I finally got around to reading Friday's National Post today. I've read some film reviews by the Post's Katrina Onstad
. I'm not really that impressed, but it wasn't until today that I noticed that she is pretty lame. In her feature column, "Royal, Extra Cheese"
on her selection for overrated movie, she picked Tarantino's Pulp Fiction
. That's fine. But her argument - it seems to me - misses the point. She calls it "soulless" but I think she's wrong.
"In 1994, emerging from the cautious era of political correctness, relativism was the new standard for aesthetic judgment. High and low culture had the same currency. It would have been snobby to say that endless talk about fast food and kung fu movies gets boring after a while (Pulp Fiction is more than two and a half hours long)," writes Onstad. "But it seems equally snobby for Tarantino to depict "low-lifes," criminals and others who dwell on society's margins as emotionless caricatures. While he's praised for introducing veracity and real life talk into genre pictures, these people don't actually sound real (what could Tarantino know about real life?); they sound like low-lifes from the movies. There is something desperate and sycophantic about all this referencing, as if he's a kid seeking the approval of his parents, the movies. Tarantino clearly aspires to be a star, dating loudly and casting himself in his films. He's trying to turn himself into celluloid."
I'm not impressed. I'm not saying Tarantino and this movie aren't over rated, but I am saying that Pulp Fiction will be I'm a huge Virginia Postrel fan, and her book "The Substance of Style"
could be referenced here to explain why style (see more in my review of Postrel's book at ESR
)- in this case Tarantino's potent mixture of pop-culture, retro-culture, great music, great dialog - is actually what makes Pulp Fiction
so powerful. I don't think she's read it. Taratino's style is his soul.
It is, in effect, this very simple concept: cool matters.