Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Making of Pulp Fiction

Posted by on Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I hate to be one of those guys, but the other night I was sitting at a bar and making nice with the couple next to me and I asked them all friendly-like if they'd seen Django Unchained. They said that they had, and I thought: Aw, perfect, we have a lot to talk about. And so I asked, "Did you like it?"—the traditional first question before launching into a shared reverie with some strangers about a thing you both just recently experienced. And the woman pinched up her face and said, "It was okay. It was fine." Okay? FINE?! "Fine" is what you say to the Rite Aid lady when she asks how your day is going. "Okay" is what you say when the lady at YogurtLand weighs your fro-yo and tells you how much you have to pay. Just to get a clearer picture of where these idiots were coming from, I asked if they liked Pulp Fiction or Inglourious Basterds, and the woman said, disgustedly, "I just—he just looks really unhealthy, did you see him at the Academy Awards? He needs to go on a diet or something."

God, I really wanted to fly into a mini-rage. I definitely had a mini-rage brewing. Would have been so fun to shove all the glasses off the bar and stand on top of it and shout, "I'm not gonna take this shit anymore!" Just to frighten them into having better thoughts. I hate to be one of those people who, if you disagree with me, flies into a mini-rage, but not liking a movie because you think the filmmaker is fat is bonkers. Soon the lady was saying, "Is there like some law that on Capitol Hill everyone likes Quentin Tarantino?" and I was saying, "There should be!" and so on. And then I walked home in the worst mood, vowing never to strike up conversations with idiot strangers again. And then very soon after I woke up on a bright Saturday and read this wonderful piece in Vanity Fair looking back on the making of Pulp Fiction and felt so much better.

As Tarantino says: "I don’t make movies that bring people together. I make movies that split people apart." God bless him.


Comments (56) RSS

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yelahneb 1
You must be super fun at parties.
Posted by yelahneb on March 2, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
ScienceNerd 2
Wait, everyone doesn't like QT? My friend looks just like him. I like to pretend he's Tarantino when we are together. I think that makes me a bad friend.
Posted by ScienceNerd on March 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 3
First, take 'mini' completely out of your written vocabulary, and use it quite sparingly in conversation. Give it a week, then maybe I'll have something to talk to you about, said a different guy sitting at the bar.
Posted by dnt trust me on March 2, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 4
over 49% of americans are below the nationwide mean in intelligence.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Agent Michael Scarn 5
If you're coming off the same way a pro-lifer or gun enthusiast might, except about Quentin Tarantino, you should probably reconsider your approach.

FWIW, I love his early stuff but am lukewarm on his recent work (including Django). I have also realized that there are a ton of people who go to movies just for the hell of it and not to form any meaningful thought or opinion about what's presented.
Posted by Agent Michael Scarn on March 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 6
Quentin Tarantino is an acquired taste. I would expect a lot of people might not be that enthusiastic about his work, even on Capitol Hill.
Posted by Gern Blanston on March 2, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
levide 7
Too bad the movie sucked.
Posted by levide on March 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
heywhatsit!? 8
I can't say it better than @1.

You should stop talking to your "inferiors". Ass.
Posted by heywhatsit!? on March 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
imbecile 9
I was with you until the "God bless him".
Posted by imbecile on March 2, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
JensR 10
Meh... Haven't seen Django, didn't like Inglorious. I can't really see the appeal to be honest. I just thought it was like Titanic - something that a large group of people enjoy but I don't.
Didn't know it was a punishable offense or something :)
Posted by JensR on March 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Django is such a goddam great movie. It smacked the bullseye he was aiming for with Basterds.

And for some reason reading this post sent me into a reverie, remembering every glorious detail I could of the scenes between the Jackie Brown characters played by Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda. They really got under my skin.
Posted by gloomy gus on March 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
TVDinner 12
I dunno, I'm just so sick of every goddamn movie being about dudes and made by dudes with women serving as plot devices to advance the dude's stories that I could just puke. Hollywood and its dudity just bores the ever-loving-shit out of me.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on March 2, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 13
Cool story bro.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on March 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Puty 14
I agree with TVDinner but I still liked Django. Liked Inglourious Basterds more.

I'm sorry the mean couple hurt Frizzelle but I'm glad he's okay now.
Posted by Puty on March 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 15
..hated it.. next
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on March 2, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
I teach Pulp Fiction, and one of my favorite things to do is tear fan boys' admiration of the movie into little pieces. The whole movie is about one thing: the fear men have of being turned into women. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Posted by Chicago Fan on March 2, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 17
stop hanging out in hipster bars, frizz.
Posted by scary tyler moore on March 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Jacky Brown is his best and his only movie that would prevent me from calling him a one trick pony (blood and gore, more blood and gore, and some extra blood and gore). A disappointing career so far considering what he showed in his early stuff.
Posted by anon1256 on March 2, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 19
I've always felt that Tarantino was just pretty good. Worth your time, worth the price of admission. Nothing to get too worked up about.

