a little east of reality

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Have you ever given a foot massage?

As you might be aware I've been checking out Tarantino films lately after seeing, and loving, the Kill Bill films. The latest in my line-up was Pulp Fiction.

It's a bit of a challenge at first to work out what exactly Pulp Fiction is all about. Sure, there's the hired muscle who are having one hellava day, the sexy wife too hot to touch who just wants a fun night out, the boxer who's agreed to take a fall, the robber couple who've decided to change their MO...but these are just the characters who string together a day-in-the-life type plot. They are not really what (I think) the movie was about.

For me it was all about context. And timing. But to explain what I mean I have to first acknowledge that I might not be the very last person in the world to have seen Pulp Fiction (though it seemed like I was) and say...


There were so many things that happened, in the way that they happened, only because of the context in which they happened. Marsellus was prepared to hunt Butch down wherever he fled, but a chance meeting with some very warped guys buys Butch's freedom. There's nothing that man could have done to save his own skin - not talked or bought his way out - the scene where the young guys are gunned down for double-crossing Marsellus showed us that. But then this terrible situation happens and Butch makes a choice and that choice saves his life. And he couldn't count on that being the case.

Same with Ringo and Yolanda. Any other day, they've had been toast before they knew what was happening. But they caught Jules 'in a transitional period' and so everything is different. He talks them down, he gives them money, and he sends them on their way. Nobody gets killed. And all because he had had a moment that day where he felt like God 'got involved' in his life.

But you can't predict what life brings and you can't control the context that you find yourself in. Most of what happened wasn't planned...couldn't have been planned. So Vincent panics his way through saving Mia, terrified of what Marcellus will do to him if she dies, not knowing that he will be dead within a day anyway. (Sad that so soon afterwards you realise that his death was totally unnecessary, even from Butch's perspective. ) Marvin is, ironically, shot accidentally after being the only one of the boys not executed for doublecrossing Marcellus. Ringo and Yolanda make a momentous career change in order to be safer, and nearly die for it.

Or maybe it's just a story about a few crazy people with explosive lives that intertwine one fateful day. It's not like I've never been known to over-analyse.

Favourite moments:

The whole foot massage theme was entertaining:

Vincent: I ain't saying it's right. But you're saying a foot massage don't mean nothing, and I'm saying it does. Now look, I've given a million ladies a million foot massages, and they all meant something. We act like they don't, but they do, and that's what's so f**king cool about them. There's a sensuous thing going on where you don't talk about it, but you know it, she knows it, f***ingMarsellus knew it, and Antwan should have f***ing known better. I mean, that's his f***ingwife, man. He can't be expected to have a sense of humor about that shit. You know what I'm saying?
Jules: That's an interesting point.

And later when Vincent actually asks Mia what she think about the fact that Antwan was thrown out of a four storey window for giving her a foot massage:

Mia: A husband being protective of his wife is one thing. A husband almost killing another man for touching his wife's feet is something else.
Vincent: But did it happen?
Mia: The only thing Antwan ever touched of mine was my hand, when he shook it...at my wedding. The truth is, nobody knows why Marsellus tossed Tony Rocky Horror out of that window except Marsellus and Tony Rocky Horror. But when you scamps get together, you're worse than a sewing circle.

The whole Vincent and Mia storyline is my favourite thing about the movie, in spite of several other great moments - from the moment Vincent starts talking about the foot massage right through to when they promise never to tell Marcellus about Mia's accidental OD. I love the milkshake, the dance contest, even the way Mia says, after snorting coke in the bathroom at the restaurant, "I said goddamn! Goddamn."

Vincent: Did you just order a five dollar shake?
Mia: Ummhh.
Vincent: That's a shake? . . . that's milk and ice cream?
Mia: Last I heard.
Vincent: That's five dollars? You don't put bourbon in it or nothin'?
Buddy Holly: No.
Vincent: Just checking.

Now I've never snorted coke, but Pulp Fiction is my impression of how that feels. I said goddamn, that's some good shit! ^_^