Pulp Fiction ★★½

Getting all the disclaimers out of the way, Pulp Fiction is honestly an incredible film that I would say deserves its spot up in the film canon for being as groundbreaking and influential as it has, a work that builds upon what Tarantino's debut Reservoir Dogs did except with a greater budget and a greater ambition and, in my opinion (which you shouldn't take seriously), would continue to be the trend in his later films.

In a lot of ways it lives up to the post-modern moniker it's been attached to: self-referential and genre-aware (even extending to its very title), a non-linear narrative that breaks up the structure of a traditional story, pop culture references and music littered throughout such that it itself becomes a pop culture artifact, and a retrospective look back at what we think of gangsters as 'cool' first and foremost.

It also feels post-modern in the sense that it's all kind of... vacuous. Likely the point and I'm just in the major minority when it comes to this film, but like my thoughts on his debut I can't really help but struggle to find what it is I should be taking away. Cool gangsters in suits shoot people up while saying cool one-liners and they swear a lot, told in an elliptic fashion so as to prolong our engagement with the plot. But I'm not really sure why the narrative needed to be structured the way it is (outside of doing it for the sake of doing it), I'm not sure why I particularly care about the characters nor their plights (outside of their coolness for the sake of their coolness), and when it's all said and done I'm left a bit confused why the film is so lauded (outside of being iconic for the sake of being iconic).

Anyways, this wasn't meant to be so negative and I do find stuff to appreciate here. Part of this was never gonna work out because I just have trouble with any gangster-based film, but even so I enjoyed this way more than Reservoir Dogs and consider Pulp Fiction a massive improvement of a sophomore film. Perhaps this is just one of those "Seinfeld is unfunny" films and I spoiled myself by waiting this long to watch it, in which case I apologize and scold my teenage-self for doing nothing else but play League all day. I was never gonna get out of plat anyways, I should've just spent that time being a film-bro instead.

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