The problem with Tarantino geeks is that they build him up with all these unrealistic expectations as this big film genius. They spend years talking about him, and then he releases a new movie and, what do you know, they geek out ticking off every niggling imperfection. And then they're disappointed, because it's not the Mona Lisa. Film geeks are worthless as critics for these reasons. They judge everything based on their personal baggage and can't see the work sitting in front of them and see it for what it is. And they're too lazy to read theory.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on March 2, 2013 at 1:54 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 20
@12 sorry for stealing your opening line but I love it.
I dunno, I'm just so sick of every goddamn movie being talked about. Get your video cam, open up a Vimeo or whatever account, make some Internet friends, share ideas about your little films, and most importantly, repeat to yourself over and over, Fuck film criticism, Fuck film criticism.....
Posted by dnt trust me on March 2, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
And what was the deal with the dancing horse in the end, Was that some sort of tribute to Ann Romney?
Posted by BhamBrad on March 2, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
tainte 22
the only thing worse than super douche tarantino are his insufferable fanboys.
Posted by tainte on March 2, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
emor 23
The last QT movie I saw was Kill Bill 2. I hated it so much I haven't bothered with any of his more recent movies.
Posted by emor on March 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
fletc3her 24
So, it's a good movie then? Worth hitting the Red Box for?
Posted by fletc3her on March 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 25
I am a wimp. Violence in movies makes me very uncomfortable. Saying that makes me feel like one of those people who I normally would role my eyes at, but it is truth, and I have to own it. I got through Pulp Fiction, but barely, and I thought it was a piece of gratuitous trash, I have not seen a Tarrantino movie since then. Absolutely no interest.

Therefore, I fear that Dear Christopher and I would have had a terrible encounter, for while I dislike violence in movies, I love throwing drinks in people's faces, and busting open bottles to threaten people with the jagged ends.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on March 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
tarantino is overrated. and always has been.

and i'm tired of people telling me i need to watch his movies. i watch them. they aren't very good. usually, they are just simulacrums of other movies or entire genres. i appreciate that he doesn't try and hide this fact, but it doesn't make anything he does wholly original.

add that to the fact that he comes off as a one-man cocaine disposal machine and i imagine him to be insufferable as an employer, family member or neighbor.
Posted by deepconcentration on March 2, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Tarantino is like dying in my sleep.
Posted by Joel_are on March 2, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 28
Regardless of anything he's made since the late 90s, he'll always be the guy who made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and wrote True Romance. A trio of great movies that will guarantee his place in film lore.

@ Christopher, I wish you had flown in a rage so that you could have been beaten up. Everyone who feels judgmental about the tastes of others needs to be set on fire, because everyone likes something that actually sucks pretty bad. Own it, forgive it in others, and do your part to make life not suck for everyone else.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 2, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
sirkowski 29
Bitch needs some chokin'.
Posted by sirkowski on March 2, 2013 at 5:35 PM · Report this
What's the matter with you people?? While not a true story, the film nevertheless depicted the horrors of what life was like for blacks in this supposedly "Godly" nation. This movie made me want to grab a fundamentalist who pines for those "halcyon" days and smack them across the face.

Now, if the film had boobs or cars blowing up, it'd be the greatest thing in the universe.

Posted by James Bradshaw on March 2, 2013 at 5:52 PM · Report this
gingersnap 31
I hated Ingloious Basterds - too long and too much yakking. It felt so overworked and precious, I just suspected Django is the same. I'd rather watch Die Hard - I tear up every. single. time
Posted by gingersnap on March 2, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
dnt trust me 32
I at first read "Goldy" nation. Wouldn't it be so great if all the United States persons thought and lived like Goldy. He really is a God-like figure here on Slog, such insight, such reality.
Posted by dnt trust me on March 2, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 33
@12: kill bill, jackie brown?
Posted by Max Solomon on March 2, 2013 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Estey 34
@ 12 And Death Proof? Especially? @11 and @29 spot on.
Posted by Estey on March 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM · Report this
I hate Tarantino, not because he is fat, but because his movies are morally bankrupt splatterfests that treat human beings as violence objects to be converted into bloody meat in "fun" ways by the morally bankrupt hero for the viewing pleasure of the audience, which is even worse than the usual Hollywood practice of treating women as sex objects. The fact that it's not real is its only redeeming feature.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on March 2, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
As a person he's intolerable. Luckily, he's only a person when he appears at the Oscars and if you watch, you can't avoid him. I can't imagine how what's-her-name stood him for several years.
Posted by sarah70 on March 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Ernie1 37
@35 you should watch Jackie Brown.
Posted by Ernie1 on March 2, 2013 at 9:02 PM · Report this
biju 38
Great VF story, saw it last week via Gawker. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hated Inglorious Basterds. I've yet to watch Django..but Pulp Fiction and especially Jackie Brown, man I could watch those over and over...
Posted by biju on March 2, 2013 at 9:12 PM · Report this
sirkowski 39
Posted by sirkowski on March 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM · Report this
delirian 40
See, the Congressmembers who complained that movies make people violent are right. You watched Django Unchained and then almost went into a mini-rage at a bar. Cause and effect. Blah, blah, blah. QED.
Posted by delirian on March 2, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
delirian 41
@26: Tarantino isn't overrated. He arguably made the most significant film of the last quarter century. He is not just a master of postmodernist cinema--he is THE master. Nobody makes films like he does and nobody even has a clue how to do so.
Posted by delirian on March 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM · Report this
@30, a movie can be historically accurate and still suck. (Not that I'm saying Django sucked...I haven't seen it so I can't comment).

