Is it too early to start a backlash against Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Inglourious Basterds (intentionally spelled wildly incorrectly), which has just begun principle photography? Maybe “backlash” is too strong a word, since we’re pretty excited to see the latest film from Mr. Tarantino, especially since Basterds has been knocking around inside his giant head since Pulp Fiction. It’s just, well, we were expecting more.
No, not from the script, which is reportedly as bananas as we had hoped: Basterds deals with Nazis, Jewish soldiers, revenge, cinema, double crosses, the scalping of baddies and the take down of the entire Third Reich. Awesome. It’s just… remember when Mr. Tarantino wanted his WWII epic to star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone? Because we do. What about when Mr. Tarantino announced the project earlier this year and said how he was circling Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Simon Pegg, Adam Sandler, Natalie Portman and a host of other A-listers to star? Because we remember that, too.
So what happened? Well, Mr. Pitt is on board as the lead, excellently named Aldo Raine, but the rest of the cast is stuffed with, well, nobodies. Outside of Mr. Pitt, who is a superstar obviously, the other actors are either B-list movie stars (Diane Kruger), television actors (Samm Levine from Freaks and Geeks and B.J. Novak from The Office), hack directors (Eli Roth, Hostel) or people you’ve never heard of (everyone else). With the exception of cameos from Mike Myers and Cloris Leachman, there are no other stars here.
We know stars don’t make a movie, but we usually expect Mr. Tarantino to cobble together a cool cast of somebodys and former somebodys to make an excellent movie. Where is Basterds’ Robert Forster or Pam Grier or Kurt Russell? We find it hard to believe Mr. Tarantino couldn’t strike a deal with Bruce or Sly or even Sandler. Any of them would have been an improvement over this group. Seriously, Quentin. Diane Kruger? We never thought we’d be crying for the days of Darryl Hannah.