Wednesday, October 8, 2014


“What does Marsellus Wallace look like?”
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION.

A black comedy crime which was the 2nd film from director Quentin Tarantino, PULP FICTION was a highly stylized film which connected different storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, small-time criminals, and the mystery behind the contents of a briefcase. With a plot which was presented out of chronological sequence and considerable screen-time devoted to conversations and monologues which reveal the true nature of its characters, PULP FICTION reached into many different film genres; from black comedy to neo-noir, Tarantino dipped his toes in many influential waters.

The very first element of PULP FICTION was written by screenwriter Roger Avery. The original idea was to film a short, but that idea soon blossomed into a trilogy of films…and as the writing continued, that first element written became Tarantino’s RESERVOIR DOGS in 1992. When that film wrapped, Tarantino turned his attention back to the notion of a trilogy, which would eventual evolve into separate, interconnecting storylines under one film. Drawing influences from many films and genres, PULP FICTION would become like a single house where many families of movies would live.
With a generous cast of stars which included John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, and Christopher Walken, PULP FICTION was an easy draw for the box office. With a limited release in September leading to a wider release in October, it was the top-grossing film in its first weekend of wide release; beating out the Sylvester Stallone action flick THE SPECIALIST, which was in its second week and playing at more than twice as many theatres. PULP FICTION would become the first “indie” film to surpass $100 million, and its sharp dialogue and mystery surrounding the briefcase would become subjects of movie discussions for the next two decades.

The film would electrify and rejuvenate the career of John Travolta, and launch the long-time working relationship Tarantino would have with Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson. PULP FICTION would be nominated for seven Academy Awards; (Best Actor, Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Film Editing, and Original Screenplay), winning one…Best Original Screenplay. It would also dominate nominations at the BAFTA and Golden Globes, and win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2013, PULP FICTION was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

To be honest, this Blogger has never been the biggest fan of PULP FICTION. The biggest trick the film pulls is making everyone believe that it is the most original film ever made…when the truth is farthest from. PULP FICTION is like a giant castle made up of a billion Lego bricks from a hundred different playsets. It essentially borrows characters and plots and filming techniques from several different films and re-purposes them. Effective, yes. But not wholly original. Quentin Tarantino has always been like a good cover band; very entertaining but never presenting an original tune. BUT…if one-hundred years from now, a newcomer stumbles upon PULP FICTION without having knowledge of all the different genres and films that the film is made up of, the film will work for them…and will work very well. Looking at PULP FICTION objectively (which is what we all should do anyway), and staying within the moment will yield some great cinema…made up of the best cinema has to offer.
“Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character.”       


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