Month: June 2004

Pulp Fiction (1993), Quentin Tarantino, A

It takes a man of true conviction to admit that one of the most noxious, contemptable people in the public forum has created a work of genius. I hate Quentin Tarantino. If I read of his disappearance tomorrow I’d dance for joy. Just the other day Ann had a thing on IFC with some press conference with him and I demanded she change the channel before I throw up. Still, if you haven’t seen this movie in a while (last time for me, I think, was 1999) it still is fucking incredible. Every scene is a gem. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance is note perfect. The surf guitar rock is some of the most inspired soundtrack use in cinema history. And the scene with the gimp is just insane. Like Eddie Van Halen, another genius that inspired legions of odious imitators, it is easy to blame Quentin for the god-awful hackwork so many other people turned in after this was made. But let’s call a spade a spade: Pulp Fiction was wild and innovative ten years ago and it has not aged a day. It is fantastic, so much so that for a minute I was thinking I might eventually rent Kill Bill Volume...

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Future Shock

Alvin Toffler defined Future Shock as a physical condition that is affecting us due to the unnatural, exponentially paced change in our technology and environment. I suffered from it today. I was meeting Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz in Chelsea, kind’ve randomly on the street before heading to a party (more on this very odd party later.) She has no cell phone. And I was beset with a queasiness knowing that I was just out there — on 23rd street, with no way of contacting her. What if she wrote the address down wrong? How would I get ahold of her? How long would I have to wait before it would be appropriate for me to cut and run and go to the party without her? She got there on time and it was no big deal, but I can’t remember the last time having to wait for someone who had no cell phone. The disconnected feeling, the helplesness was most...

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Open City (1945), Roberto Rossellini, B-

Band of Italian resistance scurry around trying to outwit Nazis. I know this is one of the most respected movies ever, and maybe its naturalistic elements were remarkable for its time, but it’s only so-so today. And the tone is odd: half the time you follow a wacky Rowan Atkinson-like priest making goofy faces, the rest of the time is spent watching people get tortured. It’s not a bad movie by any stretch, but I was expecting...

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Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Jared Hess, B+

Great date movie. More Harold and Maude than Welcome to the Dollhouse or “Freaks and Geeks,” and this is a welcomed change. Ann loved the costumes (especially his boots) and the W.T. set. I loved the Dragonslayer poster and title sequence. We both loved the Ultrachrist!-style dance number ending. And neither of us particularly minded that there was absolutely no point to this movie at all. Maybe someone will explain the Elvis Costello connection to me. “You’re such an...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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