The past two weeks, we've had two big movies come out that revel in all the things they don't tell you. District 9 was full of grainy, second-hand reported mystery and Inglourious Basterds is full of the tiny details only Quentin Tarantino knows. (Even the deliberate spelling is left for us to wonder -- and for those of us who had to type it so often, to be really annoyed about.) But it seems as though viewers fall into two camps -- those who revel in the unexplained and call them Easter eggs, and others who just consider them sloppy plot holes.

I realized there was a gulf of divide after my sister and I left Basterds. She was furious that the origin of Lt. Aldo Raine's scar was unexplained, no matter what Tarantino may have specified in the script. "I wanted to know what it was and why! It drove me nuts!" "It's a hanging scar. You don't explain a hanging scar. It's cooler if it's just there." But she was unconvinced*, and while she knows and loves her Tarantino (oh, how I remember when she pointed out all the Red Apple cigarettes to me), she couldn't forgive him this one. She was equally furious that Donny Donowitz's bat didn't receive its origin story, but I have to confess to being disappointed by that one too. (Hey, I read the comic version!)





But really, she does have a point. While I love mysteries and shadowy origin stories, it does become frustrating when the screen is littered with them. Tarantino is notorious for it, and it does seem to be an enormous waste for him to write detailed legends for Hanzo swords, briefcase contents, and lynching scars when no one gets to hear them. As Scott Weinberg just argued via phone (yes, he called while I was writing this), if any other filmmaker skipped out on telling you the fate of the Basterds, he'd be soundly abused. Even Sergio Leone, who loved building movies out of a single, cool image explained where the No-Named one got his serape, and how Harmonica earned his moniker.

Then again, when we do long for the whole story, we end up with prequels and spinoffs we want out of existence -- though it never does stop us from wanting and asking "Why, why, why?" So, which camp do you fall into? The one who can comfortably live without knowing why the Bear Jew uses a bat, or where the District 9 aliens called home? The real reason for the Joker's scars in The Dark Knight? Or do you want films that leave no stone unturned in their telling of a story?

*She was equally unimpressed and skeptical when I insisted this was the origin of Aldo's scar: