August 26, 2009

Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds"

My Wednesday Taki's Magazine column reviews Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds:
Apparently, Tarantino is one of the very few people in the world who rather identifies with the repulsive Goebbels.

Read it there and comment upon it below.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

101 comments:

Thursday said...

Tarantino used to be a master at picking out the best parts from a lot of really bad old movies and television show and using those parts to assemble a good film. Lately, however he seems to be under the impression that all those bad old movies he watched weren't actually bad movies with a few good parts but rather unappreciated masterpieces that should be imitated a little too closely. To make matters worse, he has also started to be less and less influenced by the really good filmmakers, like Stanley Kubrick and Howard Hawks, whose example helped make his first two films so good.

TrueNorth said...

This is the best review of this "inglourious garbege" I have read. I can't believe how many of the other critics have been suckered into praising this junk. Keep up the good work.

Shawn said...

I saw the movie last night. I have no problem with violence, if it is merely part of the story to move along a good movie (such as in Saving Private Ryan). With Tarantino, he does it anticipating people will think to themselves: Look! Cool, this guy is getting his head cracked in (or cut off, depending on the movie), which is pretty pathetic.

testing99 said...

VERY good (and cutting review) Steve.

Your BEST YET.

It's also telling that Tarantino is not, in fact, Jewish, (he is indeed from Tennessee and of mixed Anglo and Indian heritage according to Wiki) and is incapable of making (as is most of Hollywood) any real life Jewish revenge flicks.

Spielberg's Munich ended with the famous shot of the Twin Towers and the clear suggestion that fighting back against the PLA (and killing the plotters of the Munich Massacre) was akin to killing AQ leaders, and both were "immoral." Navel gazing by sheltered suburbanites at it's SWPL yuppie finest.

A pity since the actual operations were full of drama: some masterful assassinations of some very bad people, who were also brutal gangsters, over-confidence/hubris resulting in the disastrous killing of a waiter in Norway who was mistaken for one of the plotters, and recovery by killing the polygamous (and personally nasty) "Red Prince" (who also killed Americans) through meticulous plotting and spy-work, with of all people Ehud Barak masquerading as a very ugly woman in Beirut.

The actual real-life stuff is filled with drama, suspense, classic three-act structures, it takes monumental Yuppiedom navel gazing to screw it up. [Spielberg's now a pathetic hack, like Scorsese, both of whom are twenty years more past anything decent. Scorsese plans a Sinatra bio-pic with man-crush Leonardo Di Caprio, the "drunken man's DeNiro" or words to that effect.]

Anonymous said...

Tarantino's world is bizarrely insular and self-referential (and self-reverential) and has nothing to do with real life. But his movies are consistently entertaining, sometimes extremely so. I'll settle for that over Hollywood cliches or self-important HBO-style dramas or the great majority of entertainment product out there.

Perhaps this is a lowbrow view. But I'm genuinely really grateful that someone as offbeat, off the wall and strange as Tarantino gets to make movies. We need more entertaining weirdos in the arts, whatever their flaws.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve, thank you for your sensible and brilliant review. It expresses my sentiments precisely.

VL.

Thrasymachus said...

I'm confused. As was pointed out about the advertising, it appears to be a Jewish revenge movie. An odd thing but something you might expect to see at some point in history. From the review it seems to be something entirely different, a movie about propaganda itself, something you would *not* expect to see in a commercial movie, pretty much ever.


Our elite is now composed entirely of people just like Tarantino, except the bubble they live in is the Ivy League educational system, which is even worse than a diet of old movies.

Truth said...

"Apparently, Tarantino is one of the very few people in the world who rather identifies with the repulsive Goebbels."

Hey, the guy's raison d'etre was seperation of the races; was he really all that bad? Can't we overlook a few minor personality flaws?

testing99 said...

Let me add that movie blogger "Furious D" aka dknowsall.blogspot.com has identified the main reason guys like Tarantino and Spielberg and Lucas fall into hackery: lack of a feedback loop to make them good.

They don't get really the profits of a movie, they therefore insist on up-front fees, knowing they cannot trust the accounting of Hollywood (D calls this a "self-fulfilling idiocy" wherein a monumentally stupid "solution" to a non-existent problem creates a situation worse and predictably worse than the "problem" was in the first place).

The result is that directors, after a few successes, don't make movies for audiences. They make them for themselves and Hollywood pals. Which as Charles Murray blogged recently, is far, hard Left among that "Gentry" class (as Joel Kotkin calls it).

If Spielberg faced a dilemma, or Tarantino, or Scorsese, that if they make a film they make a minimum, or tens of millions, based on how well the audience liked it and bought tickets, DVDs, saw the re-runs on TV, and the like (i.e. "lifestream popularity") they'd have proper incentives to make stuff that was at least their best effort at "good" rather than self-indulgent hackery.

I disagree Steve that guys like Tarantino or Lee as guns for hire can avoid self-indulgent hackery. Because it does not solve the main problem -- making movies for themselves and their friends/rivals instead of the audience.

If Tarantino had stood to make almost nothing to millions based on how well the film did, instead of a guaranteed payday, I'd bet a lot that it would have been considerably tighter, more action-packed, and suspense filled without talkiness.

Anonymous said...

they cannot trust the accounting of Hollywood

Gee, now I wonder why that might be?

Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

T99 - they're nihilists.

They make the kinds of movies they want to make - which is putrid, revolting, nihilistic dreck.

If they believed in Truth, Justice, and the American Way, then they'd make movies about Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

But they don't.

Dean said...

Steve, from your review:

"...Goldberg never quite notices that Tarantino’s portrayal of Jewish-Americans as mindlessly vicious is, well, anti-Semitic."

