Essay, Research Paper: Pulp Fiction

Cinema

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a film such as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction takes much patience and
significant artistry with words. Tarantino’s work is an audacious, outrageous
look at honor among lowlifes, told in a somewhat radical style overlapping a
handful of separate stories. "Quentin Tarantino is the Jerry Lee Lewis of
cinema, a pounding performer who doesn’t care if he tears up the piano, as
long as everybody is rocking" (R.Ebert). Introducing a film such as Quentin
Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction takes much patience and significant artistry with
words. Tarantino’s work is an audacious, outrageous look at honor among
lowlifes, told in a somewhat radical style overlapping a handful of separate
stories. "Quentin Tarantino is the Jerry Lee Lewis of cinema, a pounding
performer who doesn’t care if he tears up the piano, as long as everybody is
rocking" (R.Ebert). The title is perfect. Like those old pulp magazines
named "Thrilling Wonder Stories" and "Official Detective",
the film creates a world where there are no normal people and no ordinary days;
where breathless prose clatters down fire escapes and leaps into the dumpster.
Or at least there are no ordinary days for those who don’t consider tactless
and accidental murder to be part of their everyday agenda and occupation. The
characters in this film separate societal normality from personal normality. For
example, Jackson and Travolta are magnetic as a pair of hit-men who have
philosophical debates on a regular basis. These characters continue to think
that they’re "just doing their job" and that there jobs are for the
same purpose as any body else’s job - to get paid and then to, in return, pay
the bills. Societal norms push the audience to believe that these characters
along with Ving Rhames, (Marsellus Wallace), are misfits and should be
"taken care of". Tarantino starts us off with a dual definition of
"pulp" one being "a soft, moist, shapeless, mass of matter"
and two being "a book containing lurid subject matter, and being
characteristically printed on rough, unfinished paper". This introduces the
audience to the presentation of the film. It’s segmented structure is
Tarantino’s way of playing with the audience’s perceptions. The
entertainment throughout Pulp Fiction is scintillating, it captures the audience
and forces them to piece the segments together in order to form one complete
story. Hence the title containing the word "pulp" and the product
being "rough" and somewhat "unfinished" to the viewer. This
voluble, violent, pumped-up movie isn’t for every taste, not for the
squeamish, but it’s got more vitality than almost any other film of 1994. The
screenplay by Tarantino and Avary is so well written in a psoriatic yet potent
way that you’ll want to rub noses in it - the noses of all those zombie
writers who take "screenwriting classes that teach them the formulas for
writing "hit films". Pulp Fiction is constructed in such a nonlinear
way that you could see it a dozen times and not be able to remember what comes
next. It doubles back on itself telling several interlocking stories about
characters who inhabit a world of crime and intrigue, triple-crosses and
desperation. Vincent Vega (Travolta) and partner Jules Winnfield (Jackson) are a
couple of mid-level hit-men who carry out assignments for a mob boss. We see
them first on their way to a violent showdown discussing such mysteries as why
in Paris they have a French word for Quarter Pounders. They’re as innocent in
their way as Huck and Jim, floating down the Mississippi and speculating on how
foreigners can possibly understand each other. Vince’s and Jule’s careers
are a series of assignments that they can’t quite handle. Especially
Travolta’s character, not only does he kill people inadvertently ("The
car hit a bump") but he doesn’t know how to clean up after himself. Good
thing the two of them know people like Mr. Wolf (Harvey Keitel) who specializes
in messes; and has friends like Lance (Eric Stoltz) who owns a "big medical
encyclopedia" for emergency situations. Uma Thurman can tell you about
those medical procedures. Bruce Willis is compelling as a crooked boxer whose
plan to take it on the lam hits a few detours. Butch Coolidge (Willis) is
supposed to throw a fight but bails and looses Marsellus (Rhames) a lot of loot.
Butch and his girly are to ditch town ASAP but first he needs to make a
dangerous trip back to his apartment for a valuable family heirloom. The history
of this heirloom is described through a flashback dream narrated by Christopher
Walken, a Vietnam veteran. Walken’s dialogue build to the movie’s biggest
laugh. The method of the movie is to involve its characters in sticky
situations, and then let them escape into sticker ones, which is how the boxer
and mob boss end up together as the captives of weird leather freaks in the
basement of a pawn shop. Or how the characters who open the movie, a couple of
stick-up artists (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) get in way over their heads. Most
of the action in the movie comes under the heading of "crisis
control". If the situations are inventive and original, so is the dialogue.
A lot of films these days use flat, functional speech; The characters say only
enough to advance the plot. The characters in Pulp Fiction are in love with
words for their own sake. Many of them don’t listen but wait to talk. The
dialogue is off the wall at times and some things seem to be said at peculiar
moments where the "normal" movie viewer might not make complete sense
of it, but that’s the fun. The movie is like an excursion through the lurid
images that lie wound up and trapped inside all those boxes on the Blockbuster
shelves. Tarantino once described the old pulp magazines as cheap, disposable
entertainment that you could take to work with you rolled up and stuck in your
back pocket. Yeah, and not be able to wait for lunch so that you could start
reading them again. Quentin Tarantino, the creator of the lethal thrillers,
"True Romance" and "Reservoir Dogs" returns with his most
