Pulp Fiction: is it only the best film ever if you're from the 1990s?

THE non-linear timeline and sheer coolness of Pulp Fiction inspired Generation X to become lightweight film pseuds who never got round to Truffaut or Tarkovsky. Is it even any good? 

Things happen out of order

Like your mother’s anecdotes, the events in Pulp Fiction flash back and forward in time, following characters and abandoning them, concluding where they begin. And like that your mother’s anecdotes, if it was all in the correct sequence it’d be a preposterous set of non-events.

The quotable dialogue

The ‘You know what they call a quarter-pounder with cheese in Paris?’ exchange is funny, because you don’t expect hitmen to be having a borderline-moronic chat about fast food. It’s less funny now, after a million pop-culture obsessed assassins in a million shit films.

Rapidly diminishing returns

If there’s one trick Tarantino has nailed, it’s subverting expectations. It’s never what you think: When Mia is stabbed with a hypodermic – she sits up! When a gun is emptied at Jules and Vincent at point-blank range – it misses! When Marvin gets shot in the face – you’re just sitting there going ‘Mmm, well, that was a bit unexpected’.

The unfortunate events of the pawn shop

Male rape, scary gimp, racist guy, pipe-hittin’ n-words; memorable filmic nastiness that makes Scum look like The Railway Children, but it’s hard to divine any deeper meaning. Still, there’s a happy ending: a man will be tortured to death.

Everything is ‘iconic’

Mia’s and Vincent’s dance? Iconic. Jules’s Bad Mother Fucker wallet? Iconic. Walken’s watch monologue? Iconic. Everything’s so bloody iconic you start to wish a character would just drive somewhere without cracking wise about Godzilla or whatever.

The glowing briefcase

Tarantino’s clever-clever take on a MacGuffin? Pseuds bring up numerous fan theories too, eg. it’s Marcellus’s soul. So now the film’s supernatural as well? It would be great if Tim Roth opened it and said ‘wow, fairy lights’.

What’s the point of all this?

Take away Tarantino’s pulp sensibilities and box of tricks and there’s not much left. What’s the film telling you? Crime doesn’t pay, except for Butch? Accept the blessings of the Lord when murdering for money? Always check drugs you find in a stranger’s jacket before snorting a fat line? Useful lessons.

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Mash Blind Date: How the f**k did we manage to rope Margot Robbie into this?

MAN who cannot believe his fucking luck Tom Booker, aged 34, finds himself going on a date with Margot Robbie. She’s a married celebrity and he’s a nobody. Will it work?

Tom on Margot Robbie

First impression

Fuck me, she looks amazingly like Margot Robbie. And I should know because I’ve studied her work extensively, particularly that specific scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. And she sounds like Margot Robbie. She’s telling me she is Margot Robbie? Fuck.

How was the conversation?

I did my best. However the life of a single man living in a two-bed apartment and working for the passport office doesn’t seem enthralling when compared to that of a Hollywood star, and she’s so ravishing I found it hard to speak. She ignored my slurred, guttural moans and kept the conversation going.

Memorable moments?

Mm, could it be our shared love of Bullet For My Valentine or the moment our spoons clinked together over the shared dessert… no, I think sitting opposite Margot fucking Robbie trumps all those.

Favourite thing about Margot Robbie?

You mean apart from her divine good looks, endearing smile, millions of pounds, movie career and goofy yet approachable personality? That at one point she touched my hand.

A capsule description?

A complete nobody spends a couple of hours gawking at this freakish oversight from the laws of the universe.

Was there a spark?

I have no idea. My senses left my body when she batted her eyelashes at me and said we should go Dutch. Was that a lustful come-on or a polite way of saying ‘in your fucking dreams, you fat wanker’?

What happened afterwards?

I popped to the nearest pub toilet, sank three doubles, splashed my face with tap water and said ‘no way that just fucking happened.’

What would you change about the evening?

I wish that everyone I have ever known was sitting on the table next to us, because there’s no fucking way they’re going to believe me. Even with the selfie.

Will you see each other again?

I will see her in the cinema but she won’t see me. Normality will be resumed.

Margot Robbie on Tom

First impression

This was clearly some sort of Make-A-Wish celebrity prom date bullshit, so I was planning 45 minutes politeness before getting the fuck out of there. Until I met the man of my dreams.

How was the conversation?

He must have been allergic to the prawn starter because his tongue swelled up. He powered through, bless him, and still managed to keep up compelling conversation. That’s when I fell for him.

Memorable moments?

The whole evening was a dizzying whirlwind of sparkling conversation, amorous glances, and electric flirtation. When he accidentally kicked my shin with his shoe under the table, I came a little.

Favourite thing about Tom?

He didn’t ask me a single fucking question about fucking Harley Quinn. Do you know how rare that is for me? I could have jumped him there and then.

A capsule description?

Hollywood star is bowled over by charming, handsome stranger who mysteriously vanishes into the night.

Was there a spark?

You could have powered the whole of Queensland with the sexual tension crackling between us. Or was it a one-way thing with me giving off all the vibes? I hope he fancied me too, but perhaps I’m kidding myself.

What happened afterwards?

Tragedy struck. I was whisked off to promote this terrible movie I’m in called Babylon and we were ripped asunder before we could exchange contact details. I spent the rest of the evening drifting up and down Soho searching and lamenting like a ghost bride.

What would you change about the evening? 

That I could have at least got his surname so I could trace Tom down via social media. I’d already texted my husband saying ‘you’re chucked mate’. Now I have no option but to pretend that’s a joke and suffer my previous, miserable existence.

Will you see each other again?

Yes. If it takes me my whole life I will find him. He is my life now. My obsession. I cannot be happy until I am in his arms.