"Besides not getting any good lines, the poor Jewish Basterds look like they were cast by Goebbels himself for an SS training film. Despite the numerous charismatic and handsome Jewish actors in Hollywood, Tarantino managed to pick a sorry bunch of stereotypes who all look alike."

"Tarantino is a smart guy; thus, all this is no doubt intentional. Perhaps Tarantino just wants to show that he’s so cool that he can get away with the ultimate transgression."


You make great points here, and I think these are the real interesting and important elements of the movie.

A review at TOQ Online makes similar points, and it mentions that apparently Tarantino lifted certain plot elements out of an obscure neo-Nazi novel:

"Why would Quentin Tarantino borrow plot elements from neo-Nazi Harold Covington’s [novel] The Brigade...Is Quentin Tarantino a Nazi-sympathizer?

Of course not. Nothing could be further from the truth. Quentin Tarantino is simply a nihilist with an unfailing instinct for finding and desecrating anything sacred. In Pulp Fiction — his one great movie, and his most sincere — Tarantino showed a profound grasp of the spiritual meaning of the duel to the death over honor, symbolized by the Samurai sword. In Kill Bill, vol. I, he made a giant joke of it.

In Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino has taken the one truly sacred myth...namely WW II and the holocaust, and he has desecrated it by inverting all of its core value judgments and reversing its stereotypes...Why? Just because he can."

Fred said...

"Hey, the guy's raison d'etre was seperation of the races; was he really all that bad? Can't we overlook a few minor personality flaws?"

The brother lands another. Truth 1, HBD Betas 0.

l said...

On the subject of mindless Jewish bloodlust, here's Tom Friedman's rationale for the Iraq war:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOF6ZeUvgXs

Mike said...

"Despite the numerous charismatic and handsome Jewish actors in Hollywood, Tarantino managed to pick a sorry bunch of stereotypes who all look alike."

It would help to name names. Are you referring to Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Woody Allen or Jason Alexander?

travis said...

Steve Sailer said...

In case you were wondering, an amusing Brad Pitt plays the Basterds’ commanding officer, a gentile Tennessee hillbilly of part-Indian blood, evidently embodying Tarantino’s self-image.)

testing99 said...

It's also telling that Tarantino is not, in fact, Jewish, (he is indeed from Tennessee and of mixed Anglo and Indian heritage according to Wiki) and is incapable of making (as is most of Hollywood) any real life Jewish revenge flicks.

Well, he certainly couldn't make a southern revenge flick in Hollywood, so instead he replaced Yankees with Nazis (it was Lincoln, not Hilter, who was assassinated in a theater.) I think that's perfecly clear to any southerner.

Inglorious Basterds owes much to Tarantino's favorite movie, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, a movie that could have never been made in the US because of its cynical view of the American Civil War.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this movie. Sorry.

Fred said...

"Despite the numerous charismatic and handsome Jewish actors in Hollywood, Tarantino managed to pick a sorry bunch of stereotypes who all look alike."

It would help to name names. Are you referring to Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Woody Allen or Jason Alexander?


Can't speak for Sailer, but here are some possibilities:

Noah Wylie, Matt Cohen, Robert Kazinsky, Justin Bartha, Paul Rudd, David Duchovny, etc.

Anonymous said...

"It would help to name names. Are you referring to Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Woody Allen or Jason Alexander?"

You are probably a Stormfronter otherwise you would have tried a little harder to think of examples of decent looking Jewish men in Hollywood. Picking two fat guys, one really old guy, and an untalented average looking guy as examples tells me you don't think good looking Jewish actors exist. All four of those you mentioned are also comedians which is significant considering comedians are generally not known for being good looking, Jew and gentile alike.

testing99 said...

Thanks Travis. Yeah, should have seen it.

Anonymous said...

"Can't speak for Sailer, but here are some possibilities:"

Interesting choices.

Noah Wyle's mother is probably not a Jew.

Matthew Joseph Cohen is half-Portuguese, and I wouldn't be surprised if his father is less than completely Jewish.

Robert Kazinsky is part Albanian.

Justin Lee Bartha - based on his middle name and appearance, I'm guessing we have another less than full Jew.

Paul Rudd may be a genuine, full ethnic Jew. Coincidentally, he ranks toward the bottom of your list of "handsome" "Jews", despite some plastic surgery.

David Duchovny is half-Scottish.

Anonymous said...

They make the kinds of movies they want to make - which is putrid, revolting, nihilistic dreck.

"Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least its an ethos."

Randall said...

"Can't speak for Sailer, but here are some possibilities:

Noah Wylie, Matt Cohen, Robert Kazinsky, Justin Bartha, Paul Rudd, David Duchovny, etc."


The only thing more annoying than the anti-Semites on iSteve blog comment threads are the Jewish chauvinists on the comment threads.

If you're impartial about it, you'll notice that for the most part the Jewish actors in Hollywood aren't very attractive, and you'll often find yourself in the middle of a movie wondering why such an unattractive actor was cast in a lead or major role. Then after reflecting a bit you just resign yourself to the fact that such unattractive actors from other groups would never be similarly cast, and that hey, life's short, and there are more important problems to worry about. No sense in worrying about something like this. Hell, even people like F. Scott Fitzgerald were complaining about this decades ago, what possibly could I accomplish by whining about this? Why should things be any different now or in the future?

Anyway, you'll find that many of the attractive Jews are often half or part Jews, and that they trumpet their Jewish ancestry quite a bit. This goes for the actresses too.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuelle_Chriqui

Steve Sailer said...

Among non-comic leading men, are there today more half-Jewish than full-Jewish ones: e.g., Liev Schreiber, James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal?

It seems like there used to be more full Jewish leading men in the past (Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, etc.), but there were still half-Jewish ones then too, like the great Paul Newman.

Fred said...

"The only thing more annoying than the anti-Semites on iSteve blog comment threads are the Jewish chauvinists on the comment threads."

