Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A to Z Challenge - P is for Pushing the Envelope of Independent Film

Today's post for the letter P in the A to Z Challenge is the 1994 groundbreaking film Pulp Fiction.  Revered by many, despised by few, this film helped change Hollywood and the movie industry.  Nominated for seven Academy Awards, winner of the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, it has become a modern day classic.

The film is disjointed and told out chronological order.  It involves gangsters and other characters who fall below respectability over the course of a few days in Los Angeles.  Great acting and a really good script make this film enjoyable.  It's not worth it to give a description of the stories, it's better to watch it and put the pieces together after it's over.

The significance of the film in the history of Hollywood is important because it opened the door for independent films.  Pulp Fiction was not picked up by a major studio, and those who have seen it can understand why.  But Miramax decided to distribute it and it became an instant hit.  In fact where there were very few independent or formally known as low budget movies, nominated for Best Picture, two years later four of the five films nominated were independent movies and The English Patient, an independent film, won Best Picture.

But it's more than that.  The Independent Film Channel (IFC) has claimed that Pulp Fiction was one of the most influential movies of the 1990's and most definitely benefited from the popularity.  Another item about this movie was making villains to be a full character and not flat.  Many films don't focus on the villain but the hero or protagonist.  The villain is someone who is unemotional, has no personality and usually has a bad accent.  The difference with Pulp Fiction is first you find out about the characters, their opinions, their values, get to know them and then find out that they are the villains.

Another thing I admire about Quentin Tarantino, and there are not many things I do, but is his use of music in his films.  This one is no exception.  A mix of surfer music, funk, soul, classic rock and country are so well dispersed throughout the film that they work with the scenes they are in.  The awkwardness of John Travolta and Uma Thurman at dinner is made perfect with Link Wray's Rumble being played in the background.  Or the opening with Dick Dale & His Del-Tones playing Misirlou is so powerful.  And there is no way anyone who has seen the film can ever listen to The Revels Comanche and not think of the scene in the basement of the pawnshop.

There are so many good scenes from this film, but I had to choose my favorite of Samuel Jackson doing Ezekiel 25:17.  Please note that there is a good deal of foul language and it is a violent scene if you have not seen it before or just a warning if you are offended.


  1. Excellent review! I think this is my favorite of all the reviews you've posted so far. So well written! Pulp Fiction was the first Tarantino film I saw, and the structure of the film just amazed me, it was so creative.

  2. Great review of a great film. It is chock full of foul language and violence not to mentione that WTF part in that basement but it really works well and all makes sense I. The end. I actually listened to the soundtrack this past weekend

  3. This is one of those films that demands seeing it more than once or even twice. When I first saw it in the theater I disliked it a great deal. However, I felt a compulsion to go back and see it again in a theater (something I would rarely do) and liked it better. Bought the VHS and then the DVD and liked it better and better until now I'd put it among my favorite films.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out