#59. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Bruce Willis, Quentin Tarantino, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken
Pulp Fiction is a film that needs no introduction to anybody who even remotely cares about movies. Quentin Tarantino’s revolutionary 1994 film changed the way people look at films and their structure, at least in terms of mainstream motion pictures. Pulp Fiction weaves multiple boundary-pushing narratives together into one of the most entertaining, remarkable tapestries ever put to celluloid, with stories that saw hit-men Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) collecting a mysterious golden briefcase, having the interior of their car cleaned after an unfortunate accident, and being held at gunpoint in a local diner. Another saw a boxer named Butch (Bruce Willis) throwing a fixed fight and fleeing the city, only to encounter Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), the man he double-crossed, in a bizarre torture/sex dungeon. Tarantino’s film was a massive financial and critical success, being nominated for several Academy Awards like Best Picture, Best Director (Tarantino), Best Actor (John Travolta), Best Supporting Actor (Samuel L. Jackson), but only won the award for Best Screenplay (Tarantino) – which it undoubtedly deserved. Tarantino’s screenplay is one of the greatest of the 1990’s, combining gut-busting humor, raw violence, satisfying character arcs, and Tarantino’s unique brand of bizarreness into one beautiful package. Quentin Tarantino’s direction of Pulp Fiction is another element that cannot be understated – using high energy techniques, great music, and paying homage to some of his favorite cult films of yesteryear, every frame of the film has been carefully constructed and labored over. The ensemble cast of the film features more than a few memorable performances, from John Travolta’s reluctant swagger, to Samuel L. Jackson questioning his faith and the world around him, and even Uma Thurman’s cool, sexy Mia Wallace. It’s nearly impossible to argue that Pulp Fiction is not a masterpiece – even if you’re not a fan of the works of Tarantino, there’s something here for nearly everybody. While Ben-Hur is the film that hooked me on movies, Pulp Fiction is the work that made me appreciate how they were constructed, and made me dig far deeper into the rabbit hole than I had ever expected. It’s been a lifelong favorite of mine and no doubt to millions of others.