5.31.2012

Bad Mother Fucker.

PULP FICTION (1994)
Image from screencream.com.
Last Minute M. strikes again! I still have a few hours of daylight, shut it. Either way, it's May, which means it's Pulp Fiction time! I will admit, this review was (and still is) a little daunting for me to write. Pulp Fiction is one of my all time favorite movies, but when it comes to actually talking about the movie, it's hard to articulate exactly what makes it such a fucking classic. Still, for the sake of QT Blogathon, I grit my teeth and powered through. As they say: Fuck pride.

The Plot: Where do begin? Pulp Fiction is a bit of a doozy in that it doesn't actually have a cookie-cutter plot or narrative. Instead, we've got a couple different stories on our plate. We have Bruce Willis, the aging boxer who doesn't go down when he should and has to keep the mob off his tail. We have Jules and Vincent, the two mobsters who get in trouble when a job goes south and they're forced to clean up the mess. And we have Vincent and Mia, the mob boss' wife, who go out on a completely platonic date. But even laying each subplot out like that just doesn't do the movie justice. It's a twisted and jumbled ensemble film, and it works. Completely. In a way that would never work again. Tarantino, thank you for breaking the mold once more.

The Music: This one is filled with some really great tracks. As in all Tarantino movies, the music isn't something that hides in the shadows and comes out to play whenever there's an Oscar moment in the works. Rather, the music has a life of its own and keeps up with the pace of the movie. There are not a lot of film soundtracks I could listen to repetitively and never get tired of, but this is one of them. From Al Green's Let's Stay Together to Dusty Springfield's Son Of A Preacher Man, it's a soundtrack that rides right along with the excellence of the movie. And, of course, Misirlou will forever be known as the Pulp Fiction theme song. Not to mention, it's hard to listen to Flowers On The Wall by the Statler Brothers without doing Bruce Willis' "kangaroo" face.



The Characters/The Actors: I couldn't do different sections to describe the characters and actors this time around for one simple reason: the actors completely vanish in this movie. Pulp Fiction is just one of those movies I can't watch and namedrop, which is a compliment coming from someone who sounds like she's reciting fucking IMDB when she watches a movie. Still, the writing is so fucking good that major names like Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and John Travolta disappear into the badassitry that is their characters.

Is this what you call an uncomfortable silence?
One person I have to give a shout out to, however, is Uma Thurman's portrayal of Misses Mia Wallace. Uma Thurman, as she has proved in recent years, can be a bit of a hit and miss actress. Anyone see My Super Ex-Girlfriend? Me neither. Nonetheless, say what you will, but under Tarantino's direction, Uma is phenomenal. She's his muse and his masterpiece. She fits perfectly into the skin of the eccentric mob wife, Mia Wallace, and recites Tarantino's lines with ease and character. What can we say? The lady's got spunk.

Lastly, there are a handful of minor characters that need mention. Amanda Plummer is a fucking wild woman as "Honey Bunny". Eric Stoltz is awesome, as always, will someone please tell me why he fell off the face of cinema? Peter Greene is an underrated creepy bastard. Winston "The Wolf" will never be replicated. Maria de Medeiros is adorable and French (and has lesbian sex with Uma Thurman. My life is complete). One after the other, all badass characters. 

The Conversation: What does Marcellus Wallace look like? I had to think long and hard about this one. Because it's really, really impossible to pick one gem of dialogue out of a movie filled with brilliance. However, I've got to hand it to Jules. Samuel L. Jackson has always been the guy who turns Tarantino's dialogue into poetry, and he doesn't fall short here. The entire scene is brilliant--from the infamous Royale With Cheese conversation to a heated debate about foot massages. And once the two mobsters do finally push their way into the room, it's on. Jules is one intimidating motherfucker, and the last person you want to invite over for breakfast. I dare anyone to try to look that frightening eating a burger. And then not only is his interrogation brilliant, but we get the monologue. The bible verse. In any other movie, with any other actor, this would be a copout moment. I mean, c'mon. Bible verse. We've seen it done a thousand and one times, right (I'm looking at you, Boondock Saints)? But somehow, it just works. Don't ask me how. If I knew the recipe for Tarantino script writing, I would not be writing this blog in Barnes & Noble and enjoying free wifi.

