Twenty-four years after its original release, it’s nearly impossible to view Pulp Fiction on its own merits, as a self-contained entity. It’s easy enough to be thunderstruck by Quentin Tarantino’s ease with dialogue, his bold structural experimentation in only his second feature, and the sheer stylistic verve of this ultra-artificial concoction. But then, thoughts of overzealous film students proclaiming Pulp Fiction the greatest thing on earth—not to mention memories of the grating imitators it spawned (anyone remember 2 Days in the Valley?)—might rankle the sensibilities of film buffs who lament Tarantino’s pervasive influence on the industry. Yes, Pulp Fiction catalyzed the independent-film scene like a bolt of lightning and reached delirious, Möbius-strip heights of postmodernism—but whether or not that’s a good thing is another matter.
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