How ‘Basterds’ fits into the Tarantino mythos

Posted by · 8:07 am · August 17th, 2009

Eli Roth in Inglourious BasterdsOne of the most exciting aspects of Quentin Tarantino’s breed of cinema for this cinema obsessive who held the guy in a rather glowing light back in the mid-1990s was the idea that all of the directors’ films were connected in some way.  It went beyond the simplicity of, “Hey, cool, Vincent Vega from ‘Pulp Fiction’ and Vic Vega from ‘Reservoir Dogs’ are brothers.”  It said something about the power of creativity, manifesting a vast fictional world and playing God with its characters.  It was something, for me, that defined Tarantino as unique.

Perhaps because the novelty wore off, perhaps because he got slightly bored with it, Tarantino eased off the throttle on this particular aspect of his films somewhere along the line, leaving people to making stabbing guesses, such as the idea that Samuel L. Jackson’s piano player in “Kill Bill” is actually Jules from “Pulp Fiction” walking the earth.  Or perhaps it all just got a bit subtler, I don’t know.  I would have liked a vast expansion of all of this, however.  It could have been rather defining and exciting.

Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist has stumbled onto a connection between “Inglourious Basterds” and “True Romance” that keeps the Tarantinoverse light burning a little longer.

Here’s the scoop:

Remember Lee Donowitz (the awesome Saul Rubinek) in “True Romance”? The slimy Hollywood film producer of the fictional Vietnam war film, “Coming Home In A Body Bag”?

According to a Q&A last night with Quentin Tarantino in Austin, Texas, post-“Inglorious Basterds,” screening, Eli Roths’s character Sgt. Donny Donowitz is his father.

Well I’ll take it, even though the brazen historical revisionism of “Inglourious Basterds” kind of puts it in a weird place outside of the Tarantino canon.  After all, are we to believe the world inhabited by the Gecko brothers, the Vega brothers, Jules, the Bride, Micky, Mallory and all the rest is one in which…


…the Fuhrer was mowed down under a hail of machine gun fire in the middle of World War II?


I’m being a pain in the ass, but, you know, just sayin’.

→ 10 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

10 responses so far

  • 1 8-17-2009 at 8:34 am

    James D. said...

    I need to see Earl McGraw to make the connection.

  • 2 8-17-2009 at 9:41 am

    Graham said...

    You sure you wanna spoil the ending there, Kris?

  • 3 8-17-2009 at 9:56 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    This week is a good time to write about it in those terms, since it’s coming out in interview after interview. I consciously held back on that for a while (while others were talking about it openly), but now, if you read a site like mine, you must have, by now, read a site that spoils that bit.

  • 4 8-17-2009 at 10:19 am

    Vito said...

    Actually, I hadn’t stumbled upon that particular note. I only knew that Tarantino changes history so to speak. Either way, I’m not really mad that you’ve revealed this to me. I actually look forward to seeing that happen. Ha.

  • 5 8-17-2009 at 11:32 am

    JP said...

    I hadn’t heard the ending either. Kind of disappointed to have it ruined for me here. Ah well. Life goes on. The ending to Sixth Sense and Fight Club were both ruined for me as well, so I’ve learned to accept that it happens.

  • 6 8-17-2009 at 11:42 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Alright, I’ll stick a spoiler warning on there. Sorry guys. Like I said, it’s out there in the media, so I figured it would be fair game.

  • 7 8-17-2009 at 12:59 pm

    Bill said...

    Wouldn’t it have been great if Valkyrie turned out to be a revisionist movie? Or maybe a new version of Romeo and Juliet?

  • 8 8-17-2009 at 8:33 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    It’s funny because the whole time I was watching Valkyrie (a film I thought quite efficient, I should say), I kept hoping they’d pull it off. Silly me. But a sign of well-achieved suspense.

  • 9 8-23-2009 at 8:58 pm

    Andy said...

    How do you figure “in the middle of World War II”? The opening scene takes place in 1941, and the scenes at the theater take place four years after that. That puts it right near the end of the war.

    I’m not saying it’s not weird that the difference in his actual death and the movie’s version is nothing, but it wouldn’t mess with the timeline too much.

  • 10 8-23-2009 at 9:57 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Semantics. Supplant “during” and it’s my same meaning.