I keep thinking about Pulp Fiction. It makes everyone’s top ten movies but mine, and I wonder why. Tarantino has been compared to Euripides and Shakespeare, and he doesn’t disagree. I read the glowing reviews—3.5 – 4 stars, all of them, though they come with the proviso, “Not for the Squeamish.”
I’m not squeamish. Nosiree, not me. Squeamish people are definitely Uncool. They’re not hip, they’re not tough, they’re not American. That’s the implication, anyway. If you’re not comfortable with graphic violence, you’re just not a sophisticated a viewer/reader/consumer of pop culture. Sara, your rural Kansas roots are showing!
Tarantino is dabbling in horror porn these days. Hostel II, which just came out, features a scene where a woman is hacked to death with a scythe and the viewer gets to relish each scream of the victim, while watching someone else bathe in her blood. The reviews? “The movie is a dark comedy...that delivers the goods and never feels like a rehash.”
If I were squeamish, it might make me uncomfortable to watch the pyramids of naked bodies at U.S. run prisons, or see electrodes attached to someone’s genitals, or a Koran shoved into someone’s rectum, or see someone forced with an electric stun belt to get down on all fours and bark like a dog. But I’m an American, and I know, whether these are in Abu Ghraib or Texas, these are no more than fraternity pranks.
Eddie Izzard explains the difference between movies a squeamish prude can watch, and those for a red-blooded American audience, and I am an American, and, last time I sliced my hand open on a glass shard at the beach, the blood flowed bright red; people lined up to bathe in it. So I still don’t know why I don’t like Pulp Fiction. Unless the dialogue’s too sophisticated for me.