(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
(#16) Pulp Fiction
Crime • dir. Quentin Tarantino • 1994 • USA
First it was illicit – impossible and distant. I must have been only 13 when my older brother came home giddy from the local cinema. You know that scene where Butch looks around the pawnshop for a weapon, to go and use on the hillbillies Maynard and Zed before they have their wicked way with Marsellus, who is gagged and bound like a pig on a spit? My brother acted it out for me, playing the part of Butch. Hammer… no. Chainsaw… no. Baseball bat… no. Samurai sword… fuck yeah! My brother reveled in every little detail – could tell I was hanging on his every word, positively mad that I was too young to see the thing for real. Then, a few days later he delighted in bringing the CD soundtrack into my English, suburban, 13-year-old world. Now the whole damn thing was not only illicit but impossibly cool. Jungle Boogie. Surf music. “Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.” Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon. Al Green! Are you fucking kidding me?! Nevermind Los Angeles, this shit was from Mars. Never again would I feel so very far from where it’s at, so un-hip, so middle class, so white, so goddamn young.
And then finally I sat in front of it, and Pulp Fiction was every last thing I hoped it would be and more. Like a first date that couldn’t go any better – twenty minutes in and you’re already thrilled, dizzy, and hopelessly in love. Don’t even bother hoping, Tarantino will surely never top it. Never be so bang-on brilliant again. So eager. So fresh. So fast. So glamorous. So sleazy. So deadbeat, lurid, kitsch, and goofy. “You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of Ketchup…” “Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo…” “I’m gonna get Medieval on your ass…” “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.” Don’t for one second take Pulp Fiction lightly – they’ll never be another film quite like it. Oh, and you know what else? Seeing it one time at the cinema, with my good buddy Rob, I belatedly realized that Pulp Fiction is also laugh-out-loud funny. If you haven’t already, see it with an audience. (Jules and Vincent bicker – “I saw you get ’em wet” – like an old married couple.) Hey, just hurry up and watch it again. You know you want to.