Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hitmen who are out to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. Wallace has also asked Vincent to take his wife Mia out a few days later when Wallace himself will be out of town. Butch Coolidge is an aging boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his next fight. The lives of these seemingly unrelated people are woven together comprising of a series of funny, bizarre and uncalled-for incidents. Written by
In Jack Rabbit Slim's, the page says, "Call for Phillip Morris." His mouth movement does not sync with his words. See more »
Forget it. Too risky. I'm through doing that shit.
You always say that. That same thing every time, "I'm through, never again, too dangerous".
I know that's what I always say. I'm always right, too.
But you forget about it in a day or two.
Yeah, well the days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun.
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Emil Sitka . . . "Hold Hands, You Love Birds!" See more »
That's what this 1994 film is, a tour de force cinematic expression by Quentin Tarantino. A film with which Tarantino staked his claim to the title of genuine Hollywood wunderkind, auteur, young genius, all ala Orson Welles. Pretty heady stuff.
By what means? First, with a snappy script with witty if not cerebral give-and-take dialog, written mainly by Tarantino himself. Then, by populating the cast with an intriguing hand-picked array of actors to deliver those well-written snappy lines. This film oozes inspired casting, of actors who either played against type or at least became offbeat and edgy in ways in which we hadn't hitherto known them. Then, through the editing process, by telling the story in a maximum non-linear way, out of time, reducing the film to a series of seeming disjointed non-sequential vignettes, each vignette featuring the aforementioned snappy dialog delivered by the aforementioned hand-picked edgy actors. It is only after watching the entirety of the movie, and reflecting back on it, does the gestalt emerge for the viewer. And, it may take more than one viewing to get there. Then, lastly, by topping it all off with a snazzy soundtrack. That's how. Add all that stuff together and you get Pulp Fiction.
The film received its share of acclaim, and deservedly so. But that said, while seen by most as a good film, Pulp Fiction is not regarded as another Citizen Kane, and Pulp Fiction is not ensconced in the pantheon of the greatest of the great Hollywood films of all time. Those are for a reason. As good a cinematic achievement as Pulp Fiction is, the fact is that as a film it plows turf that's just way too coarse for comfort. Over-the-top blood, guts, and brains-blown-out violence. Gritty gutter language. Subject matter dwelling in the underbelly of life that goes way beyond seedy or unseemly. And it's all presented in a very graphic way. Some people really like it that way. Hey, I understand. That's what Tarantino wanted too, right? But the simple fact is that such fare isn't for everyone. Period. In this way its own intentional and unrelenting coarse nature is what self-selects it out of the greatness category. To achieve greatest of the greats greatness it has to be seen that way across the board, amongst every audience. Pulp Fiction by Tarantino's design isn't intended to appeal to everyone.
And whither Tarantino? That's the real question. His career didn't actually begin with Pulp Fiction, what with the auspicious start he made a couple of years earlier with Reservoir Dogs (1992). And Pulp Fiction of course certainly wasn't his last film. The Kill Bills, Vol. I and Vol. II, 2003 and 2004 respectively, were noteworthy and ambitious projects. And Jackie Brown (1997) made its mark too. But let's be honest here. When it comes to Tarantino it looks more and more like Pulp Fiction is as good as it gets. And he hasn't moved much beyond dwelling on the coarseness in any appreciable way. In fact, he's still earnestly tilling that soil. And getting less and less out of it too, if Grindhouse (2007) is any measure (and most will say it is a measure). Of course at his age he has the potential of many more films in him screaming to get out, but unless he evolves in some new directions, unless he stretches himself in some new and different ways as a storyteller, Pulp Fiction may end up being his magnum opus. Which isn't a terrible thing. Pulp Fiction is a remarkable movie. But, hey, we thought there'd be more.
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