94 – Pulp Fiction (1994)

Jules: Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can’t give you this case, it don’t belong to me. Besides, I’ve already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass.

 

 

SEEN BEFORE?

F: Yes at least 3 or 4 times.

R: Likewise but the last time must have been over a decade ago.

 

THOUGHTS?

F: There’s an argument that Pulp Fiction is style over substance, but I think it’s the last good Tarantino film (written and directed by him). The dialogue is sharp, even though nobody talks like that unless they’re in a Quentin Tarantino film. And I like the non-linear storyline.

R: I’m a bit conflicted on the dialogue. It’s unnaturally elaborate, and although when it works you get some classic and memorable lines, when it doesn’t it can be seriously cringe-inducing.

F: You can definitely tell this is made by people who spent a large amount of their youth watching movies, especially the exploitation films of the 70s and 80s. In a way it feels like 7 or 8 short films although they are all linked together.

R: That’s exactly what it is, like a book of short stories that reuses the same characters.

F: Some of the segments I remembered much better than others, the clearest in my memory being the overdose scene, mainly because I physically cannot watch it!

R: Yes after the cuteness of the scene at the diner it’s a real sucker punch change of gear. To what extent do you think the film has been a victim of its own success? It made bookish unnatural dialogue fashionable, but by the end of the 90s the style was being horribly abused by the likes of Dawson’s Creek and every rubbish British gangter movie.

F: It’s definitely been copied and parodied many times! Sometimes in the worst way – it does sadden me to watch this now and only think of Harvey Keitel’s character as the fixer in the car insurance adverts (I was going to provide a link but it’s too depressing).

R: Oh yes it is utterly exasperating that Tarantino (or whoever now owns the rights to the movie) has tarnished the film by using it to flog car insurance in the UK. You are absolutely right not to give the insurance company the satisfaction of mentioning them by name or giving a link to their ad. Just like you, I couldn’t stop thinking about those lame adverts every time Mr Wolf “the cleaner” was on screen. How can it be that even an “indie” film in the AFI Top 100 isn’t out-of-bounds for advertisers to ruin with product association? So annoying. I could write a thousand word rant about this but should probably change the subject. How about the soundtrack?

F: The soundtrack is excellent and one of the best uses of music in film I think. I’ve been listening to Jungle Boogie a lot since watching it.

R: Ha yes, you do like a good boogie! I agree though, the soundtrack is pretty impeccable and worthy of a place in any music collection.

F: And whilst we’re on the subject of music, it did make me wonder whether John Travolta only got the role in this because he can dance.

R: Oh but what a dance! Anytime I’m called upon to hit a dance floor I basically try to channel how Travolta does it in this movie (yes, very unsuccessfully, you can stop laughing). But let’s be fair, he brings more to the film than just his dance flair.

F: Such as?

R: I think he absolutely nails the fast-food-in-Amsterdam chat. My favourite line in the whole movie might be his, “I don’t know; I didn’t go into Burger King”. Perfect comedic timing.

F: I agree he is good in this film, as are all the cast with the exception of Quentin Tarantino! It was the film that launched some actors to fame and revitalised the careers of others.

R: Yep, this film is silly and shallow and nowhere near as cool as it was when it first came out, but for me it still feels like the ultimate cinematic rollercoaster. You ride along its pleasantly disorientating timeline, are thrilled by some great moments of tension, violence and comedy, and then get off at the end thinking “that was fun!” For a film called “Pulp Fiction” I think you’ve got to say that’s mission accomplished.

 

IS IT WORTHY OF THE TOP 100?

F: I do like it but I would sub it out for Reservoir Dogs which I prefer.

R: I might have said it’s the Tarantino film that most deserves a place here because it’s much more ambitious than Reservoir Dogs. But it turns out it’s just a film designed to sell car insurance so I’m happy to go with your judgement on this.

 

Up next:
93 – The French Connection (1971)
Previously:
95 – The Last Picture Show (1971)
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