thrilling piece yet: a pure adrenaline rush guaranteed to leave you gasping.
Boasting a stellar cast including John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman,
Harvey Keitel, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken and Bruce Willis, his
"Best Picture" winner at the Cannes Film Festival and Academy Award
Winner for "Best Original Screenplay" is one exhilarating ride from
start to finish. We dare you to step aboard. Video Blurb, Pulp Fiction, 1994.
The title is perfect. Like those old pulp magazines named "Thrilling Wonder
Stories" and "Official Detective", the film creates a world where
there are no normal people and no ordinary days; where breathless prose clatters
down fire escapes and leaps into the dumpster. Or at least there are no ordinary
days for those who don’t consider tactless and accidental murder to be part of
their everyday agenda and occupation. The characters in this film separate
societal normality from personal normality. For example, Jackson and Travolta
are magnetic as a pair of hit-men who have philosophical debates on a regular
basis. These characters continue to think that they’re "just doing their
job" and that there jobs are for the same purpose as any body else’s job
- to get paid and then to, in return, pay the bills. Societal norms push the
audience to believe that these characters along with Ving Rhames, (Marsellus
Wallace), are misfits and should be "taken care of". Tarantino starts
us off with a dual definition of "pulp" one being "a soft, moist,
shapeless, mass of matter" and two being "a book containing lurid
subject matter, and being characteristically printed on rough, unfinished
paper". This introduces the audience to the presentation of the film.
It’s segmented structure is Tarantino’s way of playing with the audience’s
perceptions. The entertainment throughout Pulp Fiction is scintillating, it
captures the audience and forces them to piece the segments together in order to
form one complete story. Hence the title containing the word "pulp"
and the product being "rough" and somewhat "unfinished" to
the viewer. This voluble, violent, pumped-up movie isn’t for every taste, not
for the squeamish, but it’s got more vitality than almost any other film of
1994. The screenplay by Tarantino and Avary is so well written in a psoriatic
yet potent way that you’ll want to rub noses in it - the noses of all those
zombie writers who take "screenwriting classes that teach them the formulas
for writing "hit films". Pulp Fiction is constructed in such a
nonlinear way that you could see it a dozen times and not be able to remember
what comes next. It doubles back on itself telling several interlocking stories
about characters who inhabit a world of crime and intrigue, triple-crosses and
desperation. Vincent Vega (Travolta) and partner Jules Winnfield (Jackson) are a
couple of mid-level hit-men who carry out assignments for a mob boss. We see
them first on their way to a violent showdown discussing such mysteries as why
in Paris they have a French word for Quarter Pounders. They’re as innocent in
their way as Huck and Jim, floating down the Mississippi and speculating on how
foreigners can possibly understand each other. Vince’s and Jule’s careers
are a series of assignments that they can’t quite handle. Especially
Travolta’s character, not only does he kill people inadvertently ("The
car hit a bump") but he doesn’t know how to clean up after himself. Good
thing the two of them know people like Mr. Wolf (Harvey Keitel) who specializes
in messes; and has friends like Lance (Eric Stoltz) who owns a "big medical
encyclopedia" for emergency situations. Uma Thurman can tell you about
those medical procedures. Bruce Willis is compelling as a crooked boxer whose
plan to take it on the lam hits a few detours. Butch Coolidge (Willis) is
supposed to throw a fight but bails and looses Marsellus (Rhames) a lot of loot.
Butch and his girly are to ditch town ASAP but first he needs to make a
dangerous trip back to his apartment for a valuable family heirloom. The history
of this heirloom is described through a flashback dream narrated by Christopher
Walken, a Vietnam veteran. Walken’s dialogue build to the movie’s biggest
laugh. The method of the movie is to involve its characters in sticky
situations, and then let them escape into sticker ones, which is how the boxer
and mob boss end up together as the captives of weird leather freaks in the
basement of a pawn shop. Or how the characters who open the movie, a couple of
stick-up artists (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) get in way over their heads. Most
of the action in the movie comes under the heading of "crisis
control". If the situations are inventive and original, so is the dialogue.
A lot of films these days use flat, functional speech; The characters say only
enough to advance the plot. The characters in Pulp Fiction are in love with
words for their own sake. Many of them don’t listen but wait to talk. The
dialogue is off the wall at times and some things seem to be said at peculiar
moments where the "normal" movie viewer might not make complete sense
of it, but that’s the fun. The movie is like an excursion through the lurid
images that lie wound up and trapped inside all those boxes on the Blockbuster
shelves. Tarantino once described the old pulp magazines as cheap, disposable
entertainment that you could take to work with you rolled up and stuck in your
back pocket. Yeah, and not be able to wait for lunch so that you could start
reading them again. Quentin Tarantino, the creator of the lethal thrillers,
"True Romance" and "Reservoir Dogs" returns with his most
thrilling piece yet: a pure adrenaline rush guaranteed to leave you gasping.
Boasting a stellar cast including John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman,
Harvey Keitel, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken and Bruce Willis, his
"Best Picture" winner at the Cannes Film Festival and Academy Award
Winner for "Best Original Screenplay" is one exhilarating ride from
start to finish. We dare you to step aboard. Video Blurb, Pulp Fiction, 1994.

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