Pulp Fiction (1994)


And You Will Know My Name is the Lord When I Lay My Vengeance Upon Thee.

I sometimes get worried when I start a review after watching a movie that caused me to take almost no notes whatsoever. This usually doesn’t happen when watching a crappy movie because I think of lots of jokes to take down during those; this mainly happens during good movies. What is there to say about a good movie? Well, let’s find out. This movie was suggested by my friend Chris, a young crippled boy who probably submitted his request through the Make A Wish Foundation. Or he posted it on my Facebook page. Either way, this movie is a classic movie, much beloved by many people I’ve spoken to about it. As with most movies with such a pedigree, it took me a while to see it for the first time, but once I had, I loved it and bought it on DVD. When it was requested, I busted out that bad boy and sat down to write what you are presently reading. This movie is Pulp Fiction, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Maria de Medeiros, Harvey Keitel, Peter Greene, Duane Whitaker, Alexis Arquette, Steve Buscemi, Kathy Griffin, Phil LaMarr, and Christopher Walken.

This here is a difficult movie to summarize, and even more without spoilers. So there will be spoilers, but I’m going to try to do this chronologically. Two hit men, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), go to an apartment to pick up a briefcase with mysterious, shiny contents. They kill the people in the apartment and leave with their informant, Marvin (Phil Lamarr). On the drive, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face. They go to Jules’ associate’s, Jimmy’s (Quentin Tarantino), house to clean up the situation, but his wife, Bonnie, is coming home and they need to get it done by the time she arrives. The Wolf, Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel), is called in by their boss, Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). He takes care of the situation and Vincent and Jules go to breakfast. Here, they get involved in a hold-up at the restaurant by Ringo (Tim Roth) and Yolanda (Amanda Plummer). Because Jules is reluctant to give up Marsellus’ case, it devolves into a Mexican standoff between the four. Jules defuses the situation and Vincent and Jules take the case back to Marsellus. Here, they see Marsellus paying off boxer, Butch (Bruce Willis), to take a dive in his fight. After turning over the case, Marsellus asks Vincent to take his wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), out for dinner that night to occupy her. He does, they have a nice night of dinner and dancing, and he returns her home. While he’s in the bathroom, Mia finds a baggie of heroin in Vincent’s jacket and snorts it, mistaking it for cocaine. She immediately overdoses and Vincent must rush her over to the house of his drug dealer, Lance (Eric Stoltz), and his girl, Jody (Rosanna Arquette). They are able to revive her by administering an adrenaline shot directly into her heart. Later, Butch does not take the dive in his match. Instead, he kills his opponent in the ring. His intention is to take the money and his girlfriend, Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros), and run away. But Fabienne has forgotten his watch, given to him as a child – along with a disturbing story of a POW camp and anal storage of said watch – by Captain Koons (Christopher Walken), who was in the POW camp with Butch’s father. Butch returns to his apartment for the watch and kills Vincent, who was there looking for Butch. On the way back to Fabienne, Butch sees Marsellus in the street and hits him with his car. Marsellus chases Butch into a pawn shop owned by Maynard (Duane Whitaker), who stops Butch moments from killing Marsellus. Maynard knocks out Butch and Marsellus. They wake up to find themselves tied to chairs with ball gags in their mouth. Maynard called in his buddy, Zed (Peter Greene), and they decide to rape Marsellus. Butch escapes but decides to go back to save Marsellus with a katana. Marsellus tells Butch to never come back to LA, which he happily does with Fabienne.

That is basically the entire movie, condensed to a paragraph. You get a two and a half hour movie out of that by filling it with lots and lots of dialogue. Normally, this would make for an excruciating movie, but this is written by Quentin Tarantino. Much like the oft-mentioned Kevin Smith, Tarantino is an expert at taking scenes where nothing is happening beyond people talking, and that conversation has nothing to do with moving the story along, but make it super compelling so you don’t mind or get bored. The dialogue is definitely the most appealing part to this movie, but that is not to say that the story should not be lauded. Take out all the dialogue and you’d still have a good movie, but not a great one. It’s funny in a lot of parts, dark and violent all over the place, and always intriguing. Though it works in this movie, I’m generally not a fan of the movies being shown out of order. In this movie, it’s fine, but it also makes it a little hard to follow the order of things. But now I’ve written it down in chronological order, so all is well. As with most Tarantino movies, the music is fantastic as well. He loves to throw in those old songs, most of which probably wouldn’t be remembered now were it not for him. Take Miserlou, for example. I like the song, but there is no way I would know that song if it weren’t for this movie.

The acting is pretty much all the way perfect in this movie. John Travolta was a quiet badass who remained calm throughout the greater majority of the movie, even with Bruce Willis pointing a gun at him moments before his death. The only time he lost his shit was when Uma Thurman was dying in front of him, and that was more about getting killed by Marsellus than it was about her death. Samuel L. Jackson was really intimidating at most parts of this movie, more so when he was staring a gun down it’s barrel in the restaurant and when he was quoting the bible at people he was about to kill. “I’m sorry. Did I break your concentration?” Priceless. Uma Thurman was probably as hot as she’s ever been in this movie, and very real as well. I’m not usually one to dig on Uma for whatever reason, but something about that hair do worked for me. Ving Rhames was a great, powerful character in this movie that had that power taken away by a good ass-raping. And he reacts to that much as I assume I would: with a shotgun blast to the rapist’s penis and a threat against anyone who may mention it ever again. I could go through everyone in this movie, but I’ll have the same thing to say about every character from the biggest to the most minor: very real, very good. I think the person that impressed me the most was right in the opening scene of the movie: Amanda Plummer. She comes off first as a sweet lady out to eat with her boyfriend, talking innocently about robbery possibilities. When it’s time to bust out the guns and rob the joint, she is frightening as hell. And later, when Roth has a gun pointed at him, her tough persona cracks drastically as she is terrified she’s about to lose her man to this endeavor.

No surprises here, people. If you’re looking to be shocked by my reviews, keep walking. But I can’t hate on every movie, people. I like stuff too! WHY DON’T YOU GET OFF MY BACK!?! …Sorry. Anyways, great story, fantastic dialogue, and amazing performances land this movie firmly in position for you to own it. Everyone either does or should. So go get it or watch it. Pulp Fiction gets “I want that trophy, so dance good” out of “I don’t need you to tell me how fucking good my coffee is.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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