(picture via Daile, via Movie of the Day.)
Last night Jenny met me after work & we went to S'mac for dinner. S'mac's premise is pretty simple: all macaroni & cheese, all the time. We got an alpine (aka "with bacon") & a la mancha (which was gruyere with fennel?) & a salad. It was a heck-a-ton of food. In the bathroom there was a painting of a house, the sort of thing you'd find at a mall art show-- but it was transformed into thing of lavish beauty with the addition of a single detail: a yellow Lamborghini. Tres magnifique. On the car with a ballpoint pen, someone had written some Park Slope themed graffiti, which was funny to me, because the precious macaroni & cheese bar is exactly the kind of place a "delinquent" Park Slope kid would hang out. After we left we had...we had a rough time, me & Jenny did. First we saw a bunch of cute old people, but that wasn't so tough. The tough part was-- well, the tough part was that we got on a train going the wrong direction! How did it happen! I prefer to think that the F train was running messed up through that station, as it so often does, but it is possible that we just weren't paying any attention. So that happened; Terror on the Rails! Oh, & it is also worth noting that I wrote another post for Kit Marlowe & Co.
Then at home we watched Inglourious Basterds. I have some Opinions about this movie! I probably articulated them at the peak of sense to Jenny last night, but let me see if I can recapture those fireflies, put them back in the bottle. First, I don't think this movie is as good as Kill Bill, let me just say that. How to even approach talking about this movie! I liked it, but I don't feel a need to ever see it again. The movie is all very uncomfortable. The premise of the film's emotional core is twofold: on one hand, discomfort. There are many long sequences in which you grind your teeth while the Nazi conversationally dances around discovering the character's secret. Or in which you know or suspect will end in sudden brutal blood shed. Tarantino absolutely puts you on the edge of your seat with an anvil in your stomach. This is on purpose, & not a complaint, but gosh it makes it hard to watch. Unlike many of his other movies, where the dialogue is smooth & effortless even when the characters are pointing guns at each other or whatever, in Basterds the dialogue is excruciating. It is like the scene in which Mister Blonde tortures the cop...writ large. Again, this isn't a complaint, this is a recognition of intent. The other side of this coin, the other emotion Tarantino has to offer you is: relentless commedic tone. Everything is always just shy of being a jest. A nihilistic little joke.
Christoph Waltz's SS Officer is amazing. I mean, he's just filled with cunning & menace & good humor. Really, the opening chapter of this movie is intimidating as hell. Typically all the scenes in which the Nazi's menace the innocent resistance people end with the resistance clamming up, right? Bold negation of bullying! Not so much here; it is plain as the nose on your face that the guy is in some deep trouble. Everyone else is better than serviceable; Pitt's relentless accent, or the steel spine of Laurent-- still, all over shadowed by Waltz. There are a lot of nice tricks, like the face in the smoke, & a lot of great cuts (you know, talking about something & then Tarantino inserts a ten second clip of it). I also find it funny that Tarantino, who has been digging on reinventing the grindhouse films, the kung-fu movies, the blacksploitation movies, has moved on to reinventing the over blown war movie, which is still alive & kicking in the American cinema. Seriously, the next Band of Private Ryan's Black Hawk in Iwo Jima movie, which will invariably come, is screwed, considering Tarantino just laid the genre bare. So yeah; I liked it. It certainly elevates Tarantino's ouvre. It is punishing to watch, though, as the whole movie is non-stop tension; that stress is at least cut by smirking in the face of utter destruction. I expected, honestly, a lot more Casablanca homage, but there really wasn't!