Tuesday 16 March 2010

Covered in glory

I've always enjoyed the cinema, but when the boy came to live with me on a permanent basis it became difficult to juggle single-fatherhood with an active social life. As a consequence I became a regular buyer of DVDs, and watched them on a projector that would beam a picture six foot across on to the sitting room wall. If I'd bought a popcorn machine, I'd have been in seventh heaven. This arrangement worked pretty well when he was younger and going to bed at 8, then 8.30, 9.00 and even 9.30. But by the time he was heading up to bed at around 10, my film watching days seemed to be over - it didn't seem fair (or something I wanted to happen) for him to be consigned to another room whilst I indulged in the latest 15 or 18 certificate movie. So although I've continued to buy DVDs, they seem to pile up on the shelf unopened, unwatched and unloved. A friend lent me a fabulous Korean film called Oldboy which after three months I've returned...unwatched.

It was with some excitement that I sat down last night and opened a Christmas present and slotted it into the DVD player. I'm a great fan of Tarantino, and having missed his latest at the Odeon, I was really looking forward to seeing Inglorious Basterds. And indeed, it pretty much started as I expected - a pastiche of everything that's bad about American War movies - poor title graphics, mono soundtrack...and I really liked the touch of having all the production team given Italian names...very good. It carried on, and the voices were nearly synced, the acting was the prefect take on B movie woodenness. The characters were caricatures - and the acting suitably wooden. I loved some of the explosions with bodies flying up into the sky obviously attached to wires - and the bit which made me laugh out loud was when the renegades came across a group of naked women, who turned on them with machine guns. Gratuitous it was and well done - although a bit like Deathproof, it was a joke difficult to sustain over the course of the whole film.

After an hour I was puzzling about the absence of Brad Pitt, and couldn't quite figure out who had won an Oscar for best supporting actor...I called to the boy and asked if he could Google it. He picked up the packaging and asked what I was watching. "Inglorious Basterds" I said. "Oh the one with Brad Pitt?" he replied. "Uh huh" I said. He looked at the packaging to reveal the terrible, terrible truth. "This isn't the one with Brad Pitt in. That's Inglorious Basterds. This is the original Inglorious Bastards. You're watching the wrong film."

Indeed I had been. For a whole hour. A whole hour of my life in a state of confusion and mis-understanding.

He was quite matter of fact about it. Obviously parents are stupid, so mistakes like that are inevitable.

I blame Santa. He has a lot to answer for.