Surprisingly, of all the Tarantino films I rewatched, the 1994 classic Pulp Fiction fell the most in my estimation.
Don’t get me wrong. It remains a crackling pop art masterpiece, filled with memorable dialogue and visuals indelibly seared into my brain. It’s an all-timer, no question.
But 25 years later, in light of all movies Pulp Fiction inspired, it feels less revolutionary. Or maybe its revolutionary status becomes more a simple fact and less a reason to love it.
Would Bad Times at the El Royale exist in a world without Pulp Fiction? Certainly not. But setting that aside, are the two films that far apart in terms of quality? It’s an interesting question.
Pulp Fiction drags a bit during its middle section (Bruce Willis’s Butch in the cab and hotel room before the still-wild Gimp scene). The ‘Bonnie Situation’ segment falls a little flat, to say nothing of Tarantino’s cameo, which feels like an excuse for him to drop the n-word as many times as possible.
On the other hand, every scene with Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace and John Travolta’s Vincent Vega belongs in a time capsule. Pure cinematic ecstasy. And Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Whitfield is one of Tarantino’s (and Jackson’s) greatest creations, a soulful hitman questioning his life’s purpose.
Finally, the soundtrack is one of the greatest ever compiled (though you can say that for almost all of Tarantino’s movies). When Dick Dale’s ‘Miserlou’ kicks in over the opening credits, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride.