Random Nonsense

Canuovea also dislikes Inglorious Basterds
Canuovea at 12:30AM, Jan. 12, 2011
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Look, I know some people like this movie, each to their own. But I have some problems with it.

First off, I loved the opening scene to this movie. It was brilliant, and for it alone the actor who played the villain deserved the Academy award he won. Problem is that it went down from there. It got wacky, disjointed, and I ended up completely annoyed from a personal moral standpoint.

This movie just didn't know what it wanted to be. It tried to be humorous, a la Brad Pitt's “accent”, it tried to be serious, a la the opening scene. It most certainly didn't know what to do with the characters and plot.

Summary: First we have evil dude killing Jews, one 17 yr. old girl gets away. Okay, good bad guy, promising start. Then we suddenly have a bunch of Jewish soldiers in the US army dropped into France to kill Germans and take their scalps. Wait, what? Okay. Then we have a random German soldier hitting on the Jewish girl (who is obviously pretending not to be Jewish), who is lovers with a black fellow (wow, anything more taboo in the third Reich?). Turns out the soldier (who is some kind of ace sniper) wants to use her theatre for a propaganda film. Eventually Goebbels agrees to this and the “Jew Hunter” sinisterly hints that he knows the girl is a Jew but does nothing about it… Meanwhile, the “Basterds” are killing German soldiers and carving swastikas onto the heads of the survivors and Hitler is banging his hands on the table in a comedic fashion yelling “Nein Nein Nein Nein Nein!” Then the British come into it and send some fellow to meet the “Basterds” because an informant has important information. Bar scene, Hitler is coming to Paris, people get shot in the nuts (including the British guy we just met) and all the Basterds who were in the place die. Turns out that the Basterds sent all their people who speak German to this ill-fated meeting. Smart of them. Decide to try to assassinate Hitler at the theatre anyway. Meanwhile, the Jewish lady gets the same idea. Long story short, it turns out the “Jew Hunter” also tries to kill Hitler to get in good with the USA… Several different assassination plots converge, Hitler dies via facial submachine gunning, Jewish Theatre owner dies, so does the Sniper fellow, etc, and it only ends up mattering that one assassination attempt was needed in the first place… etc. Oh and “Jew Hunter” survives, but gets a Swastika carved onto his forehead.

Pardon me for the block of text, but it was on purpose. It's supposed to try to be as disjointed and confusing as it's subject was to me.

Another major problem was the characters. Throughout all those storylines the only real constant was the “Jew Hunter” character, in fact, I think he had the most character development (as an undoubtedly evil villain). He would be followed by the Theatre owning Jewish Lady and that sniper (both of who go through two or three changes at most, and the sniper's change seems forced and sudden). The rest of the characters are introduced and die before they can really develop. That British fellow for instance, two to three scenes then death. And as a further result of this I found myself not caring about them. Woop. A character dies who I have no connection with.

This was really two movies, an action comedy and a sinister kind of drama, and trying to do both at once made it feel rushed and unsatisfactory. More could be told from either the Basterds' perspective or Shoshanna's (the Jewish 17 year old who lived then took over the Theatre then died), hell we could have seen more of almost everyone! I suggest two separate movies!

And my final complaint. Have we gotten over the “Ha! Germans are evil, lets kill them!” and “Look, I'm killing Nazis! Woo!” phase of our society yet? Apparently not. The Nazis did terrible things and they really can make great bad guys (the best Indiana Jones film had Nazis, who were really evil and hate-able). However, simply sticking Nazis, or Germans, into a film does not make the villains instantly hate-able or good villains. And another thing, Nazi and German are not interchangable, just like the SS and Wehrmacht were not, which is something I got the feeling the movie ignored somewhat.

What does this lead to? I'm sympathizing with the Germans. That's right. I'm sympathizing with the “bad guys” again, and that isn't a good sign. No, not Hitler, not Goebbels, and not “The Jew Hunter” but other German characters like the child Maximillian's father, or that soldier who got his head beat in by a baseball bat. I find it hard to sympathize with terrorists like the Basterds (Though Shoshanna is different, I sympathized with her, possibly because she was actively harmed and in a dangerous position and sticks to her principles, but was unhappy her plot didn't kill Hitler). Do I like this? No, not really, and I certainly don't like how it was handled. In fact, the trailers were better than the movie as a whole.

