(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Pulp Fiction (1994)
One Sentence Plot Summary: Quentin Tarantino crafts a weaving series of tales and spawned a lot of bad imitators of fake over the next 25 years.
Why It’s on the List: Coming into this list, this was basically the defending champion as I have considered this to be my favorite movie of all-time for a number of years. Even though it’s not as plot heavy and is much more interested in mood, character, and ambiance, this is one of the greatest films made in the 1990s and of all-time. It’s wild to think this was Quentin Tarantino’s sophomore effort after another great (but much smaller film) in Reservoir Dogs. There is a lot of justified backlash directed at Tarantino, especially the way he has conducted himself on certain film sets. There’s an argument to be made about him personally, but I’m still a big fan of nearly every he’s ever made.
I always forget how weird this movie is. There’s an OD, a rape, a vicious murder in a car, and an attempted robbery in a restaurant. I can’t say there’s a greater point or a series of themes. It’s pulp…fiction. This movie entertains me from beginning to end. Great dialogue and interesting conversations. I always forget about how much I use certain quotes or think about certain moments from the film. This turned out tremendously well for so many people. Tarantino got his Oscar. John Travolta and Bruce Willis made their first comeback. Samuel L. Jackson became a major player. Uma Thurman broke out in a big way. I think this movie remains both timeless and a product of a much simpler time.
*The Weinsteins are executive producers.
*Quentin Tarantino’s use of the “n” word is incredibly problematic, especially his own use of it in the third story.
*The casual homophobia in the opening scene between Jules and Vincent
MVP: Has to be Quentin Tarantino. I feel like he’s really close to being cancelled, and it’s difficult to talk about him in a positive light given the baggage surrounding his behavior on various sets. Nonetheless, this is one of the greatest films ever made. The fact that it works is almost a miracle because many of the copycats. Even The Simpsons episode that parodied it doesn’t really work in total.* The direction is tight as there’s a great use of close-ups throughout and a great color scheme representative of so many of his other films. There’s also the great dialogue from an excellent script. I also love the musical choices. They are a fixture of all his movies. Can’t really see giving the MVP to anyone else.
*The “steamed ham” rules though.
Best Performance: I could go with so many choices as there are a lot of very good performances. Bruce Willis’s segment might be the weakest, but he’s definitely trying and is as charismatic as he was in Die Hard. As much as I enjoy him, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and so many of the supporting performances, the only choice is Samuel L. Jackson. He is transcendent in the first few minutes and in the final story. Giving Martin Landau the Oscar over him is honestly absurd. Jackson has ultimately never won his award, and it’s a shame given the amount of work he’s done. He’s not always in five star classics, but he’s made every movie he’s been in better for almost 30 years.
Best Quote: “There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.” Now… I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, that meant your ass. You’d be dead right now. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here… he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.” – Jules
Is there a sequel? There were rumors of a Vega brothers spinoff, but nothing ever came of it.