Friday, December 12, 2014

MOCK Squid Soup: Pulp Fiction: December 12, 2014

One of the surest ways for me to NOT like something is to be told that I MUST like it.  Such was the case with Pulp Fiction when it came out.

I saw it shortly after its theatrical run, when it first debuted on VHS.  I was thoroughly underwhelmed.  People who had seemed smart to me were praising it.  People who I detested thought it was the greatest movie ever made.  It seemed that it was "hip" to enjoy it.  I was not hip.  Never have been and never will be.  But I am petty and those memories are powerful.

My memory of it was such that when I went to check on flickchart, I had rated it 17 times and it was the LAST movie on my list.  Dead last.

Re-watching it with Squid moved it up to 281 on my list.  While I am still underwhelmed,  I can understand the impact it has on people.  I liked the juxtaposition of the "real" world with the seediness going on at the same time.  I liked the use of the soundtrack as another layer within the movie (a technique done even better earlier this year with Guardians of the Galaxy).  Some of the dialogue was clever.  The non-sequential story telling didn't seem to be necessary.

My kids don't understand my love of the first Star Wars movie.  They see things like it all the time.  They see movies with better effects.  They see actual Star Wars movies and television shows any time they want.  They don't know what I went through growing up.  I had three movies.  And I didn't get a VCR until Return of the Jedi was already 5 years old.

Perhaps my inability to understand the adoration for Pulp Fiction comes from everything I have seen since that was inspired by it.  Or not being able to grasp the "revolution" it set forth in modern cinema (which parallels my inability to understand the music revolution of the same era and my distaste for most "indy" music).

Or maybe I just know what I like and I'm okay with that...

Why not check out the other folks who signed up for this month's film:
1.The Armchair Squid2.Scouring Monk
3.Cherdo on the Flipside 

Lastly, check the Squid's site for exciting information about January's title!  Guest hosts!  Guest picker!  I will not be partaking as we have a movie I just can't bring myself to view again....but perhaps you will!


  1. Terrific review.
    I too understand the "revolution" the first Star Wars had what an impact. But for me as I have mentioned in the other reviews I had already seen the Korean and Hong Kong movies that this movie was inspired by.
    Plus I just didn't like this movie. But we all don't have to like the same movies do we.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Great review, Mock! I have an "on the fence" attitude about this movie. I hate the language and gore. But the intertwined stories are kinda cool.

  3. I liked the reality/fantasy juxtaposition, too - like Butch walking through his apartment complex to get the watch. For everyone else, just a normal day. For him, the craziest 24 hours ever. I can totally sympathize, too. There are days I ride through on an adrenaline when it's business as usual for everyone else.

  4. I didn't see it until years later. Sometimes a heavily-hyped movie is worth its salt (Citizen Kane), sometimes it isn't (Gone with the Wind). As you point out, sometimes it's a matter of what kind of impact it originally had. I think Pulp Fiction is a mixture between impact and its own continued merit. I see how important it was for Tarantino's career, but he became an infinitely more calculating filmmaker after it. Pulp Fiction is like a riff in a rock song, that part you really love but isn't even the whole song, just something that sounds really cool regardless of the context. That's why people remember it. You also have to consider that back in 1994, John Travolta was still one of the biggest actors in the world, and this was a long-awaited popular comeback that redefined his career. That's a major reason why the movie was such an immediate success. Bruce Willis was still the Moonlighting guy who had done two Die Hard movies and was desperately trying to expand his career. His part as third lead in Pulp Fiction was like an instant career reboot. Soon he was able to do some successful action movies again and even expand into more dramatic roles such as the two M. Night Shyamalan movies, and suddenly he was no longer just the Moonlighting guy who was also Die Hard.

    So for me there are just so many ways to view Pulp Fiction's impact, and so watching these pieces come together, for me, adds up to an experience that is still incredible to believe actually happened. All the moments that remain so memorable and iconic, from Travolta dancing with Uma Thurman to Samuel L. Jackson talking about his biblical quote, untwist the pretzel logic that, for me, serves as a way to try and understand what it was all about. So that's what I tried doing in my own review.


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