I'm a chauvinist for mentioning a few possible names? How do you figure that?

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Tarantino's world is bizarrely insular and self-referential (and self-reverential) and has nothing to do with real life."

Tarantino is the kind of film-maker one would expect from our current age. We now live in meta-world - where nothing is about anything except itself. His movies are about other movies, just as so much contemporary journalism is about journalism (how many news stories nowadays are stories about newspeople breaking stories?).

Modern art isn't about poor people eating potatoes, or sad, winsome bar girls, or night watchmen. Modern art is about the artist, and his art, and how society feels about his art. Which is why modern art is mostly crap.

Steve seems to be saying that Tarantino is pulling a fast one - making a movie that's quasi Nazi-sympathetic, which he got Harvey Weinstein to pay for, by throwing in some jewish revenge fantasy. I'll have to take his word for it - I'll never watch one of Tarantino's movies.

One thing unmentioned by most critics - this movie would seem to be deeply offensive to American WWII veterans, by portraying GIs as vicious butchers, little better than Nazis themselves.

Fred said...

"Interesting choices."

Thanks. I just spent three minutes on Wikipedia's list of Jewish actors born in the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

"Paul Rudd may be a genuine, full ethnic Jew. Coincidentally, he ranks toward the bottom of your list of "handsome" "Jews", despite some plastic surgery."

He's Jew enough for you? I'm surprised. You seem to have quite a high bar for authentic Jewishness. I figured you'd reject any European Jew since no doubt his bloodline was diluted in the few thousand years since his ancestors left Ur.

As for Rudd's attractiveness, as I am a heterosexual, I'll defer to you on this, but he seems handsomer than David Duchovny. I guess it's all subjective though. As for him having plastic surgery, a photo of him looking awkward as an adolescent is hardly evidence of that, and it's hardly unusual.

Farmer Fumitory said...

"Tarantino reminds me of George W. Bush in his lack of curiosity about anything outside his specialty (Bush: interpersonal dominance. Tarantino: movies)"

On the telly with other leaders, Bush had a weird way of holding his hands just out from his hips, reminded me of a gunslinger about to go for it. Is this a Texas thang? Not even Putin does this. I would rather watch Charles fiddle with his cufflinks.

anony-mouse said...

Interesting comparison between all Jewish Kirk Douglas and his half-Jewish son Michael.

Kirk is the more masculine, Michael, the more pretty.

I suppose the reason you no longer see many all Jewish good looking leading men is that, apparently adding Gentile blood makes Jewish men more effeminate, girlie, wimpy and weak, which is what female movie watchers want on-screen.

Caligula said...

Inglorious Bastards is essentially a spaghetti western but instead set in WW2. The very first scene almost seemed like an homage to the second scene in Once Upon a Time in the West where Henry Fonda makes his entrance at the farm.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Pulp Fiction when it came out. The theater was packed. People laughed, were shocked. It was a thrill. Everyone I knew dug it.

At the time it was a pungent antidote to the SunDance style - thoughtful-but-uneventful fare like Sex Lies and Video or Singles. It was a B movie that was also a parody of a B movie. There were more laughs than at your regular Bruce Willis flick but all the action. You were in on the joke. It was having your cake and eating it too.

He can't make Pulp Fiction again so he started making relatively straight B movies with a little indie twist. That's what he does.

This movie is just The Dirty Dozen with a self-conscious film attitude.

That said, most contemprary movies could use an infusion of his desire to make actually dramatic stuff. Too many writers/directors/etc are simply embarressed to be so vulgar as to entertain.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anon: We now live in meta-world - where nothing is about anything except itself. His movies are about other movies, just as so much contemporary journalism is about journalism... Modern art is about the artist, and his art, and how society feels about his art. Which is why modern art is mostly crap.

Blame The Nihilist himself.

Truth said...

"Gentile blood makes Jewish men more effeminate, girlie, wimpy and weak, which is what female movie watchers want on-screen."

Hey, it's Bizzaro T99!

Dave said...

"At the time it was a pungent antidote to the SunDance style - thoughtful-but-uneventful fare like Sex Lies and Video or Singles."

Never thought of Singles as Sundance fare, but that movie is a classic. Much more watchable on repeat viewings than Pulp Fiction.

Tarantino is actually a better writer than he is a director, and his talent is best harnessed by a director with script control, as Scott had in True Romance. True Romance was better than Pulp Fiction, and it was better mainly because Scott put the script in chronological order, and replaced Tarantino's nihilistic ending with a happy one.

Truth said...

You ought to change your moniker to L66.

John Seiler said...

I just saw it and it was ludicrous. There were so many historical inaccuracies that I cringed every few minutes.

Worst of all, when it comes out on DVD this movie will encourage American troops in the Middle East to treat Muslim civilians like the Nazis are treated in this movie. In addition to being war crimes, such atrocities will worsen the situation in the Middle East as the people there turn against us even more than they already have.

See William Lind on how, in Fourth Generation War, the moral element is the key to victory -- and moral means no atrocities:
http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/sep/01/00016/

John Seiler said...

"It seems like there used to be more full Jewish leading men in the past (Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, etc.)...."
And both of them still could play leads in "The Vikings" -- a guilty pleasure of mine -- along with Ermes Effron Borgnino (Ernest Borgnine).

But who wouldn't become a Viking in a quest for English Princess Janet Leigh?

Anonymous said...

This is slightly off topic but why doesn't Tarantino get more praise for Jackie Brown? IMHO it's an unrecognized masterpiece,easily one of the best movies of that decade. If you hate Tarantino please watch/re-watch this film. It might just force you to reconsider the notion that he is nothing more than a nihilistic hack. I believe Elmore Leonard was quite happy with it.

KissTheGoat said...

