#95 Pulp Fiction - directed by Quentin Tarantino
Upon viewing Pulp Fiction as an early teen, I was blown away by the music, dancing, violence, ass-fucking, drug use...everything. Years later, what strikes me most about the film is the depth and heart is possesses. As a kid all the flash that goes along with it hits you. I feel like as a youngster I was truly taking in by the glamor of the underworld. Upon seeing it now, though, I was all wrong.
Quentin Tarantino utilizes an all-star staff to achieve his finest film to date (Sorry to all those Jackie Brown fans). I mean Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Ving Rhames -- big studs, man. However, unlike all his other movies where one central plot exists (robbery, revenge, grindhousin'), Pulp Fiction is about how all these different stories come together.
Like I said before, the dialogue is top-notch. Exchanges are quick, surreal and oh-so poignant. Whether it's the Royale with Cheese, the watch monologue or Fox Force Five Tarantino earns us chops as a writer. In other films, it wears on me, but Pulp Fiction never gets to the point of being annoying.
Another aspect that's great about this film is the out-of-sync developing. That way you really understand that Jackson's character has witnessed a miracle and will turn over a new leaf (sequel anyone?). However, it's a little confusing at times, so I'll reorder the film in a proper sequence. I'm sure I forgot something.
*NOTE DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM
(But come on, this came out like 15 years ago. Get with it.)
-Butch gets his watch as a little kid.
-Vincent and Jules ride around, go to dude's house, almost get killed, pop caps themselves.
-Marvin dies, Vincent and Jules go to Jimmie's house and the Wolf helps them. They take a taxi to a diner.
-Honey Bunny and Ringo are all cutesy before they decided to rob the diner.
-Vincent goes to the bathroom, Bunny and Ringo try to rob diner, Jules won't give up the brief case. Situation occurs, is resolved. No one dies, everyone goes on their way.
-Butch and Marsellus discuss the fight Butch is to throw.
-Jules (presumably) quits, Vincent gets more info. about his date with Mia.
-Vincent goes to by drugs.
-Date with Mia. She OD's on his drugs, but is okay.
-Butch wins fight, escapes.
-Other fighter dies, Marsellus launches head-hunt for Butch.
-Butch and Fabienne talk, do sex stuff, realize they don't have his father's watch.
-Butch goes back to find watch, kills Vincent, hits Marsellus with car. All hell breaks lose, and Marsellus gets done in the butt. Ouch. Butch frees him and they strike up a truce. Butch escapes.
Honestly, it wouldn't be nearly as good if Tarantino did it this way. So kudos to Quentin.
Also, lots of super-cool cameos, which I painstakingly high-light below.
-Kathie Griffin (of Suddenly Susan fame) as herself;
-Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live) as girl that owns tow-lot that will look the other way;
-Phil Lamarr (Mad TV) as poor, poor Marvin;
-Tarantino, as Jimmie Dimmick;
-Steve Buscemi (every Cohen brothers' movie ever) as Buddy Holly...yeah, seriously;
-and of course, Christopher Walken, who never needs an explanation.
While before I thought this was a glamorization of crime, sex, drugs and violence, now I realize it was none of that. If anything, it's a PSA against all of those vices and ailments that plague society. What Pulp Fiction is really about is escape and re-birth. Throughout the movie, people that stayed in the underground were punished. Marcellus gets fucked in the ass; all the dudes that torture him get it given right back to them; his wife OD's; Vincent Vega gets killed.
Although you don't know what happens to any of the characters that escape, Tarantino makes all their exits hopeful. Butch and Fabienne begin a new life in the South Pacific; Honey Bunny and Ringo have some cash in their pockets and incentive to reform; Jules has a new lease on life. For all the mindless lust that is depicted in the film, the real theme is rebirth and second chances.
And I'm glad I took a second chance on Pulp Fiction.
Up next (#94) Goodfellas directed by Martin Scorsese