favorite filmmakers list. You’ve probably never heard of him but, with more than 50 pictures to his name, he is one of contemporary Japan’s most prolific directors. He is also one of the most controversial. Miike has often been described as the Japanese equivalent to Quentin Tarantino. I suppose it’s a valid comparison. Both directors have garnered international notoriety for depicting shocking scenes of extreme violence and sexual perversion. In addition to this, both men are famous for their black sense of humor and for focusing on the activities of criminals and minority peoples in their films. Beyond these few features, however, one simply cannot compare the two. See, where Tarantino is sort of a one trick pony, only making strange, ultra-violent movies, Miike has expanded his repertoire into a wide variety of genres, including period pieces, family comedies, musicals, dramas, and horror. I was actually introduced to him through 13 Assassins, one of his more innocuous, mainstream movies, and have yet to see his most controversial projects–Ichi the Killer and Visitor Q.


What I like about Miike is that, while he’s as showy and over the top as directors like Tarantino and Baz Luhrman, he’s also very subtle and profound. Many of his films, such as the horror classic Audition and the crime drama Ley Lines, deal with difficult and controversial issues, including the sexism and xenophobia that are all too present in contemporary Japanese society. That’s part of the reason why I was interested when I heard about Gozu. I wanted to see what new message Miike was trying to get across. Everyone had told me that Gozu was strange, and I figured he’d made it that way deliberately in order to get some political or social agenda through to the audience. Then again, it’s equally likely that he’d made a weird movie simply because he wanted to make one. There’s a whole genre of films out there that exist simply to poke fun at the notion that stories have to have a meaning. Almost none of the pictures that the Coen Brothers do make any sense, and the  black comedy Rubber  even advertised itself as an “homage to the element of nonsense that exists in every story.” But, I’ve kept you all waiting long enough. Let’s begin today’s analysis of the beautifully bizarre breakthrough that is Gozu.


Concerning plot; If you thought movies like Mementos, Mullholland Drive or Donnie Darko were confusing, you probably aren’t prepared for the picture I’m about to describe to you. What it is, in essence, is the story of a low level criminal trying to find the body of a man he accidentally killed, but in reality, it’s so much more than that.


The film starts in a restaurant where a group of Yakuza (Japanese mobsters) have gathered for a meeting. One of them, a man named Ozaki, appears to have lost his grip on reality. He takes his boss aside and directs his attention to a young couple standing outside the restaurant.  The two have this tiny little chihuahua type dog with them, and Ozaki insists that it is, in fact, a creature that has been trained specifically to kill Yakuza “made men.” He then proceeds to go outside and smash the poor little thing against every conceivable surface until, at last, there’s nothing left except a bloody mass of fur.


Recognizing that Ozaki has completely lost his marbles,  the boss orders him killed. He tells Minami, a Yakuza underling, to take Ozaki to a dump in Nagoya to be disposed of. However, before they can get there, Minami crashes his car. This causes Ozaki to bang his head and, apparently, go cold and stiff. While obviously shocked at having just killed someone, Minami is nevertheless relieved that Ozaki went out in a relatively quick and painless manner. Deciding that he should tell his boss, he pulls over to use a pay phone. When he turns around, however, he discovers that Ozaki, who was dead only moments ago, has vanished. Terrified and confused, Minami searches all over the city for signs of the missing corpse, but to no avail. He eventually stumbles across the dump where he was supposed to bring Ozaki, and asks the gangsters there for help. They agree, and offer to put him in an inn for the night.


The inn they end up choosing is run by an elderly brother and sister, who are just about the creepiest, most socially awkward people imaginable. Don’t believe me? Well then, why don’t I show you what we’re dealing with here. While Minami is taking a bath, the sister comes in and offers him some breast milk. Now remember, this woman is at least sixty years old, so its anyone’s guess how she still manages to lactate. When Minami refuses her offer, screaming, “No! I don’t want any milk!” she sighs and says, “A lot of our customers have been saying that lately,” before getting up and leaving.


The next morning, Minami gets the hell out of there and goes to a diner run by three transvestites. Why he would find this establishment any less weird than the place he just came from beats me but, to be honest, you learn to stop questioning this movie after a while. Anyway, while he’s there, he meets a person who claims to have seen Ozaki. He follows their directions, which take him all over Nagoya before bringing him back to the inn from earlier. Apparently, a man matching Ozaki’s description rented a room the night before, and the creepy brother and sister just neglected to tell him. Minami asks to stay in Ozaki’s room, and the innkeepers agree. That night, a minotaur (yes folks, I did just say minotaur) comes to visit Minami and offers him some red beans and rice. No explanation is ever given as to why this vignette was included or what it means but, like I said, you learn to stop questioning things after a while. The next morning, Minami awakens to find a note by his futon. This letter, apparently written by Ozaki, instructs him to go to the dump where the boss ordered him to dispose of the corpse. When he gets there, however, its only to learn that Ozaki’s body was pressed the day before. The mobsters there even show him the flattened corpse, which they keep hanging on a coat wrack wrapped in plastic like in a dry cleaners. This leaves Minami crushed (no pun intended) and confused.