> Tarantino gives the Jewish “Basterds” only two or three percent of the verbiage in the movie

Steve, if you didn't know, 'verbiage' means /excess, unnecessary/ wording, or even phrasing (just looked it up). Either way it's more specific than the way you're using it here. If you really do mean that their talk is all blather, personally I'd call out what you're doing, say something like 'two or three percent of /this/ verbiage'.

Anonymous said...

TrueNorth said...
This is the best review of this "inglourious garbege" I have read.


hahahahaha, that's a great one. "Inglorious garbege". I reckon most critics were bludgeoned into praising this teenage lust-fantasy violence-porn more than doing it out of free will. I mean most newspapers are in you-know-how's hands, and you know they lust for shit like this. So obviously you just tell them what they want to hear.

Anonymous said...

What kind of an idiot goes and looks up Paul Rudd's high school graduation picture and then claims he had plastic surgery because he looks a little goofy in it?

l said...

It's one small hop from Borat's ridiculing gentiles' mores and conventions to the Basterds' scalping and beating gentiles' heads in with bats.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Steve:

In re: your new VDare piece.

You write What could be more just than that? It’s like when you have to divide one desert between two children. The fairest way is to announce that one will cut and the other will pick which piece he wants.

I think you mean dessert, not desert. Dividing one desert between two children is more what's happening in the Middle East than what's happening in America.

Ken said...

I guess the word supervisorial rescues the sentence "The movie emphasizes that Hitler’s Propaganda Minister sees himself more as the hands-on David O. Selznick of the German film industry than as the supervisorial Louis B. Mayer" from Dennis Miller-esque obscurity, but did it occur to you that most readers, even readers of film reviews, will have at best only the vaguest idea of who Mayer and Selznick were?

Other than that, very good review.

Svigor said...

David Duchovny

I gave up trying to understand how he's characterized as anything more than marginally good-looking (never mind that he has no talent).

Templar said...

Hey, the guy's raison d'etre was seperation of the races; was he really all that bad? Can't we overlook a few minor personality flaws?

I don't see why not. Seems to have worked out well enough for Moses, after all...

Templar said...

Oh, and by the way, the "Bearer of the Ring/Wearer of the Ring" song was in the Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of Return of the King, not Ralph Bakshi's shot at Lord of the Rings.

Svigor said...

he seems to be under the impression that all those bad old movies he watched weren't actually bad movies with a few good parts but rather unappreciated masterpieces that should be imitated a little too closely.

That is precisely the impression I got after watching Kill Bill I. I just sat there with a WTF look on my face throughout. I kept thinking, "he was supposed to make Asian cinema work here, not ape it! He's just reproducing the problems!"

Tarantino's celebrity is emblematic of the rot that is Hollywood. He made two entertaining films (both with the time-shuffling thing). Well, for all I know, since I stopped watching after Jackie Brown, only making an exception for KBI.

Svigor said...

You are probably a Stormfronter otherwise you would have tried a little harder to think of examples of decent looking Jewish men in Hollywood. Picking two fat guys, one really old guy, and an untalented average looking guy as examples tells me you don't think good looking Jewish actors exist. All four of those you mentioned are also comedians which is significant considering comedians are generally not known for being good looking, Jew and gentile alike.

Seems like a long way to say "me neither."

Jews can only be good-looking to the extent they don't really look Jewish.

That sounds harsh, but it's my honest perception. Tony Curtis? Raise your hand if you'd have guessed Jewish over Italian. It's not as if I'm denying Jews their positive qualities (e.g., intelligence, tenacity, aggressiveness); good-looking just isn't one of them. Obviously aesthetics have their POV issues; maybe Semites find Semites good-looking, but I don't, to the extent that they look Semitic.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Steve's review, but I also enjoyed the movie very much. Can't think of any reason to apologize.

Michael Douglass said...

Kirk Douglass full Jewish? The guy came out of Russia with dominate Slavic features (blonde hair, blue eyes, pointy noise, chiseled facial features, etc) which is how he became a movie star back in the day. Paul Newman only half Jewish - with those brilliant blue recessive eyes and that pale skin? Next you'll be saying Goldie Hawn is only half because one of her parents self-identified as Jewish. This makes no sense.

There was obviously a select group of European genes entering the Ashkenazim bloodline more than just one generation ago. If unmixed, they would look like and have outcomes similar other Semitics - Palestinians and Sephardic Jews.

One of unique advantages of Judaism is its ability to absorb the best, brightest and most powerful of other groups without losing its strong identity. Every other talented and successful tribal (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Brahmin Indian, European, Parsi, etc) has a one drop rule that prevents out marriage bringing in new talent and enriching the gene pool. It’s like a permanent and accelerating brain (wealth, beauty, charisma, etc) drain from all other groups into Judaism due to this one-drop asymmetry.

Every Jewish/non-Jewish marriage I know of involves a non-Jew of note (very bright, charismatic, successful, gorgeous and usually a combination thereof). Given the different genetic basis for fitness in each group, their hybrid offspring should suffer less regression to a mean which significantly enriches the family tree over generations.

Given the independent success and relative genetic distance, Ashkenazim and NE Asian couples should produce some very gifted Jewish offspring not unlike Jewish and European offspring of the past several hundred years has contributed to the talented Ashkenazim of today.

In a globalized world increasingly stratified by SES resulting in more assortive mating (e.g. 50% of MDs marry other MDs in the US, many non-natives) this is THE winning group strategy. No wonder the modern world has seen Jews come from relative historic obscurity to dominating so many leading fields.

James Kabala said...

If Jewishness were an automatic ticket to success, I would have heard of Matt Cohen and Robert Kazinsky before. (Did anonymous really know their Portuguese and Albanian sides by heart, or did he also do research?)

David said...

