103. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Leonard Maltin's Rating :
Should be :

IMDB Rating : 8.3

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 89%

Rotten Tomato Synopsis: "A classic Tarantino genre-blending thrill ride, Inglourious Basterds is violent, unrestrained, and thoroughly entertaining,"

Leonard says in his review : "A colorful, flamboyant concoction that's well-staged but awfully self-indulgent, a handful of scenes in search of a real movie."

I have to admit that my tastes runs like Leonard's in that I enjoy a good narrative story. Tarantino's movies are much more about the show, rather than story. Where I disagree with Leonard is in his thinking a movie has to have a strong narrative to be considered a "real movie." I think Mr. Tarantino knows what a real movie is, and it is wrong for Leonard to try to impose his own personal tastes on the movie viewing audience.

The thing that I like best about Tarantino's movies is that he plays it all straight. There is no winking at the camera in his films. As crazy as things may get, whether it's Beatrix chopping her way through the Crazy 88 or the Basterds trying to kill Hitler, everything is as serious can be.

There are several stories running through this movie, one more ludicrous than the next, and they all meet up in the end and somehow Tarantino makes it all work.

I consistently walk out of Tarantino movies stunned and thoroughly entertained. The IMDB and RT ratings for this movie clearly show that the general movie going public clearly loves this movie and Leonard is doing his readers a disservice by steering them away from it.


  1. I would have to say that I agree with Leonard Maltin's analysis completely.

    From what I've seen of Tarantino's movies, they are in large ways about the spectacle, but I think it's always clear Tarantino is trying to tell a coherent story. I think a film generally should have a strong narrative, as well, for the record. And you can tell a film like Inglourious Basterds is driven by narrative and is trying very hard to tell a cohesive story - and so when it doesn't live up to that and the narrative doesn't come together, as Maltin pointed out, I think the film should be held accountable for that.

    What's more, Tarantino doesn't just claim Inglourious Basterds to be a "real movie" - he flat out declares it a masterpiece with the final line. So a film critic absolutely has the right to say it doesn't live up to those standards. It might have been incorrect for Maltin to claim it isn't a "real movie", but I think what he was trying to point out was that the scenes in Inglourious Basterds work better in and of themselves rather than as anything tied to a larger grand story, as Tarantino intended.

    I don't particularly agree with your idea that Tarantino's movies are always played straight, either. There are several moments of winking at the camera in his films, such as the absurd title card on the screen introducing Hugo Stiglitz, or the random narration panning down the screen in the midpoint of Django Unchained. And to be honest, I think that's Tarantino's failing when it comes to Inglourious Basterds. The movie does want to play it straight, as you said, but when the movie itself just basically amounts to an over-the-top pulp rather than something meant to be taken seriously, this becomes a case of having its cake and eating it, too, and it just doesn't work.

    Also, if Maltin isn't supposed to impose his own personal tastes on his audience, what exactly is a film critic supposed to do, in your opinion? Review the film in terms of your standards? I don't see how a critic can review a movie on anyone's standards except his own. Whether anyone else agrees with these standards is another thing, but film criticism can only provide one person's perspective, which is what people like you don't seem to understand, as you seem to believe all critics should tailor their reviews for what the mass audience will likely think, instead. This is dishonest, cowardly, conformist pandering - and critics like Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert should be celebrated for not engaging in this tiresome practice, which is why I don't, to be honest, approve of websites like yours at all.

    I have written a review of my own of this movie, if you want to know further why I didn't feel Tarantino made "it all work". I would be happy to hear your thoughts:

  2. Inglourious Basterds is a great movie and one of Tarantino’s best, silly Maltin. This is worth at least 3 1/2 stars out of 4.