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YMMV / Inglourious Basterds

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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Wait for the cream."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Who are the actual protagonists? Are the Basterds the protagonists? Shoshanna? Is Landa the Villain Protagonist? Or is Raine the Villain Protagonist? Can any of the characters be considered genuine good guys whom the audience can root for? Are the Basterds Anti Heroes, Sociopathic Heroes, or just sociopaths?
    • Also, Fredrick Zoller. Is he the Dogged Nice Guy trying to help out his crush, only to get manipulated and shot over it? Or is he a creepy, annoying Stalker with a Crush, hounding Shoshanna (a woman who repeatedly shows that she has no interest in him), believing that due to his fame, he is entitled to get whatever he wants? His last scene where he yells and threatens her after getting fed up with her attitude lends credence to the latter interpretation, but on the other hand, some of his lines seem practically lifted from a cliched romance, and Tarantino has stated that, in any other time, they probably would have ended up together. Or is he a traumatized soldier trying to get away from his dark past through Shosanna, and watching himself kill repeatedly pushes him over the edge?
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    • Bridget's motives in aiding the Allies are never stated, they could plausibly be anything. Is she a courageous and committed anti-Nazi? A bored actress who became a spy for the kicks? A pragmatic, female version of Landa who is trying to secure a life for herself in the inevitable Allied victory?
    • Does Landa recognize Shosanna in the restaurant or does he simply treat every conversation as an investigation? Does he initially suspect her and get convinced by her cover story? Or does he in fact confirm her identity and do nothing about it because her cinema is being used for the premiere? If so, is his question he forgot to ask a subtle dig that means he plans to keep an eye on her?
  • Applicability: The Nazis are utterly and completely destroyed by Jews in a movie theater after the end of the war. "This movie is based on a true story" indeed.
  • Award Snub:
    • Losing Best Original Screenplay to The Hurt Locker. It also lost Best Picture, though it wasn't the favorite.
    • Other than Christoph Waltz, many found the best performance in the movie to be that of Melanie Laurent's Shosanna, who was nominated neither for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress by the Oscars, despite some thinking she would've easily been a Top 5 contender either way.
    • Diane Kruger was also nominated for a SAG Award for Supporting Actress that failed to translate to an eventual Oscar nod.
  • Awesome Music: Oh so much. If there's one thing you can expect out a Tarantino film (well, you can expect many things out of a Tarantino film), it's an awesome soundtrack. "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" by David Bowie stands out during a truly awesome montage sequence at the beginning of the movie premiere. You can watch Tarantino absolutely nerd out about the soundtrack here.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Hugo Stiglitz the Knife Nut German Nazi-killer
    • Shosanna Dreyfus's audacious act of revenge, especially when donning her blood-red dress and lipstick to the sound of David Bowie.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Lampshaded in a subtle, creepy way: there is a scene where Germans are watching a Nazi propaganda movie about a German sniper who killed massive numbers of Allied troops while behind enemy lines. They are laughing and enjoying themselves watching people from our side get slaughtered, while you're laughing and enjoying yourself watching people from their side get slaughtered. However, some audiences even laughed and hooted while the allies were being slaughtered. Laughter, she is an infectious drug, is she not? And the funniest part is that both reactions were probably predicted and intended.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: The more psychotic Basterds like Sgt. Donny Donowitz and Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz tend to have their more negative traits glossed over because their victims are Nazis. This is at least somewhat understandable. Then, you get the people using the Basterds' brutality to justify the Nazi villains like Col. Hans Landa and his men. Yes, really.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Lt. Archie Hicox. He only gets about 15 minutes of screen time but Michael Fassbender makes every second count.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Stiglitz, Hellstrom and Landa being charismatic and sexy. Even though they are murderers. It must be the German accents and the great performances from hot European actors.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Shosanna tells Frederick to go to Vichy if he wants a French girlfriend. Vichy was the location of the Nazi collaborationist French government during German occupation.
    • Hicox tries to cover for his strange accent by claiming that he was born in the shadow of Piz Palu. The mountain is located on the border of Switzerland and Italy, so people from this region would have a different accent than someone from Germany. And Swiss-German is practically a different language.
    • After catching the Basterds pretending to be Italians, Landa pours Aldo and Utivich glasses of Chianti, an Italian wine.
    • When Zoller praises the "mountain movies" starring actress Leni Riefenstahl, Shosanna makes a derogatory comment against her. Riefenstahl also directed a number of Nazi propaganda films, most infamously Triumph of the Will.
    • Bridget Von Hammersmark is wearing a name card in the game that says 'Mata Hari'. Of course everyone knows that Mata Hari was a glamorous entertainer that led a double life as a wartime spy. However unlike the popular legend, Mata Hari was not a particularly competent spy and didn't contribute much to the war effort. Foreshadowing that Bridget will ultimately meet a similar fate.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Eli Roth earned lots of praise for his small but memorable role as Donnie the Bear Jew. Turns out being directed by Quentin Tarantino brings out the best in everyone.
    • Diane Kruger was mostly reduced to doing roles that catered to her beauty such as Troy and National Treasure. Here she shows off plenty of charisma and comic timing as Bridget von Hammersmark - proving that she had more to offer as an actress.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Landa's conversation with Shosanna, he tosses some casual racism her way about her black lover Marcel. Christoph Waltz's next Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained has him as one of the few non-racists in the cast, and he spends the majority of the film helping a black man.
  • Ho Yay: When Hitler congratulates Goebbels on Nation's Pride, he addresses him as "my dear." Goebbels is so overcome with emotion at hearing this that he begins to weep.
  • Iron Woobie: Shosanna had her entire family slaughtered right in front of her and literally ran for her life for who knows how many miles, and she lives in fear that she could be discovered. But she keeps a cool head, low profile and her only display of this angst is a brief sob when she's finally free from Landa's interrogation. She also immediately comes up with a plan to get her revenge after this conversation.
  • It Was His Sled: The movie is an alternate history where Hitler, Goebbels and loads of Nazis perish as Shosanna burns her cinema down with them inside it.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: We all know that Hitler died in his bunker in Berlin in 1945, and most of the Nazi brass was put on trial for war crimes or committed suicide, so it's a Foregone Conclusion that the theater plot is doomed to fail just to maintain the historical record. Except it's not.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Aldo "The Apache" Raines is the head of the Basterds. A ruthless, charismatic soldier who intends on tearing down the Nazis, Aldo leads his men behind enemy lines, performing daring raids to kill German soldiers while spreading fear throughout the Nazi ranks, including Adolf Hitler himself. Aldo formulates Operation Kino to eliminate the entire Nazi high command, and when he bargains with Hans Landa to let the operation continue, Aldo promptly denies Landa the satisfaction of victory by carving a Swastika into his forehead, reasoning he's "been chewed out before" while retaining his sense of charm and composure to the end.
    • Shoshanna Dreyfuss is a Jewish girl who loses her family to the Nazis. When approached on using her theater in Paris as the site of a premiere for Joseph Goebbels' major new film, Shoshanna and her lover Marcel opt to lock the Nazis inside the theater and burn it down. Shoshanna proceeds to enact her plan near flawlessly, recording a message to all the Nazi leaders to see on screen that their fates are her vengeance and the vengeance of the Jewish people, ending up with the complete elimination of the Nazi leaders assured even before the Basterds get involved.
  • Memetic Badass: The Bear Jew himself: BONK! In universe, the Germans think he's the mythical Jewish Golem and Hitler orders that he not be referred to as The Bear Jew.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: Sadly, the Nazi characters tend to get the Draco in Leather Pants treatment to an overwhelming degree, and this slides into real-life Nazi apologetics uncomfortably often. This issue is perhaps best discussed elsewhere.
  • Narm Charm: Raine's Southern accent is delightfully cartoonish, yet is actually fairly accurate to a thick, rural East Tennessean accent. For more of Pitt biting down deep on a southern accent, check out Kalifornia.
  • Nausea Fuel: The death of Bridget von Hammersmark, specifically the shot of her face as it happens. Diane Kruger was really being strangled at the time.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Mike Myers as Ed Fenech, Denis Menochet as Perrier LaPadite. Rachtman, Hellstrom, and Winston Churchill.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The film was obliquely affected by the controversy of Uma Thurman being forced into a dangerous car crash in Kill Bill, which drew increased scrutiny to the already infamous scene where Tarantino's own hands are the ones strangling Bridget. Diane Kruger was quick to deny any wrongdoing, saying that Tarantino told her exactly what he had planned, a maximum of two takes where he would genuinely choke her for several seconds, and only went ahead with it after she agreed and stuck to his word.
  • Periphery Demographic: One thing Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth didn't expect is the movie having such a large popularity among the yaoi fans. Though they both announced their immense approval of the fan fiction upon discovering it.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Donny/Utivich, one of the fandom's most popular ships, even though they exchange no dialogue. It's still possible because we only see a little of the Basterds and they probably had a lot more contact with each other than what is actually shown (a good reason to hold out for a prequel).
  • Signature Scene: The much-lauded opening sequence, considered by many to be among the best scenes in Tarantino's filmography, which introduces us to our villain in a tense, chilling, and very memorable manner.
  • Squick:
    • The scalping and mutilations performed by the Basterds, sometimes given very close and detailed attention.
    • The prospect of dying by a bullet barrage to the crotch.
    • Pressing someone to reveal information by sticking your finger into a bullet wound.
    • Goebbels having sex. Please pass the bleach.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Much of the marketing campaign focused solely on the Basterds and Landa, giving off the impression that the story's about them. While they are main characters, Shoshanna and her role in the plot are just as important and she's nowhere to be found in the trailers. Possibly justified as Mélanie Laurent was virtually unknown to American audiences at that point.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It would be really interesting to see how the world would've looked like if Hitler died in 1944 but sadly the film ends shortly after his assassination.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Since its 2009 release, few of Quentin Tarantino's other films have come close to following this one's near universal praise. Django Unchained, The Hateful 8 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood were all quite divisive, with the latter especially being compared unfavorably to this.
  • Values Resonance: Zoller's pursuit of Shosanna is set up as quirky and cute a la Friends and numerous other 90s and 2000s romantic comedies. Then he's shown to be a creep who won't take no for an answer - which was a few years ahead of society's more cynical look of self-professed 'Nice Guys' and issues about consent.


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