However, before he gets a chance to ask the time of day, he gets hit with another curve ball–a rather curvaceous and attractive curve ball played by gravure idol Kimiko Yoshino. A mysterious woman appears in the back seat of his car and claims to be Ozaki. When he scoffs at her odd assertion, she proves to him that she is telling the truth by repeating, word for word, a dialogue that the two of them had earlier in the film. Confused at this turn of events, but deciding to go along with it, Minami takes the female Ozaki with him back to Tokyo. However, when he presents her to the other mobsters, his intention being to explain that the bombshell he has with him is, in fact, their brother in crime, his boss becomes besotted with her and doesn’t give minami the chance to speak. He chats her up a bit and then spirits her back to his apartment for some perverted sex. How do I know that its perverted sex? Well, in order to get a hard on, he has to shove a metal spoon up his ass. Yes. I did just say that. If you value your sanity, you won’t feel the need to read that sentence again. Anyway, Minami realizes that his boss is really going to do the nasty to Ozaki, so he decides to save her/him in one of the most over-the-top and, in my opinion, unintentionally funny manners possible–by swinging through the window on a rope like Tarzan. He kills his boss by touching the tip of the spoon with a caddle prod, don’t ask me where he got one of those, and takes Ozaki back to his place. There, the two have sex, which for some reason causes the woman to give birth to the original Ozaki. Now, when I say, “give birth,” I don’t mean to a baby. I mean the full-grown, fully-clothed man from earlier in the film comes out. And that’s not even the weirdest part. After the birth scene, we cut to a shot of the Tokyo skyline. Minami explains in a voice-over how, “we put the girl in the tub and she went right back to normal.” We then get a shot of the female Ozaki, alarmingly calm and composed considering what just happened, sitting in a bubble bath brushing her teeth. And if you think that’s odd, wait till you hear this. The scene right after this shows Minami, Ozaki and the female Ozaki walking arm in arm down the street. And you know what happens next? Nothing! The movie just ends there.


Now if, at this point, you’re thinking something along the lines of, “what the fuck?” don’t worry, that was my initial reaction too. As you can see, Gozu is a really, really, really weird film, arguably the weirdest that I’ve ever seen. Now to some people, the weirdness of this story exists solely to confuse and entertain the audience, and while I can see the validity of this argument,  I’m not sure I agree with it. Yes, the twists are highly amusing, but I do think that Miike had something larger in mind when he added them. What that something was, I don’t know, but I do have a theory.


To me, Gozu is a cinematic exploration of sexuality confusion, with elements of Greek mythology thrown in. How, you might ask, could I possibly come up with such an assertion? Well, in terms of it being mythological, the film manages to artfully weave several aspects of the old legends into the plot. Like Perseus, Minami encounters a minotaur on his journey, and like the blind prophet, Tiresias, Ozaki undergoes several transformations, changing from a man to a woman to a man again.


As for the “sexuality confuseon” claim, the clues are everywhere, if not altogether obvious. Sexual imagery is present in almost every frame,  particularly phallic symbols. Numerous characters, including Ozaki and the creepy female inn-keeper, comment on the size of Minami’s penis. When the gangsters at the dump show Minami Ozaki’s flattened corpse, Minami’s gaze is shown lingering on Ozaki’s junk. What all this indicates to me is that Minami is actually gay, most likely for Ozaki, but not comfortable enough with the fact to share it with anyone. This constant pressure to hide his secret, coupled with a sense of guilt at having to kill a man he’s attracted to, has caused Minami so much stress that he’s starting to hallucinate. How else might one explain the bat-shit insanity unfolding all about him? Now I realize that this whole idea might sound totally bogus to some of you but, if you think about it, it makes sense. Minami appears to have very strong feelings for Ozaki, and ones that go beyond simple admiration. When Minami receives the order to kill Ozaki, he becomes incredibly nervous and antsy–more so than one might feel if they were simply unfamiliar with killling. Then, when Ozaki disappears, Minami becomes frantic and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. When he does so, he doesn’t kill him, as he’s been ordered to do. Rather, he welcomes him with relief, and does everything in his power to protect him, even going so far as to kill his boss. The final bit of proof can be found in the sex scene between Minami and the female Ozaki. Minami knows that this woman is actually a man, but decides to have sex with her anyway. Why? Because he, a closeted gay man, has found an outlet through which to satisfy his needs, and in a manner that, on the surface, conforms with societies standards of acceptable behavior. The birth scene that follows symbolizes Minami’s full acceptance of his sexuality.  He, like the male Ozaki, is coming out into the open.


