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Pulp Walkout



Dear Letters to the Editor:

Jonathan Rosenbaum owes me and a lot of other people $7.50 for an incredibly bad steer in his "Critic's Choice" capsule review of Pulp Fiction [October 14].

I should have known better than to see Pulp Fiction after I read Jonathan's strained effort to find meaning in a movie he admitted was purely "flamboyant surface." But I thought perhaps the writer/director Quentin Tarantino had surpassed his previous surface-thrills films like Reservoir Dogs and achieved some type of postmodernist cinematic breakthrough, as your critic's review and the Cannes film festival prize suggested.

What I saw instead in the two hours before I walked out in disgust was a disorganized mess of unmotivated hyper-violence, flip nihilism, and narrative incompetence--without one iota of the meaning equally violent films by Martin Scorsese and Sam Peckinpah have expressed. My friends and I had no sense that reflecting on this film afterward would yield any rewards. I viewed Pulp Fiction as a cynical fraud on an already violence- besotted public.

Jonathan generally is very good about going against the critical tide and separating quality from mere trendiness. But here he (and many other critics) got bamboozled. Perhaps in a desire to seem youthfully hip and to "understand" Tarantino, he twisted himself into a pretzel to find something redeeming in Pulp Fiction. That's clear from his statement that the movie "should be a wet dream for 14-year-old closet queens (or, perhaps more accurately, the 14-year-old closet queen in all of us)." What the hell does that mean?

I hope people who see this film will be more clear-eyed critics than Jonathan. Don't succumb to trendiness. Discourage your friends from joining the throngs queuing up for this film. Don't reward Hollywood for turning out contemptible dreck.

Harris Meyer

N. Kenmore

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