This Saturday I ate the best Tacos I have ever tasted. The restaurant is called Taqueria San Julian and you can find it tucked away in a tiny strip mall in Fort Myers, Florida. I knew we were in for a treat as soon as we opened the door — we were the only gringos in sight.
In total, we ordered 12 tacos — we could have eaten 12 more. I love hard shell tacos made from fiery Doritos as much as the next guy, but these were real tacos. Fresh pork shaved off the spit with freshly chopped onions and cilantro and lime juice and fresh homemade hot salsa piled on top of two melt-in-your-fucking-mouth fresh pressed soft corn tortillas.
After wiping the sweat from my brow and washing the tacos down with some cold Modelo, we headed home — nothing is better for taco digestion than a good movie — so we decided to watch what can now be considered a classic, Oceans 11. Queue the Bossa Nova music…
It’s 2018 and Oceans 11 is almost 20 years old. Directed by modern-day auteur, Steven Soderbergh, and starring one of the most impressive casts in the history of Cinema, I don’t believe I am making a bold claim to deem this film a classic.
This movie is a competition of coolness. It is a competition to see who can do their job the best while still appearing to not give a fuck. Clooney, Pitt, the entire gang, they are all too cool to care. Too cool to worry about getting in trouble or being tortured or even killed — well, that is with the exception of Eddie Jemison — and Andy Garcia is too cool for emotion of any kind at all. Even the look and feel of this movie is cool — but not in temperature, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The color palate is warm; golds, reds, oranges, and yellows dominate the frame. Combine this look with the sharp dialogue, beautiful people, splashy setting and flamboyant, sometimes even garish costuming, and lots (and I mean lots) of bossa nova music — and you have the iconic aesthetic this movie has become known for.
However, the movie is almost too concerned with being cool to create any real drama. Like our characters, you never really care much about the stakes — you intuitively know things are going to be fine. Besides the brilliant dialogue, acting, and expert craftsmanship of Soderbergh, it is a somewhat vapid viewing experience — at least emotionally speaking.
With that said, it is still one of the greatest heist movies ever made and a joy to watch.
After it was over, Netflix suggested we watch Inglorious Basterds (I can only assume because of the Brad Pitt connection — or because it has figured out that suggesting a Tarantino movie is the most sure-fire way to get me to continue using Netflix). We decided we couldn’t help ourselves to at least watch that opening scene, which may go down as one of the best in the history of cinema. But are we going to turn it off right as Aldo the Apache begins briefing the basterds? Fuck no.
Inglorious Basterds is one of the great historical revisionist movies (or just movies) of all time. It is so brilliantly paced and so creative and so hypnotizing it is impossible to turn off. Each scene expertly builds from a slow burn of interesting dialogue to orgasmic climaxes of great music and gory violence in a way that only Tarantino can accomplish.
Tarantino has never been too concerned with reality. Even in a movie about a true historical event and an extremely sensitive topic — he merely takes from it what he thinks is cinematically interesting then uses it however he pleases in order to make the most entertaining movie experience he knows how. If it is up to being true to history or true to his story he will always choose his story.
It has always frustrated me to read criticisms of his films that claim Tarantino is exploiting violence in order to make an entertaining movie. That is like criticizing Tom Brady for using his arm to throw a football. It is a tool that all the great storytellers have used since the beginning of time, even Shakespeare, because it is inherently dramatic! As a living breathing human being that is what we are most afraid of — pain and death both of ourselves and our loved ones. Not to mention, to reduce his work to a discussion about his use of violence is to disregard the brilliance and nuance of his talent as a writer and director.
Inglorious Basterds succeeds in everything it sets out to accomplish and it gets better every time I watch it. So, that was my Saturday — what movies have you gone back and rewatched recently?