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New York Times Wrong Again. Anyone Surprised?

Over in the New York Times, A. O. Scott is making hay about how derivative Sin City is, especially in its reliance upon Tarantino:

The structure of "Sin City" - three loosely linked tales told out of chronological order, one of them starring an exhausted-looking Bruce Willis - owes an obvious debt to "Pulp Fiction," just as the garish, jokey mayhem of "Kung Fu Hustle" could fit comfortably between the two volumes of "Kill Bill."

I know, it's no surprise anymore when the New York Times doesn't do much research, but they could at least have made some effort here. Sin City was almost fetishistically faithful to Frank Miller's source material, to the point of annoyance. The stories already used loosely-linked tales told out of chronological order. (Indeed, to the extent that That Yellow Bastard both begins and ends the movie, the movie becomes more chronological than its source.) But Miller's stories were published between 1991 and 1996 (with the interweaving beginning in the first two books) while Tarantino's Pulp Fiction doesn't come on the scene until 1994.

Indeed, given Tarantino's known likes and reading habits, it's not entirely impossible that Miller was an influence on him in making Pulp Fiction.

Ah well, it's the Times. You wouldn't expect to get the full story, would you?


One cheap snark deserves another. No, no one who remembers "weapons of mass destruction" would expect the Times to get the whole story. Or whether or not Al Gore claimed to have discovered Love Canal.
The Times's original review of Sin City -- by Manohla Dargis -- said the same thing; it said "Like 'Pulp Fiction,' which clearly influences its structure, 'Sin City' turns on three tales lifted out of Mr. Miller's original." You would think that such an assertion would require at least some simple fact checking. I also would have expected some reader emails or letters apprising the Times of Dargis's error, and thus that Scott's article wouldn't have repeated it.

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