Steve said

>Tarantino's portrayal of Jewish-Americans as mindlessly vicious is, well, anti-Semitic.<

Not according to the Jews we've heard from so far, including at least one in the movie.

Part of the marketing is "Jewish revenge fantasy." Many places this is showing up; here is another one (read the whole thing). Roth himself says in the LA Times link above --- "It's kosher porn."

"Vicious"? I have heard only "fun," "deserved," and good "dream" (or wet dream) so far.

David said...

anony-mouse said

>I suppose the reason you no longer see many all Jewish good looking leading men is that, apparently adding Gentile blood makes Jewish men more effeminate, girlie, wimpy and weak, which is what female movie watchers want on-screen.<

Yup. "Twilight" comes instantly to mind.

Anonymous said...

Tarantino made the last Nazi propaganda film, and I would bet he is quite proud of himself.

Anonymous said...

Someone has been reading Trevor Lynch...

Anonymous said...

OT but funny

Crappy Chicago Cubs baseball player that makes $10 million a year attacks fans for be racists

albertosaurus said...

The reason that most director's make bad movies after they gained a reputation for making good movies is statistical not sociological.

First realize that everyone tries to make a good movie but the creators of good movies don't know how they do it. No one on the set of Casablanca thought it was special.

Check "Rotten Tomatoes". Good famous directors typically make about two thirds hits (with the critics). Actors also are in duds one third of the time. Apparently if you make mostly failures you can't get work (unless you are Eddie Murphy or Chevy Chase). No one - not Speilberg, not Scorsese, not Zemekis - not anyone else can make a critical and/or boxoffice hit everytime.

These facts also explain why sequels are less good in general than the first picture. Regression to the mean is at work. They make sequels of hits. The first movie is a money making hit 100% of the time but the next attempt will only be a hit about two thirds of the time.

So consider two directors both of whom make hits (box office or critical) at the standard rate of two thirds of the time. If Director "A" has hits in his first couple pictures he will be able to get funding for subsequent movie making. If Director "B" starts off with a dud he may never work again. But from a God like perspective where we can see not only all outcomes but also all potential outcomes, the two directors are equally talented.

So it is much preferable to have your hits early and your flops late rather than the other way around. This effect can also be seen in the career's of actors. Arnold the Barbarian started with a string of very successful action films. The odds caught up with him after a while.

albertosaurus said...

Just a word about Commodus. He in fact loved the games and he participated personally. I don't think he personally arranged the events - but I could be wrong.

However today everyone has been misled by Ridley Scott's movie Gladiator. Commodus was not interested in being a gladiator so much as he was in being a beastiarii. These were the guys who slew animals in the arena as a form of entertainment. Commodus had a little tower built in the Coliseum from which he could shoot ostrichs with his bow. He shot over a hundred birds one afternoon.

Slaughtering animals for the public's delectation was popular with the Romans but too politically incorrect for modern movie goers. People killing people - that's the ticket.

In fact gladiators were rather too expensive to constitute a full arena program. Better to shed a lot of animal blood. For example, the elephants they slaughtered in Roman areans were not the Indian or the African elephant but the Mauritanian elephant.

Never heard of them? That's because they went extinct for the amusement of Romans.

James Kabala said...

"Worst of all, when it comes out on DVD this movie will encourage American troops in the Middle East to treat Muslim civilians like the Nazis are treated in this movie."

I'm surprised there hasn't been more commentary on this. I saw Ben Mankewicz on the replacement-for-Ebert show note (while praising the movie) that the Basterds are war criminals, and looking through Rotten Tomatoes I think a few other critics have raised the issue gingerly, but no one seems to have made the obvious connection with present-day torture.

Fred said...

"Jews can only be good-looking to the extent they don't really look Jewish."

This is subjective, of course, but I can think of some individuals who look both Jewish and attractive. That's true of one of the actors I mentioned earlier, Noah Wylie, and it's also true of the actress Mia Kirschner. It's true also of Rachel Bilson and Shiri Appleby. There are other examples.

Casting directors in Hollywood do try to muddy the waters with this somewhat, for example by casting attractive, Jewish-looking actors and actresses as non-Jews. So, for example, Noah Wylie played the scion of a WASP family on ER, Rachel Bilson played a self-described Shiksa on The O.C., etc.

There are also some women who happen to have a thing for Jews. My girlfriend, for example (who is of Northwestern European ancestry -- British Isles and Scandinavia), when she has mentioned casually famous men she finds attractive, they've almost all be Jewish or part-Jewish (e.g., David Duchovny, Liev Schrieber, Bernie Kosar, etc.).

Fred said...

"Kirk Douglass full Jewish? The guy came out of Russia with dominate Slavic features (blonde hair, blue eyes, pointy noise, chiseled facial features, etc) which is how he became a movie star back in the day."

Probably more Baltic features, but bear in mind that every Ashkenazi Jew has some European admixture, by definition. This is probably true of Sephardic Jews as well. It's pretty common to see Jews with Polish or Dutch roots have blond hair and blue eyes, though their eyes are often more deep-set than those of non-Jews, and they may have a slight Semitic epicanthic fold to their eyes, etc.

Not all non-Jewish Europeans are attractive though, just like not all Jews are attractive. So you also have Ashkenazi Jews where the admixture did more harm than good aesthetically speaking.

Anonymous said...

Someone who looks very Jewish and is considered "hot" is David Duchovny.

Another example is Shia Lebouf.

Svigor, you're wrong. Why must you turn everything into a disgusting hate fest?

steven said...