With some exceptions, I find Tarantino deals in revenge fantasies and violence porn. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and not that it's not very well made, but that's pretty much all it is. Nor do I think he aspires to making anything other than very well crafted porn.

Like sexual porn, it holds your attention for a bit. But then it gets boring. And that's why I haven't really had much interest in seeing anything of his since Death Proof.
Posted by Corydon on March 2, 2013 at 11:05 PM · Report this
I was a bit surprised at the recognition Django received compared to Inglourious Basterds, which I thought was far better. But yeah, I've found myself in conversations with people who are less than appreciative of QT. Those encounters usually go something like:

Me: QT is so great ...

Them: Really? Pulp Fiction was good, but that's about it.

Me: Oh yeah? So what screenwriters and directors do you like then?

Posted by Amanda on March 2, 2013 at 11:06 PM · Report this

@12 -- Jackie Brown, Beatrix Kiddo, the women of Death Proof, and Shoshanna from Inglourious were all plot devices? That's an interesting interpretation ...
Posted by Amanda on March 2, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
I know how you feel, man. One time I also spoke to someone who didn't enjoy and value all the same entertainment products that I do.
Posted by pox on March 3, 2013 at 4:25 AM · Report this
kk in seattle 46
We really need a good thought police force on Capitol Hill to protect the sensitivities of the delicate Stranger editorial staff. I expect McGinn will jump right on it.
Posted by kk in seattle on March 3, 2013 at 6:46 AM · Report this
Rotten666 47
When did Hamilton Nolan start writing for the Stranger?
Posted by Rotten666 on March 3, 2013 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Tarantino is completely over-rated. He's racist and sexist as shit. But I don't filter my art by my politics so that's not what bothers me. It's his outright theft of other people ideas.

His best film, one with an actual original story, was Jackie Brown. And thankfully one he also didn't act in. If you can call the narcissistic dribble he does on camera "acting." Jackie Brown was excellent.

I thought Django was very entertaining but nothing ground breaking that I needed to spend any time thinking about after it was over. It was slightly better at hiding it's silly gimmicks than Basterds was.

Basterds I certainly enjoyed. But it was a completely stupid transparent fantasy and it's hilarious to hear people attempting to elevated up to some kind of important cultural artifact.

I'm in the distinct minority in that I hated Kill Bill. Fucking hated it. Couldn't wait for that boring shit to be over. But that's the only film of his I've actually hated.

So if his intent is to divide people ad most people just kind think of him as "meh, he's okay." Then I'd call that a total failure.

He's no David Lynch.
Posted by tkc on March 3, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
delirian 49
@48: If Tarantino wasn't the master of postmodernist film, then your criticism would be valid. If you watch his films, not as a moviegoer, but as a student of film, then you will start to see his genius. Tarantino isn't trying to tell a story in any of his films. And if you were looking for a plot or something to learn from, you missed the point. He makes films about films. His movies are meta-movies. But they also function as movies. And that is brilliant.
Posted by delirian on March 3, 2013 at 5:43 PM · Report this
You know that y'all been trolled, right? That Frizzelle didn't actually almost go off in a bar over Tarantino, right?
Posted by clashfan on March 3, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Quintus Slide 51
Christopher, you are banal. Please shut up.
Posted by Quintus Slide on March 3, 2013 at 9:33 PM · Report this
What is your problem? I have said the exact same thing - I thought it was fine. I'm sorry if that doesn't validate your feelings, but since when does a contrary opinion give you the right to fly into a rage?

It was JUST FINE. It wasn't Pulp Fiction. And I'm also sick of people acting like not "getting" Django Unchained is some sort of act of moral or intellectual failure.

Posted by EJM11 on March 4, 2013 at 8:07 AM · Report this
It's not surprising that a post about boring and tasteless shits is going to attract mostly boring and tasteless shits.
Posted by Drooling Consumers on March 4, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 54
My favorite character in Inglorious Basterds was the German squad leader whose brains they bashed in in the ravine. Shoshanna and her boyfriend were tied for a close second. Those were the only characters who weren't entirely terrible people. I get what film nerds wet their pants about with regards to Tarantino; but I'm not a film nerd, so I watch his movies as movies, not as cinema-theory scrapbooks, and I have generally found them "meh" at best.
Posted by thecheesegirl on March 4, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this
@49 I have a film degree and I worked in film for over a decade. But... uh... thanks for the lesson, professor.
Posted by tkc on March 5, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
@55 I look forward to you work on Kangaroo Jack Part 2.
Posted by I'm sure your work is uninspired on March 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM · Report this

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