Although I am known in these parts as a Quentin Tarantino hater, let me just emphasize that I think Tarantino is a unique stylist with a keen instinct for catchy dialogue. He is also a master of turning a scene on its ear in order to maximize tension. That said, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is self-indulgent nonsense. The film is essentially about nothing at all, but it is tangentially about a group of people trying to thwart the Nazi takeover of Europe during World War 2. It stars Brad Pitt in a ridiculous, "look at me" performance as Lt. Aldo Raine, who is leading a small battalion of Jewish-American fighters into France to kill as many Nazi soldiers as they can. Their ruthlessness becomes legendary among the Nazis, catching the attention of bloodhound Jew killer Landa (Christoph Waltz). The Basterds eventually intersect the revenge plot created by a Jewish cinema owner named Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent), who intends to burn the elite Nazi leaders, including Adolf Hitler. With BASTERDS, Tarantino has made his fourth film in a row about nothing more than revenge. And like the KILL BILL films, BASTERDS takes place in some sort of fantasy-land slightly divorced from reality. This might be fine, except that BASTERDS traffics in some truly stomach-turning gore that renders the fantasy elements quite out of place. Tarantino basically rewrites history here, but, to supporters of this film, I ask: What is the point?? Is it simply to be clever or cute? Or simply because he can?? It's a fair and unanswerable question given what's on display here, which vacillates between comical and brutal without any regard to tone or reason. The performances are almost all atrocious. Pitt mugs endlessly, delivering each line with a Southern accent so horribly over-the-top that you cannot ever allow yourself to believe it is anyone other than Brad Pitt playing dress-up. And why on Earth would Tarantino employ Eli Roth as an actor? He smirks his way through this pitiful role like a seventh-rate George Clooney. Worst of all is a cameo by Mike Myers as a British officer, which gives Myers an unwelcome opportunity to dust off his Austin Powers delivery, replete with pregnant pauses. Atrocious. In the midst of the awful performances is a jewel: Christoph Waltz shines as the terrifying Col. Landa. It is a star-making turn, and one guaranteed to be remembered at Oscar time. Remarkable. I could go on forever about the cheesy seventies subtitles and the horrible musical cues (David Bowie? Ennio Morricone?), but one early moment perfectly encapsulates why I despise this movie so much. In the scene, Pitt is telling his troops that they are going to dismember the Nazis and make them afraid. He then says that the Basterds will "torture them," while Tarantino cuts to a shot of Eli Roth ... a referential wink to Roth's reputation as a torture-porn director. Do we really need this kind of blatant, "look at me" bullshit in every single Tarantino film? Can't the guy just make a fucking movie that tells a decent and worthwhile story without loading all this extraneous crap into it? More than anything, BASTERDS upsets me because Tarantino attempts a few incredible moments within this film. One such moment is in the conclusion, when Shoshanna's face is projected on the billows of smoke from the burning theater ... excellent. Unfortunately, moments like that one are lost in the endless vapidity of the rest of the film. People might try to argue that the film is a fantasy, and therefore meant to be pure fun. Oookay ... well, one could say the same thing about MR. MOM, but at least that film didn't try to be something more, nor did it desperately try to pander to the art and festival crowds. Simply put, Tarantino makes art films about nothing. They're fancy, overly-long, loaded with dialogue, and they have absolutely no point or purpose. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS has some interesting ideas and one terrific character, but it otherwise has no reason to exist.