Blargh, there, I just wrote a bunch of stuff at 12:26 AM in the morning and it is probably of dubious quality. I'm going to post it anyway though. I am curious as to what everyone thinks.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 5:18AM, Jan. 12, 2011
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Apparantly some jewish groups found the movie ofensive due to its implication of jewish war crimes, seemingly making them morally equivilant to the nazis in their behaviour.

I need to see the film to really form an opinion, though I am realiably informed that 1) it is incredibly silly and 2) Brad Pitt and his nazi hunting team are not as big of a part as you expect them to be.

One thing that did put me off was the idea of american soldiers carving a nazi symbol on enemy soldiers heads, to “brand” them.
Not because it didn't happen (it didn't) and not because its unpleasent.
Just becuase it seems really dumb.
not dumb for the characters…just dumb in the movie.
This is a very modern take on things. To us, the swastika is a symbol of pure evil and the idea of having one on your head, showing your nazi shame is abhorrent.
But at the time, the swastika was the symbol of germany and the german flag.
Yes, it was the symbol of evil from the allied point of view, but the idea that it would carry stigma for a german at the time is jsut dumb. Its just hte symbol for germany at the time, so you are branding the guy with something that says “I am a german.”
It would be equivilant to al qeada capturing american troops and branding their foreheads with stars and stripes. Unpleasent, but mostly just confusing. What the hell message is that supposed to send?

I know the film is not meant to be historically accurate, but I always hate when people put modern view points and opinions onto historical characters, rather than thinking about it from the point of view of people at the time.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Canuovea at 12:11AM, Jan. 14, 2011
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“Brad Pitt and his nazi hunting team are not as big of a part as you expect them to be.”

Absolutely true. If you are going for that, then do the bloody movie about it!

“I always hate when people put modern view points and opinions onto historical characters, rather than thinking about it from the point of view of people at the time. ”

Yeah, but I guess that it wouldn't take a genius to figure out that once the allies won then Nazism would start to look bad. For some it didn't, in fact, there was a survey that said about 40% (I believe, it was a significant number) thought Hitler was a great leader… with the exception of the war. So yeah, that is definitely something silly, but it could be argued for.

There were plenty of other phenomena that fit that definition in the movie though.

For example, most of the top Allies weren't really all that concerned with the Holocaust, even when they knew about it. It was only after the war that it became considered more carefully. And the general (Allied) populace might have heard some rumours, and would have known about some of the persecution of the Jews, but nothing to it's true extent! So why would these Jews have such an extreme hatred of Germans? They would almost certainly not have known about the Holocaust! I could understand anger, but this was just extreme!

“Apparantly some Jewish groups found the movie ofensive due to its implication of jewish war crimes, seemingly making them morally equivilant to the nazis in their behaviour.”

Trust me, if this movie were accurate then yes, the Jews (in the film as Brad Pitt's Jews) would have been guilty of war crimes. Then again, it can be said that many on the allies side committed war crimes and were not tried for it… but they won.

Oh, and on a separate but related issue, I've found another failure of Monty's. The allies had the advantage and wanted to take a port in the Netherlands that would be vital. Monty was focusing more on a direct push though (as in “home by Christmas” ), and ignored one crucial aspect of this port. The port was in a bay. The allies, under Monty, took the closest side and said they had the port and all was well; they then neatly abandoned the initiative in the region. It later became obvious that one needed to control both sides of the bay, otherwise the Germans could sink the supply ships. But by this point the German army was dug in and gave the British and Canadians a tough slog. Then again, everyone makes mistakes like that at some point.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 7:16AM, Jan. 14, 2011
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(I made asmall edit on the above post. I basically just added a space so that the use of brackets and speach marks did not create a smiley face.)

Monty cant catch a break from you, can he?
If you scrutinise any historical figure, let alone any commander, enough you will find faults. I am saying Monty was perfect, quite the opposite, but he did achieve some really great things that most likely would not have happened without him.

One thing I will say for this movie is at least the bad guys aren't British.
That might sound silly when talking about a WW2 film, but I've seen plenty of American war shows (such as the incredibly cheesey and over rated Band of Brothers) where the British are shown to be actively undermining the war effort with their arrogance and incompetance.
Mind you, you mention the British guy gets shot in the balls so I am probably speaking too soon in assuming this film does not make Britain look bad.

