"Pride Only Hurts, it Never Helps"
Pulp Fiction, 1994, USA
Recommended by: Jenn
I like Quentin Tarantino. He seems like an interesting guy, and I’ve enjoyed every movie of his that I’ve seen. I like that he has his own style, and divides his films into “chapters”. It makes for a different sort of viewing experience. Since I was familiar with Tarantino’s work, I was expecting more of the same with Pulp Fiction. And that is what I got, even down to the typical Tarantino foot shot/discussion/worshipping. He makes the fact that he has a foot fetish extraordinarily obvious with every movie he makes.
Tarantino divides this film into several different “chapters”, which are placed out of chronological order. Each chapter focuses on a different character. The film has an ensemble cast that includes John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth and Rosanna Arquette.
Samuel L. Jackson, and to a lesser extent, John Travolta, own this movie. They’re partners, and they work for gangster boss Marsellus Wallace (Rhames). Jackson had some of the best lines in the film. Seeing this film opened up a world of pop culture references that I’d never understood. The most obvious being the famous line from this scene (warning: not safe for work!). The line, and a photo of Jackson from the movie has been made into an image that is posted on forums whenever someone is not making sense, or spelling poorly. I used to post on Rotten Tomatoes, and since it’s a movie site, I’d see the image quite often. I never understood it until tonight.
Honestly, I don’t know why I never saw this movie sooner. For years, people had been telling me to see it, but I never did. I’m sure it has been on TV a number of times, but I dislike watching edited versions of movies so I never watched it. With all the swearing, violence and drug use, I’d imagine that an edited for TV version would be somewhere around six minutes in length. I guess it was one of those movies I needed a real incentive to watch. It’s a real pop culture movie. It has been endlessly discussed. For example: what was in the briefcase? I’d heard about this mysterious briefcase before, but while I watched the movie, I found that I didn’t care about its contents. I was more interested in listening to the excellent dialogue. The briefcase is what is known as a “MacGuffin”, an object that is used solely to move the plot forward. It never mattered what was inside. I’m never going to lose sleep trying to figure it out.
This film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Thurman, Travolta and Jackson were all nominated for Oscars. It won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, which it deserved. Tarantino is a brilliant writer, and he really has a gift for dialogue. I’ve found in my own writing that it is often difficult for me to write dialogue. I find that many of my characters sound the same, even if they’re vastly different in personality. But Tarantino writes witty, smart dialogue, and makes all of his characters sound unique. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. I’m looking forward to his next project, whatever that ends up being.