Written by Kristen Lopez
What can be said about Pulp Fiction that hasn’t been written since the film’s release in 1994? With that, I didn’t want to necessarily do a typical review citing the things I liked and disliked as that’s been done before. I wanted to go back and count down the few things that I’ve loved about the film since I was a child. Yes, my mother was cool enough to let me watch Pulp Fiction when I turned 14, and I adored it. If I could go back in a time machine, these are the five things a 14-year-old me would have said are fantastic about this film.
The various interactions between characters have been done in other movies, but Pulp Fiction was probably the first film where I noticed it. The way Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) run into people throughout the film felt inventive to me. Now, I’ve seen more movies where that’s a running thing, but I’ll always hold a fondness for it.
4) Picking the Wrong Store
Did anyone expect a gimp to show up in the third act of the movie? That was the greatest shock to me in a film filled with shocking moments. A simple act of accidentally walking into a store turns into a living nightmare for Butch (Bruce Willis) and Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). I didn’t understand everything in these scenes, but it’s still a shocking turn of events, especially considering how late in the film it comes.
3) They Dance!
As a precocious 14-year-old, I appreciated any movie that sang and/or danced. The film has become just as iconic for the dance sequence between Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent as it has for anything else. Hell, Travolta and Thurman have tried to recreate the magic in that scene several times since. Remember the ad campaign for the atrocious Be Cool using “Travolta and Thurman dance” as a marketing slogan? It’s a moment of levity within the darkness of the film, and gave me the inspiration for what I dreamed my first date would be like…without the heroin overdose at the end of the night.
2) The Jokes
There’s lines from Pulp Fiction that I still quote in my everyday lingo. When I answer the phone and it’s my mom, I’m the first one to start shouting “Don’t come here. Prank caller! Prank caller.” Quentin Tarantino’s script (with help from Roger Avary. How much is up to you.) is filled with witticisms, one-liners, and allusions to older films. When you don’t have those, there’s lengthy monologues that are packed with hilarity, the most infamous being Christopher Walken’s watch speech. Not only is it hilarious, but it totally lampoons speeches from serious war films of the classic-movie era. You want this to be a serious moment, yet can’t because all you know is Christopher Walken is talking about watches being shoved up people’s asses.
1) “That was fucking trippy.”
The scene that will always stick with me is Uma Thurman taking an adrenaline shot to the chest. Talk about a literal “shot to the chest.” It’s a scene that’s always stuck with me because of my huge fear of needles, and yet the scene blends suspense with comedy. Not only are you concerned with Mia’s life, but Vincent’s as well as he knows her husband will kill him if she dies. There’s also a fair bit of humor with drug dealer Lance (Eric Stoltz) arguing with his wife Jody (Rosanna Arquette) over the cleanliness of their house as he’s trying to save Mia’s life. I’d never seen anything that visceral in my life, and it still elicits a physical response from me.
What are the five favorite things you love about Pulp Fiction?