best films: #14: PULP FICTION (1994)
Honestly, from the Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance contest scene alone, this flick would make my top 100, but thanks to an incredibly layered script, delightful performances from the unlikeliest of sources (yes, even John Travolta does great work here), and a splendid throwback to pulp crime novels of years past, Pulp Fiction is a piece of filmdom that works on so many levels it’s criminal. Uma Thurman dons her now-iconic black bob (in probably her second best performance after Kill Bill‘s “The Bride”), does a little blow, dances the night away with hitman Vincent Vega (Travolta), and the proverbial s**t hits the fan. Oh, and did I mention the unlikeliest of good performances? Enter Bruce Willis, who’s doing hands-down his best film work period. He plays a struggling boxer who jilts some bookies when he’s asked to throw a fight in favor of some mob-related gamblers. There are truly too many interwoven plotlines to hash them all out here, but simply put, it’s rare that you come across a movie in which every scene therein is meant to be memorable and iconic. But that’s sort of what we’ve come to expect from Quentin Tarantino – though he’s never done it better than here. I mean, even people who haven’t seen the movie (blasphemy!) at least can identify Samuel L. Jackson’s biblical pre-shooting speech, the aforementioned dance contest, and the unmentionable basement “gimp” incident as part of Pulp Fiction. As for the other cogs at work, the soundtrack – typical of Tarantino’s work – is incredibly laid out, with a mix of classics both revamped and original, and the screenplay is pure genius. So if you don’t the answer to the question, “Who is Fox Force Five?” then you need to rent this movie stat.