I'm a Jew so I thought that I'd chime in on the issue of Jewish aesthetics. Obviously, the stereotypical "Semitic-type" would not be considered attractive. In contrast, when someone is described as looking Italian, they are usually describing a person that is reasonably attractive.Saying that, the fact of the matter is that the great bulk of the population, Jew and gentile alike, would be considered rather plain at best. I recently returned from a visit to a mid sized city in the heartland. Very low Jewish population.Trust me, not a whole lot of beauties, male or female were noted! In contrast, I live in Boca Raton, FL. a city with a fairly large Jewish population. No shortage of attractive women there, enhanced or otherwise! Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I would submit that Jews are in the aggregate neither more or less attractive than others

testing99 said...

Oh please, like the "troops" are a bunch of mindless automatons.

Go read Michael Yon's site, where he reports very well on his lengthy (months long) embeds with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The troops like the Afghanis, mostly, because most of them will fight alongside them and within racial/tribal boundaries (i.e. non Pathans) are loyal though untrained and undisciplined. The Afghans are "friendly" i.e. open and not stand-offish. Most of the troops in Iraq did not like the Iraqis, though the quality of troops could be of greater training and discipline. The Iraqis are and were stand-offish.

Yon describes the latest fighting in/around Helmand. Nothing like Inglorious Basterds -- an unseen enemy, mostly fighting with sniper fire and IEDs, which also kill lots of Afghanis, the main strategy being close air support to deal with the attacks. Yon has interesting observations on the quality of each NATO nation's air support and effectiveness. NATO forces will often use IVs during firefights to keep themselves going in the brutal heat. The reality is weirder than anything Tarantino can dream up.
-------------------
Albertosaurus -- I think you are quite wrong there. Most of Hollywood has spent considerable time pondering screenplays and direction to find out what makes a film work and definitely knows what elements can make it a failure, chief among them lack of sympathetic lead characters and "middle class attitudes." But because paydays are guaranteed they'd rather make a zillion "Milk" movies or "Margot at the Wedding" than say, "Wedding Crashers."
--------------
Basterds a "Jewish revenge fantasy?" Please. Hollywood can't even make stone-cold Palestinian terrorists villains. Not in Munich, not in "Zohan."

There's been NO movie with Al Qaeda and bin Laden as outright villains, which ought to point you to Hollywood's inability to make popular movies. [Imagine the revenue from a movie where a "Real American Hero" blows Osama away?] We can't even make "Delta Force" or "Navy SEALs" anymore!

Matra said...

James Kabala: I think a few other critics have raised the issue gingerly, but no one seems to have made the obvious connection with present-day torture.

It comes up a number of times in the lengthy discussion at this film site.

Anonymous said...

The LIFO stack and the associated temporal incongruities make threads like this almost impossible to follow.

stari_momak said...

"Michael Douglass"

Read about about Eliott Abrams and his crusade (pun intended) against intermarriage, Or read about Noah Feldman and his reception by 'his' community when he got engaged to a Korean who lives in a America. There are a thousand more examples, but you start with these two. And then get back to us here.

Thanks for playing.

Mr. Anon said...

"T99 said.....
Basterds a "Jewish revenge fantasy?" Please. Hollywood can't even make stone-cold Palestinian terrorists villains. Not in Munich, not in "Zohan."

You are right that many liberal jews (and I assume that means most jews in Hollywood) don't seem to view Palestinians as the enemy they actually are, and subscribe to the whole kumbayah, why-can't-we-be-friends nonsense. "Zohan" was an excellent example of this.

The chief take-away message from "Zohan" - in which not one single non-semitic American was portrayed as anything other than a prick - was that jews in Hollywood seem to despise "Old Americans" far more than they do arabs - even arab terrorists.

Message received and noted.

Anonymous said...

albertosaurus: The reason that most director's make bad movies after they gained a reputation for making good movies is statistical not sociological.

Somebody's been reading Taleb on survivorship bias.

Anonymous said...

T99: There's been NO movie with Al Qaeda and bin Laden as outright villains, which ought to point you to Hollywood's inability to make popular movies.

Which is why everyone I know watches NCIS religiously.

RERUNS of NCIS tend to place top 10 in cable tv Nielsens [for instance, last week, reruns of NCIS finished 11th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th].

I'd rather watch re-runs of NCIS [which I have already memorized] than about 99.99% of the rest of the stuff on television.

[Especially now that they've cancelled Sarah Connor; we'll see how Stargate Universe fares in about six weeks.]

Anonymous said...

It comes up a number of times in the lengthy discussion at this film site.

Is it "INGLOURIOUS" or "INGLORIOUS"?

Also, why is "bastard" mis-spelled?

Inspector Steve Keller said...

stari_momak said...

Did your comment have any point or connection to what I posted?

The reason why people like Eliot Abrams are so outspoken is exactly because so many Jews are marrying outside the faith and the trends are for even more. I suspect, being generally bright, they fully realize the futility of trying to turn back the centuries but consider it a good fight with lots of perks. Psychologically, these guys also try to obscure their guilt for abandoning Israel for the good life in the West. The few zealots I've know of don't live in the America, and their actions are more powerfully than Abrams' words.

From personal observations and self-evident logic, this miscegenation tends to involves those at the mid to top SES Jews marrying mid to top SES non-Jews. The cream of the crop of all tribes intermarrying will result in even greater genetic and economic divisions.

Around 2000, Jews in Israel were virtually alone with an out-marriage rate still below a 5%. Jews living in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories—represented here separately from the main portion of Israeli Jewish population—were probably the only sizeable group with less than 1% out-marriage. The out-marriage rate in the main part of Israel—within the pre-1967 “green line”—approached 5% and reflected the growing presence and social absorption of new immigrants, mostly from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) who lack a formal Jewish status. Many of these actually performed their marriage ceremonies abroad—mostly in Cyprus. Mexico was the largest Diaspora Jewish community with an out-marriage rate estimated at less that 15%. Communities in Australia, Canada, and Turkey had an out-marriage rate of 25% to 35%. A rather large share of world Jewry including France, the U.K., and the main Latin American countries experienced out-marriage rates between 35% and 45%. The Jewish community in the U.S., still the largest in the world, had moved to well above 50%; in 2001, as noted, out-marriage could be assessed at 54%. Out-marriage rates for Jews in the European parts of the FSU were above 65%, and in the Russian Republic above 75%.

