Everyone should watch this underrated gem
The first time I heard about Pulp Fiction was during orientation for Ithaca College back in the summer of 2015. I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction. I’ve been a non-film Park student for four years now, and I think I have enough information that when Buzzsaw asked me to write a reflection for the 25th anniversary of the movie, I said yes. So here it goes.
Question Tortellini has done it again — made an evocative musical with some A-list cast members. Sam ‘the man’ Jackson, a member of the original Jackson 5, leads the film to thought-provoking heights. I mean, it has to be thought provoking, otherwise why would these Park ‘filmmakers’ never shut up about it. There has to be some sort of debate that brews within the film, right? Jackson is the featured vocalist in this film singing songs like “Motherfucker” (The Main Theme of Pulp Fiction), “Does He Look Like a Bitch? The McDonald Song: A Quarter Pounder With Cheese,” “A Big Mac, and Royale with Cheese,” and “Ezekiel 25:17.” He does say motherfucker a lot, which is totally outside of Sam Jackson’s typical acting scope.
Fun fact: According to one particularly vocal cinebro, who has yet to be credited in any student films, the line, “You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? They call it a Royale with cheese,” was voted #81 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Line” in 2007. However, he said it should be #2 only behind, “If you ain’t first you’re last.”
No one thought a mainstream musical could gain the cult status among the straight male population. Perhaps theses boys have always had a secret love of bussing to broadway to see Cats or The Music Man, but they have hid it in shame, never to discuss with their other bros.
John Transylvania, best known for his work in Grease, belts his lungs out in every musical number including “Don’t Hate the Hitman,” “Put That Briefcase Back Where it Came From or So Help Me,” “Uma Thurman’s Dancing Real Cool I’ll Twist with Her,” “WAIT Don’t OD!,” and more. One Park film student said, “The score of Pulp Fiction is beyond brilliant.” One senior working on his thesis film about “the struggle of getting that perfect shot, a struggle I deal with constantly but no one ever understands” said, “Have you ever seen* music entwined into the plot of a film the way it is Pulp Fiction? It’s a genius collaboration between picture and sound. I’d call it a masterpiece, but The Godfather is the only film that could ever be considered a masterpiece.” *It should be noted music is typically not seen, it’s heard.
Uno Thermopolis’ character Mia overdoses on heroin by snorting it, but as a boom operator on the set of a student film about “Dudes who smoke an unknown substance but we all know it’s weed because we’re basing the characters off of ourselves” astutely pointed out, “It’s way easier to overdose if you shoot up. Snorting heroin gets you the good kind of high.” Fascinating.
The film starts off with a discussion of robbery between Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, but who the fuck are they? No one will tell me. Were they wearing pumpkin masks and a bunny mask covered in honey? The only thing I do know about Honey Bunny came from one very enthusiastic film student working on his friend’s film portraying, “Just real real life, you know, like some people will be sick and others will be sad, I’m not sugar coating it. It’s going to be just like real life is. So what if we only cast white people? That’s my life.” Anyways, he said that Honey Bunny’s character was named after an actual rabbit belonging to Linda Chen (he didn’t actually include her name but referred to her as a “chick on set”) who typed Tortellini’s handwritten script for the film. Chen asked Question Tortellini to watch her rabbit while she was on location. He said no, and the rabbit died, so using his white boy guilt he named a sadistic character after the dead rabbit. How touching. It should be noted Honey Bunny did not get a musical number.
After a long discussion Honey Bunny tells Pumpkin, “I like to shoot guns. Don’t stop me from shooting my gun,” and begins to rob the diner they’re at. I don’t really know what happens next because the timeline in this movie makes absolutely no sense. True, I’ve never seen it, but if a Park film student says, “It took me four viewings to understand the order of events,” you know it’s a convoluted structure. If the movie was edited in order of events, would it still be a cult phenomena? Is the convoluted structure a device employed by filmmakers like Tortellini to get audience members to pay to see their films multiple times in order to figure it out, therefore putting more money in their pocket? Or are editors just bad at their job?
Tessa More is a fourth year journalism major whose favorite David Finchman movie is Frat Club. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.