So what, in the end, does all this sexual and mythological nonsense add up to? What’s the movie trying to get across? Well, in my opinion, it’s Takashi Miike’s method of subtly criticizing homophobia and society’s narrow perceptions of gender. That’s certainly the most provable reading to have. All the right images, motifs and plot elements are at your disposal but, truth be told, its equally likely that this movie has no meaning whatsoever. And in a strange way, that’s what so great about it. In addition to being an extremely enjoyable sojourn into insanity, Gozu is just specific enough in its content to be seen as more than simple psychedelic entertainment. It dares you to believe that there’s something more to it, that there’s a hidden message tucked between the wide shots. And at the same time, its not annoyingly didactic either. You don’t come out of it choking on a processed moral like you might with Wall Street or Blood Diamond. Rather, your left with a sense of wonder and confusion. “That was really weird,” you might say to yourself. “And you know what, I think it was trying to tell me something.”


And that, dear friends, is why Takashi Miike’s Gozu should be at the top of more movie-goers “must see” lists. Thank you all so much for staying with me for this long. This is Nathan Liu, signing off.


Why “Inglorious Bastards” Is Inglorious To The End

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.

Upon its release in 2009, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards was met with critical acclaim and box office boom. The film–which tells the story of two plots to assassinate Hitler, one made by a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, the other by a team of Jewish-American soldiers—was nominated for numerous awards, and made an Oscar winner and international star out of Austrian actor Christoph Waltz.

At the time of its release, my parents and I were just getting settled in our new home after spending five years in Germany. I had loved every minute of my time overseas, and I was eager to share my experiences with anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, these dreams never came to fruition. Instead of showing interest, or even curiosity, at the fact that I grew up in another country and spoke another language, other children mocked and harassed me–particularly of the accent that I’d acquired over the years. They called me horrible names like Nazi and Jew-Killer, and claimed that the Holocaust was my fault. Just a few problems with that theory; one, I’m about seventy years too young to have been there; two, I’m not even German: and three, I have a grandfather and a great uncle who both fought for the Allies.  Of course, when I pointed these facts out to my tormentors, it did nothing to stop them. If anything, it just made things worse.

My anguish reached an all time high when Inglorious Bastards hit the theaters. Now, whenever children called me Nazi, they did it with Brad Pitt’s absurdly strong Southern accent, and they threatened to call upon Donny “The Bear Jew” Donnowitz to “take his big bat” and “beat my ass to death with it.” Needless to say, I had no desire to see the movie after that. In fact, I promised myself right then and there that I would never watch it.

Fast forward four years–I’m eighteen, slightly more mature, and have decided to break my own oath. I figure now I’m old enough to get through the film without getting too upset. I tell myself that, even if I don’t like it, at least now I can use details from the picture to support my dislike.

Well, I’ve seen Inglorious Bastards, and what I have to say about the movie is this. It’s certainly not the worst thing to have ever hit the big screen. As an action film, it’s entertaining and reasonably well acted. It’s also shot primarily in French and German–a fact that I, as a die-hard fan of foreign-language films, was pleased to discover. Better yet is the fact that Daniel Brühl, one of my favorite actors from my years in Germany, is featured in it.

Beyond these small positive features, however, the film still flops. The first issue I had with this film is that it is gratuitously violent. Now, I bet some of you are thinking, “Well, it’s a war movie. What do you expect?” But you see, unlike other violent war films, like Glory and Saving Private Ryan, this violence has no greater purpose. Inglorious Bastards is violent simply for the sake of being violent. Within this nearly three hour picture, several people are scalped, some have swastikas carved on their foreheads, one gentleman gets his brains bashed out, and another gets his balls shot off at point blank. Unless you have a strong stomach, I doubt you can take the carnage that unfolds before the camera.

The second thing I didn’t like about this picture was that, for a movie, which claims to be a Jew-empowering revenge fantasy, it is incredibly lacking in Jewish content. Other Holocaust and World War 2 films include at least a minimal exploration of the beautiful religion that was persecuted by the Nazis, but not this one. You’ll find no recitations in Hebrew, references to the Talmud, or descriptions of traditions observed on the High Holidays in this picture. Instead, the film’s Jewish characters–many of whom are portrayed by Christian actors–are shown as sadistic psychopaths dealing out horrendous punishments to their German prisoners, many of whom don’t even express anti-Semitic views. The one positive aspect of this lack of attention to Jewish culture is the fact that Jewish stereotypes and racial epithets are largely avoided.