Antoine Zhang said...

I'm simply staggered by two things here:

1) No one posting here has made mention of the fact that many of the actors that Tarantino cast as the Jewish-American Basterds are far from Jewish. In fact, the only Basterd to receive a significant amount of screentime, Eli Roth excepted, was played by a Muslim American, Omar Doom (Persian I am assuming - a dead ringer for a young and hairless Marcel Proust).

2)The movie was an absolute masterpiece. It wasn't the puerile cartoon, stuffed with ironical post-modern references, that the trailers implied. In fact, all the cultural references were to the period (the English character speaks German like one of the Katz'n'Jammer kids).

The dialogue was amazing, the characters were fully-realized and convincing. This is amazing for a modern movie - the only other director I know of who create characters with such consummate artistry is John Sayles - even the Cohen brothers fall short in this regard.

I realize that many of the individuals who frequent this board may have been instinctively unsympathetic towards the movie because of a certain predisposition against, er, the ethnicity of its eponymous group of characters. To such individuals I have this to say - find some reassurance in the fact the greatest director alive in Hollywood today, in an industry which is teeming with Jewish talent,is a gentile with hillbilly roots.

Anonymous said...

concerning esthetics: Fran Dreschler (I think that's the name) who played the nanny on The Nanny, has been generally considered gorgeous and she certainly has a Jewish "look."
One person I always thought looked Jewish in a sephardim way, was Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in 1967. She looks very like a portrait I saw in the Uffizi gallery in Florence, of Esther decapitating the enemy general. The painter was none other than the much-wronged Artemesia and she used to go to the Jewish ghettoes for models when painting Jewish subjects. At least I think she did--I have heard of other famous artists of the era doing that, and Artemesia's Judith certainly looks Jewish compared to the many Italian figures.

I think that there are as many attractive people among Jews as among non-Jews. I see lots of beauties among the arabs--fewer huge noses than I'd expected. So I guess there's less difference than one would think, as far as percentages of good-lookers. It's a matter of preference. Some like blondes, some like brunettes, and I know one Egyptian Copt with red-head fetish. Has a coffee table book on the subject. He himself looks like he stepped out of an Egyptian carving--one of the Caucasian looking ones.
btw, when this guy first came to America he'd try to ingratiate himself with blacks by saying he was "African." After a little while he completely lost the taste for that and didn't want to identify with them at all.

Anonymous said...

Esther decapitating the enemy general.

Judith, not Esther. Esther had her enemies hanged.

David said...

>Fran Dreschler (I think that's the name) who played the nanny on The Nanny, has been generally considered gorgeous<

I hear she's a relatively nice lady in person...but gorgeous?

Suum cuique pulchrum est, I suppose.

David said...

Antoine Zhang said

>I'm simply staggered...absolute masterpiece< etc.

I'm staggered to find you commenting here, Mr. Tarantino.

John Seiler said...

Paul Gottfried, always worth reading, comments on Steve's review here:

http://www.takimag.com/sniperstower/article/kill_the_krauts/

Edward said...

In Sparta, every autumn, the Spartan's leaders would declare war on the enslaved Helots so that they could send their best young trainees out into the countryside to kill them for sport.

"Inglourious Basterds" seems to me to basically be a modern Spartan "Krypteia" fantasy played out in the only world violence-obsessed Tarrantino thought would be permissible for the modern film audience: not Sparta, behind the lines in Nazi Germany.

The fantasy is that a member of the superior group - in this case the Jews, the film-maker, or the audience - can kill without guilt the member of an inferior group, or vicariously experience the high of this, through the simulation of the experience of killing on the movie-screen.

In the audience's fantasy, the "Nazi" is anyone the individual would consider themselves morally superior too. I'm surprised nobody has picked up on this pernicious allegory. Is the timing of the film's release a coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Any way to get the non-vicarious death rates of the different groups of Americans fighting in World War II.

What percent of Lutheran Americans died fighting the Axis?

What percent of Floridians died?

What percent Scotch-Irish?

dogberry

walter condley said...

Will the last anon, the one with the story about the egyptian, please e-mail me? Have similar story. thanks.

department11@gmail.com

ben tillman said...

A rather large share of world Jewry including France, the U.K., and the main Latin American countries experienced out-marriage rates between 35% and 45%. The Jewish community in the U.S., still the largest in the world, had moved to well above 50%....

Baloney. There is absolutely no foundation for such a conclusion. Your source makes preposterously false claims -- such as a claim that the intermarriage rate exceeded 35% in the US in the 1980s. The real rate as of 1989 was 14% according to Medding et al. And there has been no subsequent study from which an updated figure can be drawn.

Anonymous said...

Why did you plagiarize Trevor Lynch's review, Steve? Did you accept money from Tak's mag? You didn't even mention Lynch's review in your review. I thought that was bad form.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, the guy's raison d'etre was seperation of the races; was he really all that bad? Can't we overlook a few minor personality flaws?"

The brother lands another. Truth 1, HBD Betas 0."

Not so fast. Pegging a general line of thought or inquiry to a most awful example of humanity specifically doesn't make you a knock-out puncher, but instead a thoroughly conventional pee cee pussycat.

crowley said...

" Is the timing of the film's release a coincidence?"

Umm....you mean post-WWII United States?

Sy Olliver said...

ben tillman

Good catch. Yes, I suspected the numbers provided by the self-interested navel gazers I first came across would be on the high side. However, I didn't have time to dig into it further at that time and the difference was a less important manner of degree.

