Movie Review: ‘Pulp Fiction’

JagWire editors-in-chief Tanner Smith and Hannah Chern review the 1994 film ‘Pulp Fiction’

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JagWire editors-in-chief Tanner Smith and Hannah Chern review the 1994 film ‘Pulp Fiction.’

Tanner Smith and Hannah Chern

Although it may be hard to look at anything besides the right here and now during the COVID-19 pandemic, old-school movies are a welcome departure from the ever-changing world around us. The 1994 classic “Pulp Fiction” by Quentin Tarantino tells the story of gangsters, hitmen, and a boxer whose paths cross through the story Tarantino tells. While the movie is not for everyone — earning its R-rating with plenty of violence, language, and suggestive content — “Pulp Fiction” delivers a well put together, dialogue-driven story.

 

Our Thoughts

Tanner: 4.5/5

After watching “Pulp Fiction” for the second time now, my appreciation for it has only grown. While I will admit the at times disjointed story is sometimes difficult to follow, the superb character development and dialogue-driven action more than makes up for it. Anchored by brilliant performances from Samual L. Jackson as the conflicted hitman Jules, John Travolta as Vincent Vega, the drugged-up partner to Jules, and Bruce Willis as the stubborn boxer Butch, “Pulp Fiction” delivers a large number of flawed characters that are still very easy to root for. Even more secondary characters like Uma Therman as Mia Wallace, the wife of mob boss Marcellus Wallace (played by Ving Rhames), are developed enough to give the audience a real connection to the character. While many of Tarantino’s movies have a difficult time of balancing his violent style and a strong dialogue-driven plot, “Pulp Fiction” is able to masterfully balance the two while still giving the viewer a decent amount of humor. Although the movie is without question focused on being a hard-hitting drama, infinite quotable lines from Samuel L. Jackson — which are not appropriate to put in this review — help to give the movie good balance. While I would not recommend this movie to anyone, if you like a well-written story and are ok with its R-rated nature, “Pulp Fiction” is the movie for you.

 

Hannah: 3.5/5

Going into this movie, I had no idea what to expect. Even based on the title, I could not draw an inference as to what I should expect. The first thing that stood out to me was the violent nature of the movie. Normally, I am someone who sticks to more subtle movies like Rom Coms, so being thrown into one of Tarantino’s movies for the first time was a wild ride. I personally do not like watching violent movies, so I found myself cringing quite a few times. Even though I was feeling a little iffy about the violent scenes, Samuel L. Jackson definitely brought light into the darkness of this movie. I couldn’t hold back the waves of laughter I had when he was talking, even if it was serious. His presence helped distract me from the violence of the movie. Secondly, I had to make connections as I watched the entire movie. As I was watching, I found it difficult to keep up with the names and plot, especially since the movie was divided into different scenes that did not follow chronological order; it took me a while to figure out that the movie was made that way by design. My confusion following the plot definitely caused me to miss some key points in the movie, but I saw enough to follow the general plot. Despite the confusion I felt while watching the movie, the ending scene was able to help me connect the dots and pull the whole story plot together. If I were to watch this movie a second time, I might be able to catch a few things that I missed the first time around. Overall, even though I wasn’t in love with the movie, I did not hate it. Yes, it was definitely more violent than I am comfortable with, but I was able to have a few good laughs here and there.

 

That’s a Wrap

Given the circumstances of COVID-19, we decided to watch this movie over Zoom; one of us had played the movie while sharing our screen. While it is something that we would have never thought of doing before the pandemic hit, watching a movie with friends using platforms like Netflix Party and Zoom gives nearly the same experiences as watching it in person. Not only is it safer to watch movies with friends virtually, but it was easier to find time in both of our schedules to watch the movie. Even though the quality of the video and sound may be off (if you are watching it on Zoom), it is manageable enough to still be able to enjoy the film. If you are planning on watching a movie, you should definitely try watching it virtually with friends.

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