In 2010 I saw 100 different movies in 100 different theaters. Here are the details.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Inglorious Bastards (Disambiguation)

So, the Oscar nominations have been announced, and you're trying to see all the Best Picture nominees before the awards ceremony. There are a couple of places still showing Quentin Tarantino's nominated WWII tale, so you arbitrarily pick the Oaks Theatre in Berkeley. But wait . . . something doesn't look quite right. The spelling . . . doesn't Tarantino's movie spell 'bastard' with an 'e'?

As it turns out, there is another film, made and released in Italy in 1978, and known by various titles in the U.S. since its video debut in 1981: Counterfeit Commandos, Deadly Mission, G.I. Bro, Hell's Heroes, and, finally, The Inglorious Bastards. (A word of caution: not even B movies change their titles; if within the same country a movie changes its title even once, you know it was so unbelievably terrible that the studio is trying to sever all ties to anyone unlucky enough to have seen it and is therefore able to pick it out of a police line-up.) So, wait, The Oaks is showing some doppelgänger movie? Very clever; the theater waits until the real movie gets an Oscar nod, then it dusts off this old heap hoping to rake in a few bucks from people who, not having seen a Tarantino movie anyway, will just think that the Academy really has no standards anymore.

However, Bastards (with an 'a') is set in WWII, and features some misfits on some deadly mission against the Nazis. Its plot has at least some passing resemblance to Tarantino's film. Could it be that Tarantino's is a remake? The answer . . . is no. Tarantino has cited The Dirty Dozen as an inspiration for his film, which also clearly inspired Bastards. So maybe this is some sort of anti-mainstream message, to show how Hollywood just regurgitates ideas? Regardless, it's looking more like a scam than ever, with perhaps even the retitling being in on the con.

But now you're wise to the con, too. They didn't fool you. And hey, wouldn't it be fun to go see this dated piece of trash, just to watch the audience's bewildered reaction when they realize something is amiss, and that with all the make-up and Italian accents, it's difficult to tell which one is Brad Pitt? Yes, you decide, that sounds like a blast! So you go.

You plop yourself down in the seat at the Oaks, ready to make merry. Roll it!

Wait, that is Brad Pitt! It's a triple-cross!

In fact, The Oaks is showing Tarantino's film after all, and it is only through some misattribution in their showtime listing on IMDB that the older film has been identified. There's no trick, just an honest mistake.

(No, I didn't actually go to the Oaks, but I had it all worked out in my mind!)


  1. A la Wallace Shawn in Princess Bride...

  2. "The answer . . . is no."

    I hope you had Nimoy in your head when you wrote that, because he's in mine as I read it.

  3. I watched "Bastards" at home (thanks to Will's gift of a Netflix subscription) and found myself fast forwarding through many parts of the film. Although I love war movies, I found this a little senseless and hard to watch. I finally hit the eject button. Love, Dad

  4. Shakier Anthem, you are spot on.

    "The story you are about to hear is true, and by true, I mean, it is full of lies. But isn't that, in the end, the real truth? The answer, is no."