The third issue I had with the movie is that the plot is too absurd to take seriously. A truly great film is one that is able to make a fictional world seem real, so, Inglorious Bastards is anything but a great film. It contradicts history in so many ways, and is populated by so many two dimensional characters that, eventually, you’re forced to throw up your hands and say “What the hell?”

Let me give you an example. The movie revolves around a group of Jewish-American soldiers who have been given orders to collect 100 Nazi scalps each. Their leader, Lieutenant Aldo Reine (Brad Pitt) claims that all Germans are “the foot-soldiers of a Jew-hating, masse-murdering maniac who need to be destroyed.” First of all, that statement just isn’t true. Many Germans only joined the Nazi Party because they had no choice, and many more did everything in their power to undermine Hitler’s anti-Semitic regime. If you don’t believe me, look up the heroic actions of such Germans as Oskar Schindler, Wilm Hosenfeld, Claus Von Stauffenberg and Heinz Drossel. Secondly, this film is set in 1943, two whole years before any of the Allied Powers knew about the Death Camps, so how exactly would Reine know that Hitler was “mass-murdering?” Besides, all historical evidence indicates that, even if the Allies had known about the Fuehrer’s “final solution,” they probably wouldn’t have taken any steps to stop it. Many people in Britain, France, Russia and the United States shared the Nazi’s anti-Semitic views. In the years before the war, they largely ignored the stories of destruction and pogrom that reached them. A perfect example of their indifference to the plight of the Jews is the 1939 voyage of the Saint Louis, where President Roosevelt denied a German ship filled with Jewish refugees entrance to the United States. In the real world, the Allies didn’t care enough about the well being of the Jews to organize an elite unit of soldiers to avenge them.

Another example of the film’s lack of attention to reality is the ease with which the protagonists bring down the entire German government. They do this by having all the Nazi high command gather in a movie theater in Paris to watch a propaganda film, and then burn them to a crisp and riddle them with machine-gun fire. First of all, never, and I mean never, would every high-ranking member of the German government, Military, Gestapo, SS, and Ministry of Propaganda decide to meet at one place and one time. Anyone with common sense can see that coming together in a big group and having little to no security is just plain stupid. Say what you like about the Nazis, but they definitely weren’t THAT stupid. Also, why would these Bigwigs go all the way to France just to watch a movie? If ever all these higher-ups were to meet in one place (which they never would) a far more likely place would be Berlin. Another thing–why would the film’s protagonists decide to kill off EVERY member of the German government? In the movie, they make it out as though doing this will bring about an immediate end to the war. I hate to disappoint any audience member who might have believed this but, in the real world, doing that would have had the exact opposite effect. When we toppled Saddam Hussein in the early 2000s, we also dissolved the Ba’ath Party and the pre-existing Iraqi government. This created a power vacuum and generated extreme instability in the region. If, as the film portrays it, the entire Nazi government had been executed in one fell swoop, there would have been no one left to order the remaining German troops to surrender, no one left to negotiate with the Allies, and no one left to discontinue the Concentration camps. This just goes to show you that, despite everything that movies like this try to tell you, violence really isn’t the answer. Anyway, it is instances like this, instances in which there is a blatant lack of attention to reality in the film, that seriously decreased my enjoyment of it.

The fourth and final reason that this film failed in my opinion is the fact that it lacks any likable characters. I can only enjoy a movie where there are people in it that are relatable, and Inglorious Bastards lacks any such people. In Inglorious Bastards, the “good-guys” are redneck American soldiers who scalp people for fun, and the “bad-guys” are Nazis. Who am I supposed to side with? In fact, the only remotely likable character in the entire picture is a German Sergeant named Wilhelm, and he’s only featured in one scene where, you guessed it, he gets killed. I don’t know about you, but I can’t endure an ultra-violent, three-hour war movie without having at least one character to sympathize with.

On average I would give this movie a rating of 5 out of 10. It’s action-packed and well acted, but it’s also emotionally flat and too unrealistic to take seriously. Unless you’ve got a thing for historically inaccurate war flicks that feature 70s style soundtracks, I wouldn’t recommend it. But, hey, that’s just me. If you actually enjoyed the film, and would like to engage me in a debate, by all means, do so. All right! That’s’ all for today. See you!

Nathan Liu