There are no families in Quentin Tarantino’s world. (The little girl in Kill Bill doesn’t count, because we all know Uma Thurman’s true son was her sword.) Families require people to be unvarnished, awkward, stuffed with feeling, and inarticulate. They don’t belong in Tarantino’s single’s paradise. His movies (which are brilliant, before I go any farther) are told from a single man’s remove: assumed postures are exalted, violence is like a new suit, no-one has a home. Watching Inglourious Basterds, the first thing that hits you is the shear verve of the storytelling. The second thing (the kicker) is that no-one who dies is ever supposed to be missed.
When did the passive protagonist become desirable? I mean, Beowulf didn’t know interesting people; he was Beowulf!, that’s why they named the story after him. A hero’s job is to act. It’s the mass of humanity that lead lives of quiet desperation. That’s why we don’t (or didn’t use to) sing their praises. Be somebody – then be a protagonist. The problem with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is that – aside from aging backwards – its hero is as memorable as an envelope. He waits his whole life for a girl and then he turns into a baby. If he were a Viking they’d have fed him to something interesting. Illness does not make him charismatic.