Last week I was lucky enough to catch Inglourious Basterds (presented by Eli Roth) at the Fantasia Film Festival. Lucky because the tickets were free, and lucky because I can confidently state that this film is Tarantino's master stroke.
And not in a jerk-off way, either.
Like the recent death of Michael Jackson; President Obama's inauguration, and other American 'giant leaps for mankind,' Basterds is an event: the ascension of a great cinema craftsman into the pantheon of living masters.
But you may have your doubts. I had mine: the Basterds themselves, for example. Pussies, I thought. How can those Jew Basterds be taken seriously? One answer: Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz played icy-cold by Til Schweiger.
Now I've never pretended to be smart - not since I fell out of that tree in high school anyway - but there's one thing I know in my bones like the coming rain in an old arthritic woman's hands, and it's violence. More specifically, when violence is about to go down...
And I'll tell ya what. Basterds is a slow turn of the screw that makes Henry James' Turn of the Screw sound like The Hardy Boys. An opera of destruction. From Roth's Ritalin deprived man-child, to the unrequited love of a Nazi hero, Basterds has more reversals than a Rubik's Cube.
While watching (full of malt liquor and the bladder of a preemie) I wondered if there's anyone out there that keeps *score* of things like reversals in film. You know, like in sports? Cause holy shit like c'mon you can't be serious. Just when you thought the scene had nowhere else to go - BLAM! Shit on the fan. On the walls. In the front row seats. And piss running down my leg.
After the film Eli asked us to spread the word if we liked what we saw because Tarantino is super-proud, as of course he should be, and fought to have the film screened at Fantasia out of respect for the festival and its fans. So that's what I'm doing. Not because I like writing reviews, because this shit is fucking painful.
And not because I'm *friends* with Randy Pearlstein who co-wrote Roth's Cabin Fever - because we're not really *friends* anyway. And not because I contacted Eli on Myspace and asked him to put me on a guest list for the film because the tickets were sold-out by the time I heard the film was playing, and then I embarrassingly showed up at the premiere (I was already there having seen Michael Dougherty's excellent Trick 'R' Treat just before it - you can buy that one on DVD in October) and asked if they had REPO MAN (my code to Eli in my message to which he never responded) on the list and they said NO...
But because INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS reveals itself to be more than just a great film - it's the cinematic knighting of a man as a master. Truly an event to witness.
p.s. I got the ticket free because not everyone on the VIP list was present. Thanks Fantasia.
p.p.s I also met Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. Whadda great guy. Happy 30th Fango.
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