Pulp Fiction (Review)

Pulp Fiction is rightfully renowned as a landmark in modern film. Even when it was released in 1994 you just knew you were watching something that was changing the rules somehow.

In essence the film was a series of delicious conversations between well crafted and memorable characters, punctuated by casual profanity, racist epithets and extremely adult topics, all set against an immaculately selected soundtrack of essential yet often obscure tracks selected from several decades. In between all this there were a few scenes of eye-opening violence and/or grown up situations.

Rather than go into detail discussing what Pulp Fiction was about I have decided to talk more about what it made. And I am not referring to box office  or DVD sales…

Pulp Fiction:

  • made me wonder what the band aid was for.
  • made me and millions of others wonder what was in the case
  • made Jackrabbit Slim’s, Big Kahuna Burger and Red Apple cigarettes household (fake) names.
  • made exploded penises the new severed ear.
  • made an Urge Overkill cover ‘that OD song’ and worse still…
  • made The Rebels the unfortunate soundtrack to interracial male rape.

Furthermore, it;

  • made Bruce Willis and John Travolta legit Hollywood Stars again.
  • (made me like John Travolta for 2 and a half hours!)
  • made Frank Whaley, Eric Stoltz and Rosanna Arquette momentarily cool.
  • made Ving Rhames the coolest bad guy in years, Uma the coolest gangster’s moll and Samuel L. Jackson the coolest MF *period* in 1994.
  • made Tim Roth, Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel lose zero cool points.
  • made dated hairstyles like Vince’s ponytail, Mia’s bob and Jules’ ‘Soul Glo’ perm somehow acceptable.
  • made non-racists casually racists – at least when quoting dialogue from this film. (‘Dead N***** storage’, “N***** please, that’s all you had to say”, ‘And he’ll be damned if some g***’s gonna get his greasy yellow hands on his Father’s watch’).
  • made someone saying “Bring out the gimp” less confusing than it might have been in 1993.
  • made 2 ½ hours seem like not enough for once.
  • made me buy the movie poster, the VHS, the 10 year anniversary DVD, the 15 year anniversary DVD when the 10 year was stolen, and in all likelihood the blu-ray at some point in the future.

And finally;

  • made a young buck named Tarantino the king of the world and master of the cinema universe. A title that he unfortunately swallowed too readily, leading to pap like Death Proof and over-rated dross like Inglourious Basterds. Dross that is inexplicably fawned over by a movie-going community somehow blinded by credits in the bank.

Final Rating – 10 / 10. That last point aside, Pulp Fiction is indisputably a work of true greatness, rich, luxurious and rewarding of repeat viewing. It is what real filmmakers should aspire to.

 And now… WHAT REALLY HAPPENED! (Spoilers Ahead.)

Pulp Fiction is as memorable and renowned for it’s unique back and forth editing as it is for the characters and environments they inhabit. (Wait. That guy was killed two scenes ago!)But in reality Pulp is essentially a dozen scenes in total, chopped and reordered to increase the coolness and wow factors (don’t get me wrong – it works!).

Here is what really happens in sleepyLos Angeles sometime around 1994, before Mr Tarantino went all crazy with the editing:


1/ Jules and Vincent go and retrieve a case filled with … ? for their employer Marcellus Wallace. During the retrieval Jules pauses for a snack and drink.

2/ Jules and Vincent depart with their informer in tow. Jules is slightly unsettled due to circumstances that arose during the retrieval and the conversation becomes animated, at which time the informer Marvin is inadvertently shot in the face.

3/ Jules and Vincent – now bloodsoaked and in a similarly attention attracting car in broad daylight – seek refuge at the suburban home of Jimmy, who informs them that they must leave his home as his wife is due home imminently and would be none too pleased to find such a mess in her garage. Mr Wolf, another employee of Marcellus Wallace, appears to assist them in the clean up and swift departure.

4/ Now clean and having disposed of the unpleasant remains of Marvin and the tainted automobile, Jules and Vincent pause for breakfast. Their breakfast conversation is interrupted by two lovestruck diners who have decided to rob the café. Jules foil the robbery and both pairs leave separately without bloodshed.

5/ Jules and Vincent head to a local bar to meet employer Marcellus Wallace and deliver the case and its contents. As they arrive Marcellus is already deep in conversation with a local pugilist Butch about taking some of the variables out of a looming boxing match.

6/ Vincent leaves the bar (finds a new black suit), and heads out on a ‘work date’ with Mia Wallace, his employer’s wife. Prior to picking up Mrs Wallace Vincent seeks some injectable charm from his local narcotics dealer.

7/ Vincent and Mia eat at a quirky themed restaurant. The dinner goes well and the conversation for the most part is amiable, the couple have enter an amateur dance contest and are fortunate enough to win.

8/ Prior to the post dinner digestifs Mia accidentally confuses one illicit substance for another and goes into unexpected cardiac shock. Vincent escorts her to his dealer’s residence and after a brief discussion is able to revive the previously unresponsive Mrs Wallace with an injection of adrenalin, after which he drops her home.

9/ At the boxing match Butch decides to not proceed with the agreed upon plan devised by Marcellus Wallace. After the bout he hails a taxi and with his girlfriend by his side prepares to take an extended holiday. Mr Wallace is not pleased.

10/ Butch stops home for a brief visit to pick up a keepsake, running into Vincent in the process. Upon leaving to pick up his girlfriend he quite literally runs into Marcellus Wallace.

11/ Mr Wallace is perturbed at being run into by Butch – as well as for other reasons already described – and a short pursuit ensues with both parties on foot, ending in a local knick knack store.

12/ Once in the store the brief physical confrontation is broken up by the proprietor, who restrains the pair and calls for police assistance. Once the policeman appears he immediately sets about imposing a particularly unsavoury form of corporal punishment upon Marcellus. Butch frees himself from his restraints and puts an end to proceedings. Butch and Marcellus agree to let bygones be bygones and to both go their separate ways.

(Close Credits)


About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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