Have you ever had a conversation about the pros and cons of robbing a bank versus a liquor store versus a coffee shop?

It is just one of the many ridiculous conversations you will enjoy while you watch “Pulp Fiction”.

And this is only the first time out of nine where I will use the word ridiculous to describe this movie. Feel free to give me a thesaurus with other words I could use, it is just so ridiculously appropriate.

Pukp Fiction Poster

Good Ol’ Poster looking like a Pulp Fiction book cover.

What is this film?

Pulp Fiction (1994) is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. Not his first movie, and certainly not his last, but the one that ranks highest on the lists and the one that truly defined him as an auteur (at least in my eyes).

I really won’t spoil too much of the plot, mostly because it jumps back and forth in time and is truly difficult to retell, but also because if you haven’t already seen this movie, you should just stop reading right now and either watch it or leave this article all together.

Any amount of reading will only ruin the experience, and if you’re not willing to watch it, then why are you reading this anyway.

As a warning, the word “fuck” is used 256 times. That’s the kind of movie this is. A gangster crime movie. With loads of violence. And look out for the fact that something bad always happens when Vincent (John Travolta) goes to the toilet (and picks up a pulp fiction novel to read).

 

Dividing a people

“Pulp Fiction” is not for everyone. You either love it, or you hate it. And if you’re a hater, you simply don’t get it.

If you don’t like it, then Quentin Tarantino’s sense of humor is not for you. Maybe avoid him all together.

And I can see why. He pokes fun at violence, and he does it by elevating the violence to a ridiculous level of absurd proportions. And then he might put an inappropriate soundtrack on top of it all, just to make the scene even more unbearably awkward and out-of-place . It can be too much for certain people.

But then again, most guys love it, and this movie is the reason why several geeks out there think they can quote scripture. Although you can look for a long time in the Bible to find the passage that Jules likes to quote before he kills.

Still of John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction

The iconic shot from Pulp Fiction

Do I think it’s good?

Let’s get this straight. I love Quentin Tarantino. As a director.

As a person he seems like a bit of a douche, but he makes entertaining movies so why do I care.

Why do I love him? He goes so far over the top with everything that it becomes funny. He is so referential to other films that it is a treasure trove for movie geeks. He makes B-movie plots feel A-movie. AND he knows how to get the dialogue pumping.

So if you like that, you will like his movies. And you will like “Pulp Fiction”. Simple.

 

I Shot Marvin in the Face

Case and point: the “I shot Marvin in the face” scene.

Whilst speaking to Marvin in the back of the car, Vincent (Travolta) accedentally shoots him in the face and kills him instantly, splattering blood all over the car. This is the most ridiculous and most genius scene in crime movie history.

The fact that Vincent and Jules now have to clean the blood out of the car and get rid of an unexpected body, and we get to follow that mundane practical problem from beginning to end, is just hilarity taken to the next level.

And that they go to Jimmy, played by Quentin Tarantino, for help, just makes it even more ridiculous.

Still from Pulp Fiction of Samuel L Jackson driving the car as John Travolta shoots Marvin in the face

“Shit, I just shot Marvin in the face”

Travolta + Jackson = Perfection

It is in fact John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson together having their ridiculous conversations in the most ridiculous of scenarios, that makes this movie one you watch over and over again.

Right next to the fact that you want to watch it over again to see if THIS time will 100% get what is going on. Maybe this time.

And I agree with the voters of Premiere’s 100 Greatest Movie Lines…

You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris? (…) They call it a Royale with cheese

– Vincent Vega (John Travolta) –

…IS one of the greatest movie lines EVER!

In fact, it is one of the greatest conversations.

Interesting, random and ridiculous conversations is actually Quentin Tarantino’s strongest suit. There is no director who can make me look forward to a talk around the table like he can.

 

What is in the briefcase?

Theories out there are abundant on what is casting that shiny, orange glow upon Jules and Vernes faces at the end. It’s apparently “So Beautiful”.

The most likely story out there is the one that says in the script there were diamonds, but since “Reservoir Dogs” had a case of diamonds at the centre of the plot, Quentin decided simply not to show what was in the briefcase. And to great effect.

This simply let’s you decide for yourself what is in the briefcase.

Although I like the theory that it is Marcellus Wallace’s (played by Ving Rhames of Mission Impossible fame) soul that the devil has ripped out from the back of his neck (hence the band-aid).

 

Will it stand the test of time?

There is no reason why this movie shouldn’t stand the test of time.

There are no visual effects that will fade to bullshit, and with so many questions and confusion around what, where and whythefuck, there will always be a new generation who will decipher what happens in their own way.

And let’s not forget the violence. It will never get old.

In other words, “Pulp Fiction” deserves its place high on the list of any kind of “best movies” shoot out. It is special, it defines a generation of movies and it created its own genre; The Tarantino Movie.

 

What mood do you need to be in?

Feeling like something extremely violent but yet hilarious at the same time? Then this is your movie.

And there is no end to the famous people in it, so you can have some fun celebrity watching.

 

Further Watching

The only thing you can move on to after watching a Tarantino movie are more Tarantino Movies.

Go for his early crime movies like “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) and “Jackie Brown” (1997) and you won’t be disappointed. They are about the same thing as “Pulp Fiction”, but still they suck you in and are entertaining as hell.

If you’re not that much of a Tarantino fan, I suggest looking at Guy Ritchie, the Brit who also does crime with a distinct voice. Look at “Snatch” (2000) with a genius Brad Pitt as a tater, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998) and “Layer Cake” (2004) with a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig.

 

Still of John Travolta and Uma Thurman Dancing from Pulp Fiction

John Travolta and Uma Thurman do an unexpected weird dance to “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry.

Who am I?

I do not work for ImDb, I just have a nerdy need to make sure I watch all the movies people claim to be good. In this way I can make up my own mind about whether or not they are a hype.

This is not a per se recommendation from the ImDb Top 250 list, but rather a statement about the movies on the list that hopefully will make you want to watch the movies again, or watch the movie and make up a mind of your own 😉

Or avoid it like the plague.

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as a 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

This movie is one of the few Tarantino movies that cannot be found on Netflix. But like any of the movies (at least the ones I like) on the ImDb top 250 list, they should be in your collection.

 

Once a month I will review the top 250 movies on ImDb and determine whether they still deserve to be on the list or not. Have they stood the test of time, or are they just there out of habit or historical significance (which does not a good movie make). I start from the top because there is less change in the top films than at the bottom of the list.

Look here for my judgements on #3 The Godfather, part II and #4 The Dark Knight.

Other Fridays of the month, I will look at “New Releases – is it worth a cinema ticket”, “Guilty Pleasures” and I will also be “Unearthing the Best Movies on Netflix”.

 

I have used several sources in writing this post among them ImDb trivia and some cinema history books in my possession.

Sign up and get a notification next week so that you don’t miss the next blog post or my next ImDb top 250 review. Next month we will have a look at number 6, the classic western  “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”!

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