Thoughts on: Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)

I read this script in about two hours last night.

As far as screenplays go, this was a super readable one, but I would not recommend tackling it without seeing the movie first. I found myself remembering the scenes and imagining the actors in their roles and things.

Isn't it funny how you associate a particular movie with the first time you watched it? Isn't it even funnier when you think back to that day and feel nothing; no nostalgia, no sense of lost. Looking back on watching that film with a boy I used to date, I realise that I am a different person now. That girl in the memory reel I am watching is not me, but she sort of looks like me.

I digress.

I like Tarantino films because they deliberately fly in the face of taboo. Adultery, drugs, sex, gangsters etc. all feature in Pulp Fiction in a round about sort of way and yet it manages to remain remarkably kitsch, rather than deep and meaningful. I remember when I was small, seeing the movie poster framed in someone's playroom and thinking that because the movie was rated R, it must have been pornography. How naive I was. I also remember being shocked to see the video on the shelf of a family member. (I guess these are more just thoughts than thoughts on the movie itself...)

After I finished reading it, I lay in my bed in the dark listening to my iPod and trying to have deep thoughts about what I had read but I couldn't really come up with any. I guess that's part of Kitsh though... superficial, aesthetic entertainment value, with no hidden meaning or existentiality or whatever. I was disappointed though. There would be brag value to actually understanding a Tarantino flick on a deeper level probably. But I guess that's what we want in this Two Minute Noodle world. We want a visceral experience to entertain us and take us out of ourselves for an hour or two. We don't want to have to work and dissect this experience, we just want it to come to us.

I started to think about my own novel too. There is a lot of difference between the two stories, that is for sure. And I really wanted to write. But that drive has gone again. Perhaps it will be kind enough to return for the weekend.


  1. I love Tarantino films. I think people really love the violence and the comedic nature of it. It's the taboo factor of it, I think, it's all the things that would horrify us in the real world, but in Tarantino-land, it's just so far removed that we can watch that guy's head blow apart and laugh.

    But what I really enjoy about Tarantino films is that they do have a lot of depth to them. Not like deep-and-meaningful depth, but plot depth. The character development in Tarantino films are fantastic, they're sort of teased out with small talk, sort of testing the characters out, and then they get thrown into these high tension situations, like the small talk was just a thin, frayed wire just about to snap. And the status quo, the dynamic shifts in the status quo, between the people in control, and the people who think they're in control. Strength against strength, it's just incredible the intensity Tarantino can pack into one scene. Even without all the violence. The first section in Inglourious Basterds, the way the conversation is drawn out, the play with language, the forced pleasantries between the characters, it's all stuff you'll rarely see anywhere else.

  2. Well just to clarify, when I said depth I meant in the sense that you can find depth in those stories that are considered "High Literature". Remember that I am talking about these novels in the context of the class that I am taking and therefore trying to relate them to what I have been learning as well as to my own life and work. What I mean is, when you read (for example) George Orwell, yes there is depth to his characters and plots etc, but there is also that secondary meaning, that critique of politics and history and life... there is something symbolic and metaphorical to aspects of high literature. But with Pulp Fiction, you can't say "Oh yes, Vincent accidentally blowing away that kid's head is a metaphor for the impotency of modern life" because it's not. It's Vincent accidentally blowing off some kid's head. And that's Pulp Fiction as an example of Pulp Fiction- delightfully kitsch, entertainment, aesthetic over deeper substance. Still you're very right in what you say about plot and character. I don't necessarily think that just because Tarantino doesn't invest his plots with symbolism, his works are low culture. Far from it. His works are a hallmark of our culture. But he's not Orwell, or Dickens, or Chaucer. See?

  3. Some of the best film dialogue ever.


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