Strut.
The Iconic Moment: And then Tarantino does something brilliant. He puts the King Of Swagger on the dance floor. Think about it: what put John Travolta on the map? Busting moves in the likes of Grease and Saturday Night Fever. What put him back on the map? Boogying it up with Uma Thurman on the dance floor. It's the perfect transition from their dinner conversation, their bantering back-and-forth, the tension between the two. They keep time with each other, moving close, pulling away, but most importantly, never taking their eyes off each other. It's not only an extension of their conversation, it elevates the conversation. And, no. They don't have to bump and grind against each other to get a good sexual tension going, thank you very much. I'll take Uma's scuba diver any day of the week.

Fun Fact: I saw Be Cool just to watch Travolta and Thurman dance again.

Image from barlowbrewing.com.
The Mexican Standoff: Of course, our iconic Mexican Standoff. Between Jules, Vincent, "Honeybunny", and "Ringo". Really, this standoff is just another excuse for Jules to be the badass he is. And I am 100% okay with that.


The Suitcase: Fuck you, fucking briefcase of mystery. What the shit is in the briefcase???

And that's all I've got for Pulp Fiction. Because it's damn hard to do a movie like that justice. Next up: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)! Even though I'm fully aware that it's a Tarantino-Rodriguez joint flick. With that said, I've already reviewed From Dusk Till Dawn, so I might have to go against the grain of my own blogathon. I'm thinking of taking a stab at Four Rooms (1995), since it has a Tarantino segment. Either way, if anyone has Pulp Fiction posts they want to throw at me, email me at mhufstader (at) gm.slc.edu and I'll put them all up sometime tomorrow!

Oh, yeah. And did I mention this happened?

14 comments:

  1. nice review, as cool as a little Fonzie. What is in that case anyway? It really is impossible to cover everything, but you've captured the essence of it well!

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    1. Thanks! As cool as a little Fonzie is about as cool as its ever going to get. I could really talk for hours about this one and still have more to say!

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  2. Great write-up!

    Always wondered what was in the case....Haha.

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    1. I've heard theories that range from gold to Marcellus Wallace's soul...it's anyone's bet! Thanks!

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  3. A Julesesque badass review. He is my fave character in this flick, though I do have a soft spot for Bruce Willis in here. Q is my one of my dialogue gods, the other being Joss Whedon. No one writes the sheer bizarreness of real conversation like these two. I said in my review of Avengers that you would never ever mistake lines of dialogue from them for anyone else. It's like saying a Kawasaki sounds like a Harley. Not in this universe.

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    1. Jules is the shit. End of story. I love that man to death--though I agree, Bruce Willis is also epic. Even though he shoots another lovable character. But man, I agree completely. Between Tarantino and Joss Whedon, there is no luck for any writers out there to try to get good dialogue out. They blow away all the competition. Kawasaki FTW.

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  4. Love this.

    I saw this film on my 16th birthday. Now since I've grown up more or less in India, singing and dancing in movies is like part of my blood, since they're there in every single movie. But when I saw the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest for the first time, I was just completely gobsmacked. I had NEVER seen anything that random and awesome and well, when you just know it in your bones that this shit will go down in history forever and forever- like that in my life. It was ahmazing.

    I need to watch this film again. 'Tis been too long.

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    1. That is truly a compliment to Jack Rabbit Slims! I've got to agree with you there, though. Everything about that moment is pure perfection. I couldn't get enough of it if I tried.

      Pulp Fiction is always a good rewatch! It's also a great stoner rewatch, not that I'd know anything about that.

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  6. Here's my Avengers review. I did a guest post at 1:37 Exactly for my friend Russell. http://137exactly.com/2012/05/06/lets-talk-the-avengers/

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  7. Such a hard film to try and put in a review, well done though. I must apologise for so far not taking part in this blogathon; I was totally up for it but have wussed out so far. Something to do with not having any Tarantino films on DVD apart from the Kill Bills. So I must do those for you.

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    1. Thanks! It was time worth spent. And don't worry about it! We'll look forward to you come Kill Bills.

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