66. 'Pulp Fiction'
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After "Reservoir Dogs," there were high hopes for Quentin Tarantino's follow-up. What no one could
have known was that "Pulp Fiction" wasn't just going to surpass those hopes but
atomize them in a white-hot blast of rumbling rock-and-roll, ghastly laughter
and depraved glamor that re-mixed decades of pop culture to its illogical
conclusion. Finally given free rein in space and time, Tarantino's direction
makes "Pulp Fiction" hop around the seedier side of a sprawling L.A. that's half
to-the-second police radio chatter and half vintage crime paperback covers, as a
cast of characters finds out -- the hard way -- what exactly they will and won't
do to get by and survive. Brutal executions don't just sit side-by-side with
hang-your-head hilarity; the one leads to the other, and vice-versa.
Bing: Watch clips from 'Pulp Fiction'
The just-another-day-at-the-office crises that put the characters through
slaughter, mishap and setback are perfectly shot, with all credit due Sally
Menke, the late editing genius who helped make a twisted-timeline puzzler still
straight and stiff as a punch to your jaw.
Let "Forrest Gump" have its shiny Oscar statue and soft-hearted devotees; the
real best Picture of 1994 was "Pulp Fiction," and that, as Samuel L. Jackson's
Jules would say, "Is all there is to it." — James Rocchi
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(John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction"/©Miramax/Everett/Rex