Still, the point stands. Whether the 50% orginally cited or the 31% that Wikipedia cites based upon the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey, intermarriage is high and seems to be growing. This is especially true for the more secular (non-hasidic or even non-orthodox) Jews who exhibit the best genetics and are often consequently drawn into the most competitive intellectual fields like non-humanities academia, medicine/law, Wall Street and tech startups.

Here is also a link to a more current 1998 work by Medding that goes into excrutiating detail on the matter.

Were you just disputing the inflated 50% figure or did you object to a broader argument?

Fred said...

A quick pontification from a Jew here:

I have no interest in seeing this movie.

Sadism for sadism's sake is distasteful, whoever the victims are.

The idea that there's anything novel about the Jews-fighting-back angle in WWII movies is false. There have been movies about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the recent one about those Jewish partisans in the northern forests somewhere, etc. Little Masadas of defiance, with all the strategic significance of the original Masada, which is to say none (ironically, according to Beevor's history of the Siege of Stalingrad, some German officers compared their fates in the kessel to those of the Jewish Zealots on Masada).

Sometimes the best revenge really is living well, or at least living and having children. That wouldn't make an exciting movie though.

Baldwin said...

"The idea that there's anything novel about the Jews-fighting-back angle in WWII movies is false."

A quick pontification from a non-Jew here: Yeah, trust me, we know. Just based on the sheer number of WWII movies revolving around Jews, quite a few would've had to have ended up being made.

"Sometimes the best revenge really is living well, or at least living and having children."

Well is it then safe to say that post-WWII America has satisfied this desire for revenge, many many times over?

Anonymous said...

I said "Esther decapitating the enemy general."

"Judith, not Esther. Esther had her enemies hanged."

right you are. Revenge is nothing new. I think the major Jewish holiday of Purim comes from the tormentor of Jews being hung (by Esther), some 2500 years ago. btw, I think it was a dish served cold by the time it happened.

Truth said...

"Not so fast. Pegging a general line of thought or inquiry to a most awful example of humanity specifically doesn't make you a knock-out puncher, but instead a thoroughly conventional pee cee pussycat."

Yeah, you're right, but what about two lines?

Not only was he for separation of the races, HE WAS AN AYCH-BEE-DEE ER ALSO YOU DUMMMB BASSSS-TTEEEEEERRRDD!!!

Seven Years of College Down the Drain said...

>>Worst of all, when it comes out on DVD this movie will encourage American troops in the Middle East to treat Muslim civilians like the Nazis are treated in this movie.<<

Um, how does this follow at all?

Fred said...

"Well is it then safe to say that post-WWII America has satisfied this desire for revenge, many many times over?"

For the living well part, certainly. Some Jews are upset with the high rate of assimilation, but given the alternative (a country where assimilation rates are low because Jews are segregated), I have no complaints.

Quentin Tarantino has his own motivations though.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon - One thing unmentioned by most critics - this movie would seem to be deeply offensive to American WWII veterans, by portraying GIs as vicious butchers, little better than Nazis themselves.

Saw the firts Inglorious Bastards, the other day - absolute garbage, I can't think of one redeeming feature.

One thing struck me watching it, any German or American vets watching it would, I suspect, find it utterly insulting.

Tarantino's movie is not a remake btw.

Anonymous said...

T99 - Basterds a "Jewish revenge fantasy?" Please. Hollywood can't even make stone-cold Palestinian terrorists villains. Not in Munich, not in "Zohan."

Well some would argue - whilst being shot down as anti-semitic - thats because Hollywood movies regularly attack those who Jews perceive to be their enemies. It just doesnt happen to be ALQ or the Pals.

I know we've done this to death already but look where the venom is actually directed. If its not at middle America, its at WASPS, if not its at WASPs once removed, Brits or Europans. And so on.

A classic would be the Caddyshack movies - a sickening hatefest if ever Ive seen one. If the roles were reversed...well they wouldndt be would they.

Anonymous said...

I just saw IG and I thought it was ****ing awesome. And I say this as someone who didn't like Pulp Fiction or Desparados and refused to see Kill Bill.

David said...

>Um, how does this follow at all?<

Tarantino is regarded as cool.

The boys in the barracks watch a zillion DVDs in their downtime. They like cool.

Cool Tarantino movie shows: American GIs and those on America's side baseball-batting skulls of evil anti-American enemies. Splat! Roar!

Cool!

Treating hadjis per Geneva Convention or something similar = uncool, boring. Add testoterone.

If you need further explanation, consult the War Nerd.

Billare said...

Well, I just saw this movie and thought it was amazing. Tarantino is extremely intricate in crafting his movies, there tons of references to be found. One thing I especially enjoyed was how exquisitely he crafted the tension in the opening scene and in also in the bar. I agree entirely with Antoine Zhang regarding the motivations of those who bashed it.

Anonymous said...

"Despite the numerous charismatic and handsome Jewish actors in Hollywood, Tarantino managed to pick a sorry bunch of stereotypes who all look alike."

Uh, it should probably be noted that most of the Basterds aren't even played by Jews!

Omar Doom is a Kashmiri Muslim, Paul Rust is a Catholic from Iowa, Michael Bacall (Buccellatto) is Italian, and Carlos Fidel sounds Hispanic to me.

Anonymous said...

Here is the perfect real-life Jewish cast for this film's Jewish soldiers:

-Jon Bernthal as the muscular and much more physically appropriate "Bear" Jew

-Logan Lerman as a young, eager, soldier

-Jason Isaacs as a British Jewish soldier (replacing Michael Fassbender's character)

-and halfsie Shia LaBeouf...

I didn't have to go very far to find this Jewish cast. They are all leading actors in David Ayer's upcoming WWII movie Fury (also starring Brad Pitt, coincidentally). Except none of their characters will be Jewish.