There are a few ways that men prove they are men. We light fires. We memorize sports statistics. And we quote Pulp Fiction. Quentin Tarantino is movie nerd and you can tell that he knows how to make a great film. He might lift things from obscure movies, but he has his own style and voice and he makes movies that you can watch over and over again.
The movie is non linear. There are three main stories that are somewhat self-contained, but certain events and characters are common in all the segments. The film starts with Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) staging a robbery in a restaurant, before it jumps into the first story about Vincent Vega (John Travolta). Vincent and his partner Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) are two hit men working for Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Vincent and Jules make casual conversation before they kill off Brett, some fool who owes Marcellus Wallace money. Later Vincent has to take Marcellus Wallace’s wife out to dinner and keep her company. Vincent and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) go to Jack Rabbit Slim’s, a ‘50s style diner and enter a dance contest and they win. They have chemistry, but there’s no way that Vincent can act on it. While Vincent is talking to himself in the bathroom, Mia finds his heroin, assumes that it’s coke, and overdoses. Vincent manages to save her life and his own in the process.
The next segment is about Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), an aging boxer who agrees to throw a fight for Marcellus Wallace. He then bets on himself to win and beats the other boxer to death. Now he’s a rich man but has to get out of town before Marcellus Wallace finds him. His girlfriend forgets to pack his gold watch, and the sentimental value is through the roof, so he has to go back to get it. He gets his watch and nearly gets away, but he runs into Marcellus Wallace and they have one of those savage street fights where you end up trapped in a pawnshop by two sadistic rapists and their pet gimp. While Marcellus is getting some unwanted attention, Butch manages to escape, but comes back to save Marcellus from getting more raped.
The last part is about Jules, and the film jumps back to Vincent and Jules shooting Brett. After the kill him, a guy that was hidden in the bathroom jumps out and unloads his gun at Vincent and Jules but doesn’t hit anything. Random fact of the day: the guy that was hiding in the bathroom is Alexis Arquette, better known as the tranny Arquette. Jules is convinced that it was a miracle he didn’t get shot. And then Vincent shoots Marvin in the face and they have do deal with that. They have to get off the road and get cleaned up. And then they get breakfast.
They get breakfast at the same restaurant that you see in the beginning, and sure enough Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are robbing the place and the movie comes full circle.
This movie requires repeated viewings. It is just so dense, and the stories are so interwoven and integrated that you will always note something new. Not only will you notice previously neglected details, but also you will be able to absorb the dialog. The dialog flows like poetry. Christopher Walken’s cameo is his best monolog on film. Harvey Keitel stands out as the Wolf and has some great lines.
The soundtrack is amazing. Tarantino has a gift for choosing the perfect song to suit the scene. He doesn’t resort to using cheesy pop hits by popular artists, and that’s why the soundtrack still holds up today.
This is a great movie. It’s a cult classic and it inspired a bunch of copycat movies. Tarantino makes movies for movie nerds. He steals stuff from other movies and doesn’t hide it or deny it. And even though he takes stuff, he still personalizes it and makes it his own. He has his own style from copying from multiple genres and it works. He makes great movies, and if Pulp Fiction is a respectable favorite movie to have.
Critically Rated at 16/17