Friday, March 4, 2011

Pulp Fiction (Tarantino. 1994) *Perfect Film

"And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee."

Some films on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die are remembered because they have amazing special effects. Some are considered great because of their dialogue or imagery. Other films, like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, is on this list because it is an example of when everything comes together perfectly. This is where I debut my sub-list of the 1077 Films to See Before You Die- Jake's 10 Perfect Movies. At number 10: Pulp Fiction.

Quentin Tarantino is a fascinating director because of his unmatched and unrivaled love of making movies. He approaches every single aspect of film making with child-like excitement that reverberates throughout the action and dialogue. Because of this, Tarantino runs a great risk of making horrible pictures. He avoids this by also having vast knowledge of what entertains people. These traits can be seen the most easily in Pulp Fiction.

The first perfect aspect of the film is its ever-twisting screenplay. Roger Avery and Tarantino create a world where A-list Hollywood talents are reduced to acting like cartoon characters. Every single situation in the film is outrageous and every single character is forced to take action via crises control. The problem with that is, when they finally take control of a situation, the screenplay forces them right back into an even more ridiculous situation. This keeps Pulp Fiction from ever getting boring. Every scene is more ridiculous than the last.

Of course, it would be impossible to write about Pulp Fiction without mentioning the incredible acting performances. The film practically saved the floundering career of John Travolta, and Travolta returns the favor with a hilarious and poignant performance as an out-of-his-league hitman. Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames both bring their A-game as a washed up boxer and a powerful underworld leader, respectively. Hell, even Tarantino gives a memorable, but short, performance as a house-dad trying to not get divorced. Though the entire cast really is phenomenal, there is one performance that makes the whole picture.

Samuel L. Jackson plays one of the most celebrated characters in all of 1990's film, Jules Winnfield. This is the role that has allowed Jackson to take his career easy. He is so funny, aggressive, sensible, intimidating and loving in a performance that showcases his entire range of ability. I have a theory that Jackson actually used all of his talent in this film, hence why he hasn't made another reasonable effort.

But what really makes Pulp Fiction perfect is the dialogue. In his films, Tarantino refuses to waste time with pushy plot-driving. He creates a world where everyone has a personal relationship and they each speak to one another differently. Though a lot of the talking does not progress the story, it does create an extremely thick mythos. When dealing in as much absurdity as Pulp Fiction, the mythos may be the most important part of the picture, and Tarantino nails it. This is best seen in the speech given by Christopher Walken. He is given the task of explaining the importance of a simple wristwatch. His speech is filled with unnecessary detail, but this is the entire idea. He drags you through the dirt of a boring story only to slap you in the face when he gets to the point. The whole thing is written to highlight the important moments. This makes a moviegoer become far more invested in the outcomes. This makes Pulp Fiction perfect.

Yes, there will be 9 more films featured in the sub-list – Jake’s 10 Perfect Movies. But we are defiantly starting off this list with a bang. I have a long way to go before completing the 1077 Films to See Before You Die, but I will say that Pulp Fiction is my best film of the 1990’s (so far). Whether you choose to believe that the film was written by Tarantino or Avery, you cannot deny the genius they displayed. Pulp Fiction is a cinematic gem that will be loved for as long as people watch movies.

Pulp Fiction: A+

My Next Film……..Sherlock, Jr (Keaton. 1924)

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