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Movie rewind: ‘Pulp Fiction’

Christopher Collum | Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last week’s episode of the popular NBC comedy “Community” featured an homage to Quentin Tarantino’s classic psycho-crime thriller “Pulp Fiction.” Released in 1994, the movie was hailed as an instant classic, and its reputation and influence has been maintained to this day. The “Community” episode is just one example of the influence the movie has upon popular culture.

The movie’s nonlinear plot revolves around several seemingly unrelated narrative threads about crime in the Los Angeles area. These episodes feature John Travolta as a drug-addicted grunt man for the mob, Samuel L. Jackson as his cold-blooded partner, Uma Thurman as the mob leader’s wife, Bruce Willis as a boxer, a British couple who rob a diner, a nefarious character known as “The Gimp” and even a cameo by Tarantino himself.

Without trying to give away too much, the way in which Tarantino twists together these narratives to its eventual conclusion — or lack thereof — is incredibly brilliant. But what really sets “Pulp Fiction” apart is its stellar, though gleefully profane, screenplay.

Tarantino’s characters are multi-dimensional, and by the end of the 154-minute epic, the viewer really feels as if he has been made familiar with most of these dimensions. Most of the classic dialogues are too long and too profane to print here, but a mere 15 minutes into the movie, the genius of the screenplay should be obvious.

“Pulp Fiction” is highly recommended for anyone who likes crime thrillers, dark comedies or movies that require a little bit of thought to decipher. It is not recommended for the squeamish, easily offended or for anyone who can’t stand long movies with slow-moving plots.