One line review: A strange mix of cool one-liners, unusual situations, and strangely dull scenes
Movie Title: Pulp Fiction
Actors: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Eric Stoltz, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Phil LaMarr, Maria de Medeiros, Rosanna Arquette, Peter Greene, Uma Thurman, Duane Whitaker
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Method of Viewing: DVD
Location of Viewing: Home
Viewing with: No One
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% – What makes the film such wicked fun is the way Tarantino delivers the familiar with a twist. He continually prepares us for one thing and then delivers another.
My rating: *** – A great movie
My assessment (the first 101 words at least): Just like Predator seemed to be loved more for it’s over the top action and strange one-liners than for the entire movie, this movie is full of one-liners that I never knew the source for. The setting, the characters, and the winding storyline all help to make this a very enjoyable movie to watch. However, I feel this movie indulges itself far too much in all of this long, pointless dialog. When I think of this movie, I don’t think of a funny one-liner, I think of Samuel L. Jackson prattling on for 30 minutes with a gun in his hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this movie. It gives us some unusual anti-heroes, who are lovable not only for their hilarious dialog, but also for how inept they seem to be at such dangerous jobs. John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson all seem to just be going through the motions with no idea of how much impact their actions have on the world.
At first I thought Vincent Vega (John Travolta) was simply way too casual for a job you would think people would be deadly serious about (then again, every character in this entire film seems to take their roles as murders a bit too casually). However, after the third act when Vincent kills a guy in the back of Jules car by accident, I’m more convinced that he’s just a child in a man’s body. I have little other explanation for how off this character seems to be. Perhaps killing someone has a lot less impact on someone who’s done it before, but at least Jules freaked out at the site of a dead guy (if only because of how much trouble it would be to clean it up). It’s incredibly difficult for me to even relate to this character because of how out of touch he seems to be with society. At least when Mia overdosed he started to show some emotion, though it was mainly of a child in trouble because daddy might come home and find out he did something bad.
The images you get when searching for Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction are just hilarious. The internet has basically decided that this was Mr. Jackson’s most bad ass role he had ever done. It could be seen as appropriate considering how many one-liners he generated in this movie alone; however, don’t you think it’s odd to immortalize him as a bad ass in a movie where he decided to walk away from crime altogether. While I enjoyed his one-liners, and his over the top emotional reactions (to counter act Vincent’s muted reactions), I still didn’t enjoy this character because of his long-winded dialog.
It’s a sticking point for a lot of people, and it sure didn’t stick with me. It was bad with Vincent & Jules, but it was funny enough to keep me going. It got really annoying between Vincent & Mia, but the tension between the two somehow kept me going through it. It’s in the final act, when Jules essentially gives a 30 minute speech that this movie really killed me. I realize that there should be tension, after all there are guns drawn everywhere. However, I just stopped caring at this point. I started looking at the time stamp to figure out how much longer I had to watch at this point. I honestly just find no humor, no tension, no enjoyment from the last scene, and I feel it dragged the entire movie down with it.
Conversally, my favorite of the three stories was Butch’s (Bruce Willis) tale, partially because it was free of Vincent or Jules babbling on about something I don’t care about. On top of that, whereas I couldn’t easily relate to Vincent or Jules, Butch just seems like a guy who has gotten way in over his head, yet manages to have an extremely unusual mix of good and bad luck to make it all work out. The entire story was just funny to me, if only to laugh at the odd luck that this guy has. The ending where somehow Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames end up in some kind of dungeon was incredibly odd, yet somehow appropriate for this movie. I especially loved Butch slowly picking out which weapon he would use to rescue Marsellus. It was such an odd situation where on the one hand you are yelling at him to just go save the guy, and yet on the other you know that you’d have a difficult time deciding too.
The length of this entire movie is a hanging point for me. I realize that I shouldn’t discount a movie for it’s length, but when there’s as much pointless dialog as this movie has, you know it could have been paired down to a more reasonable length. Again, it’s a preference. I completely understand those who enjoy this movie, but I simply had a few hanging points that dragged it down for me.