Inglourious Basterds (2009) Quentin Tarantino *****
Inglourious Basterds has become one of the most popular films depicting World War 2 without actually having any scenes depicting war. Only Quentin Tarantino could pull off such a grand scale epic war film without shooting as much as one battle scene and filling the 153 minutes of screen time with fascinating characters and sophisticated dialogue. In celebration of the 2 year anniversary of Tarantino’s latest masterpiece, the Movie Monkey has dug up 10 fascinating bits of trivia you may not know about this outstanding film.
1. Donny Donowitz aka “The Bear Jew” played by cult horror film director Eli Roth who directed the hits Cabin Fever and Hostel, is also the director of the film within a film “Nation’s Pride”. His method for getting into the mindset of such a violent character was his habit of wearing the historically accurate wool underwear that WW2 soldiers wore as well as listening to Hannah Montana music which reportedly made him very violent and ready to kill anything.
#2 Director Quentin Tarantino spent over a decade writing and preparing the shooting script and has called it some of the finest writing he has ever done and yet has never explained the comical misspelling of the title.
#3 The mysterious scar around Lt. Aldo Raine’s (Brad Pitt) neck is never explained but believed to be the result of a near tragic lynching incident back in his hometown of Maynardville, Tennessee where he was an illegal moonshiner.
#4 Christoph Waltz who plays the terrifying yet charismatic Nazi Col. Hans Landa aka “The Jew Hunter” was a German TV and Movie star for 30 years before making his American film début in this film in the process winning over 30 awards including the 2010 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
#5 Before Christoph Waltz took over the part, Leonardo DiCaprio was already planning on playing the infamous character and had met numerous times with Tarantino discussing the role.
#6 This is not the first time Sylvester Groth has played real life Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Groth first played Goebbels in the 2007 German Comedy My Führer – The Really Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler directed by Dani Levy.
#7 B.J. Novak who plays Pfc. Smithson Utivich is an Emmy award-winning writer/director of the hit TV Series The Office where he also plays the egotistical Ryan Howard.
#8 The reason Joseph Goebbels throws an unexplained tantrum at the mere mention of former Ufa actress Lillian Harvey is because Harvey was the biggest star of the German cinema during World War 2 who was also helping the persecuted Jews escape Germany much to the annoyance of the Nazi’s and was ultimately forced to leave Germany for the US.
#9 The fake name that Brad Pitt’s character uses “Enzo Girolami” is the real birth name of famed Italian Director Enzo G. Castellari who directed the original 1978 The Inglorious Bastards which is completely unrelated to this film other than the similar title. Castellari also has a small cameo in this film as a German soldier.
#10 Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender is no stranger to war films. His first big break came when he was cast in the critically acclaimed 2001 HBO mini-series Band of Brothers and later achieved wider recognition starring in the 2007 smash hit 300 as Stelios, a loyal Spartan soldier to King Leonidas. His first starring role was in this years widely popular X-Men: First Class starring as a young Magneto in the X-Men origin story.
X-Men: First Class **
After leaving the theater in utter disappointment after being subjected to the latest installment in the X-Men franchise, I wonder just how much more dumbed down and sexed up movies are going to get in the coming years now that Hollywood has finally figured out the magic formula for pleasing the average brain-dead movie going teenager. This movie wasn’t just bad, this movie was embarrassing. There was not one thing about this movie I enjoyed short of Michael Fassbender’s gritty portrayal of a young Magneto. Now I understand that most people who go to see these movies are not expecting award-winning performances from talented thespians. But after watching the first two outstanding X-Men movies with superb actors such as Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, Brian Cox and to a lesser extent Hugh Jackman, one would think that these young actors sure had big shoes to fill.
Apparently these new X-Men were absent the day they taught acting at acting school.
Why would they think they could make a new X-Men movie and exclude the very actors we fell in love with in the first two films? Giving Hugh Jackman a short wise cracking cameo and showing the gorgeous Rebecca Romijn for a split second was basically a slap to the face of the fans (myself included). They were the best thing about the original trilogy!
Obviously nobody in Hollywood makes movies for the fans anymore.
Where is Bryan Singer when you need him?
Now you may be asking why I am being so harsh on a movie about a bunch of eccentric mutants? Well if you grew up reading X-Men comics your whole life you would be pissed off to! (Yes I’ll admit I am a comic book nerd) None of these X-Men make any attempt to act as their comic book counterparts and whatever marketing genius came up with the idea that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be the next big thing is truly hanging on to his job by a thread and should have their head examined. This actress is truly… just….awful! After watching her mope around in last years dreary Winter’s Bone, I had my doubts about her filling the shoes of the dangerous Rebecca Romijn as Mystique and my assumptions could not have been more accurate. She has destroyed all those warm and mushy feelings I got during college about the original shape shifting blue goddess from the previous movies with her lethargic portrayal of one of the baddest movie vixens in cinema.
I urge you, especially if you are a true X-Men fan, to stay away from this picture at all costs unless you like the taste of utter disappointment in the back of your throat like 5 day old cheesecake. If you don’t really care much about the X-Men mythology and simply enjoy two hours of mindless drivel, by all means turn your brain off and sit back and prepare to be mildly amused.
And for god sakes James McAvoy,
STOP TOUCHING YOUR TEMPLE EVERY 5 MINUTES AND LEERING AT THE CAMERA WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO USE YOUR TELEPATHY!
Didn’t you study Patrick Stewart in the original series??? It’s called being subtle.
X-Men: First Class (2011) **
Directed by Mathew Vaughn
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne