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December 2016

Glourious Basterds

By Jennifer Wright

I love Harvey Weinstein. I realize that not everyone shares this opinion about the controversial producer. Maybe it is his tendency toward aggressive marketing (otherwise known as awesome marketing—I like the way that he shows up, happy to see everyone, at every single event showcasing his movies). Or maybe people are envious that he has managed to land a wife who is so beautiful that I am half-convinced she is some sort of genetically engineered uber-human (Georgina Chapman, co-founder and designer of Marchesa). Or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s proud to be from Queens, an area I do associate with weekend revelers who make their way into Manhattan to scream outside my window all night. (I apologize, readers in Queens, I know you are not like that.)

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But mostly, I think anyone who says that he dislikes Harvey is just jealous that he didn’t make Inglourious Basterds. Admittedly, I wasn’t so sure of the film’s appeal going into the screening. While I realize the movie’s director, Quentin Tarantino, is a genius, I shy away from the violence in his movies. Which, to be fair, certainly plays a prominent role in this film—Nazi heads beaten in with baseball bats jumps to mind. But, despite what Brad Pitt’s character says in the previews, the purpose of the movie is not simply to set its characters to killing Nazis.

Because really, this is a movie that pays homage to the power of film. One of the main storylines revolves around Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), a young Frenchwoman who witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Aldo Raine’s (Brad Pitt) team of retribution-bent Jewish-American soldiers (the inglourious basterds of the title) quickly join forces with a German actress, Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), to terrorize the Third Reich. I don’t want to give away too much, but the cinema is key to the plot.

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If you like the movie as much as I did, you may be able to look forward to another one. Weinstein proudly said, “You know, Brad wants to do a sequel. I really want to do a sequel. There should be an Inglourious Basterds II.” Darn right there should.

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In addition to Weinstein, I caught sight of horror movie director Eli Roth, known for his gross-outs like Hostel (pictured above with Christoph Waltz) who was appropriately cast as the baseball-bat swinging Nazi in this film. Two audience members nodding their approval were Lindsay Lohan and Julia Stiles.

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Hopefully, this is the movie that will bail the Weinstein Co. out of its financial troubles. At the very least, it is one worth checking out yourself. It is, after all, pretty glorious.

Pics via Billy Farrell

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