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Canuovea at 11:09PM, Jan. 24, 2011
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Of course you're right about Monty not being perfect. At least he wasn't a WW1 general. Haig and Joffre have got to be two of the stupidest military men in recorded history. Truly, as one German remarked of the British, “Lions led by Donkeys”.

Apparently Band of Brothers is based on actual events, and fairly closely based too (not like the Blair Witch Project, which sounds like it was based on the fact that there was a general location that looks like the place in the film). In fact, the detail is supposed to go down to the point where a guy gets his legs blown off and at then end they show the actual person it happened to. In point of fact, I think the person who led them died recently. Then again, I've never actually seen Band of Brothers.

The British fellow doesn't really have much of a role, but he isn't shown as evil… or particularly incompetent… and as consolation, an SS officer also gets his balls blown off.

I dunno, seems kind of childish.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 7:50AM, Jan. 25, 2011
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Band of Brothers was not realistic.
Yeah it was based on true events, but that doesn't mean what was happening was in anyway realistic.

Let me give an example.
Almost every week, a long American would heroically dash across the open with tons of Nazis shooting at him and amazingly not get hit.
They would actualy really make a point of how daring and amazing this was.

Now thats fair enough, that could happen.

What makes me call bullshit on the show is that the Nazis never do the same thing.
How come we never see a long German run across the open, with tons of Americans blazing at him and all missing?
Because if we did, and saw that from the shooters point of view it would make the soldiers firing seem incompetent.
There was a scene you will probably remember where an American soldier comes across a lone German, and there is a pause when they look at each other, the german smiles and then the American shoots him. Just after this, the American walks up onto the top of a hill and sees the rest of the german battalion.
They are apparantly deaf as not one of them heard the gunshot and retarded as not one of them noticed one their number has been left behind.
The American then stands on top of the hill firing his machine gun at the Germans.
And I mean stands up and fires from the hip rambo style.
At this point I was thinking “oh, so this guy is going to die heroically now.” But no, he mows down masses of Germans who barely even seem to try and fire back, let alone hit him.
The guy killed about twenty Germans, while stood in the open about 20 feet from them and not one of the rest of them retaliated.
The American did everything short of planting a flag in the ground and singing star spangled banner while he did it!
Again, this IS possible, it COULD happen. But how come the Germans never do anything similar? We never see a lone German pop out and mow down about 20 Americans and then escape. Can only Americans do that?

The show didn't make me think war is hell…it made me think the US army was made up of whiney cry babies.
“Oh boo hoo! War is hell! It's so tough!”
You think the war is tough? How you think the germans feel? They don't even know how to fire their guns properly! The Americans only need to vaguely fire somewhere near them and half the German army falls dead.
But their depiction in this show (and many other war films) is a bunch of guys who complain a lot while fighting the easiest war in history.
Frankly, against Nazis that goofy I recon I could have given them a good fight. Hell, I could have charged them with a spear, odds are they wouldn't hit me!
Now I should clarify, that's not a statement mocking the efforts of actual American soldiers in that, or any other war.

Just to make sure its crystal clear, world war 2 was not won because the German army was massively poorly trained and bad at shooting compared to the Americans.

Real gun fights are a lot less dramatic. If you look at the statistics of bullets fired to people killed, it took thousands of rounds wasted for each actual casualty caused. Most of the time soldiers blazed away and didn't hit that much. Shooting at people in a battle is very difficult. Its hectic, you are trying not to get yourself killed and the people you are shooting at are trying their best not to get shot. The show seems to apply this to the Germans, but the Americans shoot in a way any John Wayne character would be proud of.

Another cool thing you get in war films (and by cool I mean retarded) is the rule of revenge.
If a german is shown shooting an American, that German WILL be shown dieing before the end of the battle (often being shot in response immediately.)
I guess its so the audience can feel they get closure, but to me it makes it feel like the Americans play by a different set of rules to the germans, like they get a bonus free action when ever they lose a man.
Here is a scene you have NEVER seen in a war film (even so called realistic ones with Tom Hanks in.)-
A german comes around a corner, sees a group of Americans and (taking them by surprise) machine guns them all to death in a hail of bullets. He then leaves.
We dont see him die or find out his specific fate. He is just one soldier who kills a bunch of guys.

Now don't try and tell me things like that never happened, cause obviously they must have, and judging by band of brothers the American army pulled that shit on the germans on a daily basis.

