Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino (2009)

I’ve never gotten Tarantino, and I don’t get this. I note all the tropes from earlier WWII movies acknowledged and remixed. I note some references to specific movies (which of course also causes me to realize that there must be additional references I’m missing). I note the retro fonts of the credits. I note the metaphors, especially the enormous “college sophomores everywhere: please write a paper about me” one where movie bullets turn into real bullets and then back into movie bullets. I note the skillful orchestration of the elaborate set pieces. I note the repeating rhythms of long slow burns concluded with — big surprise — explosive violence. I note the hokey-jokey “hey, you’re watching a movie!” devices. I note the usual Tarantino grotesqueries, catchphrases, and histrionics. I note the urgent, almost childish need on the director’s part to seem to be a maker of serious films; his deep fear that he is not; and his resulting compensatory self-abasing gestures. I note and I note and I note, but I don’t enjoy, I don’t excite, I don’t see.

This often happens to me with poems: I note their characteristics, but can’t find a way to care about them. I always figured that was a busman’s holiday problem, but obviously that’s not the case here. Ach, what do I know. The kids seem to like it, and it seems harmless enough.