I was hopeful that Inglourious Basterds would deliver, given the willingness of Brad Pitt to sign on for a leading role; however, I should have been more cautious given the similarly-large role bestowed upon Eli Roth. While I realize that you may look upon Roth as a protégé, what with his equally-extensive knowledge of the horror genre and his “budding” career as a director, I must offer my advice:
In your mentor/protégé relationship with Roth, please remember that you are the mentor and he is the protégé. This means that he should be learning the art of filmmaking from you, and not vice versa. (The all-out gorefest that was Inglourious Basterds left me clamoring for the days when horror films left more to the audience’s imagination, rather than shoving each gruesome action down the throat of the viewers. I can conjure much worse in my own mind and would prefer to do so.)
Although you have made a somewhat-comical habit of casting yourself in your films, this is quite risky and should not be a trait passed on to your student. (Roth’s continuous appearances in your films suggests that you are confident in his acting abilities; while some actors evolve to great directors, let us not assume that this is the case for director’s taking their turn at acting.)
While revenge films have nurtured a cult following in the B-movie circuit and, more recently, in the “torture-porn” genre created by your protégé, they are very one-note and do not mesh well with your intricately-involved plots. (Although I hate the Nazi party as fervently as the next person, watching the party be scalped, maimed, and beaten to death is not my idea of a rockin’ good time.)
It may seem hip to run with the new kids in town, but never forget your roots.
Barbra J. Dillon