Also in Band of Brothers, during operation market garden we are shown a completely bogus scene that has no historical basis where a British tank commander refuses to start firing at the germans because he has been ordered not too (not wanting to cause unnecessary damage to houses in the area…no really, that is what he says!).
This has no historical basis but is in the show for a couple reasons-

1- this is a bit where the allies are losing, but the show doesn't want to make the Americans look bad so puts the blame squarely on the British (who in American war films seem to serve the purpose of hindering the war effort to make up for Nazi imcompetence. If you believe American films the US would have won the war in about 2 week if Uptights Brits doing things by the book hadn't got in the way so much.)

2- It fits with American's stereotypes of uptight Brits who always have to do everything “buy the book” compared to the more imaginative and quick witted Americans. This stereotype is fairly well ingrained in America due to false ideas relating to the American revolution (see my last of the mohecains review for more on that bit of fun racism/ignorance) so its natural that it would crop up.

Just to clarify, operation market gardens failure was in no part caused by British soldiers being unwilling to fire at the Germans, ignoring the advice of plucky American GI's or their desire to give and follow orders that were insane and made no sense.

Band of Brothers is based on real events?
So is Inglorious Basterds!
I mean, WW2 really happened and it features real people. Hitler was real, and he really did get killed before the end of the war, right? Yeah they changed a few details, added in a few made up bits, but that doesn't matter, does it?

The only difference is that Band of Brothers tries rather shadily to pass off obvious hollywood bullshit as realistic.
Inglorious Bastards has the decency to be up front when it is just making shit up.

Tom Hanks can kiss my arse.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 7:57AM, Jan. 25, 2011
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And yes, I do realise I am the only person alive who doesn't think Band of Brothers was a master piece, so I am sure every and their mum is about to tell me I'm wrong.

But if any of you can tell me that the Americans in that show obeyed the same laws of physics as the Germans, I will call you a damn liar.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Canuovea at 2:28PM, Jan. 25, 2011
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Okay. First of all. I am not going to attack you for not liking band of brothers. Why? I never saw the damn thing. I had just heard that it was based on the experiences of real people. The American characters, at least, are actual people, some of whom are still alive today.

That doesn't mean that everything is choreographed from their memories though (except the one guy losing his leg perhaps). In fact, it sounds like the only time something bad happens to an American is when they can't get around it.

So I'm not really surprised that we see a lot of Hollywood shit in it. And not having seen it, I won't dispute it.

But what I meant by based on real events is that it is based on the experiences of actual individual who it is supposedly telling the story of. Doesn't mean it did it well, but there is an actual basis for this. Something can be based on reality and actual events without being realistic just as something can be realistic without being based on actual events.

Inglorious basterds doesn't just ignore historical events (a rather minor complaint though, I'll admit), it also falls victim to the same bullshit as Band of Brothers in terms of military stereotypes (well, to a degree…) and is also unrealistic.

Yeah, Market Garden wasn't a failure because the British couldn't fight. Hell, the fight they did put up was pretty amazing. It failed because some incompetent moron forgot that people need ammunition to fight. Lions led by Donkeys indeed!

On a similar line of thought, the Italians under Rommel's command could fight. The Bersaliare (can never spell that) were left in the rear guard to stall Monty's advance. They fought to the last round of ammunition before surrendering. Yet, I don't recall seeing Italian soldiers in any of those WW2 movies/TV shows. I guess the Germans are instantly recognizable and make good enemies.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 11:30AM, Jan. 26, 2011
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Another thing I've noticed in Band of Brothers and saving private ryan…
The Americans always seem a lot more organised than the germans.
The Americans do loads of hand signals, all acting in unison, ducking low together, efficiently taking out bunkers with grenades before storming etc.
You know…like a professional army of soldiers would.
The Germans seem to just mill around. Large groups of them run back and forth (usually ignoring cover), they stand around looking confused and they seem to just generally spray the area with bullets, not really taking much care over hitting specific enemies.
You just get the sense that the Germans just don't really know what they are doing when it comes to fighting battles.

Oh and here is how Wikipedia describes the shows “realism” (I highlighted the bit in bold myself.)
"The events portrayed are based on Ambrose's research and recorded interviews with Easy Company veterans. A large amount of literary license was taken with the episodes, with several differences between recorded history and the film version. All of the characters portrayed are based on actual members of Easy Company; some of them can be seen in prerecorded interviews as a prelude to each episode (their identities, however, are not revealed until the close of the finale)."

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM

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