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After discovering that movies are $6 at my local theater if the showing time is before noon, I’ve seen a shitload of movies in the last week. Out of Ponyo, Extract, 500 Days of Summer and Inglourious Basterds, I found the latter the most entertaining for a number of reasons, the most important of which being the quality of the dialogue.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Ponyo: the animation was spectacular and the story was cute, but the dialogue felt weak. My limited experience with Japanese (one year in high school) leads me to believe that filming was faced with a-less-than-tip-top translation. But I have no information to confirm my suspicions, just a general impression caused by some choppy dialogue. There were parts where Soske—the main character no less—would say something that felt like he, in two sentences, had just addressed two different thoughts. Not in a list or anything, it just sounded like he couldn’t express his ideas effectively. I guess I’m also a little bitter because it’s a love story about eight year-olds and I was the only person there who wasn’t a kid or didn’t have a kid. (Definitely felt like a pedophile for watching that movie.)

On the other hand, when I saw Extract, I didn’t leave hiding my face, I left just feeling a little let down. I loved Office Space and the first ten minutes of Idiocracy, so I guess I went in with really high hopes for this movie. I also think I might be in a one-sided relationship with Kristen Wiig, but that’s neither here nor there. I hope this doesn’t spoil too much for you, but the movie starts the same way it ends. We have a character who owns an extract plant and at the end of the movie we have a character who has gone through a whole bunch of unfortunate events but has decided to continue owning an extract plant. Sure, he pays a gigolo to have sex with his wife, one of his employees loses a testicle to the great joy of just about everyone in the audience (Nut jokes! Extract! Huzzah!), but at the end of the day, he emerges from this movie as the same man from the beginning. For me, that outweighed great lines like, “Why is it that women always say they want a smart, funny man then they just go and laugh at all the things the dumb, attractive ones say?”

And then there was 500 Days of Summer, where the only thing that gave me any hope was the last two or three minutes. Seeing as I spent most of high school living the same way the main character did, it made me more than a little uncomfortable. I’m not really a fan of The Graduate or anything, but I definitely shared a large amount of his views on romance (there is only one woman for me) and treated women in a similar manner. I…just wanted to yell at him, “Don’t be a fucking idiot” the entire time. Then I would remember that everyone else in the theater also payed $6 to enjoy this movie so I didn’t want to ruin their viewing experience. Damn near every decision he made, I was came close to mumbling, “Listen to her, you asshole. LISTEN to her. She said she didn’t want anything serious. If she wants to, she’ll make it serious.” When he went on the blind date after Summer had broken up with him, all I could think was, “Dude, shut the fuck up. It’s entirely your fault. This girl doesn’t care about Summer. Shut the fuck up. Now she hates you. Shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up.” The only thing that kept me from walking out was the general impression that the dialogue could still be solid beyond this point and that this kid could learn from his mistakes. Luckily, the end seems to imply that there is hope for douchebags like us.

Then, of course, none of these movies had shit on Inglourious Basterds. Sure, the preview gave everyone (myself included) the impression this movie would follow the Basterds around France as they beat the shit out of Nazis. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised to find a healthy mixture of All about Eve and Reservoir Dogs. I found this to be an incredibly oral imagining of vengeance that, in all 5 chapters, began with people talking in an increasingly tense environment leading to a climax of absurd amounts of violence. (Case in Point: “Chapter 4: Operation Kino.” Don’t even get me started on how fucking awesome that chapter is or how amazing Christopher Waltz is in this entire movie. 4 languages? Get the fuck out. Seriously. Get the fuck out.) It was like five intertwined vignettes that, in telling one story, all mirrored the importance of dialogue and violence to the movies while being about the movies. Thus, I see it as a hyper-violent All about Eve that the kids can love too, because Hitler’s face gets shot the fuck up, son! I really do mean that as a compliment: All about Eve just might be the best movie I’ve ever seen and all it is is dialogue about movies.

You should find yourself a nice theater, too. It’s totally worth it, I promise.

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One Comment

  1. Re Inglourious Basterds: Spot on _____.[Sorry, deleted my last name again…]

    “That’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it ‘That’s a bingo?'”

    Keep on truckin.


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